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25 American Cities That Are Perfect Places To Retire

TristaJanuary 10, 2022
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24. Annapolis, Maryland

Let’s go from the warm South to the East Coast. If living on the waterfront sounds idyllic, but you don’t fancy the idea of having a beach house, Annapolis might be just the right city. This city is surrounded by water on all three sides and is the perfect spot for kayaking, tubing, and other water activities (via Forbes). With access to the famous Chesapeake Bay, there’s fresh seafood to enjoy. Not only that, but you can enjoy the historic boats and museums showcasing the area’s cultural significance. Annapolis is also just 30 miles from Washington, DC, giving residents the ability to head to the Beltway for dinner. However, some drawbacks include higher-than-average crime and taxes other parts of the country do not have (via Forbes).

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23. Sarasota, Florida

There are myriad reasons why retirees flock to sunny Florida even though there are many retirees there already. That means you will always have peers to socialize with. Sarasota is a Florida community with a vibrant retiree scene and a historic downtown full of museums and cultural sites. The year-round tourism scene means that there are always high-quality restaurants and quaint shops for residents and tourists to frequent. Being a smaller town, Sarasota has a lower-than-average crime rate (via Travel and Leisure). Not only that, but it has a healthcare system that can meet the needs of its older-than-average population (via Travel and Leisure). 

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22. Augusta, Georgia

You’ve probably heard of this city because of its annual golf tournament, and if you are a big golfer, why not consider Augusta as a place to retire? In addition to expansive golf courses, Augusta has meager home prices with the median home price a mere $134,000 – almost 60% below the national average (via Forbes). Georgia also has some significant tax exemptions for retirees, making this Southern state financially hospitable as a place for people to spend their golden years. Augusta also has low crime rates and a pleasant climate, making it an ideal spot for a retiree looking for a Southern enclave (via Forbes).

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21. Manchester, New Hampshire

New Englanders who prefer to retire somewhere closer to home may want to look at Manchester, the largest city in New Hampshire. One-fifth of the population in Manchester is over the age of 60, so there are ample opportunities to socialize among other retirees (via US News). The four seasons experienced in New England mean that in addition to white winters, vibrant fall foliage is all but guaranteed every year. There are many cultural attractions in Manchester, some offering special discounts for people over 65 (via US News). Moreover, if your grandkids want to ski, you can bet retiring around Manchester will mean they’ll be coming to visit you.

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20. Ann Arbor, Michigan

If the prospect of cold winters doesn’t bother you, consider retiring to Ann Arbor. You can enjoy all four beautiful seasons. Besides that, Ann Arbor is a vibrant city about 30 miles from Detroit. Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan, so you will have a wide variety of people around you from college students to professors. Despite being a college town, overall crime is lower than average. Furthermore, the state of Michigan does not tax social security income and provides partial exemptions for retirement income (via Forbes). Robust healthcare infrastructure in Ann Arbor means that as retirees age, they will access the medical care they need (via Forbes). If you are a fan of the University of Michigan, retiring in Ann Arbor may be for you.

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19. Fort Myers, Florida

You may think that retiring to Fort Myers is overrated. However, did you know that the Boston Red Sox hosts their spring training games there? And the sheer number of retirees and snowbirds already in the Fort Myers area means that there is a vibrant retiree community. The thriving tourism industry means that there will almost certainly be part-time work available for retirees who want to supplement their income (via Travel and Leisure). Plus, there is the draw of the sandy beaches and world-class tourist attractions, including museums and restaurants (via Travel and Leisure). What’s not to love about the prospect of retiring to Florida?

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18. Clearwater, Florida

Here is yet another Florida city that’s ideal for new retirees. Are you think retiring in Florida may be right for you but want to keep your options open as to where in Florida to go? Consider the city of Clearwater. True to its name, Clearwater boasts some of the clearest, most scenic beaches in the state. Furthermore, as a bonus it’s designed to be conducive for bike riders – perfect for retirees who want to keep active. There’s a large community of retirees in Clearwater, meaning that there is a well-developed infrastructure for the needs of seniors (via Forbes). Expect to have a robust healthcare system and moderate home prices below the national average (via Forbes). Both of these factors make this Florida town ideal for retirement.

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17. Nashville, Tennessee

Country music lovers, rejoice. Nashville, the home of country music and location of many famous country music sites, has an over-60 population of nearly 20 percent (via US News). To make the deal sweeter, the state of Tennessee doesn’t have income tax. That means you will have more cash in your pocket to visit places like the Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The city of Nashville is also home to several prestigious universities including Vanderbilt. How can that help new retirees? You’ll have opportunities for university-run events such as live performances and football games. If you’re a fan of warm weather and country music, Nashville may be the perfect spot for you to retire (via US News).

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16. Asheville, North Carolina

Do you want to have the great outdoors at your fingertips while living in a comfortable Southern town? Consider Asheville. This city in the Blue Ridge Mountains has access to abundant hiking trails. That means you will be able to keep fit during your golden years. Do so by spending time getting fresh air and exercising in Asheville. The city itself is friendly to bikes, providing even more opportunities to stay fit. What’s more, Asheville has a strong culture of volunteering (via Forbes). Thus, there will be plenty of chances for you to find your passion and give back to whatever cause you select. There are also plenty of doctors and excellent air quality (via Forbes).

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15. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina

Here’s a two-for-one deal for new retirees. The towns Raleigh and Durhan have what is known as a Research Triangle of three research universities including North Carolina State University, Duke University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The partnerships between higher industry and education help create a steady stream of desirable jobs for everyone of all ages. This college town also has benefits for those who are retired, including top-ranked medical facilities at the University of North Carolina Hospitals and Duke University Hospital (via Money). This is definitely something that could be taken advantage of if you are up there in age and need anything medically done close by. Duke also happens to have a retirement community near campus, and North Carolina residents aged 65 or older can audit courses tuition-free at North Carolina State, giving this retirement destination several benefits (via Money).

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14. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia played an instrumental role in American history. That means retirees can visit or volunteer if they enjoy that sort of thing at the city’s many museums and national historic landmarks. You can check out where the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. Likewise, you can also see where they convened for the Constitutional Convention. It’s nice to know that you can even visit the University of Pennsylvania, which Benjamin Franklin founded. The city has also evolved to more modern amenities, keeping up with today’s society and cultures, such as several professional sports teams, science and art museums, and top-ranked medical facilities (via Money). Another plus of this town is that the Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania Penn Presbyterian are among the 20 best hospitals in the country, according to the US News Best Hospitals Honor Roll anyways (via Money).

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13. Athens, Georgia

If you are into vibrant arts and culture, you may want to retire in Athens, Georgia, some 70 miles East of Atlanta. Not only is there lots of culture and arts to check out, but the dining scene is pretty great too. The University of Georgia hosts an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, where they offer free admission to regular classes for seniors (via Forbes). There is nearby terrain that provides an area for hiking and mountain biking if you’re into those sorts of activities. The doctors there are also plentiful, and the air is good quality. The elevation is 600 feet, making it easier for people to breathe comfortably, too. Georgia also doesn’t tax estates or Social Security benefits and even offers a generous break for other retirement income (via Forbes). FEMA rates Athens as having a relatively moderate risk for natural hazards. The serious crime rates are a little above the national average.

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12. Bend, Oregon

Way on the Northwest coast of the country is Bend, a big draw to this town is the outdoor activities. This scenic playground is 160 miles Southeast of Portland. The city sits at an elevation of 3,600 feet around the North-flowing Deschutes River. You can enjoy downhill and cross-country skiing, tubing, hiking, fishing, rock climbing, paragliding, bicycling, and except for in the winter, golf, as well. Some other pluses of Bend include a low serious crime rate, good air quality, and even a high number of doctors per capita (via Forbes). There is no state sales tax to worry about and no state income tax on Social Security benefits. However, there is state estate tax (via Forbes). Like Athens, Georgia, FEMA ranks Bend relatively low in natural hazard risk. However, the town itself is not very walkable, something to consider before moving there.

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11. Austin, Texas

The big music and dining scene anchors an art and culture experience in the capital of Texas that also features free senior citizen tuition for six credits a semester at the University of Texas at Austin (via Forbes). There are many activities you can find to do that include the outdoors, such as water and land activities. If you’re big into golfing, it’s good to know that there are dozens of golf courses in the area, as well. The city boasts many physicians per capita, with good air quality and high marks for volunteering. Austin, Texas, is useful to bikes and also walkable. The climate is warm but quite pleasant. However, the crime rate is slightly above the national average (via Forbes).

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10. Boulder, Colorado

About 30 miles northwest of Denver, Boulder sits at the center of a substantial recreational open space abutting the Rockies at an elevation of 5,400 feet. The outdoor activities Boulder has to offer are extensive and include climbing, hiking, biking, and fishing. This town is also the home of the University of Colorado. The university nurtures a big scene for arts and culture as well as fine dining. The university also allows seniors to attend courses for a minimal cost. The town of Boulder itself is very walkable with a low serious crime rate, abundant doctors, and good air quality to boot. Volunteering for some is a way of life. So if you’re into volunteering, this is the town you want to check out for your retirement (via Forbes). Also, consider that Boulder has a favorable rating on the FEMA National Risk Index evaluating relative natural hazards, including earthquakes, heatwaves, flooding, cold waves, and even drought (via Forbes).

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9. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

This amazing Idaho town has scenic mountains and waterways, including the 25-mile-long Lake Coeur d’Alene. Coeur d’Alene offers outdoors props for swimming, fishing, boating, and hiking. Along with these perks, with a spectacular view from many locations in town, this town in Idaho has an adequate number of physicians, good air quality, and a low crime rate (via Forbes). Although not very walkable, this city is an excellent place to ride your bicycle around town at an elevation of 2,200 feet. A plus to look at with this location is that there is no state tax on Social Security benefits or on estates in the area (via Forbes). It’s also rated at very low risk for natural hazards by FEMA. 

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8. Port St. Lucie, Florida

Located on Florida’s Southeast coast the fast-growing city Port St. Lucie still maintains its relaxed style and range of affordable homes (via Travel and Leisure). There are many things to do that include the outdoors with the St. Lucie River nearby. Not only that, but you have the St. Lucie Aquatic Preserve as well as the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens for beautiful walking among nature. Also, Hutchinson Island with a barrier island, is just 12 miles off the coast. Golfers in the town of Port St. Lucie, Florida, love the PGA Golf Club (via Travel and Leisure). For those who are baseball fans, there is the New York Mets spring training season to look forward to as well.

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7. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas

Here’s another two-for-one deal regarding places that are perfect for new retirees. Both Dallas and Fort Worth are fast-growing destinations that offer both a big city and suburban lifestyle. So what’s that mean for new retirees? It gives those who have retired the option to choose the feel of a small town with the conveniences of a city nearby. With shopping centers, restaurants, and entertainment readily available, they are sure to have something for everyone. A plus is that sports fans have professional teams there, in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, and soccer. There is a wide range of housing available, with property taxes considerably high, even with the exemptions for seniors, so keep that in mind (via Travel and Leisure). However, Texas has no state income tax (via Travel and Leisure).

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6. Reading, Pennsylvania

Reading is a town located about halfway between the state capital city of Harrisburg and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s largest city (via Money). A fun fact about this town, Reading had lent its name to a now-defunct railroad that now lives on in a popular board game known as Monopoly, and you guessed it, it’s called Reading Railroad (via Money). The city-owned Reading Pagoda atop Mount Penn provides scenic views of the city and the surrounding countryside. If you are into that sort of thing, there is also the red Japanese-style tower visible from almost everywhere in town. If you’re a fan of pretzels, look no further than Reading because it is home to numerous pretzel bakeries.

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5. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

This capital city located along the Susquehanna River (via Money). Those who like to be outside can enjoy the Riverfront Park. Are you quite active in your older age? Runners and bikers can take advantage of the park and other nearby hiking trails. Harrisburg has reasonable housing costs, making it affordable to relocate to the area, where the median home value is only 180,900 dollars (via Money). Suppose you fancy taking regular trips into a big city. In that case, several large metro areas are within an easy driving distance. That includes Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and even Washington, DC. If you retire in this town and have grandchildren, there is something for them. Take a day trip to nearby Hershey, home of the well-known chocolate maker.

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4. Allentown, Pennsylvania

Allentown is just 90 miles from New York City and only 60 miles from Philadelphia, great proximity for fun events. Not only that but it has lower housing costs than both of those larger cities. The median home value among people over 60 is just $208,500. If you’re looking to retire in this city, you can look for a home in the third-largest metro area, which is located on the Lehigh River and has many historic houses to choose from. The Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network is the largest employer and significant healthcare provider in Allentown (via Money). This city works best for those who are retired and like to enjoy all four seasons including snow-filled winter (via Money). 

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3. Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Another Pennsylvania town ideal for retirement is Lancaster. Did you think the great state of Pennsylvania would have this many places that are perfect for new retirees? Located between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Lancaster is actually the former capital of Pennsylvania. Residents here have told Sharecare that they like where they live and feel safe in their community, a massive plus for any retiree looking for someplace to live without worrying about crime (via Money). Lancaster is surrounded by Amish farmland, so if you are a fan of Amish products, you’ll find plenty here in addition to the Lancaster Central Market (via Money). This city has a growing foodie scene with many warehouses and buildings transformed into hip restaurants and bars.

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2. Naples, Florida

Naples is a more expensive city than many other cities in Florida,; however, many of those who are retired can appreciate its high quality of life. The residents of this town report a heightened sense of well-being, according to the annual Sharecare Community Well Being Index, that is (via Money). People who live in this Southern Florida city say that they enjoy supportive relationships, like having a secure economic life and what they do each day. Naples also scored highly on the desirability metric, saying that travelers and those who are retired often are drawn to the white sand beaches that lay alongside the Gulf of Mexico (via Money). Furthermore, they enjoy the spacious golf courses they have to offer nearby. With the mild winters, Naples’ residents can enjoy the course year-round.

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1. Daytona Beach, Florida

Last but certainly not least on the list of great places to consider retiring would be Daytona Beach, Florida. Daytona Beach is not your typical sleepy beach town either. If you are big into motorsports, look no further than Daytona Beach. This city is most famous for its motorsports, and NASCAR fans flock to the area for the Daytona 500 and other races at the Daytona International Speedway. Those who are retired or are about to retire may be enticed to stay by the low housing costs, with pleasant winter weather and desirability of retiring along the Atlantic Ocean (via Money). Located on the East coast of Florida, this beach town area has 23 miles of sandy beaches, where some even allow you to drive your car onto the hard-packed sand (via Money). 

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