Best counties for retirees in America

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September 19, 2020
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Best counties for retirees in America

There are more than 3,000 counties in the United States. So choosing the “perfect” one for retirement can be both exciting and stressful. The average American retires at age 62, but they’ve likely been exploring retirement options long before then.

Anyone planning retirement may decide that they want to live in the place they vacation every year, or that little town they found during their last cruise. They may choose to live where their grandchildren are, or where they can enjoy the activities they couldn’t when they were working. But maybe they have no idea where they want to go. Maybe they have a list of 10 potential candidates, and can’t decide. They’ve come to the right place.

Stacker took some of the legwork out of the research. It compiled a list of the best places to live using data from Niche. Niche ranks counties based on a variety of factors including weather, entertainment, and cost of living. Read more on their methodology here. A maximum of 10 counties from each state were included, so there’s a good mix from around the country.

So, whether a retiree is most interested in maximum sunshine, coastal splendor, championship golf, or endless shopping, this list will have options for every taste—and budget. How about a coastal home at the top of Michigan, with quick access to world-famous fudge? Or maybe something on the west coast of Florida, with loads of restaurants, and a nearby cruise port? Not feeling those? There’s a place in Tennessee, with a replica of the Eiffel Tower, and plenty of wine and charming shops to go along with it.

However big or small the activity needs or budget, retirees will find the perfect county to retire to in this list—or at least pick out a new vacation destination.

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#100. Curry County, Oregon

- Population: 22,507
- Median home value: $251,500 (70% own)
- Median rent: $870 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $46,396

Located on the West Coast, and bordering California, Curry County, Oregon, residents live and breathe the ocean and rivers. Take up salmon fishing, try your hand at windsurfing, or hop on a jet boat tour. Jump in, the weather’s fine.

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#99. Washington County, Tennessee

- Population: 127,055
- Median home value: $159,400 (65% own)
- Median rent: $743 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $46,752

Tennessee’s oldest county offers affordable living, cultural heritage, natural beauty, and low taxes. An added bonus is the proximity to Jonesborough, Tennessee, with its outdoor recreation options and vibrant arts scene.

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#98. Patrick County, Virginia

- Population: 17,859
- Median home value: $116,400 (76% own)
- Median rent: $549 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $40,486

Partake in a historic walking tour, search for legendary “fairy stones,” or fish on Philpott Lake. There’s always something new and interesting to explore in Patrick County, Virginia.

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#97. Caldwell Parish, Louisiana

- Population: 9,996
- Median home value: $74,100 (74% own)
- Median rent: $590 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $32,174

Situated in Louisiana’s cotton country, along the Ouachita River, Caldwell Parish, Louisiana, offers great opportunities for hunting wild game. Looking to relax? Take a river walk, visit a wildlife area, or enjoy some authentic Cajun cuisine.

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#96. Choctaw County, Alabama

- Population: 13,075
- Median home value: $75,200 (80% own)
- Median rent: $533 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $34,884

Historic sites, scenic river walks, amazing fried catfish, and affordable real estate is all available in Choctaw County, Alabama. The small-town attitude and friendliness pulls visitors in, and sways them to stay.

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#95. Covington County, Alabama

- Population: 37,351
- Median home value: $95,500 (74% own)
- Median rent: $608 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $40,601

Steeped in history, Covington County, Alabama, is the birthplace of musician Hank Williams. Residents enjoy a low cost of living, historic downtowns, pretty green spaces, and down-home Southern cooking.

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#94. Morgan County, Missouri

- Population: 20,137
- Median home value: $122,300 (78% own)
- Median rent: $581 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $37,727

Discover more than 100 shops in Mennonite Country, see the world’s largest geode at Jacob’s Cave, or drive 15 minutes to Lake of the Ozarks. There’s always something to explore and enjoy in and around Morgan County, Missouri.

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#93. Lincoln County, New Mexico

- Population: 19,482
- Median home value: $206,600 (77% own)
- Median rent: $691 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $42,267

Be enchanted by the mountain region first settled by the Mescalero Apache. Lincoln County, New Mexico, offers skiing, gaming, a race track, one of the longest zip lines in the world, and authentic New Mexican cuisine.

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#92. Lincoln County, Maine

- Population: 34,067
- Median home value: $213,300 (78% own)
- Median rent: $779 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $55,180

A boater’s paradise, explore Lincoln County, Maine, and enjoy whale watching, lighthouses, and leaf peeping. Grab a lobster roll or a steamy cup of clam chowder before heading out on each new exploration.

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#91. Dawson County, Georgia

- Population: 23,861
- Median home value: $215,500 (82% own)
- Median rent: $857 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $65,805

Racing, art, golf, shopping, boundless nature—it’s all available in Dawson County, Georgia. Head out on the Appalachian Trail, visit the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, or pick produce at a local farm. Go where the day takes you.

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#90. Henry County, Alabama

- Population: 17,124
- Median home value: $115,100 (83% own)
- Median rent: $608 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $48,610

Henry County, Alabama, offers walkable towns with tree-lined streets and an old-school vibe. Charming shops and restaurants will draw you in, and the area’s history will keep you intrigued.

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#89. McCormick County, South Carolina

- Population: 9,606
- Median home value: $117,700 (77% own)
- Median rent: $579 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $42,262

There’s no shortage of Southern charm or historic nostalgia in McCormick County, South Carolina. Enjoy the lake, nature walks, fishing, biking, or antiquing throughout the county.

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#88. Stone County, Missouri

- Population: 31,527
- Median home value: $165,400 (82% own)
- Median rent: $724 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $46,443

Stone County is home to Branson, Missouri, and all of the recreational and entertainment amenities it offers. With home prices under $200,000, you can feel like you’re vacationing year-round.

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#87. Pawnee County, Kansas

- Population: 6,709
- Median home value: $75,300 (68% own)
- Median rent: $607 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $42,853

Affordable homes, small-town appeal, and a supportive community are all abundant in Pawnee County, Kansas, where you can find homes for under $100,000, and the grocery clerk knows your name.

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#86. Stephens County, Georgia

- Population: 25,676
- Median home value: $94,300 (70% own)
- Median rent: $713 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $43,416

James Brown, the Godfather of Soul, made his first appearance, and married his wife, in Stephens County, Georgia. Today, the area offers fishing, boating, and more outdoor activities in its location along the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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#85. Washington County, Oklahoma

- Population: 52,001
- Median home value: $117,100 (71% own)
- Median rent: $708 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $52,103

You’ll never be bored in Washington County, Oklahoma, when you can explore animal safari parks, a tallgrass prairie preserve, a wild horse refuge, and casinos. Tour historic mansions, play golf, or grab a beer at the local brewing company.

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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#84. Mitchell County, Kansas

- Population: 6,222
- Median home value: $85,300 (74% own)
- Median rent: $556 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $45,221

Home to interesting landmarks, such as the “World’s Largest Ball of Twine,” a replica of the Statue of Liberty, and the Castle Service Station, Mitchell County, Kansas, is full of unique things to do and see, paired with an affordable cost of living.

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Ammodramus // Wikimedia Commons

#83. Washington County, Kansas

- Population: 5,525
- Median home value: $78,200 (79% own)
- Median rent: $467 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $48,889

An agricultural area comprising 12 small villages, Washington County, Kansas, prides itself on the fact that it doesn’t have stop lights, and when you go out to eat, it’s home cooked. Settle in and take comfort in a place that feels good, just the way it is.

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#82. Baldwin County, Alabama

- Population: 208,107
- Median home value: $189,800 (74% own)
- Median rent: $958 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $55,962

With a population of more than 200,000, you won’t be lonely in Baldwin County. Located on Alabama’s Gulf Coast, you can explore beach activities, deep-sea fishing, dolphin cruises, and world-class seafood restaurants.

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#81. Emmet County, Michigan

- Population: 33,039
- Median home value: $178,300 (73% own)
- Median rent: $805 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $54,055

Located at the “tip of the mitt,” Emmet County, Michigan, puts you in a perfect location for hopping in a ferry and grabbing some world-famous fudge at Mackinac Island, touring a few lighthouses, or just sitting back and enjoying all four seasons from the ideal vantage point.

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#80. Hutchinson County, South Dakota

- Population: 7,315
- Median home value: $84,700 (78% own)
- Median rent: $543 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $54,868

If you enjoy hunting, you’ll like the options available for pheasant, duck, geese, and deer hunting in Hutchinson County, South Dakota. Other recreational activities, such as tennis, trapshooting, swimming, and more, are also available.

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#79. Dickinson County, Iowa

- Population: 17,056
- Median home value: $179,300 (79% own)
- Median rent: $771 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $58,099

Considered Iowa’s resort region, Dickinson County offers endless water activities, trails, golf, mini-golf, an amusement park, museums, and more. Annual events, weekly farmers markets, and trivia nights keep things lively.

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#78. San Juan County, Washington

- Population: 16,473
- Median home value: $470,500 (74% own)
- Median rent: $986 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $60,711

Are you an island lover? San Juan County, Washington, is made up of more than 400 islands and rocks in the uppermost west corner of Washington state. The area is breathtaking. If your pocketbook can handle it, it’s worth it.

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#77. Van Buren County, Arkansas

- Population: 16,684
- Median home value: $101,600 (77% own)
- Median rent: $652 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $36,897

The Ozark communities of Van Buren County, Arkansas, are an outdoor lover’s paradise, with lakes, river walks, golf, boating, horseback riding, and more. You’ll enjoy affordable housing, modern amenities, and vacation-style living.

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#76. Lancaster County, South Carolina

- Population: 89,546
- Median home value: $182,400 (78% own)
- Median rent: $753 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $55,223

President Andrew Jackson grew up in Lancaster County, South Carolina, before there were country clubs, golf courses, or buffet restaurants. Now locals enjoy the county’s many modern amenities while taking a moment to reflect on the nation’s past.

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#75. New Hanover County, North Carolina

- Population: 224,231
- Median home value: $233,700 (57% own)
- Median rent: $978 (43% rent)
- Median household income: $52,716

History buffs, botanical enthusiasts, and beach lovers will all enjoy New Hanover County, North Carolina, with its Civil War sites, acres of lush gardens, and seaside boardwalk along the East Coast.

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#74. Middlesex County, Virginia

- Population: 10,700
- Median home value: $263,900 (80% own)
- Median rent: $868 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $51,917

Feel like a tourist in Middlesex County, Virginia, when you take advantage of the local trolley, pick crabs at the seafood shop, or indulge in a sundae at the 1950s-style soda fountain counter. Enjoy the marina, join a civic organization, and make yourself at home in Middlesex.

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#73. Pulaski County, Virginia

- Population: 34,234
- Median home value: $144,800 (72% own)
- Median rent: $657 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $52,638

Rolling hills and green pastures welcome you to Pulaski County, Virginia. This rural community has deep agricultural roots, but plenty of amenities. Enjoy 10 parks, three golf courses, a rodeo, and auto racing, all while enjoying the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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#72. Lauderdale County, Alabama

- Population: 92,585
- Median home value: $136,400 (68% own)
- Median rent: $658 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $46,265

Life in the Alabama Shoals is Southern living at its best. Resting on the banks of the Tennessee River, there’s a rich music heritage and comfortable vibe, which spills over into the downtown areas, historic homes, and numerous activities throughout Lauderdale County.

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#71. Oconee County, Georgia

- Population: 37,017
- Median home value: $268,100 (83% own)
- Median rent: $970 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $88,308

Enjoy U-pick farms, an antique trail, delicious eateries, and unique events in Oconee County, Georgia. Located just eight miles from Athens, and 21 miles from Madison, you’re never far away from another interesting adventure.

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#70. Prairie County, Arkansas

- Population: 8,244
- Median home value: $68,000 (72% own)
- Median rent: $593 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $41,846

A mixture of rolling hills and rich, flat farmland, Prairie County, Arkansas, is 50 miles east of Little Rock. It offers affordable housing with easy access to modern amenities.

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#69. Glynn County, Georgia

- Population: 83,974
- Median home value: $168,700 (62% own)
- Median rent: $894 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $50,672

Home to the popular Golden Isles—five islands where the foliage turns golden in the fall—Glynn County, Georgia also has the Port of Brunswick, one of the most productive ports on the East Coast. The area is ideal for crab, oyster, and shrimp lovers, and there are shops and resorts aplenty.

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#68. Stone County, Arkansas

- Population: 12,446
- Median home value: $113,900 (73% own)
- Median rent: $590 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $36,162

A sparsely populated area of the Ozark Mountains, Stone County, Arkansas, has a large senior population and is proud of its folk heritage.

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#67. Oconee County, South Carolina

- Population: 76,696
- Median home value: $155,200 (72% own)
- Median rent: $725 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $46,056

With 90,000 acres of protected forests, 29 waterfalls, trophy fishing, bicycling, and more, you’ll always have an adventure waiting in Oconee County, South Carolina.

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#66. Marshall County, Oklahoma

- Population: 16,376
- Median home value: $88,000 (72% own)
- Median rent: $668 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $45,828

Located in beautiful Chickasaw Country, enjoy affordable housing while exploring railroad towns, casinos, mom-and-pop shops, and unique restaurants throughout Marshall County, Oklahoma.

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#65. Little River County, Arkansas

- Population: 12,417
- Median home value: $72,200 (72% own)
- Median rent: $567 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $45,388

Named after its proximity to the Little River, this county features popular fishing and camping destinations Millwood Lake and Millwood State Park. Texarkana, Texas, is a 20-minute drive, and Little Rock, Arkansas, is two-and-a-half hours away.

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#64. Chatham County, North Carolina

- Population: 69,791
- Median home value: $265,900 (76% own)
- Median rent: $833 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $63,531

Popular cities in Chatham County, North Carolina, include Pittsboro, Chapel Hill, and Cary. The county offers easy access to big-city amenities, such as hospitals, banks, restaurants, and more. There are food tours, wineries, golf, wildlife sanctuaries, and no shortage of outdoor activities.

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#63. Thayer County, Nebraska

- Population: 5,098
- Median home value: $66,800 (79% own)
- Median rent: $566 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $50,734

If you enjoy a good porch swing, Thayer County, Nebraska, has the “World’s Largest Covered Porch Swing.” That’s not all the county offers, though. There’s also a Senior Center, with dedicated services for seniors, a regional airport, lots of community organizations, and plenty of parks.

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#62. Greene County, Georgia

- Population: 16,976
- Median home value: $207,700 (71% own)
- Median rent: $691 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $49,755

Elegant homes and churches abound in Greene County, Georgia. Historic Downtown Greensboro and Lake Oconee attract locals and tourists year round. World-class golf resorts and spas are enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.

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#61. Cleburne County, Arkansas

- Population: 25,230
- Median home value: $132,400 (75% own)
- Median rent: $679 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $43,391

Home to popular Heber Springs, with loads of water activities and trails, Cleburne County, Arkansas, also offers several golf courses, one of which is carved out of the Ozark Mountains. The Nature State will draw you in, and make you feel at home.

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#60. Atchison County, Missouri

- Population: 5,270
- Median home value: $85,600 (70% own)
- Median rent: $542 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $48,385

Located halfway between Kansas City, Missouri, and Omaha, Nebraska, Atchison County, Missouri, is a unique mix of nostalgia and modern conveniences. Enjoy antique shops, gorgeous fall foliage, and city parks throughout.

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#59. Delaware County, Oklahoma

- Population: 42,112
- Median home value: $114,900 (76% own)
- Median rent: $673 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $39,742

Enjoy world-class fishing and water sports on Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, or hop on nearby Route 66 and explore its famous landmarks. The low cost of living and interesting activities will keep you entertained in Delaware County, Oklahoma.

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#58. Mathews County, Virginia

- Population: 8,796
- Median home value: $224,800 (87% own)
- Median rent: $953 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $67,009

Quaint waterfront cottages, charming bed-and-breakfasts, and wraparound porches overlooking the glorious Chesapeake Bay. What more could you ask for? How about local art galleries, seaside cafes serving the freshest of seafood, and sunset walks on your favorite beach? Have it all in Mathews County, Virginia.

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#57. Roscommon County, Michigan

- Population: 23,877
- Median home value: $102,700 (83% own)
- Median rent: $674 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $40,302

There’s something for everyone in Roscommon County, Michigan. You’ll find Houghton Lake, one of the largest resort areas in the state. Summer and winter activities are equally popular, so bring your snowshoes and join the fun.

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#56. Roanoke County, Virginia

- Population: 93,583
- Median home value: $194,800 (74% own)
- Median rent: $949 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $65,467

State-of-the-art health care, top-notch libraries, malls, boutiques, hundreds of restaurants, and endless recreation are just some of the perks offered to residents of Roanoke County, Virginia.

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#55. Henry County, Tennessee

- Population: 32,279
- Median home value: $101,200 (76% own)
- Median rent: $629 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $40,837

If you’ve ever traveled through France, you’ll get to visit the Eiffel Tower every day if you live in Henry County. Its town of Paris, Tennessee, boasts a large replica of the famously photographed structure. As you’d expect, you’ll also find a historic district, winery, and charming shops galore to keep you busy.

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#54. Jasper County, Texas

- Population: 35,504
- Median home value: $104,600 (77% own)
- Median rent: $746 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $46,088

Southern charm mixes with a small-town feel and modern amenities in Jasper County, Texas. Known as the “Jewel of the Forest,” this county offers natural beauty, a low cost of living, and a high quality of life.

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#53. Kerr County, Texas

- Population: 51,365
- Median home value: $170,600 (72% own)
- Median rent: $839 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $52,473

The capital of Texas Hill Country, Kerr County is 65 miles northwest of San Antonio, and offers numerous venues to stay active, such as a sports complex, community pool, a tennis center, country club, numerous parks, and more.

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#52. Lyon County, Kentucky

- Population: 8,186
- Median home value: $134,100 (81% own)
- Median rent: $567 (19% rent)
- Median household income: $50,097

A third of Lyon County, Kentucky, lies in the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, which attracts more than 1 million visitors each year. You’ll enjoy affordable home prices in one of the most sought-after nature areas, offering hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and wildlife watching.

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#51. Montgomery County, Arkansas

- Population: 8,993
- Median home value: $106,700 (83% own)
- Median rent: $446 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $37,855

Home to the popular Lake Ouachita, locals enjoy fishing, boating, skiing, and relaxing on nearly 50,000 acres of pristine waters. Montgomery County, Arkansas, offers affordable housing, and is famous for its quartz mines.

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#50. Fayette County, Georgia

- Population: 111,369
- Median home value: $269,900 (81% own)
- Median rent: $1,274 (19% rent)
- Median household income: $87,272

Known as the Hollywood of the South, Fayette County, Georgia, is part of the greater Atlanta Metro area. If you’re looking for a thriving community that still has its Southern charm, look to Fayette County.

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#49. Northumberland County, Virginia

- Population: 12,223
- Median home value: $285,900 (85% own)
- Median rent: $820 (15% rent)
- Median household income: $58,677

Northumberland County, Virginia, is inside a peninsula that borders the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers and the Chesapeake Bay—438 miles of shoreline. The county is known for being tax friendly, low stress, and rich in history—George Washington was born here.

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#48. Cumberland County, Tennessee

- Population: 58,634
- Median home value: $143,000 (78% own)
- Median rent: $690 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $43,893

No state property tax and no state tax on pensions. Those are just two of the perks you’ll receive in Tennessee. Referred to as the “Golf Capital of Tennessee,” Cumberland County offers beautiful scenery, numerous museums, and plenty of shopping.

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#47. Transylvania County, North Carolina

- Population: 33,513
- Median home value: $211,300 (77% own)
- Median rent: $720 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $46,629

Called the “Land of Waterfalls,” Transylvania County, North Carolina, features 250 waterfalls throughout its share of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The county offers EMS and Community Care Paramedic Program services, as well as a dedicated program for veterans.

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#46. Haskell County, Texas

- Population: 5,809
- Median home value: $51,400 (76% own)
- Median rent: $609 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $46,013

With a population just under 6,000, Haskell County, Texas, offers small-town living on a budget. Located under 200 miles from the bigger cities of Dallas, Plano, Fort Worth, and Lubbock, residents have easy access to all Texas has to offer.

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#45. Garland County, Arkansas

- Population: 98,296
- Median home value: $138,400 (68% own)
- Median rent: $750 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $43,146

Home to cities like Hot Springs, Garland County, Arkansas, offers retirees an affordable cost of living, top-notch health care facilities, 11 championship golf courses, a flourishing economy, an active arts scene, and several lakes for fishing and boating.

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#44. Izard County, Arkansas

- Population: 13,559
- Median home value: $81,500 (79% own)
- Median rent: $610 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $40,218

Izard County offers residents a small-town, simple life, with locally owned stores, and no alcohol sales. A dozen lakes dot the area, drawing people out to walk, fish, and enjoy nature.

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#43. Barnstable County, Massachusetts

- Population: 213,690
- Median home value: $384,100 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,268 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $70,621

Barnstable County, Massachusetts includes Cape Cod and its associated islands. There are tons of resort and residential communities along the Cape, some more lively than others. Visit a lighthouse, take in an art class, bike along the beach, or schedule a tennis match. Enjoy it all while breathing in that fresh sea air.

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#42. Sullivan County, Tennessee

- Population: 156,734
- Median home value: $133,900 (72% own)
- Median rent: $652 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $43,442

Home to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, Bristol Motor Speedway, and numerous parks offering trails and waterways for hiking, camping, boating, and fishing, there’s always something to do in Sullivan County, Tennessee.

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#41. Greenwood County, Kansas

- Population: 6,156
- Median home value: $63,500 (74% own)
- Median rent: $574 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $42,595

One hour east of Wichita, Greenwood County, Kansas is highlighted by rolling hills and tallgrass prairie. The cost of living and the crime rate in Greenwood County is low, while sunny days are above the national average.

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#40. Talbot County, Maryland

- Population: 37,211
- Median home value: $331,500 (70% own)
- Median rent: $1,103 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $67,204

Featuring 600 miles of pristine coastline, Talbot County, Maryland is located on the East Coast of Maryland. Small towns and seaside villages will charm you, while seasonal art and music festivals will keep you entertained.

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#39. Leon County, Texas

- Population: 17,098
- Median home value: $110,100 (79% own)
- Median rent: $730 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $44,818

Located east of Waco, Texas, Leon County is perfect for relaxing on the porch, sipping tea, and watching the leaves blow. No big-city traffic or high-rise buildings; just peace.

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#38. Leelanau County, Michigan

- Population: 21,639
- Median home value: $256,300 (88% own)
- Median rent: $865 (12% rent)
- Median household income: $63,831

If you love the water and are looking for a truly gorgeous place to live, Leelanau County, Michigan boasts the second-highest amount of water area of any county in the United States. It’s surrounded by lakes and has 33 lakes within it. On the west side, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was once voted the most beautiful place in America.

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Ser Amantio di Nicolao // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Lancaster County, Virginia

- Population: 10,804
- Median home value: $237,700 (76% own)
- Median rent: $817 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $50,739

Boasting 180 miles of shoreline, Lancaster County, Virginia has the Chesapeake Bay at its east and the Rappahannock River to the south and west. Enjoy a mild climate and scenic views from every angle.

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#36. Loudon County, Tennessee

- Population: 51,610
- Median home value: $199,400 (77% own)
- Median rent: $750 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $56,078

Adjacent to Knoxville, on the west side, Loudon County, Tennessee offers proximity to modern conveniences while keeping the immediate surroundings peaceful. A regional airport is just a 30-minute drive away, for holiday visits from friends and family.

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#35. Rabun County, Georgia

- Population: 16,457
- Median home value: $164,900 (75% own)
- Median rent: $678 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $40,902

Miles of hiking trails, three lakes, Tallulah Gorge, and the scenic Chattooga River draw visitors and newcomers to Rabun County, Georgia. Take in a waterfall, try a new restaurant, or sit on a park bench and finish a book. It’s easy to relax in Rabun County.

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Valis55 // Wikimedia Commons

#34. Sharp County, Arkansas

- Population: 17,043
- Median home value: $81,000 (76% own)
- Median rent: $549 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $33,708

Located in Northern Arkansas, Sharp County is a peaceful place with friendly people and rolling hills. It’s home to Cave City, located above an underground body of water called the Crystal River.

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#33. Aransas County, Texas

- Population: 24,763
- Median home value: $158,400 (78% own)
- Median rent: $942 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $44,865

Located on the southeast coast of Texas, Aransas County, Texas is home to cities such as Corpus Christi and Rockport. Residents enjoy a small-town feel, friendly neighbors, ample water activities, and healthy tourist seasons.

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#32. Camden County, Missouri

- Population: 45,096
- Median home value: $183,500 (80% own)
- Median rent: $757 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $52,087

Home to Lake of the Ozarks, Camden County, Missouri, offers beautiful landscapes, endless water activities, hiking trails, shopping, and retirement communities that can access it all.

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#31. Hood County, Texas

- Population: 56,901
- Median home value: $180,900 (77% own)
- Median rent: $918 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $59,049

Lakes, historic districts, restaurants, and festivals are a big draw in Hood County, Texas. Granbury, a popular city for retirees where 30% of its residents are seniors, offers a small, historic community that still holds bingo on Friday nights.

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#30. Pamlico County, North Carolina

- Population: 12,742
- Median home value: $154,500 (75% own)
- Median rent: $706 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $44,947

Pamlico County, North Carolina provides easy access to beaches, golf, the Pamlico River, and the Intercoastal Highway. The area has low taxes, great weather, and a vibrant and growing retiree community.

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#29. Washington County, Virginia

- Population: 54,406
- Median home value: $141,300 (75% own)
- Median rent: $684 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $46,262

Whether you’re in the mood to shop the weekly farmers market, go fishing on the lake, or walk a nearby trail, you’ll find serene splendor in Washington County, Virginia. The close-knit community makes visitors and residents alike feel welcome and supported.

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#28. Union County, Georgia

- Population: 22,775
- Median home value: $197,200 (78% own)
- Median rent: $731 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $44,978

Located at the top of Georgia, Union County is often referred to as the mountain county due to being home to the tallest mountain in the state, Brasstown Bald. Don’t be surprised if it snows a few days during the winter, but the rest of the year is mild and comfortable.

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#27. Macon County, North Carolina

- Population: 34,410
- Median home value: $165,800 (73% own)
- Median rent: $747 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $43,597

Surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains, Macon County, North Carolina maintains a comfortable temperature year-round. Visit one of several waterfalls, enjoy some Southern fare at a local restaurant, or just take a stroll.

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#26. Polk County, North Carolina

- Population: 20,458
- Median home value: $212,300 (73% own)
- Median rent: $828 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $48,834

Located southeast of Asheville, Polk County, North Carolina is small-town living at its best. Nestled against The Blue Ridge Mountains, the town of Tryon offers equestrian activities, and fine art, while nearby Saluda is famous for sitting atop the Norfolk Southern Railway’s Saluda Grade.

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#25. Wood County, Texas

- Population: 43,815
- Median home value: $130,200 (80% own)
- Median rent: $764 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $48,534

Popular cities for retirees in Wood County, Texas are Mineola and Winnsboro. Both are diverse, small towns with supportive communities where you find a mix of new families and retirees.

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#24. Sussex County, Delaware

- Population: 219,540
- Median home value: $248,900 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,018 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $60,853

The southernmost county of Delaware, Sussex County is also the largest county in the state. There are saltwater and freshwater wetlands, miles of beaches, and the 10,000-acre Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, boasting nearly 300 species of birds.

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#23. Llano County, Texas

- Population: 20,640
- Median home value: $186,100 (80% own)
- Median rent: $840 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $52,178

Located smack-dab in the middle of Texas, Llano County has become known as the deer and bluebonnet capital of Texas. The Colorado and Llano rivers flow through the county, attracting wildlife and creating a peaceful environment.

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#22. Horry County, South Carolina

- Population: 320,915
- Median home value: $172,500 (71% own)
- Median rent: $915 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $48,279

Located in the easternmost section of South Carolina, Horry County is home to popular vacation destinations, such as Myrtle Beach and Conway. There’s no shortage of resorts and retirement communities in this East Coast county that continues to attract newcomers.

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#21. Henderson County, North Carolina

- Population: 113,625
- Median home value: $203,400 (72% own)
- Median rent: $823 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $52,815

Home to cities like Hendersonville and Saluda, Henderson County, North Carolina offers an array of antique shops, boutiques, and Victorian-era homes. If you enjoy outdoor activities, you can enjoy Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and a number of local festivals each year.

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#20. Georgetown County, South Carolina

- Population: 61,605
- Median home value: $187,200 (77% own)
- Median rent: $933 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $48,071

If coastal charm and fascinating history is what you’re after, look to Georgetown County, South Carolina. Popular destinations like Pawleys Island and Georgetown offer walkable downtowns and vibrant waterfronts for endless activity.

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Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Moore County, North Carolina

- Population: 95,629
- Median home value: $210,200 (75% own)
- Median rent: $855 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $57,899

Just 75 miles from Charlotte International Airport, Moore County, North Carolina, offers luxury resort living, a golf-lover’s paradise, a large equestrian community, musical arts, and more.

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Larry D. Moore // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Sabine County, Texas

- Population: 10,458
- Median home value: $101,200 (88% own)
- Median rent: $600 (12% rent)
- Median household income: $33,257

Located on the east side of Texas, bordering Louisiana, Sabine County has been designated as a Certified Retirement Community, proving that it meets the living, volunteer, health, entertainment, education, and safety needs of its citizens and visitors.

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#17. James City County, Virginia

- Population: 74,153
- Median home value: $339,600 (75% own)
- Median rent: $1,248 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $83,048

Southeastern Virginia is a great area for history buffs, with easy access to Colonial Williamsburg, Norfolk, Yorktown, and Jamestown. There are upscale retirement communities or antique homes to choose from, and always new people to meet, as tourists breeze through to explore the area’s historic sites.

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#16. Worcester County, Maryland

- Population: 51,564
- Median home value: $255,400 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,006 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $61,145

Located on Maryland’s eastern shore, Worcester County is popular for its reasonable prices and laid-back atmosphere. It's home to Salisbury University, which attracts restaurants, small businesses, and a number of cultural activities.

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#15. Carteret County, North Carolina

- Population: 68,920
- Median home value: $207,900 (72% own)
- Median rent: $896 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $54,428

The Crystal Coast of North Carolina offers plentiful beaches, fresh seafood, fishing, boating, paddle boarding, and walking trails, all wrapped up with small-town charm and coastal-city vibes.

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#14. Baxter County, Arkansas

- Population: 41,219
- Median home value: $128,800 (76% own)
- Median rent: $678 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $41,481

Baxter County, Arkansas, is surrounded by two lakes and three rivers, including the popular Buffalo National River, the first National river in the United States. Perfect for those who want to slow down and enjoy life, Baxter County is a safe and quiet place for nature lovers.

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#13. Brewster County, Texas

- Population: 9,216
- Median home value: $134,300 (58% own)
- Median rent: $687 (42% rent)
- Median household income: $43,894

Bordering Mexico on the west side of Texas, Brewster County is the largest county in the state. You’ll enjoy small towns, friendly people, breathtaking scenery, and authentic Mexican food.

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#12. Brunswick County, North Carolina

- Population: 126,860
- Median home value: $199,900 (79% own)
- Median rent: $903 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $54,406

The southernmost county in North Carolina, Brunswick County is home to places like Bald Head Island, Southport, and Carolina Shores. The county is a popular filming location, and you’ll never go hungry, with plenty of “Calabash-style” fried-seafood buffets dotting the area.

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#11. Beaufort County, South Carolina

- Population: 182,658
- Median home value: $288,900 (72% own)
- Median rent: $1,157 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $63,110

Home to 25% of America’s coastal marshlands, you may recognize Beaufort County if you’ve ever seen the movies “Forrest Gump,” “The Prince of Tides,” or “The Big Chill,” which were all filmed here. The county also features historic Civil War sites, fishing, boating, golf, art galleries, and museums.

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#10. Collier County, Florida

- Population: 363,922
- Median home value: $340,100 (73% own)
- Median rent: $1,228 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $65,675

Collier County, Florida, is the second healthiest county in Florida, and it makes sense. The county offers endless opportunities for outdoor activities and entertainment, from golfing—Naples boasts 80 championship golf courses—to sailing and kayaking. Check out the marina at Marco Island.

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#9. Brevard County, Florida

- Population: 576,808
- Median home value: $177,400 (73% own)
- Median rent: $1,018 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $54,359

With the Space Coast and Disney Cruise line close by, Brevard County, Florida offers exciting options for retirees. When locals aren’t watching rockets launch from Kennedy Space Station, or planning their next cruise, they have miles of beaches and plenty of outdoor and indoor activities from which to choose.

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TheVillagesFL // Wikimedia Commons

#8. Sumter County, Florida

- Population: 120,999
- Median home value: $246,500 (90% own)
- Median rent: $861 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $55,228

Situated 85 miles northeast of Tampa, Sumter County is big on agritourism, history, biking, trail walking, fishing, and shopping. There’s always something to do or explore in Sumter County, Florida.

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#7. Martin County, Florida

- Population: 157,581
- Median home value: $255,000 (78% own)
- Median rent: $1,107 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $57,959

Located on the Treasure Coast of Florida, Martin County offers fishing, water sports, and natural beauty all around. The St. Lucie Inlet is one of the most bio-diverse estuaries in the United States, showcasing more than 800 different species of fish within a 10-mile radius.

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#6. Pinellas County, Florida

- Population: 957,875
- Median home value: $183,000 (66% own)
- Median rent: $1,064 (34% rent)
- Median household income: $51,454

Located on the west central coast, Pinellas County, Florida offers miles and miles of beach activities, shopping, restaurants, and a Salvador Dali museum. Popular cities within Pinellas County include St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, and Clearwater. Tampa International Airport is nearby for quick getaways.

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#5. Highlands County, Florida

- Population: 102,101
- Median home value: $93,800 (75% own)
- Median rent: $776 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $37,314

Filled with 113 lakes and waterways, more than 20 parks, and lower-than-average home prices and crime, Highlands County, Florida is a relaxing getaway with Southern hospitality.

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#4. Lee County, Florida

- Population: 718,679
- Median home value: $207,700 (71% own)
- Median rent: $1,093 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $54,691

Home to Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island, Lee County, Florida is situated on the Gulf Coast of the Sunshine State. Residents enjoy 50 golf courses, beaches, shopping, and an easy two-hour drive to the cruise ports in Tampa or Fort Lauderdale.

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#3. Charlotte County, Florida

- Population: 176,954
- Median home value: $176,500 (80% own)
- Median rent: $976 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $49,225

Halfway between Fort Myers and Sarasota, you’ll find Charlotte County, Florida, nestled in Charlotte Harbor. If you love fishing, sailing, or just hanging out at the beach, Charlotte County, with its marina and long stretches of shoreline, is the place to be.

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#2. Indian River County, Florida

- Population: 150,984
- Median home value: $185,800 (78% own)
- Median rent: $957 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $52,336

On the central east coast of Florida, Indian River County, Florida, offers endless water activities, nature preserves, historic districts, art galleries, and shopping. Retirement communities, complete with all the best amenities, are located throughout the county.

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#1. Sarasota County, Florida

- Population: 412,144
- Median home value: $234,800 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,201 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $58,644

Located on the west coast of Florida, Sarasota County offers everything the modern retiree is seeking. Shopping, golfing, hiking, beaches, and arts and culture are never in short supply here.

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