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Where to Retire: Find Your Perfect Retirement Destination

Looking for a change of pace? Consider relocating to one of these places, where good weather is just the start of a happier retirement.

where to retire

Athens, Georgia.

Retirement opens up a host of exciting opportunities – the chance to explore new hobbies, travel to new destinations and even relocate to a different city, state or country. For previous generations, deciding where to retire mostly involved the pursuit of sunshine. And though it’s still true that we’re all looking for better weather, finding the perfect place to retire has a little more to it than that.

retirement guide

The New Rules for Retirement Planning

In this guide you can learn all the new rules for retirement. No matter your age, these articles on retirement planning and saving will help you make your golden years as comfortable as possible.

Here are some additional factors you’ll want to consider during your search for where to retire:

    • Cost of living: If you know your income will be fixed or limited, settling somewhere with a low cost of living will help you get the most out of your budget.
    • Health care: As you age, having access to quality health care nearby will become even more important.
    • Strong economy: If you plan to work a part-time job after retirement, living somewhere with a strong economy and low unemployment rate is key.
    • Public transportation: Cities and towns with good public transportation and high walkability can help you maintain your independence even if you’re unable to drive.
    • Activities & interests: You’ll want to keep busy in your retirement. Whether you’re a foodie, outdoors enthusiast, history-lover or golfer, living somewhere that supports plenty of your interests is a must.

Ready to find your dream location? Here are our top picks for the best cities and towns in the U.S. for retirement.

Athens, Ga.

This historic, Southern college town is highly walkable, with great shopping, dining, and a thriving arts and music scene. You’ll also enjoy the mild weather and below average cost of living. Not to mention, Georgia is one of the most senior-friendly states when it comes to taxes, with extensive exemptions for Social Security and other sources of retirement income.

Green Valley, Ariz.

Green Valley has been a retiree haven for decades. The warm, dry climate is great for seniors’ health, the cost of living is low and Social Security benefits aren’t taxed. With a thriving senior community, there are plenty of clubs and organized activities for you to join, plus nearby hiking, bird-watching and golf.

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Nature lovers will enjoy this outdoor playground with breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains, beautiful hiking and walking trails, good air quality and plenty of fun activities like biking, horseback riding, fishing and hunting. In town, you’ll experience great shopping and bike trails, a vibrant art scene and a strong economy. The cost of living is slightly above the national average; however, there are tax exclusions on retirement income.

Clemson, S.C.

Not far from the Blue Ridge Mountains, Clemson boasts a friendly, small-town feel infused with a good dose of youthful energy from Clemson University. Here you can explore the beautiful lakes and rolling hills, get around town on the free bus system, foster your love of learning by auditing classes at the university and cash in on a great cost of living.

San Marcos, Texas

This lovely riverfront town has friendly locals, a great cost of living and incredible shopping (with over 350 outlet stores, it’s considered one of the best shopping destinations in the U.S.). Relax on the river with some kayaking or fishing, then refuel with delicious barbecue or Tex-Mex. Located between Austin and San Antonio, you won’t have to drive far for the occasional big city adventure.

where to retire

Iowa City, Iowa.

Iowa City, Iowa

Want to finally finish your novel? This picturesque college town in southeastern Iowa is known as a city of literature and is home to many writers and writing festivals. The bustling shops, restaurants and farmers markets of downtown are just a stroll away. With an excellent cost of living and health care options, this could be the place for you if you don’t mind a cold winter.

The Villages, Florida

Often described as “Disneyland for adults,” The Villages is the world’s largest active retirement community and has a “vacation” lifestyle. If your retirement goals involve warm weather, making new friends and keeping busy, this is exactly where to retire. Play endless rounds on the 36 golf courses, or take your pick of the hundreds of clubs and organizations. Whatever your hobby  – archery, theater, chorus, quilting, scrapbooking, model railing, home brewing, tai chi – there’s a group for that.

Bethlehem, Pa.

Looking to retire in the Northeast? This historic steel town has a great cost of living, exceptional health care (St. Luke’s Hospital is a leader in cardiac care), and a vibrant and walkable downtown. Art and music lovers will enjoy the regular concerts, film screenings, performances and festivals at SteelStacks, the trendy arts venue housed in a former steel mill.

Have you been pondering where to retire? What does the perfect destination look like for you? Share your retirement must-haves in the comments below.

To plan your visit to any one of these places you might one day call home, go to

To find out how AAA can help you save for all sorts of life changes and milestones, visit and


    thank you for the info, very interesting and useful and will check into

  • SUE C.

    I need help planning a warm rather vacay for 11 people 12/20-11/31. I had booked an Airbnb but a volcano exploded on it! ?

    • Dana L.

      Hi Sue,

      Oh gosh. Sorry to hear that! Please visit or call 800-222-7448 and one of our travel counselors will be happy to help you.
      Good luck and happy travels!

  • PETER T.

    Very good points for retirement. I gave it to my wife since she is undecided. It may help her to come to conclusion. Thanks.

    • Dana L.

      Hi Peter!
      Thanks for reading. I’m glad you enjoyed our article … and happy retirement, wherever you and your wife may choose!


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