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The Best Retirement Towns for Amenities

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

May 17, 2022 — People pick places to retire for a lot of reasons. How pretty it is, closeness to family, climate, low taxes, having a college, access to recreation or the wilderness, etc. But another really excellent reason is finding one that offers the amenities that match your lifestyle desires. In this article we will explore 11 great places to retire with particularly outstanding amenities. Our apologies in advance to any town we might have overlooked or under-rated, we know there are many additional contenders that should have been included. Please provide your suggestions in the Comments section below!

10 Great Towns for Amenities
Here in no particular order is our list of 10 retirement towns that offer exceptional amenities to their residents. We have tried to provide diversity to the list in terms of geography, size, type of amenity, and whether we have highlighted them before. Our biggest problem – we had too many towns to mention!

Hilton Head, South Carolina. This great town on the South Carolina coast could easily win an “overall” amenity award. It has a 2019 overall Beach and Recreation plan that addresses almost every amenity that a retiree could want. There are great public beaches, parks, mini-parks, the Island Recreation Center with things like community pool and pickleball, sports arena, sports parks, community parks, public docks and launching ramps, and neighborhood parks. Not to mention all of the many golf courses in the area, many of which are in communities that have their own list of impressive amenities.

Pickleball capital – Naples, Florida. With its 64 pickleball courts, the East Naples Community Park puts pickleball on the map! The facility is home to national competitions and is busy all day long with players who come from far away to feast on this growing sport. Of course Naples is no slouch in offering other amenities from community theatre to its unbelievable white sandy beaches. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Recreation Area is one of the most popular parks in southwest Florida. The Naples Players, the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra, The Philharmonic Center of Naples, and the Sugden Theater are just some of the cultural attractions here.

Amenities Cary, North Carolina . (This review was orginally provided as a comment by Artie – thanks!) Cary, often jokingly referred to as standing for Containment Area for Relocated Yankees, is located in the middle of the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Triangle. Cary has a great system of hospitals as well as an abundance of universities and colleges plus Broadway caliber theater. We have some great shopping in all directions and an ever-expanding list of new restaurants and dining experiences. This area has also been referred to as “Trees, Tees and PhD’s.” The reason for this becomes apparent when one lives here or if you are just visiting. We have great recreational amenities in terms of parks, bike and hiking trails and lakes. Living in the center of the “Triangle,” we are about 20 minutes from downtown Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Each of those places has its own distinctive character, attractions and appeal.

Parks – Albuquerque, New Mexico. This city in the Sandia Mountains maintains nearly 300 parks. That was enough to place it #3 on a Wallethub survey of the best towns for parks – just behind New York City and New Orleans. There is even a program to help local neighborhoods sponsor small scale events in public parks. Balloon Fiesta Park hosts many events including a very famous international balloon festival.

All Around Amenities. Henderson, Nevada is another town with sensational parks and recreational facilities – it has 54 neighborhood and community parks, 11 aquatic facilities, and seven recreation centers (including a 50+ rec center). The Whitney Ranch Recreation Center looks like another amazing facility.

Arts and the Outdoors. It would be hard not to include a city that bills itself as “A Great City for the Arts and the Outdoors”, Eugene, Oregon. The birthplace of the Nike company, you might expect the outdoor amenities to be good here. Eugene’s miles of bike paths, running trails, and kayak runs through its unusually large park system are the most extensive in the U.S., according to Wikipedia. Bicycling Magazine named Eugene the 5th most bike friendly city in America – many people use its extensive bike trails as their major mode of transportation. Some of Eugene’s parks include Skinner Butte Park, Alton Baker Park, Hendricks Park (with its Rhododendron Garden). The Oregon Bach Festival is a major international festival and just one of the many cultural events in the city. Photo of Hult Center for the Performing Arts, courtesy Cacophony and CC-by SA

Public Transit in a small cityMorgantown, West Virginia. The Mountain Line Transport Authority provides public transportation in Morgantown and the surrounding area as well as bus service for West Virginia University students. There are connections to Pittsburgh and other local towns as well. Morgantown, in addition to WVU, has many attractions including beautiful Cheat Lake.

Golf. When it comes to golf, Tennessee has several contenders, including 2 in opposite ends of the state, Kingsport and Crossville. Kingsport has at least 5 courses in the city, plus at least 17 more within 18 miles. Crossville claims it has 10 major reasons to be Tennessee’s golf capital, all of them well designed and maintained golf courses for players of all abilities. This past year over half-a-million rounds of golf were played in the Crossville area. Outside of Tennessee there are several other towns that could lay claim to Golf Capital USA; Myrtle Beach (SC), and Palm Springs (CA).

A Small City with a Top Hospital. When it comes to having great hospitals and medical resources almost every large city has ample resources. But in smaller cities and towns it can become a challenge to get quality care and have access to top specialists. In this department Billings, Montana is a standout. In 2012 the non-profit Billings Clinic was awarded #1 best hospital out of 1,459 reviewed by Consumer Reports – a pretty significant honor for a town of just over 100,000. Billings has other hospitals as well, plus many other amenities as well, including miles and miles of bicycle and jogging trails. The Alberta Blair Theatre and Babcock Theaters have over 2,100 combined seats in these performing arts theaters. In addition there are museums and parks, a restored historic downtown, plus the campus of Montana State University Billings.

Asheville, NC Pedestrian Downtown.  Urban Trail, a 1.7-mile, 30-station scavenger hunt that gives visitors a glimpse into the city’s past.  Biltmore Park Town Square is a high-quality new urbanist development that could be described as an “anti-mall”.  Although the development sits at the edge of Asheville in what could be considered a suburban location, it successfully combines retail space, restaurants, offices, a hotel, apartments, townhomes, and condos in a compact, walkable setting.  

Photo courtesy of Kaethesson under CC-BY SA 3.0

Best Small Town Library Town – Independence, Kansas. In 2009 the the Independence Public Library was running out of money and afraid it would have to close its doors. But in just 2 years it was been reborn. It has won awards, garnered grants and increased tax millage, and built programs and services that are “packing ’em in”. In 2012 it was named the Best Small Library in America, an award co-sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Library Journal. There are so many other towns made great by their libraries too, like La Jolla (CA), Camden, (ME), and Portland (TX).

Summary
We know we have just scratched the surface when it comes to naming towns that have outstanding amenities – there are many others not named here from all regions of the country. Chatham (MA) on Cape Code is a just one example of a small town that has a walkable downtown, interesting shops and restaurants, a great library, and tremendous public beaches. Our main point – before you decide on a town where you are going to retire – check out the amenities using the city reviews in our State Directories. This is your retirement we are talking about – don’t settle for a town that hasn’t invested in facilities that improve your quality of life!

For further reading:
10 Best Amenities that Make for a Best Place to Retire
Best Towns for Bookstores
Best Places for Retirement by Lifestyle

Comments: Do you know of a town or small city that should be recognized for the quality of its amenities? Or a place that should be avoided for what they don’t offer? Please let your fellow members know by posting in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on May 17th, 2022

12 Retirement-Friendly Places to Retire

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

May 3, 2022 — You’ve worked hard to earn your retirement. So why not retire to a place where you are likely to be welcomed with open arms. To help with that we published a list of “10 Very Friendly Places to Retire” back in 2016, and it generated loads of comments and suggestions. Using this fantastic input from our Members (you can’t beat the experience of real people!), here are even more great places to retire. We hope you will add to the list!

Cape Coral, FL. Here is what Linda had to say about this FL West Coast town: “I’d add Cape Coral, FL to your list. It’s not as isolated as Punta Gorda (about an hour up the coast). If we don’t have it in Cape Coral, there’s a good chance it’s available across the bridges to Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Naples, etc. There is a very active New Residents Club here which has been going on for 50 years. If I had the stamina, I could be doing something with these new-found friends every day!”

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Posted by Admin on May 2nd, 2022

10 Great Places to Explore on the East Coast

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

April 20, 2022 — Highways are filling up with snowbirds headed north right now. Those trips provide the perfect excuse for exploring the many wonderful East Coast towns along the way. Here are 10 towns that we think are definitely worth a detour, either for a night in a B and B, or a leisurely lunch to break up the drive. In this installment we will concentrate on charming or interesting towns near the coast. But if your trip takes you along the western route, see our 2 part series on great retirement towns along that route through western Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia.

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Posted by Admin on April 19th, 2022

Looking for Beaches, Culture, and Biking – And Oh, We’re On a Budget

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

March 15, 2022 — Everybody looking for a place to retire probably has a list of must-haves. Today we explore possibilities for a hypothetical couple that has the three priorities listed in our headline – sandy beaches, lots of culture, and hassle-free biking. They also have a fourth consideration, having a nearby airport with good connections. Both people in this couple had average working careers, and now collect the average (2021) Social Security benefit of $1,555 each month. Adding income from their retirement savings, they have a combined income of just over $4,500 per month.

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Posted by Admin on March 14th, 2022

A Unique Snowbird Retirement: Chautauqua Style

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

February , 2022 — Depending where you live, you might be familiar with the concept of a Chautauqua community, those seasonal assemblies dedicated to four pillars: the arts, education, recreation, and religion. As such they offer the perfect snowbird retirement for people who love culture.

Chautauqua assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were part of an adult education and social movement in the United States that brought speakers, teachers, musicians, showmen, preachers, and specialists of the day to communities. Lakeside Chautauqua on the shores of Lake Erie was the first assembly in 1873, followed the next year by the Chautauqua Institute on western New York’s Chautauqua Lake. Although at one point there were several hundred Chautauquas, these two are among the few independent Chautauquas that persist in the 21st century. The drawback to a Chautauqua retirement is that they are seasonal – after summer ends you need to find a place to live the rest of the year.

For culture loving people – you can’t beat a Chautauqua retirement

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Posted by Admin on February 27th, 2022

Baby Boomers and Millennials Move More Than Other Groups: But They Won’t Be Meeting

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

February 21, 2022 – Two demographics are more likely to move than any other. The group with the highest tendency to migrate is highest is young adults, who tend to move in search in jobs and fortune. At retirement age (commonly around 65), there is another big spike in migration. Although both groups have a propensity to move, the places where they move tend to be very different, according to Brookings.edu.

Studies of net migration show what areas of the country are experiencing the greatest population growth. But looking at the big picture alone does not tell the whole story about who is moving where. Census data shows that the top regional magnets for young adults (ages 25-34) are very different from regions that are attracting baby boomers (ages 55 and older).

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Posted by Admin on February 20th, 2022

10 More Unusual (and Really Great) Places to Retire

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

January 26, 2022 — A while back one of our Members asked if we could come up with a list of more unusual places to retire. As he reminded us, not everyone is looking to retire in a place that is famous, or where there are warm winters and gentle beaches. Many folks, like the couple we met this summer in Maine, relish the prospect of a morning snowshoe hike, chopping wood, or taking off in the ATV. Here is a list of unusual, and interesting places that might make them happy. Almost all are in colder climes, starting with the first one! We suspect you won’t have heard of most of these off the beaten path choices before.

Homer, Alaska. Up here on the Kenai Peninsula life is pretty great, especially if you don’t mind cold winters. There is sensational fishing and boating from one of the most beautiful spots anywhere. The Spit, a 4.5 mile glacial moraine that juts into Kachemak Bay, is Homer’s seasonal center. It is crowded with docks, restaurants, stores, and charter outfits for fishing and adventuring.

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Posted by Admin on January 25th, 2022

20 Most Captivating Places to Retire for 2022

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

January 12, 2022 — Every year we have fun coming up with a list of the very “Best Places to Retire“. This list is meant to highlight retirement towns that represent exceptionally great places to retire, as measured by Member and visitor interest at Topretirements. As wonderful as these towns might be, the one where you can be happy in retirement is your best place!

To develop our 2022 list we consulted our visitor logs to find out the 20 retirement towns in the U.S. whose reviews were visited the most at Topretirements. Many of the winners were predictable, they get named to the top 10 or 20 every year, but there were several other big surprises. The hope is the list will spark some ideas for you to consider in the quest for your best place to retire. Home prices in many of these towns are above the national median, reflecting their desirability, but a surprising number offer relative bargains. Although 11 states had towns in the top 20, Arizona, Florida, and Tennessee tied for the most cities on the list with 3 each. Congratulations to all these cities and towns!

20 Best of the Best Places to Retire

Popularity on this site, as measured by online visits by our Members, was the most important criteria. On that basis, here are the most captivating places to retire in all of the U.S.

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Posted by Admin on January 11th, 2022

More People Retired, But Fewer Moved in 2021

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

December 23, 2021 — More people retired in 2021 than in previous years, probably because Covid pushed them into early retirement. Some 50% of people over age 55 were retired this year, up by 2 percentage points. All things being equal, that should have meant a spike in the number of people who moved for retirement, but that didn’t happen. Quite to the contrary, the number of retirees who moved in 2021 dropped to 226,000—roughly 43% fewer than in the year previous. It’s also the lowest number of American retirees in the last five years!

These and many other interesting stats are courtesy of a “2021 Study: Where Americans Moved to Retire in 2021” commissioned by Hire a Helper using US Census Data.

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Posted by Admin on December 23rd, 2021

I Live in NY, and Don’t Want to Retire Too Far Away

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

December 15, 2021 — The reality is most people don’t want to retire too far away from where they live now. The tug of familiar friends, relatives, and institutions can be very strong for some, even more powerful than wanting to be in a warmer climate. Yet their current abode might have become expensive, crowded, or taxing enough to make them think about moving to a new city or town in the same region. In this article we will explore some of the nearby possibilities for a retiree who lives in or near the New York City Metro or suburbs. For that matter, residents of New Jersey and southern New England might like these alternatives as well.

Obviously if one moves less than 500 miles away the climate is not going to be too much different. But the cost of living, the livability index, and the tax situation could change dramatically. The 10 places to retire mentioned here are just a few possibilities, they barely scratch the surface of the very livable retirement choices that won’t require you to move too far from where you live now.

In state

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Posted by Admin on December 15th, 2021