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Thursday, April 11, 2024

10 Best Towns and Cities for Retirement

We profile some of the top-rated communities for retirees in the US based on criteria important to seniors.

Older adults are attracted to neighborhoods with a variety of amenities nearby. They’re looking for affordability, health care, safety, cultural opportunities, and walkability. Senior Spirit gathered up some of the top-rated areas, including small towns and big cities. Some of the locations might surprise you. Yes, Florida is represented … but so are Pennsylvania and New York. 

We’ve put together a list that takes into consideration cost of living, access to senior housing, activities and transportation, crime data, and attractions (including those the grandchildren will love). Let’s get started!

  1. Fredericksburg, Texas. Located in the beautiful hill country north of San Antonio, Fredericksburg shows its German roots through the town’s food and culture. German influence also shows up in the city’s architecture, which features local limestone. There are more than 100 wineries nearby, as well as old peach orchards. It’s a certified Dark Sky Community, so stargazers can enjoy enhanced views of celestial bodies. Fredericksburg is something of a tourist town, so you’ll find plenty of restaurants, museums, and entertainment. If you feel like hitting the big city, a journey to San Antonio or Austin is less than 70 miles away. 
  2. Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. If you’re in search of a quiet town with under 10,000 inhabitants, Strasbourg may fit the bill. Located in the rolling Poconos Mountains, this charming village mixes historical architecture with restaurants, galleries and antique stores that attract tourists. Visit the Monroe Farmers Market for local produce, honey, and baked goodies. Or check out the Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm, where an August arts and crafts celebration makes this living history museum buzz with activity. 
  3. Asheville, North Carolina. Known as the “Paris of the South,” Asheville has a thriving food and arts scene. It’s also home to more breweries per capita than anywhere else in the US, as well as the Biltmore Mansion, the sprawling former home of rich American industrialists. Dubbed “America’s new freak capital” by Rolling Stone nearly a quarter of a century ago, Asheville has grown into a charming magnet for those who like local produce and wearing boots and a puffer to dinner, as well as a well-heeled crowd looking for a touch of class in the heart of Appalachia. 
  4. Port St. Lucie, Florida. If you’re searching for coastal living with a laid-back vibe and subdued way of living, this may be your spot. Located on the Atlantic coast between Orlando to the north and Miami to the south, you’ll find great golfing and health care. The Spruce Bluff Preserve is a great place for hiking, birding, and even setting a canoe in the water. The city has a rich history, but was only developed in the last century. 
  5. Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Situated in Amish country, large farms extend right up to suburbia. The rolling hills are home to a burgeoning coffee culture. With eight four-year colleges and universities there are plenty of cultural opportunities. It’s also the county seat and can claim fame as one of America’s original inland cities. Mars Chocolate North America is headquartered in Lancaster – head down the road to nearby Elizabethtown for a factory tour
  6. New York City, New York. True, the cost of living in the Big Apple is pricey, but have you thought about the action right out your doorstep or just a subway ride away? You’ve got Broadway, for heaven’s sake, and a hundred little comedy clubs and some of the best eating in the entire world. Tired of city life? Take a long, long stroll in Central Park or hop on a train upstate. An added bonus is world-class health care. Maybe it’s not forever, but how fun to immerse yourself in one of the world’s most vibrant cities?
  7. Ann Arbor, Michigan. It does get cold and snowy in Michigan. But if you can get past that, you’ll want to check out the city for its cultural core, headed by the University of Michigan, which has spawned thriving coffee shops, bookstores, and restaurants. There’s also a thriving tech scene, plenty of public parks and a low crime rate to recommend the city. If you’re looking for a full-on city experience, a renewed Detroit isn’t far away. Ann Arbor is a study in contrasts, both urban and rural, highbrow and outdoorsy, rebellious and toney. 
  8. Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Although retaining its Southern charm, “Winston” has an international flair buoyed by a slew of festivals and a wide variety of cuisine. Gnaw on some Carolina barbeque or opt for Indian curry before grabbing Greek pastry to go. The city has not seen a population explosion like some of its urban neighbors, allowing it to retain a hometown feel. Instead of knocking down old brick factories and warehouses, the buildings have largely been repurposed into loft living or entrepreneurial spaces, maintaining a historical feel.
  9. Youngstown, Ohio. You might not think of the Rust Belt when you muse over possible retirement destinations, but think again. Located between Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Youngstown is experiencing a rebirth. Organizations such as the Youngstown Development Corporation are ushering restaurants, galleries and shops into urban areas that once were blighted. Surrounded by farmland, including Amish areas, there’s a thriving market for local produce and it’s a quick trip to get out of the city. 
  10. Melbourne, Florida. If you’re a fan of watching rockets lift off into space, this may be the place for you. Cape Canaveral is close enough that you’ll be able to see launches carrying satellites and headed to the International Space Station from your backyard on clear days. When you tire of that, head over to the Eau Gallie Arts District after checking out their calendar of year-round events and festivities. The historic downtown is lovely, or you can head to the 155-mile Indian River Lagoon. If you’d prefer time on the ocean, you can surf, kayak, boat, fish, or watch manatees.