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Florida Senior Havens

Affordable communities that provide activities and services important

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It is interesting to note, your favorite Florida destinations are not necessarily quiet little towns, nor are they always bustling metropolitan areas. You value most the communities that provide a variety of activities and services that cater to your needs and are affordable – no matter where they are located in Florida. Here are a few of favorites of snowbirds and senior vacationers alike. These are places that offer the most value for you money by providing the best activities and services.

Sebring

The seat of Highlands County ranks the lowest in its cost of living. Probably best known for the legendary Sebring Raceway, it is really a quiet area in the middle of the state (about 60 miles south of Disney) that is surrounded by cattle ranches, citrus groves, and sod farms.

Those seeking sunshine and solitude can get-back-to-nature in Highlands Hammock State Park where you can pass hours in search of nature and follow trails topped by cypress canopies. Others may prefer the modern styling, great golf and elegant dining of the Spring Lake Golf Resort. Downtown, the Lakefront Cultural Complex boasts an art museum, dinner theater, library, and historical museum. The grand Kenilworth Lodge has become Florida's most bicycle-friendly hotel hosting several cycling events each year.

This is a community that understands seniors. Highland County is host to the oldest population in Florida. And the 60-, 70-, and 80-somethings not only shop and play golf – they run the shops and restaurants.

St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg has long been a favorite senior destination and it is still as popular as ever. You can escape to a warmer climate and have an exciting vacation experience in this city located on the western shore of Tampa Bay. Stay either in a bayfront hotel or on St. Pete's beautiful beach. Either way you are just minutes from the action.

Five major museums, including the Salvador Dali Museum and the Florida International Museum call St. Petersburg home. Tropicana Stadium is home to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and numerous musical events are held there each year. On the bayfront The Pier provides numerous free and low-cost activities and entertainment and the Yacht Club and Bayfront promenade are wonderful places to watch the sunset.

Fort Lauderdale

Once a spring break hot spot, Ft. Lauderdale still has a colorful nightlife and draws sun worshipers from around the world. It is a sophisticated yet casual resort town that is located on the Atlantic Ocean between Miami and West Palm Beach in South Florida. Fort Lauderdale is sometimes referred to as America's Riviera because it offers an array of cultural diversity. In fact, Out Traveler, the gay and lesbian travel newsletter named Fort Lauderdale the "1999 Destination of the Year". If you are not comfortable with this type of diversity, then perhaps this is not the area for you.

Ft. Lauderdale has dozens of golf courses, plenty of boating opportunities, and plenty of parks for outdoor activities. Stroll along the beachfront promenade or shop at the exclusive Riverwalk. Perhaps you'll want to visit Florida's largest retail center Sawgrass Mills Mall or the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop, the south's largest flea market. And, you'll find a variety of dining experiences from cafés to upscale cuisine.

Other Choices

There are so many other cities that cater to the needs of seniors, it is hard to cover them all. A few that come to mind on the West Coast are Sarasota, Naples, and Fort Myers. South Florida boasts Fort Lauderdale's neighbors to the north and south, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and Miami which have long been fun-in-the-sun favorites for Goldenagers. Further north on the East Coast are several communities that favor the over-55 set – Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Palm Coast, and Jacksonville. Of course, Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach are also located on the East Coast, but are often passed over because they are frequented by bikers and the spring break crowd.

The Florida Panhandle located in the northwestern part of the state offers naturalists and sun worshippers a combination not found anywhere else in Florida. Pensacola, Panama City, Fort Walton, and Destin not only have beautiful beaches, but offer back-to-nature adventure in the form of eco-tours. The weather can be 10-15 degrees cooler anytime of year, but this is a Florida far away from the bustle of the attractions.

There are plenty of choices in Florida. If you are looking to retire here, why not use your vacation as a time to investigate areas of Florida now. This way you can decide which one you prefer. If you are simply going to spend a week or two vacationing in Florida a little preplanning will help insure an enjoyable trip – maybe you'll enjoy it enough to come back again!

>Central Florida for Seniors

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