Nestled in north eastern Florida, DeLand is home to prestigious Stetson University, which has roughly 3,000 students. The town is situated among hills and lakes just an hour or so west of some famous Florida beaches. With roughly 28,000 residents, DeLand is neither too big nor too small and has a great location. Streets are tree-lined, and the architecture is interesting, with the University having a good selection of Victorian and Tudor style structures. Of the population, 40% is age 45 or better. The median household income is below the national average, and the crime rate is slightly above the national average.
This pleasant city got its start as the dream of a baking soda entrepreneur from New York City. It grew during the 1920s when Florida experience a land boom, and much of the architecture that still stands is Mediterranean-style. Many homes have been lovingly restored and evoke times past. The median home price is roughly $135,000, and the cost of living is about 8% below the national average. Not bad for a town that is surrounded by plenty of natural beauty and is home to the annual DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts, an event that today draws nearly 50,000 people. The town is well kept, and it exudes a welcoming community spirit.
With Stetson University here, retirees enjoy a good selection of cultural events that include symphonies, touring theater companies and speeches from world leaders. Students seem to be everywhere, but they add a youthful vibe, and their hangouts include fun coffeehouses, cool bookstores and alternative theaters, which give DeLand a funky feeling not found in a lot of other Florida towns.
Several recreation areas are close at hand, including DeLeon Springs State Park, which is considered to be the original Fountain of Youth. The beautiful St. John’s River runs through the area and is a wonderful spot for fishing, swimming and boating.
Because this is Florida, summers are hot and muggy and winters are mild. The average January high temperature is 72° and the average July temperature is in the mid-90s. The area receives roughly 50 inches of rain each year, and on the comfort index, a combination of humidity and temperature, celebration comes in well below the national average. The sun shines 270 days of the year.
Florida Hospital is the primary health care facility, and it is award-winning. It has 150 beds and is accredited by the Joint Commission.
With its outstanding outdoor recreation, beautiful landscape, restored homes and slightly electric mood, DeLand is worth considering for retirement, although the high crime rate should be kept in mind.