The Getaway
Consider these 20 American Cities for Retirement

If you're planning to change cities after leaving the workforce, you aren't alone — many retirees relocate in search of better weather, exciting activities, or a lower cost of living. Whether you're dreaming of a mountain condo or a waterfront escape, the right location has a big impact on your quality of life.

As you plan the next phase of your life, it's helpful to have an ideal lifestyle in mind. The best cities for retirement are those that match your recreational interests and maximize your retirement income.

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01 Portland, Maine

Set next to the Atlantic Ocean, historic Portland is a haven for retirees who are interested in art, food, and history. Though it's the biggest city in Maine, Portland has a population of just 68,000. Healthcare costs are lower than the state average, and the average rent for a one-bedroom home is $1,260.

If you're dreaming of a retirement filled with outdoor activities, Portland is the ideal home base. Within a few minutes of downtown, you'll find beaches, lighthouses, golf courses, and hiking trails along the rugged Maine coast.

02 Albuquerque, New Mexico

With its low cost of living, rich cultural heritage, and spectacular high-desert setting, Albuquerque is an increasingly popular place to retire. Housing costs fall well below the national average; choose from a condo, a single-family home, or one of the area's many retirement communities. No matter which you choose, you'll benefit from the low property taxes.

The climate in Albuquerque is pleasant, with hot summers and mild, sunny winters. Precipitation is minimal, so you can get outdoors year-round to explore the nearby Sandia Mountains or enjoy the city's many festivals.

03 Idaho Falls, Idaho

Set on the banks of the Snake River in eastern Idaho, Idaho Falls provides mountain access without the high price tag. The downtown area sits a stone's throw from the Caribou Mountains and 90 miles from Grand Teton National Park. Despite its enviable location, the cost of living is low; a one-bedroom apartment averages just $800 per month.

Idaho Falls attracts retirees who are seeking a relaxed lifestyle and a welcoming community. You won't find traffic jams here — the city is home to just 66,000 people. Locals revel in the expansive views, world-class fly-fishing, and surprising variety of cultural events.

04 Port St. Lucie, Florida

Port St. Lucie is legendary among retirees and for good reason. Housing costs are low compared to the rest of Florida, so you can enjoy the state's tax breaks and year-round warm weather without breaking the bank. Approximately 20% of the city's population is 65 or older.

Since Port St. Lucie is separated from the busy West Palm Beach to Miami corridor, it boasts lower traffic levels, easier parking, and a more relaxed atmosphere. The Atlantic Ocean beaches and the boater-friendly Intracoastal are a quick drive from most homes in the area.

05 Columbus, Ohio

Columbus is an under-the-radar retirement destination that's gaining traction with active retirees. With a population just north of 900,000 people, this compact city has the feeling of a smaller town and the amenities of a major metro area. As a resident, you can enjoy a wide array of restaurant options, a thriving performing arts scene, and an expansive park system. The ever-growing tech sector and The Ohio State University infuse the area with fresh, innovative energy.

Though it's the state capital, Columbus has a cost of living that's well below the U.S. average. Housing, in particular, is reasonably priced, whether you're renting or buying.

06 Ann Arbor, Michigan

When you're looking for diversity and a friendly Midwestern atmosphere, Ann Arbor is an ideal place to retire. The University of Michigan is located downtown, attracting a highly educated population, a staggering variety of restaurants, and a booming arts scene — as well as the top-ranked healthcare system in the state.

Ann Arbor is small and comfortable, with a population of just 120,000. If your retirement plan includes travel, the Detroit airport lies just 30 miles west.

07 Savannah, Georgia

Embrace an energetic retirement lifestyle in Savannah, a walkable city in southeastern Georgia. Though its population is just shy of 150,000, this charming southern spot is overflowing with activities. Residents enjoy a wealth of museums, unparalleled waterfront recreation, and a full calendar of festivals and arts events. With the balmy climate, you can get outdoors year-round.

Despite its world-famous architecture and rich history, the cost of living in Savannah is lower than both the Georgia and U.S. averages. Georgia doesn't tax Social Security and provides a generous retirement income tax exemption.

08 Lancaster, Pennsylvania

Lancaster has emerged as one of the most popular spots for retirees in recent years. This trend is driven by the affordable housing market; houses in the area average just $171,000. Retirees also earn tax-free Social Security benefits and retirement income.

Life in Lancaster is good, especially if you're interested in American history or the arts. The climate features four seasons, and a short drive brings you to the wilderness or major urban areas.

09 Melbourne, Florida

Melbourne is one of the most affordable cities in Florida for retirees. Costs for housing, healthcare, and transportation are lower than the state and national average. If you choose to rent, expect an average price of $1,140 for a one-bedroom.

Located a few minutes from the Atlantic Ocean on the Space Coast, Melbourne has a quiet atmosphere and a slow pace of life. Spend your days relaxing on the beach, paddling the Indian River Lagoon, or working on your swing at one of the local golf courses.

10 Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville is an artistic city located deep in the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains. It beckons retirees with a beguiling blend of outdoor adventures, lively events, and one of the best restaurant scenes in the state. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs through town, and the Great Smoky Mountains are less than an hour away.

Though Asheville has four distinct seasons, you don't need to worry about extreme weather. Summers bring pleasant 80-degree days, and the temperature rarely drops below 30 degrees in the winter. North Carolina is a tax-friendly state for retirees, with a full exemption for Social Security income.

11 Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Make the most of your retirement income in Sioux Falls, a quiet city of 190,000 people. The cost of living is much lower than the United States average, particularly when it comes to housing. Expect to see a break on your tax bill, too — South Dakota does not have a state income tax.

Sioux Falls is known for its friendly residents and slow pace of life. On warm summer days, locals flock to the parks along the Big Sioux River. Two highly rated healthcare systems provide a range of general and specialty care, and local organizations host a full lineup of organized social events for retirees.

12 Louisville, Kentucky

Southern charm meets city living in Louisville, the largest city in Kentucky. There's always something interesting to do, whether you're in the mood to explore the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, dive into baseball history, or see the races at Churchill Downs. The city also features an innovative restaurant scene and more than 120 parks.

Compared to the U.S. average, Louisville has a reasonable cost of living. The median home cost is slightly higher than $229,000, and a one-bedroom apartment rents for $870. If you need a change of pace, Nashville, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati lie within a 3-hour drive.

13 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

If you're dreaming of retiring by the ocean, Myrtle Beach is one of the most affordable options. In addition to the low cost of living, this South Carolina city has low property taxes, retirement income tax deductions, and tax-free Social Security. Healthcare options are plentiful, and the Grand Strand Regional Medical Center is among the top 10 best hospitals in the state.

Myrtle Beach has warm summers and pleasantly cool winters, so you can explore the white-sand beaches every month of the year. You won't be alone; retirees make up more than 21% of the population.

14 Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota makes regular appearances on "best places to retire" lists. You'll understand why as soon as you arrive — the warm weather, the calm waters, and the stunning Gulf Coast beaches create a high quality of life. Add in a high-caliber arts scene and year-round fishing, and you have a recipe for a relaxing retirement.

All of these perks come at a surprisingly affordable price, particularly when compared to the eastern side of the state. The cost of living in Sarasota is lower than average for Florida and slightly higher than the national average.

15 Casper, Wyoming

Casper is situated in the center of Wyoming, an easy drive from the state's remarkable wilderness areas. You don't need to go far for outdoor fun; the Platte River runs through town, and the Laramie Mountains sit close by. Many homes in the city come with panoramic views of the peaks and plains.

One of the biggest reasons to retire in Casper is the cost of living. Housing is affordable, with the median home cost coming in just over $250,000. A large hospital serves residents from the surrounding areas, ensuring easy access.

16 Fredericksburg, Texas

Retire in the picturesque Texas hill country in Fredericksburg. This is the perfect spot for active small-town living — the 11,000 residents enjoy hiking, biking, and top-notch wineries. If you're in the mood for city amenities, San Antonio is about one hour south.

When it comes to the cost of living, Fredericksburg is on par with the U.S. average. You can expect to pay $840 for a one-bedroom home, and transportation costs are significantly lower than in other areas of Texas.

17 Spokane, Washington

If your ideal retirement involves a four-season climate and year-round recreation, Spokane is a great choice. Located in eastern Washington, this mid-sized city sits close to the least-visited wilderness areas in the northwestern United States. When you're not skiing or hiking, explore the many breweries, restaurants, and music venues in the busy downtown.

Spokane is the second-largest city in the state, but it's a bargain compared to the metro areas on the west coast. The overall cost of living is lower than the state average; healthcare is especially affordable, and you don't need to worry about paying state income tax.

18 Eugene, Oregon

Enjoy a Pacific Northwest retirement lifestyle in Eugene, a central Oregon city of 175,000 people. Nestled in the Willamette River valley, it features a lush landscape, a bustling wine region, and a community that's dedicated to the arts. Drive 60 miles west to find the wild Oregon coast; an hour to the east brings you deep into the Cascade Range.

Eugene provides the opportunity to enjoy the state's wilderness and culture without sacrificing affordability. The cost of living is lower than the Oregon average, and your Social Security benefits are tax-free.

19 Boca Raton, Florida

Boca Raton is one of the most popular places to retire in the United States. Make the most of the sunny days and warm weather at 34 golf courses, or head to the quiet beaches on the Atlantic coast. In town, you'll find museums, performing arts venues, and restaurants to rival any major city.

Life in Boca isn't a bargain, but it's more affordable than Miami and other seaside towns. As a Florida resident, you're entitled to retiree tax breaks and no income tax.

20 Ogden, Utah

Tucked between the Great Salt Lake and the towering Wasatch Range, Ogden boats a postcard-perfect location and easy access to outdoor recreation. There are three ski resorts within a 20-mile radius, and a large hiking trail network stretches along the eastern edge of the city.

The cost of living in Ogden is lower than the Utah average. Whether you live in the foothills or the small, historic downtown, you'll benefit from reasonable property taxes and a low crime rate.

Ogden's historic 25th Street, winter. mandicoleman.com / Getty Images
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