Skip to main content

The 9 Best Cities to Retire to in the U.S.
Real Estate

The 9 Best Cities to Retire to in the U.S.

Should you retire by the beach or in the mountains? Should you favor healthcare access or recreational activities?

Share

5 min read

November 28, 2021

Retirement brings on a new pace of life. No more work deadlines, stressful morning commutes, and daydreaming of the weekend to spend time with your loved ones. With a chance to turn the page and craft your dream life anew, the freedom to choose a location to settle can easily become overwhelming. Should you retire by the beach or in the mountains? Should you favor healthcare access or recreational activities? World-class golf courses or amazing ski resorts? It all comes down to your personal preferences, but taking a look at the best cities to retire in the U.S. could inspire you to make a decision more swiftly.

Best Cities to Retire in the U.S.

Palm Springs is noted for its mid-century modern architecture, design elements, arts and cultural scene, and recreational activities.

Palm Springs, California 

Median home price: $591,340
Percentage of population over age 55: 51%

The large percentage of retirement-age residents is a good enough indicator of how accommodating Palm Springs can be to retirees. Located in one of the best states to retire in the United States, Palm Springs is a solid choice for its varied recreational activities, easy-going ambiance, and community of people at the same stage of life as you. After all, who wouldn’t want to lead a life in a desert surrounded by mid-century modern architecture, stylish desert hotels, and manicured golf courses?

Eureka, California

Median home price: $389,930
Percentage of population over age 55: 31%

Eureka is easily one of the best cities to retire in the U.S. if you favor peace, quiet, and beautiful nature at your disposal. Not only will you be surrounded by incredible redwood forests and mesmerizing coastlines, but you’ll also be settling in one of the most affordable places to retire in the U.S. Yes, you read that right, this incredibly beautiful NorCal town is a nature lover’s dream with a price tag that makes it one of the least expensive places to retire in the U.S. Plus, Eureka is so beautiful that your family will likely make frequent weekend visits as well. However, if damp weather and rainy days are not your favorites, then this serene city may not be the one for you.

Known for its strong tourism industry, in 2016 Travel + Leisure Magazine ranked Charleston as the best city in the world.

Charleston, South Carolina

Median home price: $429,400
Percentage of population over age 55: 27%

A large variety of retirement activities, relative affordability, and good healthcare—is that not the perfect formula for an A+ retirement city? With a distinct southern charm and a relaxed coastal vibe, the oldest city in South Carolina spoils its residents of retirement age with top healthcare providers, generous tax exemptions, numerous recreational activities, and more desirable attributes that elevate your quality of life. With all these great characteristics, the fact that South Carolina is still one of the cheapest places to retire in the U.S. boggles our minds. 

Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Median home price: $2,072,610
Percentage of population over age 55: 57%

A stunning setting, rich artistic culture, and a history dating back to Spanish missionaries—charming Carmel is hard to resist. Over half of the population of this Central Coast town is over the age of 55, so it isn’t tough to tell who it appeals to most either. Spend your days strolling through upscale art galleries, playing at the top golf courses, and spending time at the most beautiful white-sand beaches. Considered California's crown jewel, Carmel-by-the-Sea is truly one of the best cities to retire in the U.S. for those who can afford its hefty price tag.

One of the nicest things about visiting S.F. is that while the city is “big” in terms of attractions and amenities, it's geographically small.

San Francisco, California

Median home price: $,522,830
Percentage of population over age 55: 27%

San Francisco is a hub for young professionals, but it also happens to be a wonderful place for retirees who can’t part ways with the busy city life. For starters, it’s very walkable, public transit is affordable for seniors, and medical care is top of the line. Plus, you’ll never run out of things to do. Great theaters, museums, restaurants, and a fantastic library system mean that San Francisco is one of the best cities to retire in the U.S. if you want to live a vibrant retiree lifestyle. You may need to drop a pretty penny on rent, but you’ll soon realize that it’s totally worth it.

Scottsdale, Arizona

Median home price: $731,770
Percentage of population over age 55: 39%

Scottsdale ranks high in terms of quality of life for retirees. You’ll find plenty of good company, experience dry and temperate weather, and enjoy a friendly retirement tax system. But the biggest perk that makes Scottsdale one of the best cities to retire in the U.S. is that you’ll never get bored here. There's skiing, boating, golfing, biking, hiking, sightseeing, fishing, and plenty of other awesome activities that’ll allow you to live the retirement lifestyle you’ve always dreamt of.

Santa Barbara has earned a reputation as the “American Riveria” because of its Mediterranean climate and stretches of sandy shores.

Santa Barbara, California

Median home price: $1,552,800
Percentage of population over age 55: 32%

While Santa Barbara may not be the best place to retire in the U.S. on a budget, it certainly is one of the most beautiful options. Lovely Mediterranean weather, plenty of places to play, arts in abundance, top-notch healthcare facilities, and a surplus of opportunities to stay active—what’s not to love about this sunny SoCal city? Spend your golden years living in the Golden State like you know you deserve to do.

San Luis Obispo, California

Median home price: $868,080
Percentage of population over age 55: 22%

San Luis Obispo is more than just a paradise getaway. This incredible Central Coast city is one that’ll keep you young at heart. Almost equally inhabited by retirees and college students, S.L.O. offers a unique combination of liveliness and tranquility to its residents. Discover numerous places for shopping, enjoy plenty of outdoor recreation, and dine at a new restaurant every weekend. Worried you’ll still run out of things to do? The central location of the best city to retire in the U.S. allows you to plan last-minute getaways up north and down south whenever you feel like it.

Sarasota has many musical, dance, theatre, circus and other performing arts venues, including the Sarasota Ballet and Sarasota Opera.

Sarasota, Florida

Median home price: $377,560
Percentage of population over age 55: 42%

Beautiful beaches, warm weather, and top-notch recreational and cultural amenities earn Sarasota a spot on the list of best cities to retire in the U.S. And the best part? This slice of paradise is surprisingly affordable. The reasonable housing costs for retirees make Sarasota one of the best options in the realm of the cheapest places to retire in the U.S. Many other perks such as beautiful outdoor recreation spots, active golf, art and culture scene, and opportunities to live an active, healthy lifestyle make it a desirable place to live for anyone of any age.

Recomended businesses

Show me California.com
Recommended Businesses near

Discover the best of California. Our recommended businesses are top-quality and are committed to their communities.



RELATED Articles

Discover More

fueled by the power of California love
We’re committed to helping you discover the places, people and businesses that make our state Golden. Our online publication, updated daily, brings you all the content you need to live your California dreams. And that’s just the beginning…
LEARN MORE ABOUT US
Purpose section
Purpose section