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Finding Your Paradise: The Best Places to Retire

by Wowie Barrientos September 04, 2023 0 Comments

retirement signage

When planning for your retirement, one of the first questions worth considering is where you want to spend your golden years. Retirement is the perfect time for new beginnings, which is probably why so many people take the opportunity to try a new environment. However, with so many options out there, it can be hard to know where to look. That’s why we’ve put together this list of the best places to retire in the most popular states.

Or, if you’re caring for a retired parent, check out our caregiver’s guide here.

Best Place to Retire in Florida

Florida has long been the top pick for seniors looking for a place to retire, though everyone has their reason for choosing it. Whether you’re looking for picturesque beaches, warm weather, or a thriving community of seniors, you won’t be disappointed. However, while there are plenty of nice places to live in Florida, some are better for seniors than others. Take a look at some of the best cities in Florida to retire.

  • Sarasota

    With a population of nearly 40% seniors, Sarasota is Florida’s top retirement spot. While its cost of living rate is higher than the rest of the state, it offers a range of amenities any senior will love. Plenty of waterfront homes and gated communities are within walking distance of downtown. There you can find all the art, history, and shopping you need. Plus, Sarasota has some of the most highly-rated hospitals around.

  • Fort Myers

    Fort Myers offers many of the same features as the popular Sarasota but is often preferred by seniors for its lower cost of living. Located right on the southwest Gulf Coast, it offers plenty of white sand beaches, as well as all the art and entertainment you can hope for. Overall, though, it’s a bit quieter than Sarasota, with many natural areas you can go to enjoy the wildlife.

  • Gainesville

    Gainesville is the perfect choice for seniors who want more of a small-town feel, away from areas frequented by tourists. It offers plenty of natural areas for those who love to spend their time in nature, complete with lakes, forests, and parks. The University of Florida is the city’s largest employer, and the school’s students infuse the city with youthful energy.

Best Places to Retire in Arizona

While Florida remains the most popular place to retire, the truth is more and more seniors are turning to our other sunshine state, Arizona. While it has a reputation for being filled with desert, there are plenty of lush and beautiful places to spend your golden years. Whether you enjoy fishing, golfing, or just enjoying the scenic mountainscapes, there’s plenty to see and do in Arizona.

  • Tucson

    If you’re looking to retire somewhere close to the heart of the action, Tucson is a perfect choice. It’s not as frantic as the nation’s largest cities, while still offering plenty of activities to keep you busy including dining, theaters, art galleries, and more. It’s a popular retirement choice with a high population of seniors, which means it’s easy for older adults to make friends and find the services they need to stay healthy.

  • Lake Havasu City

    Maybe you prefer something slower-paced than life in the big city? In that case, Lake Havasu is an option worth considering. Its population is just a tenth of Tucson at just around 55,000, but a full third of that is older adults. It’s not hard to understand why, as Lake Havasu offers picturesque lakefront properties with plenty of golf courses, fishing, and more

Best Place to Retire in Colorado

Not everyone wants to retire on a sunny beach, especially when there are so many other beautiful cities across America. In Colorado, you can find beautiful mountainscapes everywhere you look, as well as thriving senior communities to connect to. It’s the perfect option for those who don’t want to live in a hot climate.

  • Federal Heights

    Federal Heights offers the best of the big city and semi-rural life all rolled into one. It’s a short drive from Denver, giving you access to one of the state’s biggest cities, while still enjoying a slower, quieter atmosphere outside your front door. It’s affordable, safe, and one of the most charming suburbs you can find in the Rocky Mountains.

  • Fort Collins

    Fort Collins is a relatively small city, with just enough attractions to keep you busy without too much hustle and bustle. It’s a college town with a range of diverse neighborhoods that offer a range of high-end and more affordable homes. A short drive outside the city you can find gorgeous forests and unforgettable mountain landscapes. 

Best Place to Retire in Georgia

In the past decade, Georgia has grown in popularity as a retirement destination for its warm climate and friendly communities. Many of its cities are surprisingly affordable and offer a climate that is comparable to Florida. Whether you prefer beach life or something closer to the mountains, you can find it all in this charming state.

  • Forest Park

    Forest Park is the perfect blend of affordable, beautiful, and easy-to-access. Just nine miles south of Atlanta, the city gives you access to a range of cultural and entertainment amenities. Though Forest Park itself is a bit slower-paced, giving you the perfect spot to kick back and enjoy your golden years. It’s more affordable than many of the other retirement destinations on this list, making it attractive to those house-hunting on a budget.

  • Waycross

    Waycross is the go-to retirement pick for those who prefer a natural setting surrounded by all the plant and animal life Georgia has to offer. The quiet setting means affordable homes, low crime rates, and lush landscapes everywhere you look. It also has one of the highest senior populations in the state, though it’s no secret why older adults like it so much.

Best Place to Retire in California

As one of the largest states, there are plenty of options when it comes to choosing a retirement spot in California. Everything from the big city to wine country, mountains, beach, and everything in between is at your fingertips. Check out some of the most popular California cities for retiring seniors here.

  • San Diego

    San Diego offers a great balance for people who want a sizeable community of seniors while enjoying city life at its best. In addition to warm weather and beautiful views, you can enjoy everything the city has to offer including zoos, museums, dining, shopping, and more. Of course, living near a big city means higher taxes, but for those who prefer the urban lifestyle, the extra cost is worth it.

  • San Luis Obispo

    San Luis Obispo is a smaller city that is loved by seniors for its classical Spanish architecture, warm weather, and breathtaking views. The city is located right on the Pacific coast, with plenty of beachfront properties available. Best of all, it has a high population of seniors, at more than 20% of the total population.

  • Sacramento

    If you’re looking for something in between a bustling city like San Diego and a more rural locale like San Luis Obispo, Sacramento might be the perfect option. It’s a mid-sized city that boasts plenty of history. What locals like best about the city is the abundance of beautiful views. Between the mountains and the Sacramento River, there’s always something to look at right outside your window.

Best Place to Retire in New Mexico

New Mexico isn’t as well-known as a retirement spot as California and Arizona, though it offers all the same charm. If you’re looking to surround yourself with picturesque mountain ranges and spend your retirement years in privacy, this southwestern state may be the perfect option.

  • Taos

    Surrounded by mountain ranges and near the Rio Grande River, Toas is an outdoorsman’s dream. Hiking, fishing, and camping are all popular activities here, though even if you like taking it easy, you’ll find plenty to do. Taos has a very high percentage of senior residents, at about 21% of its local population, and also has a high concentration of senior centers to match!

  • Silver City

    While Silver City has its views of nature, it’s more known as a center for art and culture. Downtown, you can find a collection of art galleries to browse, as well as a bustling shopping center and plenty of dining options to keep you busy. It’s the best option for those who like city life, though it’s also not quite as overwhelming as some larger cities on this list,

Best Place to Retire in Tennessee

While Tenessee might not be the first state you think of when you’re looking for places to retire, the truth is it has a booming housing market these days. It’s not hard to see why, as it offers affordable homes, attractive tax rates, a mild climate, and plenty of history. Take a look at one of these Tennessee cities to make your new home.

  • Tellico Lake

    Tellico Lake is one of Tennessee’s best-kept secrets, full of natural beauty along its 33-mile-long lake. There’s no shortage of outdoor recreation options here, whether you prefer fishing, golfing, gardening, hiking, or boating. The community is friendly and welcoming, and while it’s big enough to offer plenty of company, it’s also small enough to give you the peace and privacy you crave.

  • Franklin

    If you’d prefer to retire somewhere with a few more big-city amenities, Franklin may be the place for you. It doesn’t have all the hustle and bustle of very large cities but has a good selection of restaurants and museums, as well as several important historical sites. What makes Franklin perfect is that it also has all the great natural forests and waterways Tennessee is known for, giving you the best of both worlds.

Best Place to Retire in Oregon

If you’ve never been to Oregon, you might not know that it’s one of the country's prime spots, for lush, green forests it has one of the US’s largest rainforests, Tillamook Rainforest, right between Portland and the pacific ocean. Though whether you’re looking to surround yourself with nature, culture, or history, you won’t be disappointed with this state.

  • Brookings

    Brookings is located directly on the southern stretch of Oregon’s coast, giving it the best beaches in the state. It’s a great place to enjoy outdoor activities and all the state’s forests, though it’s also an excellent choice if you’re house hunting on a budget. Median home prices are below the national average, making your dream retirement possible.

  • Prineville

    If you’re looking for a small-town feel, Prineville is a great way to get you the community you’re looking for. With a population of just over 11,000, it’s small enough to let you get to know your neighbors while still being large enough to give you plenty to do. Of course, there’s no shortage of the state's natural areas around the town to enjoy.

Best Place to Retire in Pennsylvania

Did you know that five of the top ten places to retire in 2023 were located in Pennsylvania? It’s true! While Pennsylvania is sometimes overlooked by retirees, the truth is that it offers a little something for just about everyone. Take a look at one of these popular cities and find the best place to retire in Pennsylvania.

  • York

    York is the perfect combination of a small town and a big city, with a range of historical and architectural sites, as well as a charming downtown area. Though it’s still slow-paced enough for a peaceful, laid-back lifestyle. If you like books, you can even browse the famous York Emporium, full of all the classics.

  • Reading

    For all the fun urban and natural amenities available in Reading, you’ll be surprised at how affordable the homes are there. With a median home price of around $73,000, it is an easy sell for most buyers. Low crime rates and high hospital density make it particularly attractive for older adults looking to settle down.

What to Consider When Choosing a Location to Retire

There’s no wrong answer when it comes to choosing your retirement destination, as long as your choice fulfills all of your needs. When considering different cities, make sure to keep all of the following criteria in mind:

  • Environment

    Are you an outdoors person or more of a city-dweller? Would you rather spend your free time hiking and fishing or checking out a local art gallery? Your answers don’t have to be black-and-white, as there are many lovely cities within driving distance of both urban and natural environments.

  • Climate

    Before making your choice, take a close look at the weather patterns of different cities. Not every city with a coastline offers year-round beach weather, and even if Arizona and Florida are both 90 degrees in the summer, there’s a big difference between dry heat and humidity. If you’re not sure whether you’d like to live in a new climate long-term, talk to someone who has and see what they think.

  • Affordability

    Moving into a new housing market can be a challenge. Even if you’re able to afford a particular property, moving to a new state with different tax laws from your current one can have a big impact on your finances. That’s why many older adults seek out states with low taxes to settle down in.

    Taking a part-time job after retirement can be one way to bolster your finances. Take a look at these top jobs for seniors.

Choosing the Right Home to Spend Your Golden Years

It’s never a good idea to rush into big decisions, so make sure to take your time when choosing where to spend your retirement. No matter where you go, there will be plenty of surprises awaiting you. However, by considering all the factors, you can ensure your retirement is exactly as you’ve always imagined it.

Wowie Barrientos
Wowie Barrientos

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