The city of Tampa tops our list of "Best Places To Retire" this year. Florida has long been considered a hot spot for retirees with the communities of Tampa, Clearwater and St. Petersburg in the Tampa Bay area being some of the most popular.
Although the sub-tropical climate, pristine natural beaches of the Gulf barrier islands and the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico are attractive, it's not just the water, sun and sand that seem to be attracting many active seniors.
Since the burst of the housing bubble, the Tampa area real estate market has become much more affordable. Median home prices for a single family home in the Greater Tampa area were at $135,700 for the second quarter of 2010 which is well below the national median home price of $176,900 for the same period. As for property taxes, Florida offers a homestead exemption of $50,000 and Hillsborough County offers another $25,000 exemption for seniors age 65 and older making the city of Tampa even more appealing to many retirees.
Health care costs and accessibility are also major factors in the decision to retire in Tampa. There are over a dozen major hospitals including the University of South Florida's Medical Center (where teaching and research are combined with patient care), and the University's H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute. The primary teaching hospital for the University of South Florida's College of Medicine, Tampa General is the regional referral center in such fields as burn treatment, neonatal and pediatric care, and poison control. The city of Tampa also has over 2,000 physicians practicing in more than 50 different specialties providing seniors with some of the finest health-care in the southeast.
For active adults, one of the largest Tampa attractions is Bayshore Boulevard is one of the longest continuous walkways in the world. It is known for its scenic views of the bay and the nearly 4 ½ miles of the world's longest continuous sidewalk.
Tampa and the surrounding area is home to numerous festivals beginning with First Night, a New Year's Eve festival to celebrate the arts. Other festivals include the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, the Winter Equestrian Festival, the statewide Florida Dance Festival, the Guavaween Halloween festival, The Greater Hillsborough County Fair, the Tampa-Hillsborough County Storytelling Festival, and a variety of ethnic festivals. The newest event is the Hot Rod and Street Machine Nationals.
Retirees have a variety of arts and cultural activities to choose from. In fact, Tampa's arts and leisure rank is in the top third of all cities measured. The city of Tampa is home to a variety of performing groups, museums and galleries.
If you enjoy sports, there are several professional sports teams, thoroughbred horse racing and Greyhound dog racing. There are also collegiate athletic events of all kinds that are regularly scheduled at both the University of South Florida as well as at the University of Tampa. The Tampa Bay area is also home to several other Universities who also hold regular sporting events. Retirees can also enjoy watching Golf and tennis tournaments, wrestling and boxing matches and equestrian shows. Auto and boat races are also held on a regular basis in and around the Tampa area.
Active adults retiring to the Tampa area can participate in a variety of sports. There are dozens of public golf courses for the golf enthusiasts as well as several semiprivate golf clubs that allow greens fee players. For the avid tennis players, the city of Tampa has over a thousand public and private tennis courts. If you just want to enjoy the great outdoors, the city has over 140 parks, 11 swimming pools and two picnic beaches. Both saltwater and freshwater fishing is at a premium at various spots throughout the city.
The city of Tampa offers a wide variety of shopping experiences. There are 6 large regional malls anchored by many nationally known chain stores as well as lots of small specialty shops. Another of the Tampa attractions is Ybor Square is a historic landmark located in an ethnic neighborhood where shoppers can enjoy a unique shopping experience from antiques to gift shops with a Latin American focus. Old Hyde Park Village is another historic area that has over 60 shops, restaurants and movie theaters.
Tampa, just like with other retirement locations is not without it's faults. Summers are hot and humid and afternoon thunderstorms are common which is why Tampa is known as the lightning capital of the USA. Tampa is the third largest city in Florida and the Tampa Bay area is the fourth most populous in the southeast so if your list of “Best Places To Retire” doesn't include lots of people, the city of Tampa and the surrounding area may not be the right place for you to spend your retirement years.
When you take into consideration, the overall beautiful Tampa weather, the affordable Tampa area real estate market, the Tampa attractions and the wide variety of things to do, it's easy to see why the city of Tampa is a retirement hot spot and why we have chosen Tampa as one of Americas Best Places To Retire.