Military Retirees Choose Florida For A Reason

February 4th, 2022 | Senior Health


For people who can retire wherever they want, Florida is almost always near the top of the list. Why wouldn’t it be? The ideal climate. The state income and inheritance taxes. Wait! What state income and inheritance taxes? (Zero.) Golfing, fishing, boating, sightseeing—wow. No wonder Florida has the highest percentage of people over 65. Military retirees have even more reasons to prefer Florida.


More Bases, More Reasons

Florida is particularly attractive for military retirees, whether career military or any vet with veterans benefits. One big reason beyond the usual that makes Florida a retiree’s paradise is its 21 military bases. This means it’s easy to live near a VA hospital, and having ready access to quality VA medical care can be reason enough to locate here. Military bases themselves house base exchanges, commissaries, dispensaries (clinics), pharmacies, and other specialty medical services and are well-known for quality golf courses and other on-base recreation.


Military retirees in Florida find it easy to socialize with their fellow vets, with many organizations dedicated to helping them relocate and get acclimated. WalletHub, the personal finance website, ranks Florida as the best state for military retirees for all of the above reasons.


Top Reasons for Vets to Retire in Florida

No Tax on Pensions – Florida has no state income tax, and veterans receive their total pension income without paying a cent of state tax, leaving pure disposable income. Dispose it on lifestyle, investment, your retirement home – it’s up to you. You could save enough that this reason alone is enough to move you to the Sunshine State.


Other Tax Benefits lists some of the many tax benefits Florida military retirees benefit from. Resident veterans with VA disability of at least 10% can get a $5,000 deduction on their home’s assessed value. Surviving spouses married to the veteran for at least five years may also be entitled to this exemption.


Resident veterans with an honorable discharge and 100% permanently disabled and quadriplegic veterans are exempt from property tax on their residence. Unmarried surviving spouses may also be eligible. Florida resident veterans who are paraplegic, hemiplegic, or permanently disabled who must use a wheelchair for mobility, or are legally blind, may be exempt from real estate taxation depending on income.


VA Health Care Is Super Accessible – With 21 military bases in the state, Florida has a proportional number of VA hospitals and veteran’s health services.

The state offers a 25% discounted annual pass to all state parks for honorably discharged veterans. Veterans with service-connected disabilities and their spouses or surviving spouses get a free lifetime pass.


Lots of Other Veterans – A Department of Defense report showed nearly 200,000 military retirees and 1.5 million veterans in the state. Only Texas has more. That also means $5 billion in military pensions come with them. This creates a massive advantage for retirees as retail and service businesses catering to the market. Member groups such as the USO and Team RWB offer senior veterans peer support and connections for assistance and socialization.


Florida Is Already Geared for Retirement – Only Maine has a higher population percentage over 65. The attraction of Florida to retirement-age people is longstanding, and this resonates throughout the commerce and health care of the entire state. Peer social groups and venues are plentiful. Medical specialists and services such as physical therapy and memory care are more abundant, giving medical professionals a greater pool of talent and experience to pull from. Recreational activities that fit the older population are easy to come by, which lessens the age-related afflictions of isolation, high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression.


Retiring on the Coast Is Healthier – Think about it. Don’t think too hard. That’s the whole point. Living next to the water de-stresses the brain. Ask any sailors why they love the sea. How many mood relaxer videos or meditation recordings do you hear use the sound of the ocean or rainwater to help you relax and sleep? You don’t have to live on the beach to get the benefit. Living in a senior living setting in a coastal area, you can visit the beach for a walk or an afternoon under a beach umbrella as a “therapy session.” Theoretically, even the smell of the ocean soothes the brain because of the negative ions you’re breathing in. Another reason is that the beach is just a completely different place from the urban environment. Relief from traffic and noise is always healthy. A scouting trip to the Florida coast is in order if you’ve never been or live somewhere inland. Florida has some 30,000 lakes and more than 13,000 miles of coastline. You may have a hard time choosing, but you’ll have a lot of fun looking.


Recreational Attractions for Retired Military – Besides Florida’s many golf courses, shopping centers, and beaches, some attractions might be of particular interest to former military personnel. Florida’s military history is rich, and the state claims several military museums:

Fort Mose Historic State Park

Armed Forces History Museum

Brevard Veterans Memorial Center Museum

Corporal Larry E. Smedley Vietnam War Museum

Brigade 2506 Museum and Library

Deland Naval Air Station Museum

Jacksonville Automobile and Motorcycle Museum

Recreational Benefits for Veterans and Retired Military gives a complete list of sports and recreation benefits for veterans, particularly disabled veterans. Here are some of particular interest to retired military:

Florida Veteran Recreation Benefits


State Park Admission

The state offers a 25% discounted annual pass to all state parks for honorably discharged veterans. Veterans with service-connected disabilities and their spouses or surviving spouses get a free lifetime pass.


Hunting and Fishing Licenses

Active-duty and retired military Florida residents are eligible for a Military Gold Sportsman’s License for $20. The license covers hunting, freshwater and saltwater fishing, and various associated permits at a significantly reduced cost. 100% permanently and disabled service-connected veterans are entitled to a free five-year hunting and fishing license.

Visit and the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs website for more information on any of these programs.


Senior Living Communities for Veterans

Legend Senior Living® is a proud provider of Windsor Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care to many retired service members in our eleven Florida communities. These residences are located in the most desirable areas for retiring in Florida: Cape Coral, Gainesville, Ocala, Palm Coast, Venice, Lakewood Ranch, and Jacksonville.

Veterans hold a special place in our hearts and their communities. We’ve helped hundreds of retired servicemen and servicewomen find the perfect continuity of lifestyle and care throughout their retirement years. Specifically located for recreation, shopping, entertainment, and within minutes of the coast and VA hospitals, Windsor residences take advantage of everything Florida offers.

As always, thank you for all you’ve done for your country. Call anytime for a private tour, and let us know you’re a vet or retired military. We can show you why many choose the Windsor lifestyle when retiring to Florida.