Best place to retire in every state
For most people in the working world, retirement is an oft thought of dream. For some, it’s years away and those dreams are nothing more than fantasies. For others, it’s close at hand, and those dreams become much more practical. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, having a retirement destination in mind is one key to ensuring that you have a comfortable and fulfilling retirement.
To that end, Stacker has rounded up the best place to retire in every state in 2019. The rankings include towns, cities, and neighborhoods of various sizes, and all have earned their appeal based on a number of factors, including weather, crime, tax rates, housing costs, and access to amenities. Niche, which compiled the initial report, used federal and local government data sets from several sources, including the U.S. Census, FBI, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as its own proprietary data and community reviews.
An additional note: According to Niche the national average for median home value is $184,700, the median rent is $949, and the median household income is $55,322. All comparisons for above and below national averages are given accordingly.
Whether you’re looking for somewhere sunny and warm like Sun City, Arizona; quiet and remote, like St. Maries, Idaho; or near a big city, like Winchester, Nevada, you’re sure to find a place on this list to suit your perfect retirement fantasies—or realities.
Read on to find out the best place to retire in every state.
Alabama: Orange Beach
Population: 5,791 (17% age 55–64, 28% age 65+)
Median household income: $59,523 (13% earning $150,000+)
Housing: $248,200 median home value (64% homeowners), $836 median rent (36% renters)
Orange Beach, Alabama, sits next to the Florida border, sharing in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Once a small fishing hamlet, Orange Beach now boasts 6,000 year-round residents, with numbers climbing higher in the summer when tourism is heavy. Fifty percent of residents are 45 or older, which combined with tax breaks for retirees, a year-round warm climate, and a heavy focus on arts and community make this a great place to spend your golden years.
Population: 4,471 (17% age 55–64, 14% age 65+)
Median household income: $67,434 (7% earning $150,000+)
Housing: $223,000 median home value (60% homeowners), $1,019 median rent (40% renters)
Warmer climates aren’t for everyone. Retirees looking for a cooler place to settle down might consider heading to Soldotna, on Alaska’s southern coast. Boasting some of Alaska’s most sought-after outdoor recreation sites, including the famous Kenai River, there are miles of trails to hike and acres of rivers to fish. The Kenai Peninsula College campus of the University of Alaska also offers a tuition waiver for senior citizens, making this an attractive place for those looking to learn something new.
Arizona: Sun City
Population: 39,363 (17% age 55–64, 74% age 65+)
Median household income: $37,059 (2% earning $150,000+)
Housing: $119,400 median home value (81% homeowners), $986 median rent (19% renters)
The “original 55+ community,” Sun City, Arizona, has long been the #1 retirement destination for those starting a new chapter in their lives. An intentionally planned community for those 55 and older, Sun City was started in 1960 and now offers practically everything a retiree could ask for. There are hundreds of social groups in the community that meet to do everything from ballroom dancing to discussing books to scenic Sedona hiking. There is also an almost unlimited variety of shopping and dining options, as well as easy access to medical offices and community centers—all of which can be reached by the legendary golf cart roads.
Arkansas: Cherokee Village
Population: 4,669 (5% age 55–64, 36% age 65+)
Median household income: $33,710 (0% earning $150,000+)
Housing: $76,600 median home value (81% homeowners), $686 median rent (19% renters)
Prefer a quieter and more isolated retirement? Cherokee Village in Arkansas’ Ozark Forest might be just the place. A 15,000-acre retirement community, Cherokee Village has two 18-hole golf courses, a half-dozen swimming pools and lakes, a private beach, nature trails, fitness centers, and several community centers that service over 100 clubs and 24 churches. Cherokee Village is also an ideal retirement location for those on a more stringent budget.
Population: 5,602 (18% age 55–64, 25% age 65+)
Median household income: $140,690 (46% earning $150,000+)
Housing: $805,200 median home value (86% homeowners), $1,994 median rent (14% renters)
Some retirees prefer not to be totally surrounded by other retirees. For those looking for a more balanced community, Kensington, California, across the bay from San Francisco in the Berkeley Hills, is just the place. A 30-minute drive from the heart of San Francisco, Kensington, is home to many retirees, but also hosts two school districts attracting a large number of younger families. While Kensington is by no means cheap, the crime rate is well below the national average and the urban feel is worth the cost to many who can afford it.
Colorado: Holly Hills
Population: 2,684 (16% age 55–64, 22% age 65+)
Median household income: $108,500 (33% earning $150,000+)
Housing: $342,100 median home value (91% homeowners), $1,784 median rent (9% renters)
At the base of the Rocky Mountains, Holly Hills, Colorado, sits just outside of Denver. The 2,684-population town has a median age of 45, endless outdoor adventure opportunities, and easy access to one of the biggest performing arts complexes in the country.
Population: 6,594 (18% age 55–64, 30% age 65+)
Median household income: $89,950 (25% earning $150,000+)
Housing: $363,600 median home value (75% homeowners), $1,165 median rent (25% renters)
For avid boaters and bird watchers, Essex, Connecticut, is the ideal retirement location. A ship-building town that dates back to the 1600s, Essex is right on the Connecticut River and still feels like a bustling maritime city. With a bald eagle festival every February—the stunning birds nest here during the winter months—and a lively community theater scene, Essex has a lot going on to keep retirees busy and active.
Population: 1,119 (28% age 55–64, 50% age 65+)
Median household income: $82,941 (30% earning $150,000+)
Housing: $842,800 median home value (82% homeowners), $1,008 median rent (18% renters)
Rehoboth Beach proper is about a square mile with just over 1,000 full-time residents. While this can make housing pricey, the small size is a huge draw for retirees. The town’s median age is 57, and the over-65 population is expected to grow by 75% over the next 25 years. The close proximity to the beach, the ability to walk everywhere, and the small-town feel that’s amplified by the almost-constant stream of community events are all cited as retirees’ most-loved factors.
Florida: Whiskey Creek
Population: 5,011 (17% age 55–64, 32% age 65+)
Median household income: $74,268 (15% earning $150,000+)
Housing: $203,300 median home value (89% homeowners), $1,090 median rent (11% renters)
Living in Whiskey Creek, Florida, is far from cheap—homes here, on average, are more expensive than 65% of other neighborhoods in Florida—but that doesn’t seem to deter hundreds of new retirees from flocking here each year. Low crime rates, warm weather, a variety of housing options, and a huge consolidation of college-educated senior citizens are all attractive factors for the newly retired, making Whiskey Creek the best place for retirement in all of Florida.
Georgia: Avondale Estates
Population: 3,095 (18% age 55–64, 19% age 65+)
Median household income: $100,871 (27% earning $150,000+)
Housing: $300,200 median home value (87% homeowners), $1,146 median rent (13% renters)
Founded in 1924, Avondale Estates, Georgia, was originally intended to be a self-contained community with its own businesses, schools, parks, lakes, and pools. Home to the state’s longest-running professional theater, Academy Theatre, Avondale Estates places a huge emphasis on the arts—there are festivals held here year-round, including a Steam Punk Festival, an Art-B-Que, and a Holiday Market. This is an ideal retirement spot for those determined to invest more in art and community during their golden years.2018 All rights reserved.