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10 Cheapest and Safest Places to Retire in Florida

Are you on a tight retirement budget? Looking for an affordable place to retire in Florida but you’re worried that you’ll end up living in a town that’s not safe? We’ve compiled a list of the best towns to retire in Florida based on crime rate data from Neighborhood Scout as well as median rent and home prices. Our list consists of the safest towns in Florida with low crime rates, we also included a list of the safest neighborhoods in each town. Here are the cheapest and safest places to retire in Florida.

18 Cheapest Places to Live in Florida

Most Affordable Places to Retire in Florida with Low Crime

1. Frostproof, FL

If you’re looking for an affordable and safe place to retire in Florida, Frostproof is a great option. This charming small town in Polk County, in the southern part of the state, offers a peaceful lifestyle near beautiful lakes. You can enjoy fishing, and boating on Reedy Lake and Lake Clinch. 

But despite its small-town feel, Frostproof is not too far from larger cities like Lake Wales and Sebring, where you can access quality healthcare, supermarkets, and local restaurants. And the best part is that Frostproof is incredibly affordable, with a median rent of $1575 per month and a median home price of $214,752. 

What’s more, Frostproof has a very low crime rate, with both violent and property crime rates at 1.31 per thousand and 7.52 per thousand, respectively. In fact, its crime rate is lower than 64% of Florida communities.

If safety is a top priority for you, you’ll be glad to know that the safest neighborhoods in Frostproof include Lakeside Terrace/River Ranch, Oakridge Estates/Bear Bay Hills, Clinchwood/Lake Hills, Crooked Lake, and Bay View Park/Maxcy Quarters.

  • Median Rent: $1575
  • Median Home Price: 214,752
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 1.31
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 7.52
  • Safest Neighborhoods:  Lakeside Terrace/River Ranch, Oakridge Estates/Bear Bay Hills, Clinchwood/Lake Hills, Crooked Lake and Bay View Park/Maxcy Quarters
Older couple
Photo: Esther Ann/ Unsplash

2. Fort Meade, FL

Fort Meade is one of the cheapest places to retire in Florida. This small, historic town in the heart of central Florida offers a suburban feel and is perfect for retirees who enjoy fishing and kayaking, thanks to the lakes in Patterson Park. 

With a median rent of $1050 and median home price of $243,492, Fort Meade is one of the cheapest places to retire in Florida. 

Additionally, the town has a low crime rate that is lower than 61% of Florida communities, with violent crime at 2.89 and property crime at 6.55. The safest neighborhoods in Fort Meade are Fort Meade South, Hoot Owl Hill, and Downtown Fort Meade.

  • Median Rent: $1050
  • Median Home Price: 243,492
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 2.89
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 6.55
  • Safest Neighborhoods: Fort Meade South, Hoot Owl Hill, Downtown Fort Meade.

3. Margate, FL

If looking for a place to retire in South Florida that is both safe and affordable, Margate is a good option. Margate is a small city located just 28 minutes away from Fort Lauderdale and 15 minutes away from the beach, which makes it a perfect place to enjoy the Florida lifestyle.

One of the most significant benefits of living in Margate is affordability. The median monthly rent in the city is $2,000. The median home price in Margate is $310,067. 

When it comes to safety, Margate is one of the safest cities in Florida. The city has a low violent crime rate of only 1.15 and a property crime rate of 10.38, which is lower than 52% of the cities in Florida.

Some of the safest neighborhoods in Margate include Margate West, Margate Gardens, Palm Island, North Margate, Margate Estates, Applegreen/Fair Gate, Oriole Gardens, Holiday Springs, Coral Bay/Cypress Pointe at Turtle Run, and Hammon Heights/Hammondville. 

  • Median Rent: $2000
  • Median Home Price: $310,067
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 1.15
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 10.38
  • Safest Neighborhoods:  Margate West, Margate Gardens, Palm Island, North Margate, Margate Estates, Applegreen/Fair Gate, Oriole Gardens, Holiday Springs, Coral Bay/Cypress Pointe at Turtle Run, Hammon Heights/Hammondville.
Florida
Photo: Gary Runn/Unsplash

4. Avon Park, FL

Avon Park is the most affordable place to buy a house in Florida with a low violent crime rate. The median home price in Avon Park is only $172,858. The cost of renting is also low, at only $1500 a month. 

Avon Park is a small town with a charming main street with shops and restaurants, including a Little Italy. Additionally, there is a small lakeside park on Lake Verona near the main street. 

If you’re an avid golfer, you’ll be happy to know that Avon Park has several golf courses. For those interested in museums, there are two notable ones: the Peter Powell Roberts Museum of Art & Cultural Center and the SFSC Museum of Florida Art & Culture.

Avon Park is located an hour south of Orlando, it’s a great location for those who want to be close to the city without living in it. 

However, it’s important to note that the property crime rate in Avon Park is slightly higher than the state’s average, with a rate of 17.32 compared to Florida’s rate of 15.66. On the other hand, the violent crime rate is lower than the state’s average at 2.59.

If you’re considering moving to Avon Park, some of the safest places to live in the area are Avon Park West, Avon Park Lakes, Avon Park East, Highland Lakes, Lakemont, Alpine, and the City Center.

  • Median Rent: $1500
  • Median Home Price: $172,858
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 2.29
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 17.32
  • Safest Neighborhoods:Avon Park west, Avon Park Lakes, Avon Park East, Highland Lakes, Lakemont, Alpine, City Center

5. Inverness, FL

Inverness is one of the most affordable places to retire in Florida, with a median monthly rent of just $1600 and a median home price of $238,856. Located on the western shore of Lake Tsala Apopka, it is an ideal place for retirees who enjoy fishing and boating. 

Inverness is part of the Flying Eagle Preserve in Citrus County, located just over an hour from Tampa. Its low violent crime rate of 2.58 and low property crime rate of 13.26 make it a safe place to retire. 

The safest neighborhoods in Inverness are Inverness South, Inverness Northeast, Highland Ave/E Holly St, Catawba/Landrum, Inverness North, Inverness East, Inverness Highlands North, City Center, Inverness Highlands South, and Arlington.

  • Median Rent: $1600
  • Median Home Price: $238,856
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 2.58
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 13.26
  • Safest Neighborhoods: Inverness South, Inverness Northeast, Highland Ave/E Holly St, Catawba/Landrum, Inverness North, Inverness East, Inverness Highlands North, City Center, Inverness Highlands South, Arlington
Tampa, FL
Photo by Ethan Walsweer/Unsplash

6. Crystal River, FL

Crystal River, located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is a great option if you’re looking for a retirement spot near the water. One of the main attractions is the warm, natural springs that attract manatees all year round. You can even swim with these gentle creatures in the clear waters of Three Sisters Springs. In addition, boating and fishing in King’s Bay are popular activities. The downtown area is packed with shops and restaurants, making it a lively spot. Being in close proximity to Tampa, Orlando, and Gainesville adds to the convenience. 

Another advantage of Crystal River is its affordability. With a median home price of $269,996, it’s a smart investment. The average rent is $2100 per month. 

Crystal River has a lower crime rate compared to the state average. Its violent crime rate is 2.01, while the property crime rate is 10.90, which is significantly lower than the Florida state average of 15.66. 

If you’re concerned about safety, the safest neighborhoods in Crystal River are Crystal River West, Paradise Point, Cutlers, Crystal Oaks, City Center/Red level, and Crystal River East.

  • Median Rent: $2100
  • Median Home Price: $269,996
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 2.01
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 10.90
  • Safest Neighborhoods:  Crystal River West, Paradise Point, Cutlers, Crystal Oaks, City Center/Red level, Crystal River East.

7. Winter Haven, FL

Winter Haven is ideal for retirees who enjoy an active lifestyle outdoors all year round, with plenty of boating, fishing, biking, and hiking. The median rent is affordable at $1890 per month, and the median home price is $300,360. 

However, the city has a higher crime rate than the state’s average with a total crime rate of 19.57 versus Florida’s 18.25. The violent crime rate of 3.16 and the property crime rate of 16.41. Despite the slightly higher crime rate, we are including Winter Haven on the list for its affordability and lifestyle. 

If safety is a top priority, consider living in one of Winter Haven’s safest neighborhoods, such as Lake Ashton, Renaissance, Terranova, Orchid Springs, Shadow Wood, Lake Shipp Heights, Gordonville, East Lake Mariam, Eloise Woods, or Century Dr/US Hwy 92.

  • Median Rent: $1890
  • Median Home Price: $300,360
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 3.16
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 16.41
  • Safest Neighborhoods: Inverness South, Inverness Northeast, Highland Ave/E Holly St, Catawba/Landrum, Inverness North, Inverness East, Inverness Highlands North, City Center, Inverness Highlands South, Arlington

8. Lakeland, FL

Lakeland, located in Central Florida, is a great place to retire with an affordable rent of $1795. It’s located along I-4 between Tampa and Orlando and is home to Florida Southern College, which has the largest on-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. 

If you’re a history or art enthusiast, you’ll love the Polk Museum of Art in Lakeland. Meanwhile, flight enthusiasts must visit the annual SUN ‘n FUN Fly-in. In downtown Lakeland, Lake Mirror Park is a must-visit destination, with a historic promenade, amphitheater, and pedestrian walkways. 

The walkway is also home to the breathtaking Hollis Garden, which showcases more than 10,000 flowers and Florida indigenous plants in a formal garden. For avid golfers, Lakeland has lots of golf courses to offer. 

Renting in Lakeland is more affordable, with rental prices averaging at $1795 per month, while the median home price in Lakeland is $301,242. 

However, Lakeland has a higher property crime rate of 21.03 compared to the state’s 15.66. The rate of violent crime is low, though, lower than the state average of 2.59. 

The safest neighborhoods in Lakeland are Branchborough, Medulla West, Spring Ln/Carriage Ln, Highland City West, Country Woods, Lakeland Highlands East, Highland City South, Christina Woods, Willow Oak East, and Fox Town/Orangedale.

  • Median Rent: $1795
  • Median Home Price: $301,242
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 2.59
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 21.03
  • Safest Neighborhoods: Branchborough, Medulla West, Spring Ln/Carriage Ln, Highland City West, Country Woods, Lakeland Highlands East, Highland City South, Christina Woods, Willow Oak East, Fox Town/Orangedale

9. Green Cove Springs, FL

Green Cove Springs is an affordable place to retire. This rural town on the banks of St. Johns River is only 46 minutes away from Jacksonville, and offers a peaceful and scenic lifestyle. 

Most residents own their homes, which have a median value of $354,281. The average rent is affordable at $2085 a month. 

Green Cove Springs has a lower total crime rate than the rest of Florida, but a slightly higher violent crime rate of 2.89 compared to the state’s 2.59. The property crime rate at Green Cove Springs is lower than the state at 12.85.

The safest neighborhoods in Green Cove Springs are Asbury Lake East, Magnolia Point Golf and Country Club, Leno/Walkill, Fellowship Park, Magnolia Springs/Russell, and City Center.

  • Median Rent: $2085
  • Median Home Price: $354,281
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 2.89
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 12.85
  • Safest Neighborhoods:  Asbury Lake East, Magnolia Point Golf and Country Club, Leno/Walkill, Fellowship Park, Magnolia Springs/Russell, City Center

10. Mount Dora, FL

Mount Dora is a charming small town often dubbed as the “New England of the South”. Its historic downtown is home to numerous boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, making it a perfect spot for those who love to explore. Located on the banks of Lake Dora, it’s perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who love to boat and fish. There is even a charming little lighthouse, The Mount Dora Light which is the only inland freshwater lighthouse. 

Compared to other cities on this list, Mount Dora is slightly more expensive, with a median home price of $395,875 and a median rent of $2300. 

While the rate of violent crime in Mount Dora is remarkably low, standing at 1.28 compared to the state’s 2.59, the property crime rate is higher, at 24.36, which is the highest on this list and higher than the state’s rate of 15.66. 

The safest neighborhoods in Mount Dora are Tangerine, The Country Club/Lakes of Mount Dora, Sylvan Shores/Village Grove, Lake Franklin Park/Mount Dora Heights.

  • Median Rent: $2300
  • Median Home Price: $395,875
  • Violent Crime Rate (per 1000) 1.28
  • Property Crime Rate (per 1000) 24.36
  • Safest Neighborhoods: Tangerine, The Country Club/Lakes of Mount Dora, Sylvan Shores/Village Grove, Lake Franklin Park/Mount Dora Heights
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