When the time comes for you to retire, determining where to live has a major impact on just how far your retirement savings will take you.
That is why we have compiled a list for the top ten places to retire in the United States. In compiling this list, we considered numerous factors beyond just cost-of-living. Climate, crime, healthcare, natural beauty, recreational activities, local amenities and housing cost and quality were all considered.
10.) Santa Fe, New Mexico
A rich cultural past, a lovely climate, world-class dining, art and countless cultural venues.
Santa Fe is situated in the high desert foothills of the Southern Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 7,000 feet.
The annual BestPlaces comfort index lists Santa Fe with a 7.5 rating out of a possible 10. Summer temperatures range in the high 80s, with winter temperatures dropping to the high teens. Santa Fe receives 15 inches of rain per year and 26 inches of snow.
If you ask a local what their favorite restaurant is, you are bound to get a different answer from each person you ask. That is because Santa Fe is a food lover’s paradise. From traditional Southwestern fare to Asian, Italian, Indian, Middle Eastern or French cuisine, there is no shortage of options to choose from.
In terms of crime, Santa Fe’s violent crime rate is 24.2 which is just above the national crime rate.
Overall, Santa Fe is a unique and charming city to retire in, provided you don’t mind living 7,000 feet above sea level, and a bit more crime than then most cities on this list.
9.) Provo, Utah
Provo is an excellent place to retire, though it is not usually a city that comes up in a top ten retirement list.
Nestled between Utah Lake and Wasatch Front Mountain peaks. Popular outdoor activities include hiking, fishing and whitewater rafting.
Provo is well-known for its low crime rate and an overall healthy, clean lifestyle. A study in 2014 named Provo the most feelgood city in America.
With Brigham Young University (BYU) located in the heart of the city, Provo is a college town. Having said that, students at BYU are more known for being health-centric, religious and outdoor enthusiasts.
The annual BestPlaces comfort index lists Provo’s climate rating as 7.1 out of a possible 10. Summer temperatures range in the low 90s, while the winter lows can drop to the 20s. Provo receives 18 inches of rain per year and 43 inches of snow.
8.) Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is consistently rated as one of the most popular vacation destinations in the U.S. This unique city offers a small-town charm and beautiful downtown city streets with an authentic European feel to them. Charleston is full of interesting little parks and side streets filled with art galleries and boutiques.
Located on the coast of South Carolina, this city of many prominent churches was founded in 1670. Until the mid-1800’s, Charleston was one of the ten largest cities in North America. Today the city has a population of just over 137,566.
Historic Charleston is bursting with Southern charm and hospitality. The city feels almost suspended in time, thanks to its antebellum architecture and surrounding plantation landscapes.
While the city itself has no beaches, it is surrounded by water on three sides. The summers are quite hot and humid, while winters are not as warm as Florida. The average July high is 89 and the average January low is 42. August is the rainiest month.
7.) Mesquite, Nevada
Mesquite is not the first place most people think about when they think of Nevada, but this charming town has a lot going for it.
Mesquite was originally settled by Mormons as a farming community in the Virgin River Valley in 1880. Over the years the small pioneer town of Mesquite has grown and changed. Despite the town transitioning from a farming community to now one of the fastest growing cities in America, Mesquite remains connected to its rich heritage and its residents continue “Pioneering With Pride”.
The town of 20,000 is roughly eighty miles northeast of Las Vegas, bordering the Arizona and Utah state lines and lying at the northeastern part of the Mojave Desert. It has a small town feel with very little traffic.
The average value of a home in Mesquite is roughly ten percent below the median value of a home in the U.S.
Mesquite is home to four casinos, nine public golf courses, and also hosts the annual RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship, a long-drive golfing competition which began in 1975.
Nearly 36% of the population is over the age of 65, and the town continues to grow as a retirement community.
There is also no state income tax in Nevada making it an excellent all-around location to move to once you retire.
6.) Lakeland, Florida
Lakeland, as its name suggests, has multiple lakes within its city limits. There are thirty-eight named lakes with a number of unnamed bodies of water as well. Lakeland is nestled between Tampa and Orlando and along a major transportation hub. The I-4 Corridor is an important thoroughfare in Central Florida.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the last five years nearly 2,000 seniors have moved to Lakeland. Nearly a quarter of the population is over 65.
This city has plenty to offer in the way of music, plays, musical theater and other performing arts.
Every season, the city’s Imperial Symphony Orchestra performs five Masterworks concerts, three outdoor Pops concerts, a family concert and a full opera. Several of these events include nationally and internationally recognized guest performers.
The Shree Swaminarayan Temple in Lakeland is one of only two temples in the U.S. devoted to the Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism.
One of Florida’s largest hospitals, the Lakeland Regional Medical Center is located in Lakeland.
And the weather is pristine, aside from the high humidity in the summers. But with average highs of 80 in November, and the mid-70s in December, January and February, the humidity is a small price to pay.
If you like swans, you will love Lakeland, which is also known as Swan City. If you do not care for swans, you may want to consider an alternative retirement destination.
5.) Lancaster, Pennsylvania
If you are looking for a non-city environment, with a balanced mix of natural and commercial spaces, than Lancaster is a great option to consider. Expansive farms lead into a small, bustling city. There is an eclectic mix of people who inhabit the area, including farmers, families, young professionals, college students and of course, the Amish.
Located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, Lancaster is filled with interesting scenery such as the rolling terrain of south central Pennsylvania and the peaceful countryside and the occasional Amish riding by on his horse and buggy.
The Pennsylvania Amish of Lancaster and the surrounding area are America’s oldest Amish settlement. Thousands still live a centuries-old “plain” lifestyle. Living in Lancaster allows you to step back in time where you can enjoy a slower, more peaceful pace – one where the horse & buggy remains a primary form of transportation, and where windmills dot the landscape, providing power harnessed from nature.
Lancaster’s downtown offers city amenities from ethnic restaurants to a mix of contemporary and classic art. Its proximity to major nearby cities such as New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. makes it easy for retirees to enjoy casual trips to sight-see and explore.
Lancaster scores a 9.3 out of 10 in the Healthcare Quality Index. The city provides easy and convenient access to its own local health care resources, as well as proximity to larger medical hubs in Baltimore and Philadelphia. In fact, Lancaster scores the highest of any city on this list for health care.
4.) Wailea, Hawaii
A small town located in South Maui. Wailea is well-known for its five beautiful, crescent-shaped beaches, its lovely golf courses, and of course its staggering ocean views.
The town also features the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Reserve, which boasts a renowned snorkeling area and coastal lava field. Just a short two miles from the reserve is La Perouse Bay, where lava from Maui’s last eruption flowed into the sea. There are popular snorkeling destinations in coves nearby the bay called Kalaeloa (Aquarium) and Mokuha (Fishbowl).
An extremely safe place to live, with the total crime rate 59% below the national average, and the violent crime rate is a whopping 75% lower than the national average.
Hawaii overall is an excellent place to retire, but Wailea is probably the most expensive location on this list. Living in this beautiful island state will probably be double the cost of living in all of the other retirement destinations in the contiguous states.
On top of that, Hawaii has a poor education rating, lower-paying jobs, expensive real estate, low competition resulting in higher prices or less overall selection at local stores, higher shipping costs than normal, a high population density, bad traffic, and high government overhead. Oh, and did we mention active volcanoes?
While those are troubling facts, many of those factors such as education and low-paying jobs are not relevant towards retirees.
Having said all of that, it is still one of the most beautiful places in the World. If you can overcome some of the negatives, its beauty cannot be matched. Ultimately, if you can put up with some of the downfalls of living in Hawaii, than Wailea is an excellent option to consider.
3.) Lake Havasu City, Arizona
If you like heat, than Lake Havasu City is an option worth considering. The city is an oasis in the Mojave Desert, with moderate temperatures nine months out of the year, while the remaining three months provide some of the hottest temperatures in North America.
Lake Havasu is one of our top retirement destinations for a variety of reasons including beautiful weather, low crime, first class medical facilities and an abundance of activities for those choosing an active retired lifestyle.
Lake Havasu offers extremely affordable housing with the average home sales price of $200,000 – well below the median price in the U.S. And Arizona also has among the lowest property taxes in the U.S.
The city ranks as one of Arizona’s top fisheries for Stripped and Large Mouth Bass, with several fishing tournaments held throughout the year. Nature lovers will enjoy the abundant hiking trails, ranging from short treks to several miles that will reward you with spectacular mountain and lake views.
Lake Havasu City is located 190 miles northwest of Phoenix and 150 miles south of Las Vegas. Over 40% of the population is over 55 years of age. There are so many choices in Lake Havasu for dining which is surprising considering less than 60,000 people reside there.
The city is also home to the world-famous London Bridge which was purchased by an American in the 1800s.The bridge was dismantled in London and brought to this desert oasis where it was reconstructed, piece by piece.
2.) Sarasota, Florida
No retirement list would be complete without the inclusion of Sarasota, Florida? Many people consider this charming city to be paradise on Earth.
The number-one ranked beach in America, Siesta Key is located in Sarasota. Siesta Key features quartz-crystal powder sand and the gentle sounds of the soft waves of the Gulf of Mexico lapping at the shore.
The year-round warm temperatures and endless sunny days make Sarasota an excellent city for enjoying outdoor activities such as hiking, golfing and boating. Multiple yacht clubs offer access to convenient boat storage, and close proximity to the intercoastal waterway and Gulf of Mexico.
Sarasota also features a thriving art scene with posh galleries housing the works of Renaissance and Baroque Masters. From classic galleries to cutting-edge arts institutions, the Sarasota art scene offers an abundance of culture to offer.
The city and its surrounding area boast over four thousand nonprofits, many of which offer amazing opportunities to volunteer and support the community.
Sarasota misses out on the top spot due to the crime rate exceeding the national average and the real estate prices being about 35% above the median price of a house in the U.S.
1.) Naples, Florida
Naples, Florida is our top city to retire in the U.S. The city brings together the best of shopping, recreation, a moderate climate, low crime and beautiful white sand beaches.
Located roughly two hours away from both Miami and Tampa, Naples and the Marco Island area is our top retirement destination in the U.S. Naples is the southernmost metropolitan area along the Gulf Coast of Florida.
With the Everglades National Park also located close by, residents can venture into the relaxing wilderness of the Everglades. Just watch out for alligators, crocodiles and of course the Florida panthers.
Residents can expect to see average daily highs in Naples in the low 90s during the summer months and in the high 70s during the winter months. Even in the winter months, the average low never falls below the low 50s.
Naples has long been a preferred retirement spot for the rich, as well as those looking to escape colder climates. Snowbirds also flock to the region during the cold winter months.
The greater Naples and Marco Island area offers immaculate beaches, sprawling golf courses, and a lovely mix of fine dining and shopping. Historic downtown Naples is filled with high-end shops and boutiques.
Did we mention that Florida has no state income tax?
Honorable Mention: Key West, Florida