13 Best Places to Retire in the U.S in 2023

Choosing where to spend your retirement years is an important decision. The perfect spots balance affordability, amenities, recreation, and accessibility to quality healthcare. If you’re looking for inspiring locations to retire in 2023, here are 13 of the best places to retire across the United States in 2023.

Top Places to Retire in the U.S

Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota on Florida’s Gulf Coast combines small-town charm with cosmopolitan culture. The lively downtown area along Main Street offers high-end art galleries, upscale shopping boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and elegant bars and entertainment venues. Visitors delight in attractions like the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota Opera House, and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Active retirees enjoy golfing at the many PGA-level championship courses or playing tennis at facilities like the Field Club. Sarasota’s barrier islands provide access to white sand beaches along the turquoise waters. Reasonable home prices coupled with Florida’s tax benefits make Sarasota an economically smart choice as well.

Population: Around 58,000 Average

Home Cost: $355,000

Key Stats: Avg winter temp of 71°F, median household income of $63,000, violent and property crime rates below national averages

Activities: Beaches, theaters, golf, tennis, fishing, boating, nature preserves, art museums

Bluffton, South Carolina

Best Places to Retire in the U.S

Just minutes from popular Hilton Head Island, charming Bluffton delivers stunning natural scenery with greater affordability. Peaceful rivers, marshes, and grand old oak trees dripping in Spanish moss typify the landscape. Retirees enjoy laid-back days walking the area’s abundant nature trails or going on kayaking jaunts spotting alligators and blue herons. The quaint downtown features boutiques, funky cafes, gourmet restaurants, and wine bars. Nice parks, walkable neighborhoods, and community events like free summer concerts cement Bluffton as a well-rounded retirement choice.

Population: Around 25,000

Average Home Cost: $347,000

Key Stats: Avg summer temp of 89°F, median household income of $83,000, property and violent crime rates below national averages

Activities: Riverside parks, farmers markets, golf, kayaking, fishing, biking, day trips to Hilton Head beaches

Hendersonville, North Carolina

Nestled into the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, small town Hendersonville tempts retirees with its pristine natural surroundings and mild weather. Outdoorsy types can head up to the nearby Dupont State Recreational Forest to enjoy hiking through mountainous wilderness terrain on trails leading to scenic waterfalls. The charming brick-lined Main Street downtown area beckons with independent shops, restaurants, breweries, and the historic 1903 Henderson County Courthouse. The cost of living stays modest for North Carolina coupled with great regional healthcare access via Pardee Hospital, part of the UNC Health network.

Population: Around 14,000

Average Home Cost: $352,000

Key Stats: Avg summer temp of 87°F, median household income of $47,000, below the average property and violent crime

Activities: Hiking, boating, fishing, mountain biking, ziplining, shopping downtown, Sierra Nevada Brewery tours

Prescott Valley, Arizona

Prescott Valley mixes small-town warmth with Arizona’s dramatic high desert scenery. Set against the Bradshaw Mountains, outdoor recreation options abound, from hiking and mountain biking among cacti to boating and kayaking on Lynx Lake. For golf lovers, courses like StoneRidge, Quailwood Greens, and Antelope Hills await. Typical of Arizona, taxes, and the cost of living stay low. The tri-city area of Prescott, Prescott Valley, and Chino Valley provides convenient amenities with shops, restaurants, healthcare via Yavapai Regional Medical Center, and activities only minutes away.

Population: Around 45,000

Average Home Cost: $411,000

Key Stats: Avg summer temp of 90°F, median household income of $60,000, property and violent crime rates below national averages

Activities: Golf, boating, nearby skiing, mountain biking, casinos, bowling, dining

Best Places to Retire in the U.S

Franklin, Tennessee

Part of the Nashville metro, charming Franklin offers vibrant small-town living with convenient big-city access only 20 minutes away. Scenic landscapes along the Harpeth River, Civil War history, boutique shops, music venues, festivals, farmer’s markets, and farm-to-table cuisine create many charms for retirees. Mild weather allows year-round enjoyment of walkable parks, social clubs, and community events. Families appreciate top-ranked Williamson County schools and kid-friendly attractions like mini-golf. Tennessee taxes stay low as well.

Population: Around 87,000

Average Home Cost: $549,000

Key Stats: Avg summer temp of 89°F, median household income of $86,000, below the average property and violent crime

Activities: Historic tours, hiking, biking, golf, wine tasting, parks, breweries, music scene

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Winston-Salem impresses retirees with its affordability and small city amenities, complemented by arts, culture, collegiate influence, and major healthcare access. The pedestrian-friendly downtown tempts with craft breweries, locally owned shops, and creative southern cuisine eateries. The Reynolda House Museum of American Art and Center for Contemporary Arts offer cultural enrichment. Temperate North Carolina weather allows year-round recreation in flowery gardens or along the 40-mile Salem Creek Greenway. Major providers like Wake Forest Baptist Health ensure excellent regional healthcare. The cost of living also remains very reasonable for urban amenities and comforts.

Population: Around 247,000

Average Home Cost: $177,000

Key Stats: Avg summer temp of 87°F, median household income of $46,000, property and violent crime rates in line with national averages

Activities: Gardens, greenways, Reynolda House Museum, Wake Forest sports, bowling, minor league baseball

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Best Places to Retire in the U.S

Grand Rapids strikes an excellent balance between the cost of living, quality of life, and health services. The growing craft beer and dining scenes deliver downtown vibrancy with trendy shops, pubs, and farm-to-table fare. The immense Grand River winding through the metro area allows sailing, kayaking, fishing, and scenic views. Easy access to the Great Lakes region provides abundant outdoor options like beaches, boating, bike trails, and winter sports. The Van Andel Institute and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital ensure first-rate specialized care. Cultural attractions like the renowned Frederik Meijer Gardens botanical experience and ArtPrize festival cement Grand Rapids as a diverse and engaging community.

Population: Around 200,000

Average Home Cost: $250,000

Key Stats: Avg winter temp of 24°F, median household income of $57,000, below average property and violent crime

Activities: Meijer Gardens, ArtPrize festival, beer culture, water sports, skiing nearby, festivals

Cape Coral, Florida

On Florida’s Gulf Coast, Cape Coral provides affordable waterfront living, resort-like amenities, and access to the white-sand beaches of Sanibel and Captiva Islands just a short drive away. Over 400 miles of canals add to recreational opportunities like boating, fishing, paddle boarding, and kayaking practically right outside your door. The city maintains over 180 parks and clubhouses to keep life active. Major healthcare systems like Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida provide care. The restaurants, shopping, golf, and amenities you expect on vacation are everyday luxuries.

Population: Around 204,000

Average Home Cost: $319,000

Key Stats: Avg winter temp of 75°F, median household income of $71,000, property crime rate above but violent crime below the national average

Activities: Beach, golf, fishing, boating, paddle boarding, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center nearby

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston exudes elegant antebellum charm coupled with cosmopolitan High-end dining and culture. Historic streets dotted with churches, wrought-iron gates, cobblestones, and stately mansions built before the Civil War conjure history. The lively waterfront area beckons with restaurants, bars, and romantic walks along the Battery promenade. The city’sprimes golf courses and nearby beaches on islands like Isle of Palms and Kiawah Island delight outdoorsy retirees. Excellent healthcare access comes via centers like the Medical University of South Carolina and Roper St. Francis Hospital, ensuring comprehensive care.

Population: Around 142,000

Average Home Cost: $397,000

Key Stats: Avg summer temp of 83°F, median household income of $69,000, property and violent crime rates similar to national averages

Activities: Historic tours, boating, golf, beaches, waterfront parks, outdoor dining, farmers market

Best Places to Retire in the U.S

Carmel, Indiana

Part of the Indianapolis metro, Carmel often tops national livability rankings thanks to abundant amenities, low crime, parks, strong schools, and economic prosperity. The walkable downtown brims with locally owned shops, arts, and upscale restaurants. Carmel also claims excellent city services, top-ranked schools hosting grandkids, and every major healthcare provider from Indiana University Health to St. Vincent’s Carmel Hospital. For nature lovers, 100 miles of scenic Monon Greenway multi-use trails are ideal for cycling and jogging span across the city. Despite its big city offerings, Carmel maintains Midwestern warmth and community values.

Population: Around 99,000

Average Home Cost: $407,000

Key Stats: Avg winter temp of 28°F, median household income of $111,000, low property and violent crime rates

Activities: Boutique shops, Indianapolis nearby, parks, trails, art centers, live music

Madison, Wisconsin

Madison seduces with inviting small-town warmth coupled with the cultural perks of a thriving Big 10 college town centered around the University of Wisconsin. Situated on an isthmus between the scenic lakes Mendota and Monona, Madison’s vibrant downtown beckons with unique shops, museums like the Chazen Art Museum, diverse restaurants, and lively music venues and pubs. Extensive parks, lakes, gardens, and greenways like the Lakeshore Nature Preserve offer ample outdoor recreation for cycling, boating, jogging, and sports. The cost of living stays very affordable thanks to the absence of an income tax on retirement distributions. But cold snowy winters detract for some.

Population: Around 258,000

Average Home Cost: $327,000

Key Stats: Avg winter temp of 18°F, median household income of $63,000, low property and violent crime

Activities: UW events, museums, gardens, clubs, biking, skiing, beer halls

Best Places to Retire in the U.S

Port St. Lucie, Florida

Port St. Lucie in South Florida provides a very affordable waterfront retirement option with recreation galore. The Spanish-style community situated along the Saint Lucie River mixes active adult neighborhoods, public parks with dedicated pickleball and bocce ball facilities, and broader city amenities. The sunny climate fosters year-round golf, boating, fishing, swimming, and other outdoor pursuits. For convenience, major healthcare providers include Cleveland Clinic Tradition Hospital and St. Lucie Medical Center. Reasonable home prices coupled with Florida’s tax advantages offer budget value.

Population: Around 204,000

Average Home Cost: $266,000

Key Stats: Avg winter temp of 75°F, median household income of $54,000, property crime rate above but violent crime below national average

Activities: Golf, boating, fishing, biking, gardens, spring training baseball

Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine delights visitors with its historic cobblestone streets, brick waterfront old port district, lighthouses and famed fresh seafood eateries. It embodies quintessential New England coastal charm. But it equally impresses with a thriving arts and music scene, microbreweries serving local craft beer, and renowned restaurants making it a foodie paradise. L.L.Bean’s flagship store adds flair. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy sailing Casco Bay, exploring the majestic Maine shoreline, and hiking trails year-round. Top healthcare comes via the award-winning Maine Medical Center. But the high cost of living and cold, snowy winters are disadvantages.

Population: Around 67,000

Average Home Cost: $489,000

Key Stats: Avg winter temp of 23°F, median household income of $71,000, property and violent crime rates below national averages

Activities: Lighthouse tours, schooner excursions, trail hiking, art walks, lobster dinners, museums

Finding Your Ideal Destination

The range of alluring retirement spots across the U.S. provides options catering to every lifestyle and preference. Considering affordability, climate, amenities, ambiance, and location allows narrowing down choices best aligned with your retirement goals. Remember, one community need not provide everything year-round. Part-time snowbirding lets you enjoy the best of two or more vibrant locations. With an open mind, our nation offers inspiring launching pads into new adventures ahead.

FAQs About Best Places to Retire in the U.S

What are the most tax-friendly states for retirees?

Florida, Nevada, Wyoming, Alaska, Washington, South Dakota, Texas, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Arizona rate among the most tax-friendly states for retirees. Most exempt pension and Social Security income.

Where are the most affordable places to retire in the U.S.?

Very affordable cities for retirees based on cost of living include Pittsburgh, Knoxville, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Little Rock, St. Louis, Louisville, Indianapolis, Omaha, and Des Moines.

What are the best beach towns to retire in the U.S.?

Top seaside retirement spots based on amenities, affordability, and ambiance include Cape Coral FL, Charleston SC, Destin FL, Fort Myers FL, Pensacola FL, Corpus Christi TX, Oceanside CA, Bellingham WA, and Virginia Beach VA.

Which states rate highest for retirement healthcare quality and access?

Top-ranked retirement locales for healthcare excellence include Minneapolis, Seattle, Rochester MN, Portland, OR, Denver, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Boston, Tampa, and Chapel Hill NC.

Where are the best places to retire for moderate weather year-round?

Cities with pleasant, mild climates and four gentle seasons include San Diego, Los Angeles, Tampa, Fort Myers, Orlando, Charlotte, Savannah, Charleston, Asheville, and Virginia Beach among othe

A Ahmad
A Ahmad

A Ahmad, a certified financial planner, Retirement Step was created to share over two decades of retirement planning experience with readers looking to take control of their financial futures.

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