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Best county to retire in every state

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Jonas Lamis // Flickr

Best county to retire in every state

The golden years—a time to sit back and relax after decades of hard work. But before getting too comfortable, there are some things to consider. Savings, health-care costs, and retirement income are just a few. That’s why Stacker compiled a list of the best county to retire in every state using Niche’s 2019 list of best counties for retirees. Niche ranks counties based on several weighted factors, including the number of residents 65 and older, the cost of living, crime rates, nearby amenities, doctor’s offices, restaurants, and weather.

With consideration to how widely the cost of living varies from state to state, 24/7 Wall Street reports that while some families can settle on just $36,000 a year, “the same standard of living costs as much as $56,000” in other areas. Take Hawaii for example: While the excellent health care and outstanding weather of Honolulu County make it a top spot on the island, the price tag associated with such a retirement leaves many frozen out.

Florida’s Citrus County gives retirees an affordable alternative, providing the warmth and sunshine of Hawaii at a quarter of the cost. That may explain why 35% of the county’s population is over the age of 65, the highest such percentage on the list. Slightly up I-95, the top counties in the Carolinas boast some of the best golf and sailing in the country, making them a popular retirement spot for seniors from the Northeast.

In the Midwest, low costs of living and housing prices are predominant factors retirees consider when settling down, while adventurous seniors further west seek the mountains of Colorado and Oregon. Stacker found that retirees are seemingly drawn to smaller counties, with 15 having a population under 10,000 and only 10 over 100,000. Incidentally, the more populated counties are from the U.S.’s four smallest states: Rhode Island, Delaware, Connecticut, and Hawaii.

Read on to see Stacker’s list of the best county to retire in every state.

You may also like: 15 ways saving for retirement has changed in the last 50 years

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Alpha Bonding // Flickr

Alabama: Baldwin County

- Population: 203,360 (55-64: 14% and 65+: 19%)
- Median home value: $182,000 (73% own their homes)
- Median rent: $904 (27% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $52,562

Retiring on the Gulf of Mexico’s shores is as relaxing as it sounds, which is why thousands of seniors flock to Baldwin County and its 14 incorporated municipalities to settle down for good. Boasting itself as one of the fastest-growing 67 Alabama counties, Baldwin County touts top golf course communities for those who want to retire on the green. For seniors who want to spend their golden years on the sand, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach are also ideal places to call home.

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JERRYE & ROY KLOTZ MD // Wikimedia Commons

Alaska: Valdez-Cordova Borough

- Population: 9,439 (55-64: 16% and 65+: 12%)
- Median home value: $252,200 (73% own their homes)
- Median rent: $974 (27% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $86,019

Located near the notorious 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, this region remains home to prominent ports that sustain a strong local economy for those who settle here. Valdez, the former Gold Rush town, which averages just under 30 feet of snow annually, is home to many festivals—including seafood, musical, rock climbing, and ice climbing.

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Matt Mets // Wikimedia Commons

Arizona: Pinal County

- Population: 405,537 (55-64: 12% and 65+: 19%)
- Median home value: $157,200 (73% own their homes)
- Median rent: $1,014 (27% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $52,628

The Pinal County slogan is “Wide Open Opportunity,” which could also apply to the hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, and watersport activities readily available for retirees here and in the surrounding areas. Hiking enthusiasts can head to Picketpost Mountain (pictured), located just outside Superior in the southern desert region of Tonto National Forest. 

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Sgerbic // Wikimedia Commons

Arkansas: Izard County

- Population: 13,521 (55-64: 16% and 65+: 25%)
- Median home value: $79,400 (79% own their homes)
- Median rent: $576 (21% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $39,135

Named after the second governor of Arkansas, the 577-mile county comprises mountains and rivers that cover eight municipalities. The Izard County Senior Life Center provides inexpensive meals to the elder community, even delivering dinners to homebound residents. Seniors also enjoy many amenities and activities at the center, which has a library, pool and card tables, plus activities such as line dancing, bingo, and Wii Sports.

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Lee Coursey // Flickr

California: Amador County

- Population: 37,306 (55-64: 17% and 65+: 26%)
- Median home value: $278,600 (77% own their homes)
- Median rent: $1,056 (23% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $60,636

Home to part of one of California’s most significant wine regions in Shenandoah Valley, Amador County comprises incorporated cities and upcountry communities huddled in the northern hills of the Golden State. Senior living apartment complexes and communities throughout the 607-mile county are close to many available indoor and outdoor activities—residents can enjoy Preston Castle (a California State Historical Landmark), attend year-round wine tastings, ski Kirkwood Mountain, explore Black Chasm Cavern, and camp at Indian Grinding Rock State Park.

 

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Jeffrey Beall // Flickr

Colorado: Huerfano County

- Population: 6,498 (55-64: 20% and 65+: 30%)
- Median home value: $137,400 (72% own their homes)
- Median rent: $634 (28% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $35,801

The Spanish Peaks in southwestern Huerfano is one reason active retirees may choose to settle in this Colorado county. The cost of living here is 10.3% lower than the U.S. average, according to BestPlaces.net, making it a financially responsible choice for retirees on a fixed income. Though Huerfano County sees up to 92.6 inches of snow annually, it has 271 sunny days a year compared to the U.S. average of 205. The Best Places Comfort Index of 7/10 proves the weather, with a summer high of 82 degrees and a winter low of 19, is neither too warm nor too cold for long periods.

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Juliejules // Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut: Middlesex County

- Population: 164,110 (55-64: 16% and 65+: 18%)
- Median home value: $283,700 (74% own their homes)
- Median rent: $1,132 (26% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $81,673

Middlesex County—just 30 miles northeast of New Haven—sits on the Connecticut River and is comprised of 25 municipalities offering a range of options for rural and suburban living options for residents. Stretching from the city of Middletown in the north to the coastal enclaves of Clinton, Westbrook, and Old Saybrook, Middlesex County combines a rich history with access to larger cities like New York and Boston via the Shoreline East and Amtrak trains. The Middlesex County Area Transit program, part of the statewide agency Aging & Disability Resource Connection, provides transportation for those over the age of 60, as well as disabled persons.

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Dough4872 // Wikimedia Commons

Delaware: Sussex County

- Population: 215,551 (55-64: 16% and 65+: 25%)
- Median home value: $242,900 (79% own their homes)
- Median rent: $992 (21% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $57,901

Sussex County has been cited by publications such as The Wall Street Journal as an ideal place to retire; there is a range of factors that contribute to its appeal. It boasts a serene saltwater-bay shoreline (shared with seagulls and snow geese) along with miles of nearby farmland. Location is another likely draw—Sussex County is about a two-hour drive to Baltimore, a practical day trip for many. 

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WhisperToMe // Wikimedia Commons

Florida: Citrus County

- Population: 141,373 (55-64: 16% and 65+: 35%)
- Median home value: $117,400 (81% own their homes)
- Median rent: $778 (19% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $40,574

Branded “The Water Lover’s Florida,” Citrus County has 192 square miles of water spread throughout seven different waterways that offer retirees an array of recreational water activities. On land, its 582 square miles of rolling hills—equipped with golf courses, tennis centers, state parks, and hiking and equestrian trails—are just as leisure-friendly. Additionally, the Curtis Peterson Auditorium in Lecanto and the Art Center of Citrus County, accompanied by a popular restaurant scene, provide seniors with opportunities for a cultured social life. 

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Thomsonmg2000 // Wikimedia Commons

Georgia: Union County

- Population: 22,262 (55-64: 16% and 65+: 32%)
- Median home value: $191,800 (80% own their homes)
- Median rent: $685 (20% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $42,767

Union County promises both adventure and solitude within its mountain community borders, which contain Georgia’s highest peak, Brasstown Bald. The crisp and clean high-altitude air is enjoyable all year through, signified by a 7.6/10 Comfort Index Rating on Best Places and only four inches of snow annually. Union County’s Blairsville, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains and less than two hours from Atlanta, is a popular retirement spot, with low crime and affordability rates that make it safe and financially sensible for retirees. [Pictured: Vogel State Park]

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Daniel Chodusov // Flickr

Hawaii: Honolulu County

- Population: 990,060 (55-64: 12% and 65+: 16%)
- Median home value: $626,400 (56% own their homes)
- Median rent: $1,653 (44% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $80,078

Retiring in the consolidated city-county of Honolulu on the island of Oahu famously offers gorgeous weather and year-round fun—but it comes at an expense, according to Kiplinger. The publication reports that at 33.8% above the national level, the average household income for people aged 65 and older is the highest in the U.S. Honolulu’s high cost of living may be countered by its affordable health care system, which has led to the area being home to some of the country’s most healthy people, according to U.S. News & World Report.

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Justin Reina // Wikimedia Commons

Idaho: Lemhi County

- Population: 7,755 (55-64: 19% and 65+: 28%)
- Median home value: $173,400 (71% own their homes)
- Median rent: $616 (29% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $36,031

Lemhi’s low cost of living compared to the national average is one reason why retirees live here. Of all places to settle in Lemhi, Salmon is voted the best town in the county to retire, according to Niche. Desirable weather, health care access, and year-round entertainment also make Lemhi County a comfortable retirement spot. The scenic byways, canyons, rivers, mountains, hot springs, biking and hiking trails, and ghost towns give Lemhi County a little something for every retiree.

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Nyttend // Wikimedia Commons

Illinois: Jasper County

- Population: 9,608 (55-64: 15% and 65+: 18%)
- Median home value: $99,000 (82% own their homes)
- Median rent: $568 (18% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $56,523

With a 7.2/10 Climate Comfort Index rating by Best Places, Jasper County is an ideal retirement spot—with September, May, and June noted as the most pleasant months. Additionally, the “Strawberry Capital of Illinois” has a lower cost of living than the rest of the country, which is welcoming to seniors on a fixed income. Yearly events, including the Jasper County Fair, Newton Fall Festival, and the Holly Jolly Christmas Celebration give residents something to look forward to when they're not lounging around the county’s two lakes.

 

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Tysto // Wikimedia Commons

Indiana: Wabash County

- Population: 31,848 (55-64: 14% and 65+: 19%)
- Median home value: $96,700 (74% own their homes)
- Median rent: $663 (26% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $49,052

In this historic north-central Indiana county, filled with farms, parks and orchards, seniors enjoy all the getaway-fun visitors' experience in the area—including heading out to the nearby Salamonie River State Forest, catching a movie at the 1324 Drive-in Theatre, or putting at the Honeywell Golf Course. Niche reports that Wabash County, which has a B+ grade and a low crime rate, is #11 of 92 counties in the Hoosier State with the lowest cost of living.

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Macigpiano // Wikimedia Commons

Iowa: Sac County

- Population: 9,936 (55-64: 16% and 65+: 22%)
- Median home value: $88,100 (78% own their homes)
- Median rent: $570 (22% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $53,254

Counting the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball among its many highlights, Sac County is home to several communities throughout its 578 square miles in northwest Iowa. Best Places reports an 18.9% lower cost of living plus a 2.4% lower unemployment rate here compared to the rest of the country. Seniors can stay active in Sac County by cross-country skiing, canoeing, golfing, and hiking in popular areas like Sauk Rail Trail, and Black Hawk Lake.

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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

Kansas: Washington County

- Population: 5,572 (55-64: 14% and 65+: 24%)
- Median home value: $75,300 (80% own their homes)
- Median rent: $448 (20% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $47,992

With an overall B+ Niche grade, Washington County ranks high for cost of living, housing, weather, and jobs. In a Great Plains state, the area is made up of mostly of flat land and sunflower fields, seeing less snow and rain than the rest of the U.S. average. Boasting of its small size, Washington County’s website claims that they “don’t even have a stoplight in our county, however, you can stroll through an antique shop or quilt shop bringing back memories of grandma’s house.”

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Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

Kentucky: Lyon County

- Population: 8,268 (55-64: 16% and 65+: 24%)
- Median home value: $122,900 (82% own their homes)
- Median rent: $481 (18% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $50,268

Lyon County is a rural farming community located within “The Land Between the Lakes,” a 170,000-acre recreation area in Western Kentucky and Tennessee. The several lakeside retirement communities spread throughout the county’s 257 square miles enable retired seniors to enjoy outdoor activities like biking, hunting, and fishing. For inside entertainment, the Lyon County Senior Center offers an array of activities including line dancing, Bingo, Bridge Club, and congregate meals for community gathering.

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Billy Hathorn // Wikimedia Commons

Louisiana: Jackson Parish

- Population: 15,952 (55-64: 13% and 65+: 19%)
- Median home value: $84,400 (71% own their homes)
- Median rent: $520 (29% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $36,394

Named after President Andrew Jackson, this Louisiana County is made up of many towns and villages for retirees to settle in. With a 7.2/10 Comfort Index, Jackson Parish’s most pleasant months are April, May, and October, according to Best Places. The Jackson Parish Council on the Aging Chatam Senior Center provides federal, and state-funded resources for residents including home-delivered meals, nutrition screening, and individual and group social activities.

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Paul H Chacon // Wikimedia Commons

Maine: Knox County

- Population: 39,700 (55-64: 17% and 65+: 23%)
- Median home value: $199,600 (76% own their homes)
- Median rent: $790 (24% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $53,117

According to Niche, citizens call Knox “a small county with heart,” and cite hunting, fishing, and hiking as highlights within the rural community. Camden is considered the best town in Knox County to retire in based on a RetirementLiving review, reporting seniors here enjoy annual festivals, community-wide holiday celebrations, state parks, recreation centers, and a vibrant arts and culture scene.

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Mellowcream // Wikimedia Commons

Maryland: Talbot County

- Population: 37,461 (55-64: 15% and 65+: 27%)
- Median home value: $326,300 (70% own their homes)
- Median rent: $1,084 (30% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $65,595

Seniors looking to settle down in Maryland are finding affordable amenities throughout Talbot County along the state’s Eastern Shore. The county seat of Easton is notable for its pedestrian-friendly downtown, which features galleries, shops, restaurants, a theater, and numerous public parks, and was rated by Niche as one of the top places to retire in the county. Median property tax in Talbot County is the seventh-lowest in Maryland, making it an affordable option for downsizing into a waterfront cottage on Tilghman Island or settling into the former colonial port town of Oxford.

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WestportWiki // Wikimedia Commons

Massachusetts: Barnstable County

- Population: 213,900 (55-64: 17% and 65+: 28%)
- Median home value: $375,000 (79% own their homes)
- Median rent: $1,199 (21% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $68,048

When not retiring in the sand or sunbathing on a boat, seniors in Barnstable County enjoy museums, art centers, opera houses, theaters, and festivals. The region has miles of outdoor recreation opportunities including sailing, whale-watching, and cycling along the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a scenic, 25-mile paved bike trail running through seven of the county’s 15 towns.

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Hgjudd // Wikimedia Commons

Michigan: Leelanau County

- Population: 21,564 (55-64: 19% and 65+: 28%)
- Median home value: $248,900 (87% own their homes)
- Median rent: $899 (13% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $62,646

Along with an overall A+ grade and #1 ranking for the best province according to Niche, Leelanau County was ranked third-best Michigan county to live in. The county offers many outdoor recreation and exercise activities for seniors, specifically on the Leelanau County Peninsula Wine Trail. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, a region of this northern Michigan county, was voted in 2011 by “Good Morning America” viewers as the "Most Beautiful Place in America." 

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Greg Gerdjingen // Flickr

Minnesota: Big Stone County

- Population: 5,039 (55-64: 16% and 65+: 25%)
- Median home value: $97,000 (77% own their homes)
- Median rent: $498 (23% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $48,299

Big Stone County is home to the Minnesota River headwaters of Big Stone Lake and roughly three dozen other bodies of water, affording seniors endless opportunities for swimming, fishing, and boating in the summer, biking and birding in the fall and spring, and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. Additionally, the county seat of Ortonville is home to Fairway View Senior Communities, a large complex of catered and assisted-living facilities.

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Chilin662 // Wikimedia Commons

Mississippi: Attala County

- Population: 18,731 (55-64: 13% and 65+: 18%)
- Median home value: $72,700 (71% own their homes)
- Median rent: $534 (29% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $33,815

Several structures in Attala County are included in the National Register of Historic Landmarks, and the county seat of Kosciusko is host to a myriad of seasonal events from the Central Mississippi Fair to the Natchez Trace Festival. Kosciusko is less than a mile from the Natchez Trace Parkway, where residents have year-round access to a 444-mile-long stretch of national park celebrated for its riding and hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic overlooks.

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Grey Wanderer // Wikimedia Commons

Missouri: Atchison County

- Population: 5,335 (55-64: 15% and 65+: 25%)
- Median home value: $82,000 (71% own their homes)
- Median rent: $518 (29% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $45,259

Atchison County is in the process of rebuilding after heavy flooding that began in March 2019; $646,000 were earmarked for recovery efforts there following storm-related damage to levees along the Mississippi River. Atchison County encompasses 550 square miles in the northwest corner of Missouri and its suburban communities boast easy access to nearby cities, landmarks, and parks.

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Montanabw // Wikimedia Commons

Montana: Broadwater County

- Population: 5,755 (55-64: 17% and 65+: 22%)
- Median home value: $195,000 (84% own their homes)
- Median rent: $640 (16% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $55,295

What is now Broadwater County was once a stop on the Lewis and Clark Expedition trail (1804–1806), a notable draw for history buffs. Seniors who want to spend their retirement outdoors may consider this Montana county, which calls itself a “sportsman paradise” because of opportunities for bird and game watching, hunting, fishing, and horseback riding.

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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

Nebraska: Thayer County

- Population: 5,133 (55-64: 16% and 65+: 26%)
- Median home value: $67,500 (78% own their homes)
- Median rent: $555 (22% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $48,151

Seniors in Thayer County can enjoy the Belvidere Train Watching Station, Bruning Opera House, Centennial Park Arboretum, and the Pony Express Trail. Alexandria State Lakes, 55 acres of mature forest and two bodies of water, is also a popular spot for retirees to picnic and fish. Thayer County also comes in at #1 on Niche's list ranking counties with the lowest cost of living in Nebraska

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Ken Lund // Wikimedia Commons

Nevada: Douglas County

- Population: 47,632 (55-64: 18% and 65+: 25%)
- Median home value: $311,400 (69% own their homes)
- Median rent: $1,094 (31% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $61,176

With its hundreds of miles of open space surrounding Lake Tahoe, Douglas boasts being the “gem of Northern Nevada.” When retired seniors here want to enjoy city life, all they have to do is travel less than 50 miles to the Reno Tahoe region for a vibrant restaurant and event scene. Bordering California to the left, Douglas County also gives retirees the option to cross over to the Golden State at their leisure.

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Ken Lund // Flickr

New Hampshire: Carroll County

- Population: 47,524 (55-64: 19% and 65+: 25%)
- Median home value: $227,600 (80% own their homes)
- Median rent: $920 (20% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $58,139

Between White Mountain National Forest and Lake Winnipesaukee, Carroll County is part of the gorgeous New England landscape. A “friendly tax structure, low crime rates, low poverty rates, outstanding schools, vibrant communities, and renowned medical facilities,” are all reasons retirees should settle here, according to the county’s website. Plus, senior services such as the Aging and Disability Resource Center are available to make retiring a safe move.

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EQRoy // Shutterstock

New Jersey: Cape May County

- Population: 94,549 (55-64: 16% and 65+: 24%)
- Median home value: $295,500 (78% own their homes)
- Median rent: $1,086 (22% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $62,332

Famous parks, zoos, and the Cape May Peninsula (located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Delaware Bay) lure many retirees to the southernmost tip of the Garden State. Gov. Phil Murphy recently set a goal to bring in up to 150 million visitors to New Jersey annually by 2023, particularly in this county, where large growing wineries are already attracting thousands of visitors. Situated right outside Atlantic City, Cape May County also offers retired seniors vibrant restaurants, arts, gambling, and nightlife.

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Public Domain // Wikimedia Commons

New Mexico: Lincoln County

- Population: 19,497 (55-64: 18% and 65+: 27%)
- Median home value: $171,900 (78% own their homes)
- Median rent: $727 (22% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $42,145

The Ruidoso Valley Chamber of Commerce calls Lincoln County the “Playground of the Southwest,” offering retirees endless leisure opportunities: racetrack and casino betting, biking or hiking in the Lincoln National Forest nearby, outdoor concerts and sporting events, beaches, lakes, golf courses, museums, plus various fairs and festivals. Local temperatures that reach a low of 49 and a high of 81 mean seniors can enjoy a favorable climate all year through.

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Derek Punaro // Wikimedia Commons

New York: Yates County

- Population: 25,083 (55-64: 15% and 65+: 19%)
- Median home value: $128,900 (77% own their homes)
- Median rent: $732 (23% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $51,758

Three of the five New York State Finger Lakes are located in Yates County, which comprises 338 square miles of rolling hills and valleys. With miles of wineries and waterfronts, the area offers many “shop and play” opportunities according to the Yates County Chamber of Commerce. While Yates County is noted as the best county for retirees to settle in New York, Niche places the lakeside village of Penn Yan, with a vibrant winery and restaurant scene, as the best community to settle down within Yates.

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Eifel Kreutz // Shutterstock

North Carolina: Pamlico County

- Population: 12,803 (55-64: 17% and 65+: 27%)
- Median home value: $150,600 (75% own their homes)
- Median rent: $716 (25% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $45,211

Pamlico County is named for the neighboring Pamlico Sound—the largest lagoon on the East Coast, formed in part by the southern Outer Banks. Oriental, a small waterfront town of 900 that sits on the southeastern portion of the county, is a popular destination for boaters and is referred to as the “Sailing Capital of North Carolina.” With hot summers tempered by cool sea breezes, the area has mapped paddle trails and charter boats available for seniors looking to spend time on the water. Pamlico County Senior Services offers many opportunities to retirees—including legal services, transportation, small home repair, art classes, and community card and bingo games.

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Carol M. Highsmith // Wikimedia Commons

North Dakota: Dickey County

- Population: 5,041 (55-64: 14% and 65+: 21%)
- Median home value: $110,400 (70% own their homes)
- Median rent: $608 (30% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $58,357

Placed along North Dakota’s southern border, Dickey County boasts a number of outdoor activities for its retirees. The county seat, Ellendale, is considered “prime birding headquarters,” with over 100 types of birds within the area. For retirees who prefer the fishing, local spots include Heinrich Lake (yellow perch), Pheasant Lake (pike, perch, crappie, and walleye), and Moores Lake (pike, perch, and largemouth bass). Indoors, its museums like the Dickey County Heritage Center, coffee shops like Cream & Sugar, and restaurants like Donna’s Diner to keep local retirees entertained.

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Tom Kiser // Wikimedia Commons

Ohio: Noble County

- Population: 14,498 (55-64: 20% and 65+: 25%)
- Median home value: $91,300 (84% own their homes)
- Median rent: $634 (16% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $42,171

Noble County is a largely rural county in southeast Ohio, sitting two hours east of Columbus. The Noble County Fairgrounds—operating for over 150 years—runs events throughout the summer and fall. In addition to its annual fair in August, recent years have featured truck and tractor pulling, demolition derbies, and 4th of July camping at the fairgrounds. Caldwell is the county seat of Noble County and is home to the Wolf Run State Park, which spans over a thousand acres and offers access to hiking, fishing, and boating.

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J. Stephen Conn // Wikimedia Commons

Oklahoma: Marshall County

- Population: 16,226 (55-64: 14% and 65+: 22%)
- Median home value: $86,600 (76% own their homes)
- Median rent: $648 (24% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $45,671

A 19.4% lower cost of living than the U.S. average and a 7.2/10 Comfort Index by Best Places are two reasons retirees settle here. With about three inches of snow a year and 232 sunny days, April, May, and October are the most pleasant time of the year for seniors to venture outdoors, especially to Lake Texoma. Annual rodeos and parades, golfing, fishing, and shopping are all activities retirees enjoy year round in this section of the Sooner State.

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Mike Chapman // Wikimedia Commons

Oregon: Wallowa County

- Population: 6,864 (55-64: 20% and 65+: 27%)
- Median home value: $217,600 (68% own their homes)
- Median rent: $676 (32% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $44,877

Wallowa County, bordered by Washington and Idaho and home of Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, stretches 3,152 square miles with endless outdoor activities available. Within Wallowa County is the town of Joseph, a significant art community where artists of all ages come together.

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Jakec // Wikimedia Commons

Pennsylvania: Montour County

- Population: 18,302 (55-64: 15% and 65+: 20%)
- Median home value: $173,800 (71% own their homes)
- Median rent: $701 (29% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $56,250

Up to 20% of the residents who live in Montour County are 65 years or older, making the area very senior-friendly. Lake Chillisquaque, Montour Preserve, Geisinger Trails Trailhead, and Danville River Front Park are just a few places retirees here often enjoy. The Montour County Senior Center in Danville provides several resources to the area’s aging population, including personal enrichment classes and health and wellness services.

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digidreamgraphix // Shutterstock

Rhode Island: Washington County

- Population: 126,190 (55-64: 16% and 65+: 19%)
- Median home value: $320,600 (73% own their homes)
- Median rent: $1,086 (27% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $77,862

Washington County, R.I., is the southernmost county in the Ocean State. “South County”—as it’s known locally—centers around casual coastal living. Residents can explore the affluent coastal resort area of Watch Hill, home to the luxurious Ocean House hotel, scenic Napatree Point, and the Flying Horse Carousel—the oldest operating carousel in America. Further east retirees can enjoy iconic seafood hotspots, with South Kingstown’s Matunuck Oyster Bar offering top-rated seafood and salt pond sunsets while the Coast Guard House and Monahan’s Clam Shack in Narragansett provide sweeping ocean views along the seawall.

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BeaufortTiger // Wikimedia Commons

South Carolina: Beaufort County

- Population: 179,316 (55-64: 13% and 65+: 25%)
- Median home value: $283,800 (70% own their homes)
- Median rent: $1,105 (30% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $60,603

Beaufort County covers 923 square miles with plenty to do, from visiting Parris Island to attending any of the annual water, shrimp, or film festivals, or enjoying all the resort town Hilton Head has to offer. Best Places reports a 7.2/10 Comfort Index, noting April, May, and October as the most pleasant months of the year, and a 0.6% lower cost of living than the U.S. average. 

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puroticorico // Wikimedia Commons

South Dakota: Custer County

- Population: 8,519 (55-64: 21% and 65+: 27%)
- Median home value: $202,600 (83% own their homes)
- Median rent: $849 (17% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $56,449

Custer County sees 226 sunny days per year compared to the U.S. average of 205, reports Best Places, and residents can take advantage of that at recreation spots in the Black Hills like Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park. The Custer Senior Center, established in 1971, keeps its calendar full all year round with activities including open craft sessions, computer classes, rummage sales, Bunco, Bingo and Wii.

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JNix // Shutterstock

Tennessee: Loudon County

- Population: 51,024 (55-64: 15% and 65+: 25%)
- Median home value: $193,000 (76% own their homes)
- Median rent: $740 (24% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $55,431

Tellico Reservoir and Melton Hill Dam are two popular fishing and water activity areas of Loudon County where retirees gather to relax. Along with boating, antiquing, and taking historical walking tours, seniors who settle here also frequent nearby Knoxville and Chattanooga for a vibrant nightlife and restaurant scene.

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Jonas Lamis // Flickr

Texas: Bandera County

- Population: 21,316 (55-64: 19% and 65+: 25%)
- Median home value: $165,900 (85% own their homes)
- Median rent: $874 (15% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $56,413

Branded the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” the Western flavor of Bandera County is found throughout its farmland, rodeos, and dude ranches. The retiree-focused site After55 reports several reasons to retire in the Lone Star State, including comfortable weather, low cost of living, and cultural diversity. With up to 15 independent-living communities in the surrounding area, seniors have several places they can call home in this south-central Texas county.

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Eric Ward // Wikimedia Commons

Utah: Washington County

- Population: 155,577 (55-64: 11% and 65+: 20%)
- Median home value: $240,300 (70% own their homes)
- Median rent: $983 (30% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $55,175

The third Washington County listed is in the heart of Utah, stretching 2,430 square miles with only 3.6 miles of water. Once known for its former cotton colonies, the county is now popular for Zion National Park, featuring Emerald Pools Trail and Kolob Canyons. When not enjoying outdoor recreation, retirees here frequent the St. George Utah Senior Center, which offers an array of activities including dancing, games, and arts and crafts.

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Jet Lowe // Wikimedia Commons

Vermont: Orange County

- Population: 28,901 (55-64: 17% and 65+: 19%)
- Median home value: $188,300 (81% own their homes)
- Median rent: $847 (19% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $56,584

Retirees seeking outdoor adventure, have made Orange County the state’s most popular destination for retirement. It’s a short jaunt to world-class skiing, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and sightseeing, plus the Central Vermont Council on Aging offers many resources for local retirees—including food and nutrition services, transportation, and health care and Medicaid counseling.

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Kelleher Photography // Shutterstock

Virginia: James City County

- Population: 73,028 (55-64: 14% and 65+: 24%)
- Median home value: $328,700 (74% own their homes)
- Median rent: $1,202 (26% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $80,772

James City County has lots to offer for history buffs in particular. Jamestown was the first English settlement in America, and nearby Williamsburg also provides a rich heritage to the locale. While the area hosts the Busch Gardens amusement park, officials are working to improve the marina and many of the surrounding restaurants to help grow the local economy, making James City County more attractive to tourists and retirees.

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Jelson25 // Wikimedia Commons

Washington: San Juan County

- Population: 16,221 (55-64: 20% and 65+: 31%)
- Median home value: $452,300 (74% own their homes)
- Median rent: $965 (26% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $60,271

Comprising over 700 islands northwest of Washington in the Sea of Salish, San Juan County offers retirees a variety of outdoor activities, art festivals, and top-notch seafood. Friday Harbor, the only incorporated town in the county, boasts world-class whale watching along the border with Canada. Although it’s pricier overall than many other counties on the list, San Juan has a low median rent compared to its home values.

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Tim Kiser // Wikimedia Commons

West Virginia: Ritchie County

- Population: 10,005 (55-64: 16% and 65+: 21%)
- Median home value: $82,100 (79% own their homes)
- Median rent: $576 (21% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $41,497

Ritchie County boasts a low cost of living, and the town of Harrisville is one of the safest in West Virginia. The county is home to Berdine’s, the nation’s oldest Five and Dime. Additionally, North Bend State Park hosts several events, including an annual bluegrass festival and holiday happenings, and is known for a 72-mile hiking trail that follows an abandoned railroad corridor.

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Peter K Burian // Wikimedia Commons

Wisconsin: Door County

- Population: 27,443 (55-64: 18% and 65+: 27%)
- Median home value: $204,700 (78% own their homes)
- Median rent: $756 (22% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $56,494

On Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan peninsula, Door County is a popular tourist and retirement spot for its miles of coastlines and rich history. Situated north of Green Bay, the county draws its name from French explorers giving the passages around the area the moniker “Death’s Door” because of dozens of shipwrecks.

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Ben Townsend // Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming: Johnson County

- Population: 8,562 (55-64: 16% and 65+: 21%)
- Median home value: $255,200 (72% own their homes)
- Median rent: $886 (28% rent their homes)
- Median household income: $52,415

Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountain range offers retirees in Johnson County a variety of outdoor activities, from the West Tensleep Lake Trailhead’s fishing in the summer, to snowshoeing at Pole Creek Nordic Ski Area in the winter. The Occidental Hotel in the city of Buffalo played host to some of the Old West’s most famous (and infamous) names, including Butch Cassidy, Teddy Roosevelt, and Calamity Jane; today it serves as a popular museum and restaurant.

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