Best places to retire in America
For many people, retirement is the reward after decades of working and raising a family. After all that anticipation, deciding where to spend that precious time can be a tough decision, so Stacker compiled a list of the best places in the United States to spend those golden years.
Stacker used Niche rankings that utilize a variety of factors such as weather and access to health care. A maximum of 10 places per state were included. You can read more about the Niche methodology here. Warm, sunny weather was the most common denominator among the best places to retire, whether they were communities on the coasts of Florida and California or in the deserts of Arizona. Some locations boast of sunshine hundreds of days each year.
Options for recreation play another big role, especially top-ranked golf courses and clubs for tennis. Other top retirement destinations offer natural attractions, like trails for biking and walking or mountain settings for hiking and bird-watching. Sand and surf are key, with beaches, boardwalks, boating docks, marinas, fishing charters, swimming, and sailing opportunities. Desert sites are popular as well, offering the promise of sunny days, little rain, and striking landscapes.
Some of the most desirable retirement destinations are those located near major cities like San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, ripe with arts, culture, and health care resources. But those choice locations carry the key drawback of a high cost of living, often due to pricey housing costs, that will not suit retirees often on fixed incomes. Low crime rates make a difference as well.
All the top retirement destinations take a cue from Arizona’s Sun City, the first planned community for active older adults that introduced the concept that retirees liked being busy and engaged, with little interest in just fading away. Whiling away retirement years in a front porch rocking chair was no longer the ideal.
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#100: Bella Vista, Arkansas
- Population: 28,328
- Median home value: $162,900 (87% own)
- Median rent: $973 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $66,094
Bella Vista, Arkansas, is known for its outdoor recreation possibilities. It boasts several lakes, golf courses, and the Back 40, a system of almost 40 miles of trails for biking, hiking, birdwatching, and walking.
#99: Weston Lakes, Texas
- Population: 3,490
- Median home value: $434,800 (99% own)
- Median rent: $1,175 (1% rent)
- Median household income: $162,038
Weston Lakes is a planned, gated community with lakes stocked for fishing and a championship golf course. It is located in rolling hills to the west of Houston.
#98: Hurstbourne, Kentucky
- Population: 4,383
- Median home value: $414,200 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,128 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $116,292
Hurstbourne, Kentucky, was developed from an elegant old estate, and many of its streams, plantings, and historic stone buildings have been preserved. The golf course at the Hurstbourne Country Club is ranked among the best in the country.
#97: Tiburon, California
- Population: 9,151
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (71% own)
- Median rent: $2,315 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $163,865
Scenic Tiburon features Angel Island State Park, an island in San Francisco Bay favored for hiking, biking, and picnicking. The island is easily accessible from Tiburon by ferry, and San Francisco is nearby.
#96: Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
- Population: 14,466
- Median home value: $203,300 (87% own)
- Median rent: $1,130 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $60,995
Hot Springs Village in the Ouachita Mountains is the largest private gated community in the country at more than 26,000 acres. It sports nine golf courses and 11 recreational lakes, and it is close to Hot Springs and Little Rock, Arkansas.
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#95: Centerville, Ohio
- Population: 23,821
- Median home value: $183,000 (71% own)
- Median rent: $886 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $71,221
Centerville, Ohio, features about 30 old stone houses, built from native limestone, that give it a historic feel. For elderly residents, the city offers home maintenance resources and a call-in program to check on residents’ well-being.
#94: Pleasant Ridge, Michigan
- Population: 2,389
- Median home value: $332,900 (96% own)
- Median rent: $1,336 (4% rent)
- Median household income: $116,583
Pleasant Ridge, a mile and a half north of Detroit, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for the classic houses along its wide, tree-lined streets. The community is built on an ancient beach ridge, one of many that are located parallel to the Great Lakes and their channels.
#93: Fairview, Texas
- Population: 8,665
- Median home value: $374,300 (77% own)
- Median rent: $1,308 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $92,159
Fairview is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. The suburb has low crime, and it is popular with retirees.
#92: Newport Beach, California
- Population: 86,280
- Median home value: $1,787,300 (56% own)
- Median rent: $2,175 (44% rent)
- Median household income: $122,709
Newport Beach encompasses the 21-square-mile harbor of Newport Bay and has 8 miles of ocean beaches. In Orange County south of Los Angeles, it draws people who like boating, fishing, and swimming.
#91: Lakeside City, Texas
- Population: 1,120
- Median home value: $161,700 (94% own)
- Median rent: $850 (6% rent)
- Median household income: $80,417
Lakeside City is located in north central Texas, on the southern shore of Lake Wichita and 15 miles from the Oklahoma border. It has a small-town feel and a low-cost of living, and the lake provides recreational options.
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