Like many Americans, you probably cannot stop dreaming about your retirement. So, whether you are ready for matching beach chairs or planning an early retirement getaway, these eight locations are must-see places to visit before you retire. (And, hey, maybe you can actually retire there.)
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1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
It is no surprise that Myrtle Beach is a popular spot for vacationing retirees or soon-to-be retirees. Not only is it a great place to vacation, but reasonable housing prices mean that you could move there permanently when it’s time for you to retire.
Enjoy 60 miles of beaches, gorgeous ocean sunsets, or exercise along the boardwalk near the Atlantic Ocean. Plus, the $1,290 median mortgage cost per month is not astronomical if you want to buy a house. If you are looking to rent instead, you can get a place for around $959 per month.
Even better, South Carolina is a tax-friendly state. The tax benefits and lack of social security tax mean that your retirement savings can stretch a lot further here.
Since summers can get humid, North Myrtle Beach has a more temperate climate for people looking for less intense heat.
Myrtle Beach is not short on entertainment, either. There’s Broadway at the Beach, the Skywheel, and Ripley Aquarium to get you started.
With museums, theaters, sunset cruises, golf courses, fresh seafood, quality healthcare services near the coast, and plenty of age-appropriate companionships, this is a community that you could call home.
2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
If you are vacationing to find a future retirement locale, the chances are that you are looking for a place with a good economy, a low crime rate, and a place where you can find happiness.
According to U.S. News and World Report, Ann Arbor, Michigan ranks high on that list. The town is a college town, with 19% of the population over age 60. A thriving economy is also a bonus if you plan to work part-time.
Those who need entertainment and love sports need look no further than Michigan stadium. On the other hand, if you prefer gardens, music, or museums, the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History, the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, the Nichols Arboretum, and the Hill Auditorium lie just around the corner.
You can also take free classes as a Michigan resident at the University of Michigan if your income falls below $65,000.
This city scored high on the retirees’ happiness index. They report experiencing a good economy and having enough energy to do the things they love.
If you bask in warm summers, love a white Christmas, and enjoy some temperate cloudy days, then Ann Arbor might be perfect for you.
3. Asheville, North Carolina
Are you an arts and crafts lover who enjoys mountain scenery and adventure? Look no further than Asheville, North Carolina.
With a picturesque downtown packed with artists, writers, and musicians, this community offers innovative restaurants and craft breweries. It is also home to the gorgeous Biltmore Estate, historic Biltmore Village, and winery.
If hiking or exploring outdoors is more your thing, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Nantahala, and Pisgah National Forests are all within driving distance.
The city rests in a subtropical climate, which means that it has hot, humid summers offset by short, mild winters.
Even better, Asheville gets a high score both for affordability and happiness, according to Sharecare’s Community Well-Being Index.
4. Knoxville, Tennessee
Nestled in the Great Smoky Mountains, Knoxville, Tennessee, is one of the top up-and-coming places to retire. With nearly a quarter of its population aged over 60, you will find yourself in good company.
The good news is that it is also an affordable and low-cost housing area for retirees. Knoxville is a good option if you are concerned about stretching your retirement budget further. Tennessee does not tax any forms of income except interest and dividends.
Additionally, if you are a low-income senior, you may qualify for an exemption. For this reason, Knoxville is a great place to geo-arbitrage or to save money by moving to a cheaper location.
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If you’re keen on exploring and like a cooler mountain climate, the area is surrounded by nature trails, the Ijams Nature Center, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Knoxville also offers local sporting events, a downtown market, walking tours, and live music venues with its college-town vibes.
5. York, Pennsylvania
With a steady economy, historic downs, and excellent healthcare access, several towns in the state of Pennsylvania rank high on the list from U.S. News & World Report about the best places to retire in the United States.
For history buffs, there is plenty to see in York. Founded in the eighteenth century, York has a historical touch that includes beautiful colonial buildings and red brick architecture. The city also played a central role in the Revolutionary War when it briefly acted as the nation’s capital. It’s also where the Continental Congress passed the Articles of Confederation in 1781.
York’s hot, humid summers and moderately cold winters will give you a taste of all four seasons while you explore the Old City Historic District, enjoy local murals, or grab lunch at the famous Central Market House.
6. Portland, Oregon
Both hip Baby Boomers and early-retirement Millennials can find something to enjoy in Portland.
Indulge your playful or wild side with the city’s “Keep Portland Weird” motto.
Its unique culture includes self-expressive bicycle rides, the famous Voodoo Doughnut bakery, the nation’s largest urban park, and a giant chess set downtown. In addition, hiking spots, such as Mount Hood, are within driving distance.
Residents are friendly, laid-back, and contribute to a booming startup economy. Unfortunately, although Portland has four clear seasons, it is also famous for its rainy drizzle. On the plus side, summers are dry and sunny, and winters typically don’t fall below freezing.
If you are looking for a relaxed and happening place where you can be yourself, Portland’s coffee, museums, galleries, Chinese garden, NBA basketball team, and nearby vineyards might be the ticket.
7. Austin, Texas
As the fourth largest city in Texas, Austin also boasts the slogan, “Keep Austin Weird.” That is because people there are casual and outdoorsy. It is also full of night life, music festivals, museums, dining, and shopping.
The city offers an excellent economy with a mix of higher education institutions, commerce, and technology companies. Retirees report a high quality of life and find Austin a desirable place to live.
Check out Lady Bird Lake, part of the Colorado River, if you like to get outside. It is named after the former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson. Austin has plenty of opportunities to explore and keep in shape with canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboards, and hiking trails around the lake.
Also nearby is the 351-acre Zilker Metropolitan Park. If you’re looking for fresh entertainment opportunities, you can view Barton Spring’s natural spring water pool or stroll around the Botanical Garden. The Austin Nature Center and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum are also just around the corner.
Further out, you will find swimming, camping, hiking, and mountain biking options ten miles southeast of downtown Austin in the 641-acre McKinney Falls State Park. Finish off with gorgeous sunset views at Mount Bonnell from an overlook that you reach after climbing a 102-step staircase.
With only a few subzero days per year, the city’s temperature remains primarily temperate. So if you are looking for a mild, sunny, and affordable climate with a wide variety of retirement entertainment, Austin has you covered.
8. Port St. Lucie, Florida
We could not imagine a retirement spot list without including the sunny state of Florida.
With its affordable cost of living, desirable beaches, and entertainment options, it is no surprise that Florida consistently tops every list of best places to retire for a good life.
Among these popular tourist destinations, Port St. Lucie stands as a mix of freshwater marshes, peaceful boardwalk trails, and ocean beaches along the Atlantic coastline.
The area’s residents report a stress-free environment, a good economy, and a general sense of happiness and well-being.
Sports fans can watch the New York Mets train at nearby Clover Park each spring. The area is a peaceful spot to hike, golf, or relax with botanical gardens, orchids, butterflies, and hummingbirds. If you want more adventure, there is always the Treasure Coast boat rental or dolphin sightseeing.
Maybe you enjoy a tropical climate but don’t want to relocate to an actual tropical island. Port St. Lucie has those long tropical summers, winds weather, and comfortable winters that most of us associate with island living.
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For more reading, if you are looking for the perfect spot to retire to, check out the rankings from U.S. News and World Report for eight up-and-coming places to retire in 2022.