Ave Maria is a small, quaint town in Southwest Florida. It is popular for its tight-knit community, gatherings in the downtown area, and proximity to the Naples metro area. In addition, its affordable housing and warm weather year round make it a popular retirement destination for active adults.
Climate & Geography
Located inland from Naples, Ave Maria has a subtropical climate with hot and humid summers. Afternoon thunderstorms are common in the summer, resulting in higher than average precipitation. Winters are drier, shorter, and pleasant. Residents can expect around 205 days of sunshine a year.
The area east of Naples is the beginning of the marshes of the Everglades. Situated in this terrain, Ave Maria is surrounded by a mix of marshland and lakes.
Recreation, Culture, & Entertainment
As a master-planned town built around Ave Maria University, the Ave Maria Oratory is the central cultural hub of the city. Not only is the Oratory a destination in itself, providing views of the town and surrounding land, but the area around it is the city's downtown. There are local and chain stores and eateries, as well as community events.
There are also many outdoor recreational areas surrounding Ave Maria. Just south of the city is the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, which has over 24,000 acres of wilderness for wildlife viewing and hiking. Lake Trafford to the north has multiple natural preserves surrounding it as well as alligator viewing. In addition, residents enjoy working on their swing at the Panther Run Golf Club.
Nearby Immokalee, just minutes away, has a popular daily farmers market. Residents looking for more shopping, dining, and beach access can head to Naples, just an hour’s drive to the west.
Cost of Living & Taxes
The cost of living in Ave Maria is below the national average because of the very low cost of homes. Other factors like groceries, transportation, utilities, and health care are all just above average.
There is no income tax in Florida, meaning residents are not taxed on any retirement income. Property taxes are slightly below average, and the seven percent sales tax in Ave Maria is similar to the national average.
The Naples metro area scores very well on Gallup’s Well-Being Index. For four straight years, it has been the No. 1 community across the country.
There are no hospitals in Ave Maria. Nearby Naples has two hospitals that are rated as high performing by U.S. News: Physicians Regional-Pine Ridge Hospital and NCH Baker Hospital. Fort Myers also has the high performing Gulf Coast Medical Center.