The Getaway
The 20 Cheapest Places to Retire in the USA

Imagine your retirement filled with enriching experiences that don't cost a fortune. That vision may not be as unattainable as you think. We've explored every state in the nation, analyzed the data, and identified the most affordable locations for a fulfilling retirement in the United States.

Whether you're drawn to Florida's endless summer weather and sandy beaches or Colorado's majestic peaks and wintertime snow sports, we've uncovered a variety of destinations to suit all preferences.


01 Decatur, Alabama: A haven of heritage and affordability

Aerial View of Decatur, Alabama during Spring Jacob Boomsma / Getty Images

Discover the allure of Decatur, Alabama, affectionately known as the "Heart of Dixie," where retirees find a blend of Southern hospitality and cost-effective living. With a cost of living for retirees 11.0% below the national average, your nest egg can stretch farther amidst this charming backdrop. Just think: leisurely days spent angling for bass in Wheeler Lake or absorbing the scenery of the Tennessee River Valley.

Decatur's culinary scene is tempting, with authentic Southern comfort fare and the freshest catch from nearby waters. The city's storied past comes alive through its beautifully maintained architecture and an array of museums that celebrate this city's historic moments and far-reaching heritage. And if you're merely seeking financial peace of mind, Alabama's tax policies are a boon—Social Security and most pensions remain untaxed.


02 Prescott, Arizona: Where affordability meets outdoor splendor

Prescott, Arizona DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Prescott, Arizona, is a retiree's sanctuary where the cost of living is 3.7% below the national average, allowing for a comfortable lifestyle without the financial strain of more metropolitan regions. This city is a treasure trove for those who seek a blend of small-town charm and the grandeur of the great outdoors.

Prescott is surrounded by the expansive beauty of the Prescott National Forest, offering a natural playground for hiking, biking, and exploration. The city itself is steeped in the Old West's history, with its famed Whiskey Row and the Sharlot Hall Museum providing a glimpse into Arizona's frontier past.

Cultural pursuits abound with a thriving local arts scene that includes the Prescott Center for the Arts and the Phippen Museum, which celebrates the art and history of the American West. The city's temperate climate allows for year-round golfing and outdoor festivals, ensuring that there's always something to do.

Arizona's tax policies sweeten the deal for retirees, with no state taxes on Social Security benefits and low-income taxes.


03 Hot Springs, Arkansas: The city of natural outdoor spas

Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA Townscape Sean Pavone / Getty Images

Hot Springs, Arkansas, is a serene retreat where retirees can enjoy a cost of living 7.5% below the national average. This city, renowned for its naturally thermal waters, invites you to unwind in the historic Hot Springs National Park, where 47 hot springs offer a variety of tranquil escapes.

Beyond its hot springs heritage, the city boasts a wealth of recreational activities. Golf enthusiasts can challenge themselves on the greens of more than ten championship courses, while anglers will find ample opportunities on the local lakes.

The city's vibrant arts scene is on full display with numerous galleries and theaters, and the charming historic downtown area is a hub of activity and community.

Retirees in Hot Springs benefit from more than just relaxation; low housing and healthcare costs contribute to a stress-free lifestyle, making the city one of the most rejuvenating choices for those seeking a peaceful yet engaging retirement.


04 Grand Junction, Colorado: A nature lover's paradise

Standing on Rocks Overlooking Grand Junction Colorado at Night Adventure_Photo / Getty Images

Grand Junction, Colorado, stands out as a premier destination for retirees who cherish the great outdoors, with a cost of living 4.4% below the national average. This city is a gateway to natural wonders, offering a diverse array of activities from scenic hiking and biking trails to rafting and skiing, ensuring that adventure is always just around the corner.

The city's cultural heartbeat is strong, a thriving arts scene evidenced by multiple museums and galleries, and intellectual stimulation courtesy of Colorado Mesa University's wealth of cultural and educational opportunities.

Colorado's tax policies are particularly favorable to retirees. Those aged 65 or older can subtract up to $24,000 of their pension and annuity income from the state's taxable income, providing significant savings.


05 Punta Gorda, Florida: Coastal living with a community spirit

Safe Harbor,Punta Gorda, Florida Vito Palmisano / Getty Images

Punta Gorda, Florida, is a coastal city where retirees can bask in a lifestyle that costs 5.2% less than the national average. This sunny city offers a retirement filled with gentle sea breezes and a vibrant community spirit.

Nearly half of Punta Gorda's residents are aged 65 or older, making for a welcoming atmosphere where newcomers quickly feel at home. The city's Harborwalk offers a picturesque setting for leisurely strolls along Charlotte Harbor, and local marinas are a boater's boon.

Cultural experiences are plentiful, with a variety of galleries and performance venues that host a range of events, from art shows to concerts. The historic downtown area, with its charming streets and unique shops, is a delightful place to explore and enjoy the local blend of cuisines.


06 Sandy Springs, Georgia: Suburban serenity with urban access

Condos in Atlanta suburbs just next to Highway GA 400 rodclementphotography / Gety Images

Sandy Springs, Georgia, offers retirees the perfect blend of suburban tranquility and urban excitement, with a cost of living 5.1% below the national average. This Atlanta suburb strikes an incredible balance between peaceful community atmosphere and vibrant city attractions.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the city's abundant green spaces along the infamous Chattahoochee River, which provides a picturesque setting for fishing, kayaking, and leisurely picnics. Sandy Springs also boasts a dynamic arts scene at such boutiques as gallery 4945 and venues like the City Springs Theatre Company, which offers a slate of performances and cultural events throughout the year.

The new, more walkable city center brings an urban feel to a suburban setting, featuring a mix of shops, restaurants, and public spaces that foster a sense of community.


07 Boise, Idaho: The diamond of the Gem State

Boise Skyline Fall Panorama Darwin Fan / Getty Images

Boise, Idaho, is a beacon for retirees seeking a blend of urban vibrancy and outdoor adventures, with a cost of living 6.4% below the national average. This city is a harmonious mix of bustling downtown juxtaposed against the serene Boise River Greenbelt, offering a retirement lifestyle that can be as dynamic or as peaceful as you like.

The Boise City Department of Arts & History plays a pivotal role in providing access to exceptional arts, history, and cultural programming. The department manages a collection of art, archives, and historic artifacts that are integral to the city's cultural heritage.

Public art is a significant aspect of Boise's cultural landscape, with art in public spaces adding layers of meaning, stories, and beauty, as well as a unique identity to the city. Residents and visitors can explore various public art installations throughout Boise, enhancing the urban environment and fostering community engagement.

One of the cultural landmarks in Boise is the James Castle House, the former home of James Castle, a renowned American artist known for his unique and enigmatic works. The house serves as a site for exploring Castle's life and art, offering a window into the creative process of one of the 20th century's most intriguing figures.

Idaho's retiree-friendly tax policies, which include no state taxes on Social Security benefits, make Boise an even more attractive destination.


08 Bloomington, Indiana: A heartland of cultural promise

bloomington indiana Ying Luo / 500px / Getty Images

Bloomington, Indiana, is a cultural oasis for retirees, offering an amazing cost of living at 7.3% below the national average. This city, home to Indiana University, is a blend of lush parks, a vibrant arts scene, and a community that exudes warmth and welcomes newcomers with open arms.

The city's cultural identity is anchored by Indiana University's renowned Jacobs School of Music, which not only educates future virtuosos but also enriches the community with a multitude of concerts and performances throughout the season. The IU Art Museum, designed by the famed architect I.M. Pei, houses a globally significant art collection, providing inspiration and education to all who visit.

Bloomington's commitment to the arts is evident in its public spaces, with the Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District (BEAD) serving as a hub for artists and art lovers alike. The district showcases local and national talent, fostering a creative community that thrives on collaboration and innovation.

The city's parks, such as the verdant Griffy Lake Nature Preserve, offer a natural retreat for those who enjoy the outdoors, while the B-Line Trail provides a scenic route for walking and biking through the heart of Bloomington.

Indiana's tax policies are favorable for retirees, with no state taxes on Social Security benefits and a full exemption on pension income for those over 60, making Bloomington not just a cultural heartland but also a financially wise choice for retirement.


09 Des Moines, Iowa: A hub of culture in the heart of the Midwest

Des Moines, Iowa Skyline pabradyphoto / Getty Images

Des Moines, Iowa, is a Midwestern city popular with retirees for its inviting cost of living — 6.9% below the national average. This affordability blends well with the city's urban amenities and Midwestern charm. As the capital city, Des Moines is known for its friendly atmosphere, chic arts scene, and an array of parks and recreational opportunities.

The Des Moines Art Center stands as an iconic cultural institution, featuring impressive collections and exhibitions of both modern and contemporary art. The Pappajohn Sculpture Park's striking outdoor installations, provide an urban oasis for art lovers and casual strollers alike.

The city's historical East Village is a bustling neighborhood brimming with unique shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, reflecting the community's entrepreneurial spirit. For those interested in politics and history, the Iowa State Capitol offers guided tours, showcasing its stunning architecture and the state's legislative history.

Des Moines' annual Arts Festival brings together artists from around the nation, offering retirees a chance to immerse themselves in a vibrant cultural experience.

Plus, Iowa beckons retirees with tax-friendly policies such as partial pension exclusions and no state tax on Social Security.


10 Topeka, Kansas: A culturally deep and captivating capital city

Topeka, Kansas, downtown view LawrenceSawyer / Getty Images

Topeka, Kansas, offers retirees an inviting blend of historical richness and cultural vibrancy, with a cost of living a striking 10.2% below the national average. As the state capital, Topeka is steeped in history, from the grandeur of the Kansas State Capitol building to the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site.

The city's commitment to the arts is evident in its array of cultural institutions. The Mulvane Art Museum at Washburn University provides a platform for both contemporary and historical art, while the Topeka Symphony Orchestra offers a range of musical performances throughout the year.

Topeka's public art installations, such as the NOTO Arts District's murals, add color and conversation to the city streets, inviting residents and visitors to engage with the community's creative spirit.

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the beauty of Lake Shawnee's fishing, boating, and scenic trails. The Ted Ensley Gardens at the lake provide a peaceful setting for relaxation and appreciation of the area's natural beauty.

Kansas' tax-friendly policies for retirees include exemptions on Social Security income and property tax relief for those 65 and older.


11 Lexington, Kentucky: A bluegrass beauty

Lexington, KY Downtown Aerial View With Clouds And Blue Sky Davel5957 / Getty Images

Lexington, Kentucky, home of the Kentucky Derby, is rightfully known as the "Horse Capital of the World," offering retirees access to an American pastime with a cost of living 8.8% below the national average. Lexington is a blend of Southern hospitality and equestrian traditions. This city is not only a paradise for horse lovers but also a community rich in history and culture.

The Kentucky Horse Park is a working horse farm, educational theme park, and equine competition facility that celebrates the state's deep connection to these majestic animals. Retirees can immerse themselves in the equestrian world with horse shows, museums dedicated to various breeds, and the chance to meet retired racehorses who made the horse racing industry incredibly proud.

Lexington's cultural scene is nothing less than an immersive experience, with institutions like the classical music performances at the Lexington Philharmonic or contemporary visual arts showcased by the Lexington Art League. The city's historic downtown is dotted with 19th-century architecture and offers a variety of dining and shopping experiences.

For those who appreciate the slower pace of living and the beauty of nature, the nearby Bluegrass Region's rolling hills, picturesque farms, and namesake blades of grass make for perfect scenic drives or leisurely walks. The Raven Run Nature Sanctuary offers an escape into more than 700 acres of wilderness and miles of trails.

Kentucky has no state tax on Social Security income and offers a significant deduction from other retirement income.


12 New Orleans, Louisiana: A big easy retirement

Bourbon Street, New Orleans Douglas Rissing / Getty Images

New Orleans, Louisiana, offers retirees a cost of living just below the national average by 1.2%, but it more than compensates for this with a culture so vibrant that it's known around the world. Known as the "Big Easy," New Orleans is a city where music, food, history, and joy are as natural a part of daily life as breathing.

The city's arts scene is as diverse as its cultural heritage, with institutions like the New Orleans Museum of Art housing an impressive collection spanning several millennia. The French Quarter's iconic architecture is a real-life time machine, transporting you to a distant era as live jazz pours out of every corner. New Orleans is also renowned for its culinary scene; a fusion of French, African, Spanish, and Creole influences, offering retirees an endless array of dining experiences. The city's many festivals, including the legendary Mardi Gras, provide year-round opportunities for celebration and community engagement.

For those interested in staying sharp intellectually and or learning about the region's storied culture, attend a lecture at Tulane University or a sporting event or indigenous performance at Loyola University New Orleans.


13 Columbia, Missouri: A college town with a heart

University of Missouri DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Columbia, Missouri, home of the University of Missouri, offers retirees a cost of living 6.0% below the national average, blending academic vibrancy with Midwestern hospitality. This college town is not just a place for students — it's a community rich in culture and warmth, making it an ideal retirement destination.

The University of Missouri, known as Mizzou, is a cornerstone of the city, providing not only educational opportunities but also a calendar full of cultural events, from theater productions to music concerts. The Museum of Art and Archaeology and the State Historical Society of Missouri, both located on campus, offer retirees a chance to learn about the city's art and history.

Columbia's arts scene extends well beyond the university, however, with the True/False Film Fest, an internationally recognized documentary film festival that transforms the city into a hub for filmmakers and film enthusiasts each year.

The city's parks and trails, including the MKT Nature and Fitness Trail, offer a natural respite for those who enjoy outdoor activities. Columbia's healthcare system is also noteworthy, with several top-rated facilities ensuring that retirees have access to excellent medical care.


14 Omaha, Nebraska: A midwestern marvel

Omaha Skyline with Lake and Fountain Davel5957 / Getty Images

Omaha, Nebraska, offers a harmonious blend of urban sophistication, Midwestern warmth, and a cost of living almost 8% below the national average. A cultural hub, Omaha boasts a lively downtown and a community that's as friendly as it is diverse.

The arts and culture scene in Omaha is robust, with the Omaha Community Playhouse, the largest community theater in the United States, providing a stage for local talent and compelling productions. The Joslyn Art Museum, with its extensive collection of artworks ranging from antiquity to the present, is a testament to the city's commitment to enrichment.

Omaha's love for music is embodied in the annual Omaha Jazz and Blues Festival, which attracts music enthusiasts from all over. The city's historic Old Market district offers a charming cobblestone experience, with an array of shops, galleries, and restaurants that reflect the local flavor and craftsmanship.

For those who enjoy the serenity of nature, Omaha's Lauritzen Gardens is a living museum of unique four-season plant displays, offering beauty and tranquility amidst the cityscape. The Heartland of America Park has picturesque fountains and walking paths, providing a scenic backdrop for outdoor activities.


15 Columbus, Ohio: A capital idea for retirement

A high-level view of Downtown Columbus Ohio and Scioto Mile Park at Sunrise, Columbus, OH - USA David Shvartsman / Getty Images

Columbus, Ohio's retirees enjoy a cost of living a whopping 10.3% below the national average, making it an economically appealing destination for those looking to make the most of their retirement years. As the state capital, Columbus is a city that expertly combines history with contemporary culture.

The Columbus Museum of Art is a beacon for art lovers features a diverse collection that spans from late nineteenth-century American and European works to modern and contemporary pieces. The museum's innovative exhibitions and public programs engage audiences of all ages.

The city's Short North Arts District is a cultural hub known for its monthly Gallery Hop, where art, dining, and entertainment converge, offering retirees a lively and engaging community experience. The Ohio Theatre, a historic 1928 movie palace, now serves as a premier performing arts venue, hosting everything from ballet to Broadway.

For those who enjoy nature and open green spaces, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens provide a stunning array of plant collections and art installations, set within a 19th-century conservatory.

Ohio State University enriches the city's intellectual life, offering a wide range of cultural and educational events, including lectures, concerts, and exhibitions that are open to the public.


16 Tulsa, Oklahoma: A southern charm with a pocket-friendly lifestyle

Tulsa, Oklahoma DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as the "Oil Capital of the World," offers one of the most economical costs of living for retirees, coming in at a phenomenal 11.4% below the U.S. average. This city combines the warmth of Southern hospitality with a rich blending of arts and culture.

The Philbrook Museum of Art is a cultural centerpiece in Tulsa, housed in an Italianate villa that was once a private residence. Its extensive collections and picturesque gardens provide a serene and stimulating environment for art enthusiasts. The Gilcrease Museum, another Tulsa treasure, holds one of the world's most comprehensive collections of American Western art.

Tulsa's music scene is vibrant and deeply rooted in the city's history. The Tulsa Sound blends rockabilly, country, rock 'n' roll, and blues. The city's live music venues, from the historic Cain's Ballroom to the BOK Center, offer a variety of performances that cater to all tastes.

For outdoor recreation, the Tulsa River Parks system offers miles of scenic trails along the Arkansas River, perfect for walking, cycling, or simply enjoying the view. The Gathering Place, a world-class riverfront park, provides a multitude of activities and natural spaces for residents to gather and enjoy the outdoors.

Oklahoma's tax-friendly policies for retirees include no state taxes on Social Security, and most pension income is protected from taxation as well. Homeowners aged 65 or older enjoy property tax exemptions, which help make Tulsa not just a cultural haven but also a financially attractive choice for retirement.


17 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Sun, sand, and savings

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, USA City Skyline Sean Pavone / Getty Images

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, beckons retirees with a cost of living 7.3% below the national average, offering a coastal lifestyle that's as affordable as it is attractive. This city is a paradise for those who dream of their golden years being filled with sunshine, shimmering sand, and a vibrant community.

The arts and culture scene in Myrtle Beach is thriving, with numerous galleries, theaters, and music venues offering a vast blend of experiences. The Franklin G. Burroughs-Simeon B. Chapin Art Museum, for instance, displays local and regional artists' works, offering a glimpse into the creative soul of the Carolinas.

For those who enjoy the outdoors, Myrtle Beach's 60 miles of sandy beaches and its famous boardwalk provide endless opportunities for relaxation and recreation. Golfers will find themselves spoiled for choice with an array of championship courses dotting the landscape.

The city's proximity to the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge offers a natural retreat for bird watching and exploring the unique ecosystems of the South Carolina Lowcountry.


18 Sioux Falls, South Dakota: A nature lover's paradise

Summer Aerial View of Sioux Falls, The largest City in the State of South Dakota Jacob Boomsma / Getty Images

Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is a sanctuary for retirees who appreciate both the great outdoors and urban conveniences. With a cost of living 8.1% below the national average, this city is the largest in South Dakota and offers a unique blend of natural beauty within reach of urban amenities.

The arts and culture scene in Sioux Falls is vibrant, and the Washington Pavilion serves as the cultural anchor, offering visual arts, science exhibits, and performing arts. The SculptureWalk Sioux Falls turns the city's downtown into an outdoor art gallery, showcasing sculptures from around the world.

For those who enjoy the serenity of nature, Falls Park provides a stunning centerpiece with the city's namesake waterfalls and ample green space for picnics and leisurely walks. The Big Sioux River Recreation Trail and Greenway offers over 30 miles of paved trails that meander along the river, perfect for biking, jogging, or birdwatching.

Sioux Falls also boasts a strong community spirit, with events like the annual Sioux Falls JazzFest drawing locals and visitors alike. The city's revitalized downtown area is a hub for dining, shopping, and entertainment, reflecting the growth and energy of Sioux Falls.

South Dakota's tax-friendly policies for retirees, which include no state income tax and no inheritance tax, make Sioux Falls not just a nature lover's paradise but also a financially savvy choice for retirement. Sioux Falls is a city where retirees can enjoy the best of both worlds: the tranquility of the countryside and the vibrancy of urban life.


19 Chattanooga, Tennessee: A southern charm with a pocket-friendly lifestyle

Aerial of Chattanooga Tennessee TN Skyline Kruck20 / Getty Images

Chattanooga, Tennessee, affectionately known as the "Scenic City," offers retirees a cost of living 7.7% below the national average, blending natural beauty with sizeable economic advantages. This city is a picturesque retreat located in the Tennessee River Valley, surrounded by mountains and natural wonders at every turn.

The arts and culture scene in Chattanooga is thriving, with the Hunter Museum of American Art perched on an 80-foot bluff overlooking the river, showcasing a wide range of American art. The Tivoli Theatre, known as the "Jewel of the South," provides a historic venue for live performances and films.

Chattanooga's outdoor appeal is undeniable, with the Tennessee Riverwalk offering 16 miles of scenic pathways along the river, ideal for walking, biking, or simply enjoying the views. The city is also a gateway to the Appalachian Mountains, providing ample opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, and exploring the great outdoors.

For retirees interested in lifelong learning, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga offers a range of educational and cultural events that contribute to the city's vibrant atmosphere.

Tennessee's tax-friendly policies for retirees include no state income tax on Social Security, most pension income remains untaxed, and residents aged 65 or older enjoy property tax relief.


20 Sherman, Texas: A Lone Star State gem

sherman texas dhughes9 / Getty Images

Sherman, Texas, is a hidden treasure for retirees, offering a cost of living 10.6% below the national average. This city combines the charm of small-town Texas with the cultural amenities of a larger community, making it an ideal spot for a relaxed yet engaging retirement.

The Sherman cultural scene is enriched by the presence of Austin College, a private liberal arts college that contributes to the city's intellectual and artistic life. The college hosts a variety of cultural events, including lectures, concerts, and art exhibitions that are open to the public.

The city's downtown area is a focal point for community life, with its historic buildings housing a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. The Sherman Jazz Museum is a unique local highlight, celebrating the rich history of jazz music with memorabilia and exhibits.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Sherman offers access to beautiful parks and recreational areas, such as the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, which provides a sanctuary for wildlife and a serene setting for birdwatching, hiking, and nature photography.

Texas' retiree-friendly tax policies, which include no state income tax and property tax exemptions for homeowners over 65, make Sherman not just a Lone Star State jewel but also a financially advantageous choice for retirees.


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