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Where to Go for the Best Retirement Lifestyles

Category: Baby Boomer Retirement Issues

June 8 — A few baby boomers know exactly what they want to do when they retire. These folks are lucky in many ways, because they have probably been busy planning where and when they are going to achieve all of their plans. But far more boomers probably only have a loose idea, at best, for how they are going to spend their lives, once they don’t have a regular job that gets them out of bed and to a workplace 5 days a week. In this article we will explore some of the best and more common retirement lifestyles. Of course many people never intend to retire, which includes those who continue to do their old jobs as well as many who change careers.

Possible Retirement Lifestyles
To our way of thinking just about every kind of non-working retirement fits under one or more of 4 categories:
– Volunteering
– Recreation
– Culture
– Travel

Each of these categories has a huge range of possibilities, far more than we could ever cover in one article. As you prepare for your retirement you should spend some time thinking about the type of retirement you are interested in, remembering that your preferences might change as you get older. For example, as you start retirement you might want to travel around the country with a camper as your home. When you get into your 80’s, however, that will probably not be possible. For each type of retirement lifestyle we have included links to helpful articles which discuss those different lifestyles and the best places to live them.

You can volunteer within the community you live in now, or you can move just about anywhere. You might choose to volunteer within your own family, helping adult children raise their families or taking care of one or more of your parents. A good place to start, if you don’t already have an idea of where and what you want to volunteer for is to look in the Yellow pages under “Social and Human Services Organizations”. There you will find many new and familiar organizations that could use your help. Or maybe you already plan to volunteer at your church, library, or senior center. For people looking to volunteer overseas, you can always apply to the Peace Corps. Or, if you search online for international volunteer organizations” or opportunities, you will find a wide range of possibilities (in some cases you have to pay to volunteer, so check references carefully). This article might also be helpful: “7 Life Changing Activities for Retirement

It seems like recreation based retirements have almost no limits, because baby boomers are interested in so many things. We will just cover some of the basics:
Golf Towns – Many a baby boomer intends to play a lot of golf in retirement. If you want to do that year round, you had better move south or west, at least for the winter months. Florida, California, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Alabama are loaded with great golf courses and communities that are built around golf courses. Here is a link to an article we wrote a while back on the “Top 10 Golf Towns” from a retirement perspective. Recognize, however, that golf is so popular and ubiquitous that any attempt to limit the discussion to 10 towns will leave many great spots unmentioned. Don’t miss this article too – “Dream of Golf Course Living Turns into Nightmare“.

Towns for Biking – Cycling is a great activity for aging baby boomers. It provides good exercise, inexpensive transportation, and it is easy on the body. Unfortunately some towns and developments aren’t very conducive to biking – particularly if they cannot be accessed except by busy highways or towering hills. Read our choices for the “15 Best Retirement Towns for Biking“.

Best Towns for Gardening – If gardening is your thing, location can be very important. For example, you might want to garden year round, or only for part of the year. You might be interested in the dry gardening of the southwest, or a tropical garden. Possibly you don’t want your own garden, but would prefer to help out a local garden spot. Here are 15 Great Retirement Towns for Gardening.

Best Outdoor Towns – It could be easy to get into a fight about which towns are the best for the outdoors – because even some large cities have great outdoor possibilities. In our article about the “Best Retirement Towns for the Outdoors” we tried to think of places where outdoor recreation is an integral part of the local culture.

A lot of the most interesting people you can meet are very interested in culture. Whether that means books, art, music, dance, theater… or whatever – some towns really are better at offering culture. Here are some selections by type of culture:
Best Towns for Bookstores – If one of the requirements for your retirement town is having a good bookstore, check out this article.
Brainiest Retirement Towns – Some towns do have a lot more brainy people than others.
Best Towns for the Arts – This article includes the winning towns in 10 categories of the arts – from architecture to theater to music and more.

By definition one town probably won’t be a good retirement place for travel. But for life on the road, check out these alternatives:
The Mobile Lifestyle – The most amusing and educational series provided by correspondent Betty Fitterman, in which she tells you about her adventures in her retirement home – a 41′ Class A motor coach. This is the first of a 6 part series.
Ship and Shore – Retiring on a Cruise Ship – With this kind of lifestyle you are either at sea or in a port. Either way the view outside is ever-changing.
Top 5 Most Scenic Highways in the U.S – If your vision for retirement includes road trips, you better read this article (new suggestions always welcomed).

Affordable Places to Retire on the Water – Read our 11 tips for affordable places on the water – ocean, lake, bay, or river.

What do you think?
Please give us your comments on your idea of the best retirement lifestyles – and where to live them – in the Comments section below.

Posted by John Brady on June 8th, 2010


  1. being a widow on a fixed income i wanted to find a safe, , yet inexpensive place to live. i chose life in Auburn Alabama in a mobile home park with vet and grad students. lot rent is $180 a month (you must own to rent), the park looks like a golf course with stocked fishing ponds . i had a hard time at first with the stigma of living in a “trailer”, even though it’s not your average trailer park, but not having to worry about a mortgage more than made up for it. plus living in a university town there is always something fun to do. “War Eagle”

    by deborah — July 5, 2010

  2. Just posted a link on my retirement blog to this article. The “Best of” lists are always fun. But, I particularly liked the section on Volunteering and 7 Life Changing Activities. We all must be reminded of our options on a regular basis or we might miss a fabulous opportunity to grow and contribute.

    by Bob — July 19, 2010

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