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These Picture-Perfect Towns Are What Retirement Dreams Are Made Of

Cynthia Measom

A majority of retirees view the West Coast as the best place to retire, according to a GOBankingRates survey. But that’s not necessarily true — especially if you’re considering your retirement budget. After you’ve worked all of your life, you don’t want to “just get by” by living somewhere that won’t allow you to maximize your retirement status. Instead, you probably envision living out the retirement of your dreams somewhere that’s senior-friendly, safe, affordable and picturesque.

In a recent study, we identified 30 picture-perfect towns based on the percentage of residents 65 and older, home affordability, safety and livability to help you find the retirement destination of your dreams.

30. Santa Monica, California

Median List Price: $1,780,000

Although Santa Monica, California, has one of the highest median home prices on the list, retirees who can afford to live here could find it well worth it. The city’s livability score is 75 — higher than more than half of the cities on the list — due in part to its mild weather and plentiful amenities. Plus, the city has good public transportation and is very walkable and bikeable, according to the website Walk Score.

29. Pompano Beach, Florida

Median List Price: $256,000

If year-round, sunny weather, averaging between 68 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit sounds appealing, then Pompano Beach might be your dream retirement destination. Not only is this beachy locale on Florida’s Gold Coast known for its mild weather, it also features an overall lower-than-average median home listing price and an abundance of amenities for convenience.

28. Santa Fe, New Mexico

Median List Price: $521,694

Although the median list price for homes is in the top-third for the list, Santa Fe, New Mexico, features plenty of pros for retirees, including close proximity to an ample amount of amenities. Winter temps can get somewhat cool, but the average temperature in the summer hovers around 70 degrees. Plus, over 20 percent of the 12,386 households are 65 and older and the crime rate is 13 percent lower than the state’s average.


27. Newport Beach, California

Median List Price: $2,595,000

For retirees who prefer mild, sunny weather, Newport Beach, California — located in Orange County — is a good pick with average summer temperatures never escaping 70 degrees. Although the cost of living here is quite high and the median list price for a home is the highest on the list, the available amenities — the beaches, bays and parks — as well as the lower crime rate might be the perfect trade-off.


26. Asheville, North Carolina

Median List Price: $359,950

With a location just under two hours from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Asheville, North Carolina, sits between two national forests in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is a great pick for retirees who love the outdoors — whether being active or simply sightseeing. And for those who love art, the city boasts an abundance of museums, art galleries and studios. Out of the 20,140 homes in the city, almost 22 percent are owned by people 65 and older, which indicates that retirees must have a fondness for this place.


25. Jurupa Valley, California

Median List Price: $449,900

Jurupa Valley, which is just a few miles from Riverside, California, has one of the lowest numbers of households on the list, totaling just over 7,000. Almost one-fourth of those households are occupied by residents 65 and over. One of the city’s highlights is its mild weather, with temperatures ranging from 55 to 78 degrees during different times of the year. Jurupa Valley also has an assortment of parks and 90 holes of golf spread over five golf courses throughout the city.

24. Honolulu, Hawaii

Median List Price: $639,000

Honolulu’s median list price for a home is within the top five-highest on the list. Still, the city’s livability score is 71 due in part to the amenities close by and an average summer temperature of just 80 degrees. For seniors who don’t want to drive everywhere, Honolulu is walkable, somewhat bikeable and features average public transportation, according to Walk Score. Out of the 67,817 households in the city, 21 percent of them are occupied by people 65 and over.


23. New Rochelle, New York

Median List Price: $599,000

For retirees who like the idea of living close to New York City, New Rochelle is only 30 minutes outside of Manhattan and offers a mix of urban and suburban living. For outdoor living, plenty of neighborhood parks, bike paths and waterfront areas are available. Downtown offers everything from cafes to high-end dining, as well as a cultural-and-arts district. Plus, the crime rate is 11 percent lower than in New York City with only 17 crimes per 1,000 people per year.


22. Santa Rosa, California

Median List Price: $635,000

Just over an hour’s drive north of San Francisco, Santa Rosa, California, offers relaxed, wine-country living filled with parks and community gardens where retirees can escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Temperatures range between 46 and 65 degrees year-round, with an average summer temperature of 66. The crime rate also registers 24 percent lower here than the average crime rate for the state.

21. Sparks, Nevada

Median List Price: $389,000

It takes just under an hour and a half to get to Lake Tahoe from Sparks, Nevada, a town which also happens to be located a few miles from its better-known neighbor, Reno. Approximately 20 percent of Sparks’ 17,855 households are occupied by residents age 65 and older, who can enjoy the city’s plentiful parks, ample transit system and average summer temperature of 73 degrees.

20. Spokane Valley, Washington

Median List Price: $269,900

Spokane Valley, nestled on the state of Washington’s eastern border, has one of the lowest median home prices of all the cities on this list. In addition, Washington is one of the few states with no income tax. As a bonus, Spokane Valley is an outdoor lover’s paradise with parks, trails and ski resorts.

19. Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Median List Price: $519,700

Highlands Ranch, Colorado, is less than 20 miles from two well-known cities in the state: Denver and Aurora. The city’s livability score is 76, due, in part, to the various parks in and around the city — as well as the beautiful mountain scenery. Plus, the total crime rate is 34 percent lower than the state of Colorado, with 31 crimes per 1,000 people annually.

18. Bloomington, Minnesota

Median List Price: $296,250

Bloomington, Minnesota’s low median home list price is a pro for seniors who are looking for a home that won’t bust their budget. While winters can be quite chilly, with temperatures averaging from 17 to 48 degrees from November through April, the summers are quite pleasant with an average temperature of 71 degrees when outdoor markets, music and movies abound.

17. Loveland, Colorado

Median List Price: $385,000

Just 45 minutes north of Colorado’s capital city, Loveland is hailed as the entryway to both Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, which offer abundant opportunities for sightseeing and recreation. Out of the 10,676 households in the city, approximately 22 percent are occupied by seniors 65 and older. Although residents do experience winter weather and storms, including several feet of snow, the weather is not generally as harsh as in other states located further north.

16. Melbourne, Florida

Median List Price: $273,000

Located southeast of Orlando, Melbourne is a unique city in that part of it is located on Florida’s mainland while another part of it is located across the Indian River Lagoon on a barrier island. Pros for retirees choosing this city are the availability of amenities, affordable housing and pleasant, year-round weather. Plus, Florida is another state without any income tax.

15. Menifee, California

Median List Price: $366,300

Retirees who have their heart set on living in California but don’t want to pay a premium for a home might be interested in what this city has to offer. Menifee, California, located in Riverside County, boasts stunning mountain views, as well as an average summer temperature of 75 degrees. Of the 6,197 households in the city, almost 25 percent are occupied by residents age 65 and older.

14. Kendall, Florida

Median List Price: $352,500

Kendall, Florida, has just over 9,000 households — with over 25 percent occupied by seniors 65 and older. As a suburb of metropolitan Miami, the area’s median home listing price isn’t the lowest on the list, but it’s far from the highest. Other pluses include close proximity to amenities, a crime rate that’s 54 percent lower than the crime rate in the state and an average summer temperature of 81 degrees.

13. Glendale, California

Median List Price: $849,999

Glendale, California, is located in the eastern end of the San Fernando Valley. The city’s Pacific-Edison neighborhood is a “walker’s paradise,” according to Walk Score, where retirees could enjoy accomplishing most errands on foot. The neighborhood also has good public transportation and is somewhat bikeable. Out of the 48,616 households in the suburb, almost 25 percent are comprised of seniors 65 and over.

12. Newton, Massachusetts

Median List Price: $1,150,000

Even though Newton, Massachusetts, is one of the expensive retirement towns on this list, its location — about 7 miles from downtown Boston — won’t leave retirees wanting for anything in the way of goods and services. Plus the city’s crime rate of only seven crimes per 1,000 residents annually is the lowest on the list by far.

11. Henderson, Nevada

Median List Price: $370,000

According to its official website, Henderson is the only full-service city in Nevada, offering dedicated police, fire, water and sewer services to efficiently serve its residents. For retirees, the city’s Heritage Park Senior Facility offers age-appropriate classes, outings and activities. With an average summer temperature of 88 degrees and a crime rate that’s 36 percent lower than the crime rate across the rest of Nevada, Henderson just might be the perfect pick for retirees.

10. Hialeah, Florida

Median List Price: $324,590

Unlike some of the other cities on this list, Hialeah is both a walkable and bikeable city — according to Walk Score — which is great for active seniors. Out of the 40,327 households, almost one-fourth are comprised of people 65 and older. And it’s no wonder, given the lower crime rates, plentiful amenities and agreeable weather that can be found here.

9. Camarillo, California

Median List Price: $619,900

Camarillo, California, located in Ventura County, just nine miles from the Pacific Ocean, boasts over 300 sun-filled days per year, with average temperatures hovering in the low 70s, making it perfect for retirees who seek a majority of time outdoors. Out of the 7,950 households in the city, almost 25 percent are occupied by people 65 and over. For those who can afford the high home prices, there are plenty of amenities to enjoy, including mountain views, parks, golf courses and shopping districts.

8. Largo, Florida

Median List Price: $225,000

Largo, Florida, is the fourth-largest city in Tampa Bay, according to its official website. Brimming with green space featuring nature parks, walking trails and preserves, Largo is perfect for retirees who enjoy spending time outdoors. With a median home list price that’s the second-lowest on the list coupled with no state income tax, budget-conscious retirees just might want to call Largo home.



7. Kennewick, Washington

Median List Price: $313,800

Kennewick is located in the southeastern part of the state of Washington. Twenty-seven percent of the 11,108 households in Kennewick are occupied by seniors age 65 and older. The city features a median list price for homes that ranks in the 10 least expensive prices out of all cities ranked, which is preferable for seniors on a budget. In addition, almost half of the city’s total acreage is devoted to green space, including 34 public parks — a plus for those who enjoy outdoor activities.

6. Peoria, Arizona

Median List Price: $335,000

Featuring more than 30 parks and 20 miles of mountain and riverside trails, Peoria, Arizona, has much to offer retirees who enjoy the outdoors. Approximately 25 percent of the 14,202 households in the city are comprised of residents who are 65 or older. The city is in close proximity to other large cities, such as Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Mesa. Plus, the total crimes are 33 percent lower here when compared to the crime rate in the state of Arizona.

5. Cape Coral, Florida

Median List Price: $259,000

Cape Coral, located on the Gulf of Mexico, has one of the highest livability scores on the list at 85. Out of the 15,570 total households, around 21 percent are occupied by residents 65 and older. The city has only around 17 crimes per 1,000 people annually, and total crimes are 42 percent lower than what the state averages. Amenities, such as public transit options and parks are plentiful, and the average temperature in the summer is 81 degrees.

4. St. George, Utah

Median List Price: $379,500

Located in the southwest corner of Utah, St. George is less than a two-hour drive from Las Vegas. The city has one of the higher percentages of households occupied by people 65 and older: 28.60 percent out of 9,700 households. Plus, it has a livability score of 76, thanks to good weather, low crime and plentiful amenities. The average summer temperature in St. George is 84 degrees.



3. Farmington Hills, Michigan

Median List Price: $295,950

Part of the upscale suburbia in metropolitan Detroit, Farmington Hills has the second-highest livability score on the list at 83. Twenty-three percent of the households in the city are occupied by seniors 65 and older. The winters can be harsh, but that might be a fair trade-off for some given the median home list price is significantly lower than many of the other cities on the list. The crime rate is 45 percent lower than the state’s average, too.

2. Warwick, Rhode Island

Median List Price: $249,900

Warwick, Rhode Island, located in southern New England, has the highest percentage of households of people age 65 and over on the list — 31.6 percent — and its median home prices are among some of the lowest. Plus, Warwick is known as one of the U.S. cities where paychecks stretch the furthest, according to a separate GOBankingRates study, which is good news for retirees who are looking to maximize their nest eggs.

1. Port Charlotte, Florida

Median List Price: $224,900

Port Charlotte, Florida, located about halfway between Fort Meyers and Sarasota, offers so many advantages for retirees, which is why it landed in first place on the list. For example, it ranks high on the livability score for amenities, including miles of waterways and shorelines, as well as parks and golf courses.

The city also offers an affordable cost of living and good weather, with the average summer temperatures reaching only 81 degrees. In addition, Port Charlotte boasts the lowest median home list price out of every other city on the list, and it has the second-highest safety score — less than 17 crimes per 1,000 citizens — tied with Glendale.

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Methodology: GOBankingRates compiled the list of 30 cities by analyzing a list of 10,000 U.S. cities based on the places that had at least 20 percent of households age 65 years and older, sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017 American Community Survey. From here, the following factors were used to rank the cities: (1) proportion of households age 65 years or older; (2) safety, in the form of total crimes per 1,000 residents, sourced from NeighborhoodScout on March 5, 2019; (3) livability score, sourced from AreaVibes on March 5, 2019, the higher the number the better; (4) median list price of homes, sourced from Zillow’s June 2019 home price index. All cities were scored and then ranked from 1 to 30, with 1 being the best.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: These Picture-Perfect Towns Are What Retirement Dreams Are Made Of