Best Cities for Retirement in 2021

Tallahassee Cascades Park

You’ve got a lot of decisions to make when you reach retirement, but one of the most exciting ones should be where you’ll spend it. Whether you’re planning on staying in your state or if you’re looking to make a big move, we’ve got you covered. We’ve looked into living costs, city size, healthcare, and recreational activities and we’ve put together a list of the top 12 best cities for retirement.

Tallahassee, FL

Tallahasee, Florida Skyline

One of the biggest reasons people choose to retire to the Sunshine State is because Florida does not have a state income tax. But cost savings isn’t the only benefit, especially when you move to Tallahassee! You’ll enjoy award winning restaurants, state-of-the art healthcare, a thriving arts and entertainment scene, and easy access to nearby beaches

Tallahassee offers activities and senior communities for every step of your retirement journey. While you’ll avoid the hustle and bustle of a big city, you’ll still have access to all of the events and resources of a larger metropolis. Tallahassee has an international airport, 88 city parks, and arts and cultural  festivals year round. With less than 200,000 residents this capital city has a lot to offer, including southern charm.

Seniors also get to take advantage of lifelong learning opportunities through Florida State University’s senior program, Olli. If you’re not interested in getting back into the classroom you can still enjoy the benefits of having 2 colleges in the city by attending one of the many sporting events held at Florida State or at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.

With this list of amenities you’d expect the cost of living to be comparable to one of the larger cities we have on this list. However, a couple living in the city may only need around $47,000 a year and an individual may only need just under $29,000. 

Ready to pack your bags and retire in the Sunshine State? Find more information and resources here: https://choosetallahassee.com/retire-to-florida/#55lifestyle

Myrtle Beach, SC

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina beach and boardwalk

Retiring to the beach sounds like a dream and in South Carolina it could become your reality. Join the other 32,700 residents of Myrtle Beach when you retire and live the vacation lifestyle permanently. 

With over 60 miles of beaches stretched along the Atlantic Ocean, there’s plenty of space to get some sun and relaxation. You can take a stroll on the boardwalk which is a tourist hotspot or ditch the sand and enjoy one of the 100+ golf courses in the city. Between the amount of outdoor activities and local events at your disposal you’ll easily keep yourself busy. 

The downtown area features historic architecture and over 1500 restaurants to satisfy any craving you (or your grandchildren) may have. With the new addition of an airport, this city may be the perfect place for retirees who are looking to live the small town beach lifestyle while having access to amenities you’d see in a larger city. Another one of those amenities being 3 hospital systems in the area to keep you happy and healthy.

If Myrtle Beach sounds like your ideal retirement city, you won’t have to break the bank to make the move. Many couples living in the city only need about $51,000 a year and an individual may only need $32,000.

Is the beach calling your name? Find more information and retirement resources here: https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/South_Carolina/Myrtle_Beach.html

Orlando, FL

Orlando, Florida downtown

If you’re looking to retire in a city that will guarantee your grandkids come to visit you, Orlando is the place for you. Just a short drive from attractions like Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld, your new home is a tourist’s dream. Don’t let the thought of constant theme park visitors deter you from the city though! Depending on where you live in Orlando you may never have to worry about theme park traffic or tourists. Although there are 280,000 residents of the city so you may have to wait in some rush hour traffic if you choose to take advantage of the multiple highways.

Orlando offers highly sought after Florida weather, which will keep you on the 175+ golf courses year round. Some of the courses may even be in your backyard. The senior housing options in Orlando are bountiful, with 55+ age restricted communities popping up constantly. Whether you’re looking to purchase or rent a home when you retire, you won’t have a problem finding your new community in Orlando. But just because you move doesn’t mean you don’t want visitors, with 2 main airports in the city it’s easy for friends and family to visit, or for you to take a trip yourself. 

There are 3 main hospitals in Orlando with a variety of care specialities. Orlando has a lot of healthcare provider options for residents as well. If living in Orlando may sound like a fairytale, wait until you hear about the affordability. A couple living in the city may only need around $51,000 a year while an individual may only need about $32,000 a year. 

Ready to pack your bags and retire in the Sunshine State? Find more information and resources here: https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/Florida/Orlando.html

Asheville, NC

Asheville, North Carolina cityscape

With just over 91,000 residents, a picturesque cityscape, and breathtaking nature you may think you’ve retired to a Hallmark movie set not Asheville, North Carolina.

Asheville is known as a haven for artists, writers, and musicians so the arts and culture scene is vibrant. The city also has incredible chefs and local unique breweries that will keep you wanting to eat out every night of the week. But don’t worry, you can work off the calories at one of the many National Parks or Forests in the area. 

If you’re tired of shoveling snow in the winter, but not ready for scorching hot summers, Asheville offers the perfect climate compromise. You’ll still enjoy all four seasons, but summers rarely get above 90 degrees and winters may see just below freezing temperatures. This will keep you up and active in the beautiful blue-toned mountains with endless hiking trails.

Much like Tallahassee, Asheville also offers continued learning opportunities at UNC Asheville’s campus. You’ll also be able to attend lectures, art and music performances, and other events held on campus and throughout the city.

If Asheville sounds like the best city for your retirement, you won’t have to pay too much to make it happen. Most couples only need around $52,000 a year while individuals may only need $34,000. 

Time to pack your bags and head to the mountains? Find more information and retirement resources here: https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/North_Carolina/Asheville.html

Savannah, GA

Savannah, Georgia cityscape

Looking for a retirement city with botanical scenery, nearby beaches, and more restaurants then you can handle? You may be looking to join the 145,000 residents of Savannah, Georgia!

Savannah offers more than just southern charm. Residents can expect cultural events, local parks, historic buildings, a growing downtown area, and the annual Savannah Film Festival. The festival is just one of the many university-sponsored events that are open to the public. There are also 2 public institutions in the city that offer free tuition for Savannah residents over the age of 62. 

As the first city founded in Georgia, you’ll be sure to hear about Savannah’s history often. Especially during the annual Georgia History Festival that takes place over several months at the beginning of each year. The festival culminates with a parade and Super Museum Sunday, where more than 100 historical sites and museums open their doors for free. This is clearly any history buff’s dream festival.

You won’t have to travel far to catch your next flight either, the Hilton Head International Airport is just 20 minutes from the city. However, you’ll have to travel a bit farther for healthcare. The closest hospital is 30 miles away in Springfield, Georgia. 

If you’re ready to become a Georgia Peach you’ll only need about $50,600 a year for a couple and $32,000 a year for an individual. 

Is Savannah the city you’ve been looking for? Find more information and retirement resources here: https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/Georgia/Savannah-GA.html

The Villages, FL

The Villages, Florida cityscape and waterfront access

The Villages is consistently ranked among the fastest growing communities in the United States with just over 79,000 residents. The retirement community offers a lifestyle that many just can’t refuse with golfing, shopping, dining, performing arts, social clubs and more all organized around timeless town squares. 

There are a variety of options when it comes to housing. Whether you’re looking to downsize to a low maintenance property, or you’re looking for a three bedroom home with a patio, you’ll find real estate options to match your needs. A shuttle and a trolley-like tour bus can take residents and visitors almost anywhere around the community. However, many residents opt to use their personal golf carts to get around in style.

When it comes to healthcare, The Villages has numerous facilities available for your needs. These facilities include: The Villages Healthcare Centers, a VA outpatient clinic, senior living facilities, The Villages Regional Hospital, pharmacies, and a long-term acute care hospital.

If this retirement community sounds like your next step, you should be happy to know that it’s one of the most affordable places to live on our list. Couples may only need about $45,000 a year while an individual may only need $27,500 a year. 

Are you ready to call The Villages home? Find more information and retirement resources here: https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/Florida/The_Villages.html

Lancaster, PA

Lancaster, Pennslyvannia farmland and countryside

If you’re looking to retire in the countryside but still love a city lifestyle you may want to consider joining the other 59,000 residents of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The city is surrounded by Amish farmland so snagging a countryside cottage isn’t hard for new residents. If you’re not looking for open land, you can find your new home in a chic condo within walking distance to downtown Lancaster. 

Since you’re in Pennsylvania, you’ll still enjoy all four seasons, but winters may be harsh. However,  depending on what type of residency you choose you may not have to shovel your own driveway. There are several 55+ communities in the city that can provide that service for residents!

One of the perks of being surrounded by farmland is that fresh produce and baked goods are plentiful. The city has a growing foodie scene with new restaurants and bars popping up constantly in the downtown area. With all of the amenities Lancaster has to offer you may not want to leave, but if you’re looking to travel, the closest airport is just 35 minutes away in Harrisburg. Additionally, there are also plenty of day trips available within driving distance, many with historic landmarks.

Whether you’re a Town Mouse or a Country Mouse your new house can be in Lancaster for a lower price than you may expect. For a couple you may only need $45,000 a year and an individual may only need $27,500.

Are you ready to move to the birthplace of the nation? Find more information and retirement resources here: https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/Pennsylvania/Lancaster.html

Roanoke, VA

Downtown Roanoke, Virginia

The city of Roanoke has a lot to offer retirees including recreation, mild climate, and top-notch healthcare options. With just under 100,000 residents, Roanoke has a strong sense of community and it could be the perfect place for you to call home. 

The downtown area of Roanoke has been on the rise lately. With a growing number of restaurants, concerts, and even world-class theatre you’ll be arriving just in time for endless entertainment. But you’ll also be close to nature with greenways, hiking trails, and plenty of bodies of water for activities. 

There are also lifelong learning opportunities through the local library system, and three local colleges. It’s easy to stay mentally and physically active in a city like Roanoke. And with an airport in the city you’ll stay connected to friends and family anywhere in the world. 

If you’re ready for some small town hospitality with growing amenities, you’ll be happy to know that Roanoke won’t cost you too much. Most couples only need around $47,000 a year while individuals only need $28,000 a year. 

Ready to embark on your Virginia journey? Find more information and retirement resources here: https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/Virginia/Roanoke.html

Green Valley, AZ

Green Valley, Arizona dessert landscape

Trying to escape the cold when you retire? Still wanting to be active, but not interested in a big city? The city of Green Valley, Arizona may be right for your retirement. You’ll find dozens of desert retirement communities in the city, making it one of the larger active adult communities in the world with a population of just over 20,000 residents. 

Nature is all around in Green Valley with mountain ranges, hiking and desert trails. The warm weather will keep you outside most of the year with only moderately cold winters. You’ll also enjoy multiple golf courses, fitness centers, and recreational centers depending on what community you live in. 

Much like in The Villages, golf carts are a regular mode of transportation for residents of Green Valley. With over 80% of the city’s communities being age restricted you will be in great company with plenty of other retirees looking for a fun and active lifestyle. 

If you’re ready to ride that golf cart all over town you’ll be able to do so with little financial worry. Most couples only need $49,000 a year while individuals need less than $30,000. 

Ready to move to the Arizona desert? Find more information and resources here: https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/Arizona/Green_Valley.html

Naples, FL

Naples, Florida beachfront and cityscape

If you’re looking to retire near the beach there’s no state better than Florida to meet your needs. But Naples is so much more than a beach town, or at least the 21,000+ residents of the city think so. 

There are beautiful white sand beaches as far as the eye can see. However, there are also high-end shops, golf courses, and other recreational activities for recent retirees to enjoy. The easily walkable downtown area consists of fantastic restaurants, 5-star hotels, and charming historic buildings. Not to mention that Naples has been listed as one of the top small art towns in America. So get ready to immerse yourself in the arts!

Depending on the community you live in, you may have access to endless events, clubs, and entertainment opportunities. There are many retirement community options in Naples, so finding one that fits your ideal lifestyle and budget won’t be a problem. 

While prices in Naples have dropped recently, the population is generally characterized as affluent. However, you could need as little as $51,500 a year for couples and just over $30,000 a year for individuals. 

Are you ready to feel the sand between your toes? Find more information and retirement resources here: https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/Florida/Naples.html

Carlsbad, CA

Carlsbad, California beachfront and cityscape

Looking to retire on the West Coast? If California the perfect state for you, but you’re tired of the constant traffic and busy streets,Carlsbad may be the city you’re looking for!! With a population of just over 114,000 residents Carslbad, California has a lot to offer any new retiree.

It’s no secret that California is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the nation. But you don’t just get beaches living along the Pacific coastline. You’ll also enjoy scenic hiking trails, over 260 days of sunshine, golf courses, parks, galleries, and top notch restaurants. 

Living along the coast means fresh seafood is available all year round, but you can find all types of cuisine in the city. Looking to get the grandkids to visit? What better way than a trip to the city’s theme park, Legoland. Along with yearly festivals, there’s plenty of entertainment opportunities to keep everyone in the family excited. 

While there are a lot of amenities, retiring in California doesn’t come cheap. Most couples need at least $64,000 a year while individuals need at least $41,000 a year. 

Ready to call the California coastline home? Find more information and retirement resources here: https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/california/Carlsbad.html

San Antonio, TX

Downtown San Antonio, Texas

If you see yourself retiring in a big city with plenty to do including endless entertainment opportunities, restaurants with fantastic local cuisine, and warm weather year-round San Antonio may be a fit for you. It certainly seems to be captivating the over 1.5 million residents living there now. 

As one of the seventh largest cities in the nation, you’ll never run out of new things to do in San Antonio – including learning about our nation’s history at one of the many museums, like the Alamo. There are also many festivals held in the city throughout the year. Since there’s so much to do, it’s not surprising that the city sees a lot of tourists each year, which keeps the local San Antonio International Airport busy.

A benefit of a large city is that you have a wide variety of options when it comes to choosing your healthcare. There are over a dozen hospitals in the city and medical centers that will keep you living it up in the Texas heat. 

You’ll need less than you expect to live your new life in San Antonio. Most couples only need $47,000 a year while an individual may only need $28,000 a year. 

Ready to grab your sun hat and take on the big city? Find more information and retirement resources here: https://www.topretirements.com/reviews/Texas/San_Antonio.html

Choosing the Perfect City

While we’re partial to Tallahassee, no matter where you decide to spend your retirement, you can’t go wrong with any location on this list. We’ve carefully chosen these cities as the best cities for retirement in the United States, and the communities you’ll find there will help you live an active and exciting lifestyle all throughout your golden years. 

If you’re ready to discover why other retirees choose Tallahassee, read more here: https://choosetallahassee.com/retire-to-florida/#55lifestyle

Statistical data used in this post can be found at https://livingwage.mit.edu/