American Dream

The 5 Best Cities to Retire to in the United States

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For many retirees, choosing where to live after retirement depends on where their families are located. For others, retirement is seen as an adventure, a time to try new places with individuals of a similar age. Such factors as the weather, tax rates, cost of living, health care, opportunities to stay active, and crime rates can indicate some of the best retirement cities. Based on criteria such as these, here are five of the best cities to retire to in the U.S.

1. Bellingham, Washington

Bellingham has 100 miles of coastline and offers plentiful opportunities not only for outdoor adventures, but for events celebrating the arts and technology, too. The city offers a variety of excursions, including skiing, whale-watching, fishing, kayaking, hiking, boutique shopping, music festivals, and wine tastings. Bellingham is also home to the Academy for Lifelong Learning at Western Washington University, a great place for retirees to meet others and pursue new interests. The Academy hosts short, college-level courses in the traditional sciences and other areas, such as cultural excursions. If there’s one con, it’s the cost of living, which is higher than the national average. Homes are pricier, too, at a median price of $276,000.

2. Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha is one of the best cities to retire to because it offers numerous jobs for retirees who want a little extra income, a welcoming atmosphere, a beautiful riverfront, and a lower cost of living that’s around 11.7 percent below the national average. It also boasts a strong health care system, since health care institutions are the biggest employers in the city. Its wide variety of attractions keep retirees busy, such as more than 50 golf courses, an art museum with 11,000 pieces, and a performing arts center that attracts big names. Omaha also boasts a wide array of local breweries, a zoo with the nation’s largest indoor rainforest, and a quality farmers’ market.

3. Corpus Christi, Texas

Corpus Christi is one of the best cities to retire to because it offers the warm weather and beaches that make Florida so attractive to retirees—more than 100 miles of beaches, in fact—but at a much lower cost of living. The Sparkling City by the Sea also offers many activities for retirees, including fishing and dolphin-spotting cruises, galleries and museums downtown (such as the USS Lexington), scenic trails for bird watching, the Texas State Aquarium, golf courses, kayaking, and a minor league baseball team.

4. Madison, Wisconsin

Despite its colder climate, Madison is a popular retirement city in part because 11 accredited hospitals means easy access to quality health care. It’s also home to the University of Wisconsin, which offers many non-credited classes that might interest retirees. The progressive city caters to a variety of tastes, whether you’re interested in a history museum with documents dating back to frontier times or a mustard museum that hands out Poupon U diplomas.

5. Daytona Beach, Florida

No retirement list is complete without a city from Florida. The warm weather and beautiful beaches are a huge draw, as is Florida’s lack of state income tax; Social Security and pensions are also not taxed here, although you’ll still face federal taxes. Daytona in particular is an attractive city for retirees because it boasts a ballpark, great fishing spots, racing events such as the Daytona 500, museums, and low prices for retirees who have less to live on. For example, the Good Samaritan Society in Daytona runs downtown residences that can cost as little as $600 a month and include a free meal a day.

Choosing a place to live out your retirement years isn’t easy. Research your options thoroughly first and decide for yourself which city offers the amount of activities, good health care options, and strong economy that will set your mind at ease.

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