Ready to Retire: 7 of the Best U.S. Cities For Retirement

Guest Post Author: Traci Magus | Dunes Properties

At some point in your life, retirement probably seemed like a faraway dream. Now that you’re no longer working a 9-5 and have finally built a sizeable nest egg, it’s time to start thinking about the next step.

For many older adults, that next step is figuring out where they want to retire. Even if you were born and raised in your hometown, it might not have the perks you’ve always wanted, such as great healthcare, modern amenities, low crime rates and recreational resources, just to name a few.

While not everyone shares the same criteria for a great retirement city, there is no denying that some cities are far better for retirees than others. Without further ado, here are some of the best U.S. cities to happily spend your golden years:

  1. Portland, M.E.

If you don’t mind the winters, this thriving city on the New England coast offers modern amenities with small-town vibes. Retirees and their families are sure to enjoy the pristine beaches, vibrant arts scene, fresh produce at the Farmer’s Market and the many public and private golf courses.

Maine’s second largest city is also home to the Maine Medical Center, one of the top performing hospitals in the nation. The hospital, which was voted “Best Regional Hospital” by U.S. News & World Report for the fifth consecutive year, is especially revered for its geriatric care.


  1. Charleston, S.C.

With its pristine beaches, rich history, walkable streets and award-winning dining, it’s easy to see why retirees are moving to Charleston, large numbers. In the Holy City, the living is easy, the food is divine, and there is a never-ending list of things to do in this dynamic, mid-sized city.

Whether you want to spend your retirement years teeing off on professional golf courses, savoring delicious cuisine in Historic Downtown Charleston or strolling along miles of beach, Charleston has everything you need to make it happen. The icing on the cake? Retirees in Charleston can take advantage of numerous tax benefits, including a tax exemption for Social Security and retirement income deductions.

  1. Fort Lauderdale, F.L.

While Fort Lauderdale, Florida may not have Charleston’s romantic, old-world charm, the city remains a hot destination for seniors. As if its warm beaches and tropical climate weren’t enough to attract retirees to her shores, Fort Lauderdale also boasts an active social life and beautiful waterfront properties that act as second homes for retirees.

Additionally, Florida’s tax-friendliness offers another significant benefit to seniors. The Sunshine State has no state income tax, making retirement income (including social security benefits) tax exempt.

  1. Asheville, N.C.

If you want to live out your years with good health, consider moving to Asheville. The Land of the Sky sits close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, offering a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. In the mood to nosh on healthy eats? This growing city also has a slew of farm-to-table restaurants that use simple, yet flavorful ingredients.

Of course, there is more to Asheville than its delicious food and outdoor recreation. The city also boasts a vibrant and diverse music scene, craft brews, cultural attractions and a hip downtown that you’ll never tire of exploring. This, along with its friendly community and small-town feel make Asheville an ideal place for retirees.


  1. Sedona, A.Z.

Commonly known for its beautiful “Red Rocks,” Sedona’s scenic beauty can’t be beaten. Along with its warm climate and outdoor recreation opportunities, the northern Arizona town often makes the list of the nation’s best small towns.

While homes here may be on the higher side due to its booming population, the city has numerous perks for seniors. In addition to an existing retirement community, Sedona has several large medical centers, a low crime rate and a temperate climate for year-round activities (such as golf and gardening). Arizona is also one of the most tax-friendly states, keeping your Social Security check tax exempt.

  1. Omaha, N.E.

If you’re looking for a good mid-sized city in which to retire, be sure to check out Omaha. While the city may boast a small-town feel and affordable nature, make no mistake—Omaha’s burgeoning social scene offers plenty for seniors to see and do.

Seniors can take a relaxing walk or bike ride along the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, paddle along the Elkhorn River or take a hike at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park. Take the kids to the Old Market downtown, watch an exciting game at CenturyLink Center or meander along the city’s many paved trails.

And with a growing healthcare system (Omaha is home to the University of Nebraska), active retirees are finding everything they need in this friendly Midwestern city. If you enjoy being active without the hurried pace, consider planting your roots here for good.

  1. Ocala, F.L.

Florida has the most retirees of any state, so it’s not surprising that it has numerous locations that cater to seniors. One of the cities that quietly attracts many retirees is Ocala.

Located in northern Florida, Ocala boasts a rich history that goes back to 6,5000 B.C. with the first indigenous peoples. Ocala is also known as the Horse Capital of the World for its history and culture of thoroughbred horses, which appeals to many retirees who enjoy horseback riding.

Although Ocala is steeped in history, it offers all the necessary amenities retirees could want, including restaurants, three golf courses, swimming pools, tennis courts, spas and many clubs that retirees can join to feel more involved in their community.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a place to retire is more difficult than some people might think. Although you may have your heart set on a specific beach town, it may not have the healthcare and housing affordability that all retirees should consider.

The cities listed above all have exceptional healthcare, recreational opportunities, modern amenities and several retiree perks that will help you narrow your search. If you can’t decide between two or three, be sure to visit them throughout different seasons to get a taste of what it’s like to live in each one.

About the Author:

Traci Magus is a realtor for Dunes Properties in Charleston, SC. When she’s not selling houses or writing, you can find her researching the latest trends in housing development or exploring downtown Charleston with her husband, Glenn.

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