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10 Friendly Places to Retire

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

May 9, 2016 — The nation’s 77 million baby boomers face a life-changing decision – finding a place to live once they retire. Making a good choice involves many considerations, but the most critical is to select a place that helps them fit in and feel welcome quickly. After all, moving is never easy, and neither is making friends and social contacts from scratch. Fortunately this new list, “10 Friendliest Places to Retire”, can help.

The ten towns on this “Friendliest” list that made the final cut have one major thing in common: they are in fast growing areas that attract a high proportion of newly retired people. The presence of so many new residents presents an ideal environment for retiring boomers, since there are fewer cliques to break into and so many people looking to make new friends. Most of these towns are in the Sunbelt, where boomers are moving to escape cold winters and high taxes. They are all in small to medium size towns, where it is usually easier to become part of a social network. And lastly, all of these friendly places to retire have a variety of active adult and 55+ communities, all brimming with activities which make it so easy to meet new people.

10 Friendly Places to Retire
All ten of these towns are great places to retire, where we are pretty confident you will get a warm welcome. They are all in some of the fastest growing Metros in the U.S. These 10 cities are numbered for convenience sake. Friendliness is subjective and best viewed from the eye of the beholder, so we hesitate to get into ranking them. Your ideas about other friendly places, and your feedback on these choices, would be appreciated in the Comments section below.

1. The Villages, Florida. This was the fastest growing area in the U.S. between 2014-15. And most of that growth came from retirees. The thing about The Villages (TV) is, with that many new residents everybody is in the same situation – they are all looking to make new friends. Best of all, TV has so many activities, clubs, and sports that you can’t help but create a new social circle!

2. Georgetown, Texas The town has an impressive collection of well preserved Victorian and pre-WW1 downtown historic districts. Georgetown, just 27 miles from bustling Austin and close to Round Rock, is a college town (Southwestern University). It claims it has the most beautiful Town Square in Texas. The city is in one of America’s fastest growing regions.

3. Punta Gorda, Florida. We chose this town because it has a small town feel (17,000 people) and isn’t quite as spread out as some of its more populous neighbors, like Fort Myers. It has a reputation for diversity and historic preservation.

City Hall in Punta Gorda (photo courtesy of Wikipedia and Wknight94)

4. Bluffton, South Carolina. This area near Hilton Head Island and Savannah is growing like crazy. It is one of the top 20 fastest growing Metros in the country. A lot of that growth is among retirees, so the area is filled with active adult communities. Bluffton itself is quite charming.

5. Palm Coast, Florida. From 2000 to 2010 Palm Coast was the fastest growing Metro in the U.S., up 92%. Many of the welcoming residents of this giant planned community on FL’s northeast coast are retired.

Palm Coast Intracoastal

6. St. Georges, Utah. Any area that is booming with newly arrived retirees is bound to be friendly, since there are so many other folks in the same boat. Boomers retire to southern Utah for the weather, the outdoor activities, and the plentiful National Parks.

Downtown St. George

7. Cary, North Carolina. Retirees are piling in to towns like Cary, Durham, and Raleigh in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park. One local tongue in cheek expression says Cary stands for “Containment Area for Relocated Yankees”.

8. Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. We selected Murrells Inlet because it is little smaller, more charming town than most of the bigger Myrtle Beach area.

9. College Station, Texas

College Station skyline

This college town of 100,000 residents has Texas A & M and its many enthusiastic fans. It is a very fast growing Metro. Texas has no income tax, and that is a friendly thing, pardner.

10. Bradenton, Florida. In our experience the west coast of Florida tends to attract a fairly mellow, friendly group of retirees. Many hail from the Midwest, and they bring their friendly nature along. It is on the coast just above exciting Sarasota and interesting St. Petersburg.

How we chose these 10 friendly places to retire
We used several criteria to develop this list. The major one is that we looked at areas with many new residents. Those tend to be friendly places, since they have many people who are trying to make new friends and establish a social life.
– 20 Fastest Growing Metros in U.S., 2014-2015 (Census Bureau)
– 10 Fastest Growing Metros 2000-2010 (Census Bureau)
Conde’ Nast Travel List of Friendliest and Unfriendliest U.S. Cities
– Smaller towns in the theory they generally tend to be friendlier
– Towns in the Sunbelt with higher 65+ populations and many active adult communities.

Please share your thoughts about this list in the Comments section below. Do you think they deserve to be on a ‘friendly to retirees’ list. Can you think of other places we should have named? How about where you live – is it retirmement friendly?

Posted by Admin on May 9th, 2016


  1. 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 newfound friends every day!

    by Linda — May 10, 2016

  2. Bluffton is a great place to retire. Close to Hilton Head Island; Savannah; and about an hour from Charleston. We purchased a lot to build in Hilton Head Lakes, a community just at the edge of Bluffton. In the year we have owned the lot, we have seen a LOT of buying activity all along the “low country”. The area is quite appealing to both retirees and families. Can’t wait to build and escape the high taxes and cold winters in Maryland

    by Pauline — May 10, 2016

  3. Does anyone live in the Del Webb community, Carolina Arbors, in Durham NC? If so, how do you like it ? We are considering moving there?

    by maryann — May 11, 2016

  4. Pauline, you are smart to live at “the edge of Bluffton.” You are correct about Bluffton’s growth and location, but both have conspired to bring back bad memories to those who spent their careers commuting in heavy traffic. The one road onto and off of Hilton Head, Route 278, is jammed during the day and especially heavy on weekends when tourists arrive and leave the island for their week or two stay. That road is the only east/west passage through all of Bluffton. I once waited almost eight minutes to turn left onto 278 in mid afternoon. The problem is a common one, especially in the South — awful planning by the town fathers who saw dollar signs, and little else, in all the communities that sprung up after Hilton Head took hold. No matter the size of the road, you cannot have dozens of leisure residential communities, public and private golf courses, and all the commercial services needed to serve residents strung out along one road — without bearing the consequences. My view is that, in Bluffton, greed trumped logic. All that said, if you don’t need to wander out of your community too much, there are some wonderful options in the area, especially in the golf communities.

    by Larry — May 11, 2016

  5. I’d add Province in Maricopa, AZ to the list. We’ve lived here since 2012 and have met friendly people all around us. The “community culture” of Province is remarkably welcoming, with many people on the younger side of 55+ who want to enjoy fun things with their neighbors. The amenities and activities of Province provide plenty of things to do, and Phoenix is close enough to visit for outstanding sports and cultural activities, as well as some fine restaurants.

    by Carl — May 11, 2016

  6. My husband and I have been researching where to retire for at least five years. It is our desire to stay close to the West Coast without being in any of the coastal states. California has become outrageously expensive and by leaving here, our cost of living will drop by at least 30%. Oregon is not a retiree tax friendly state and we found a lot of attitude there. Washington – too overcast and dreary (at least in the western part of the state). So we have checked some of the Northern Arizona cities, Nevada (Reno/Sparks) and the Boise Idaho area. Our last trip to the Reno/Sparks area convinced us there is much lacking for us. Though we haven’t actually gone down to the Arizona cities, there seems to be a lot of poor quality air. We will head to Boise for a final “gut check” and probably end up in Meridian. Our two other short trips there were positive and we found a perfect home in Meridian in a 55+ community. The area is easy to navigate due to the grid structure of streets. The people are very friendly and there are plenty of amenities. I had to have at least a Trader Joe’s (my grocery adventure) and a Costco, both of which are about 20 minutes from Meridian. The area is growing but the streets are virtually litter free and something important to me is the conservative attitude and constitutional feeling of the state. Looking forward to escaping the insanity of California and as native Californians, we will have good memories of growing up here but don’t choose to continue the taxpayer support of all who flood into the state and receive government assistance.

    by Katherine Teissere — May 11, 2016

  7. Larry – you are right about the traffic. The Bluffton parkway runs parellel to Rt 278, and is slated to be extended nearly to I95. That will bring relief. Our cummunity is nearer to 95, so we will avoid some of the traffic. Still, all and all, I am looking forward to builidng and moving within the next few years.

    by Pauline — May 11, 2016

  8. Katherine Teissere, I’m right there with you. I too am a native Californian and of conservative bent. I am aching to get out of here! Thanks to, I’m enjoying the search for some good candidates for retirement.

    by Barbara — May 11, 2016

  9. Re: 10 Friendly Places to Retire:
    I am looking for the “best place to retire for me” so I read all your articles on best places. When I researched Georgetown, TX further on the web I found the comments/blog of people who live or have moved to recently to report that they said Georgetown, TX was the “most unfriendly city to live in’. This was from many different people….Wow, lesson learned that you can not believe everything you read and it is up to each one of us to research before making any decisions! I will now take all articles with a grain of salt until I research on my own.

    by Luci — May 11, 2016

  10. Taxes are too high in North Carolina.

    by Joseph — May 11, 2016

  11. Joseph, can you e a bit more specific on the Taxes in NC. my husband and I have had our heart set on Southport.

    by Roseann — May 11, 2016

  12. This comment came in from Jack:

    Kindred spirits. Every town in your 10 retirement places to retire ( East of the Mississippi ) my wife and I looked at and loved.
    Our final choices were St Augustine, FL, Bradenton, Fl, Bluffton/ Hilton Head, SC and St Simons, GA. We finally stepped off that train and chose Summerville, SC to be near our grand kids in Charleston. You gave us fond memories of our choices over a number of years.

    by Admin — May 11, 2016

  13. Katherine Teissere: I would be interested in hearing more about your opinions on Reno/Sparks. My wife and I will be heading there soon to look at retirement places. We are fed up with California too. Any insights would be helpful. Thanks!

    by Tom — May 11, 2016

  14. We have visited the northwest corner of Arkansas, a retirement area known as Bella Vista. We were amazed how friendly everyone is there. People are from all over…CA, MN, MI, WI, IL, VT, TX, NY…those are just the ones we met in one week.

    by bonnie — May 11, 2016

  15. Georgetown, TX, listed #2, states there are 5 city golf courses. We lived in Georgetown from 2004-2013 and they did not have one city course, unless you count the Georgetown Country Club which is private.

    Editor’s note: We definitely goofed on the 5 golf courses statement, and have removed that from the post. Have no idea how that crept in. Sun City Texas has 3 golf courses that are part of that community. Our apologies.

    by Michael Kazmier — May 11, 2016

  16. Although I’m not a native Californian, my husband, kids and grands are. I’ve been here since 1962 so I feel like it!
    We too are wanting to head out of CA. Our search has focused on the Southeast (and no not FL). I’m from Alabama, with relatives in GA, AL, TN. We’ve semi settled on the southeast area of Tennessee, west of Chattanooga, Jasper, TN.
    There is a development in Jasper, (it’s not a 55 and older) which sits at about 2000 ft elevation with magnificent views of TN, AL, GA and the various rivers. There is a variety of lot sizes from 1.5 acres up. It’s growing and about 2 years old. The area, the people, the things to do are amazing. Friendly, welcoming and shows excitement for the mix of where people are from. It’s really nice to be openly welcomed instead of the why are you hear attitude.

    by Jan — May 11, 2016

  17. Katherine Teissere we relocated from northern California to Star Idaho a year and a half ago and we love it here. Very friendly place. Check out Star! It is still close to Boise. Like you I have to have Costco and Trader Joes. We have a Costco in Nampa which is close to us too. Rumor has it they’re going to be building one near Linden and Chinden or on Ten Mile Rd next to Walmart.

    by Kathy Holcomb — May 11, 2016

  18. I live in Central Texas and wife and I are looking to Nevada as our forever home.I’m retired and wife is a Realtor.We have lived in DC area,NE PA and now TX.We’ve been to Georgetown,TX and not impressed.College Station was named in a recent article as one of Texas most dangerous cities.

    by Noel Del Rosario — May 11, 2016

  19. Thanks to bringing Idaho back to my places to visit. I had crossed Idaho off of my list because I heard they didn’t welcome people from the East Coast. I, too, like their ideology and conservative political views and values. I also want to leave the oppressive humidity here. My brother lives in The Villages and loves it, but I am a widow who wants to meet friends with similar interests in an area that is safe and convenient, but not overrun with tourists and traffic. Meridian is back on my list. I will also check out Star. Thank you for all of your comments.

    by Joanne — May 11, 2016

  20. Husband and I lived in Boise and meridian for 3 years and left 3’years ago. Meridian is largely young families and we felt like outsiders. We then moved to Boise/garden city on the Boise river called riverside village that had Plenty of retirees and empty nesters. We found the area very receptive of outsiders as many are transplants. People are friendly, polite and STOP for pedestrians. Boise also has a phenomenal senior center. The pottery studio was top notch and very affordable.

    Climate is very dry. It took me awhile to acclimate but loved it after I got used to it. Boise is in a valley so snow accumulations are surprisingly small in the winter.

    If you buy a house, check if your property has water rights. If you don’t, it will be extremely expensive to keep a green yard as Boise is high desert.

    Downsides to the area: smoke related to forest fires, very small yards, and winter inversions. While metro Boise is 300,000, the next largest city is 4 hours away. If you like traveling town to town exploring, you will be disappointed. However if you love the outdoors, Idaho is fabulous as 75% of the land is public.

    All in all, we wish we never left.

    by Vickie — May 11, 2016

  21. For Tom, we found that the Reno area had a lot of blight. Downtown is not where you would want to be. We saw two new developments in Sparks but they were way up in the foothills and I felt it isolated. The only beauty seems to be when you look at the mountains West. We did check out the new Toll Brothers 55+ community in Damonte Ranch but it was over the top in amenities that wouldn’t be included in the price. The HOAs were $265 per month.
    As far as the house we found in Meridian and will probably put a down payment on was in a 55+ community called Heritage Grove. There are about four builders who have their houses in this community. The house we love is called the Riverton and there is nothing we would change though if you buy in, you can make changes before it is started. The house is 1840 sq.ft. and as of last Fall, it was priced at $280k. A bargain compared to what you get in California.. Look it up and check out the floorplan. The HOA is $105 per month and they only have a club house so you won’t be paying for a pool, tennis courts, etc. There will be 116 homes total and I believe it is gated. I’ve been told that when you pull up in your moving truck, neighbors will come out and offer to help you. Now that is friendly and half the population are from California (the smart people are moving out of CA). Going up next week to get a final “gut feeling”. BTW, there is a great mall with Macy’s, Penney’s, J.Jill and many other familiar stores. Great pizza restaurant and Cheesecake factory.

    by Katherine Teissere — May 11, 2016

  22. Same junk as all your other lists. No one west of the Mississippi is interested in Florida or any of the other humid southeast states. Just proves how ignorant east coasters are!

    by Karl — May 11, 2016

  23. Karl, you sound like an east coaster.

    by Billy — May 12, 2016

  24. Well we did our pre- retirement research as residents of Maryland for 30 years. Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Carolinas, Deleware and California where family resides. Family is a strong call. Moving to Sacramento. Cost analysis between Maryland and CA – tax wise CA is just a click less. Go figure. Sacramento has good medical, good weather, entertainment, colleges, international airport and 2 hours to SF or Reno. Our fall back is Forth Worth metro area as it is safe and retirement friendly.
    Press on

    by John — May 12, 2016

  25. Good Day, Everyone
    I am an oddball who actually likes the change of seasons and really likes winter. Anyone know of cities where someone like myself can retire on a bit of a budget? Thanks very much.

    by Don LaRue — May 12, 2016

  26. I am going to approach this in reverse. is there anyone out there who has any negatives about
    upstate SC ( Simpsonville- Greenville ) area . anything at all besides hot & humid
    between june – sept . thank you. appreciated .

    by john v — May 12, 2016

  27. John V,
    I lived 20 miles outside Greenville, but worked in Greenville. I’ve lived in 5 states in the last 7 years, Greenville still remains at the top of my favorite places. There are many positives about the area…couple negatives – watch out for cost of licensing your vehicles. It is charged by value of your car. -While this is changing, some folks are still fighting the civil war, – traffic is heavy. Heavy on the invasive, landscape smothering kudzu. Fire ants can be a continual problem in some areas. It cost me as much to heat my house in Greenville as it did in a 1960s ranch house in Wisconsin.

    I didn’t find the heat and humidity all that bad. I give the area a thumbs up.

    by Vickie — May 12, 2016

  28. John V., I agree with Vickie. Greenville is a terrific city, with a beautiful university (Furman), plenty of activities (I have played a number of the golf courses in the area), a thriving economy (thanks in large measure to BMW NA headquarters nearby), a modern airport, excellent shopping and restaurants, and near enough to the mountains and ocean (a few hours) for those who need to get away. Another “sleeper” town, in my estimation, is Aiken, just across the Savannah River from Augusta, GA, especially if you like things equestrian. In 19th Century, wealthy industrialists (and their horses) spent summers there and the horse thing has continued, with polo, steeplechase and horse shows still prevalent. It is a much quieter (and smaller) town than Greenville but all the required services are nearby. If you are a golfer, I can recommend a few golf communities in the area.

    by Larry — May 12, 2016

  29. Thanks Katherine for your feedback. Don’t know if I could pry my wife to move to Idaho. She is a California native and doesn’t want to be too far away from family. We thought Reno might be a good spot though she is concerned about elevation and dryness of the high desert. We are going to look at the Del Webb facility there. Prices look good. We did look at the Toll Brothers property. Too expensive for our taste.

    by Tom — May 12, 2016

  30. I “LOL” when I read Karl’s comment. I don’t mind the year ’round humidity in FL at all! Although I enjoy visiting the SW (primarily Palm Springs and Santa Fe) several times a year I “wouldn’t want to live there!” My lips chap, my skin itches and my nose bleeds – give me humidity anytime – besides it’s too d— hot. “But it’s a dry heat” …. LOL 😉

    by JJ — May 12, 2016

  31. Have lived in NY, Fl, California and Oregon. Hate the snow back east and the humidity of the south. California has the best weather but too expensive so will be moving to the coast of oregon…..much cheaper to live there even though you have to deal with the winter rain. Taxes not a concern because we won’t have a high income and rents start at $550, or you can purchase a Mfg home or condo and live on property for $300 to 400 per mo.

    by Mary Jane — May 12, 2016

  32. What about Jacksonville FL? I wonder about housing costs in Florida?

    by Claudia — May 12, 2016

  33. My wife and I did all our exhaustive research, and now that we are empty nesters we could move to anywhere from where we used to live in Philadelphia, when we were raising 4 kids. We ultimately chose #5 on the list here, Palm Coast, Florida. Why??

    1. NE Florida still gives you some change of seasons. But very, very mild winters. No snow!
    2. Palm Coast seems to be the “sweet spot” in hurricane avoidance
    3. It is near the theme parks in Orlando, where our future grandchildren (if we ever get any of the little buggers!) will almost certainly visit with their parents. We can then go meet up with them there and then…take them all back to….see #4
    4. We are on the beachfront, we have a semi-private beach all to ourselves with our family.
    5. Land costs and building costs are much lower than anywhere else we looked at.
    6. No state income tax
    7. It is near great health care. The Mayo Clinic is only an hour away in Jacksonville. Palm Coast itself has a lot of doctors and dentists and hospitals, not to mention in Daytona Beach, 20 min. away.
    8. Not crowded! Palm Coast today reminds me of the Florida Keys back in the 1970’s when I used to go there a lot.
    9. Good restaurants and lots of supermarkets and pharmacies and home improvement stores. No warehouse clubs, though…yet…But now that it is just my wife and I, not as much need for bulk items.

    Good luck in your decision!
    Dave McKay

    by dave m — May 12, 2016

  34. Don LaRue

    I would suggest that you check out Grand Rapids, Michigan. Area has 4 seasons. It is 30 minutes from shark free and beautiful Lake Michigan. Great cultural community ( review Art Priize) , diverse. Many small towns if you don’t want to live in metro area ( total one million) Great sporting area , camping and skiing.

    by James — May 12, 2016

  35. From LI,NY moved to middle of NC, have had it with this state. Any one out there retired in NJ. I am looking south middle NJ or the the bottom. Has to be near public transit. I just need some good towns to check out. I know about the taxes but I don’t care after being in NC. Have to get out of here. Any suggestions even on 55 or over active communities.

    by ella — May 12, 2016

  36. We’ve lived in Henderson, NV, as snow birds from Canada for 6 years and enjoy the low cost of living and price of real estate. The temperature is about 7 degrees colder than Arizona. It’s safe, has all the big box stores and great services for seniors. Lots of events and entertainment options and seniors specials from restaurants and local casinos. I’d recommend it as a retirement destination for both snow birds and full time residents.

    by Eric — May 13, 2016

  37. I appreciate all these comments . I live in San Antonio, born as raise except for the years that I was in the military . hate to say this but SA is not a place to retire in. Like Georgetown ,people are rude. They drive like maniacs and have no courtesy what so ever . Cost of living is good but not enough to make me want to stay here. I am just looking for an area where the population is small , friendly and not always congested in traffic. So if you hear that SA is a good place to retire in, don’t believe it from some one who knows.

    by Richard — May 13, 2016

  38. Eric – Can you recommend any 55+ Senior “conventional” (not income restricted) APARTMENTS in Henderson, NV that are nice & safe & by stores & transportation. What areas would you recommend? I am looking to move from Florida to Henderson or Reno/Sparks, NV in early 2017. Any information would be appreciated. Thank you.
    Barbara W

    by Barbara — May 13, 2016

  39. ella,
    You sound unhappy with NC! Care to share? Is it too rural compared to what you were used to in LI, NY?

    by Louise — May 13, 2016

  40. Ella, please share with us why you are unhappy with NC. I would welcome you to email me.
    my husband and I are on our 3rd trip to NC (SouthPort) in the next 2wks. I so need help!
    TY. Roseann

    by Roseann — May 14, 2016

  41. ella, FYI I live in LI, NY

    by Roseann — May 14, 2016

  42. Interesting, there are now two of us ‘ella’s. Oh, the confusion. Should be fun!

    by ella — May 14, 2016

  43. Ella – regarding NJ, my MIL lived in Holiday City Toms River which is a huge established community there for many years off rte 36. These are individual homes but it is near malls, shopping, diners, hospital. You would need to research transportation options if you do not drive. Many of these communities have senior transport options.

    In Tinton Falls, is the huge Seabrook Villages. I see their free transport vans at the local food stores all the time and at the mall.

    by Joann — May 14, 2016

  44. Just 2 quick comments on your list of 10 Friendly Places to Retire. Apologies if this has already been stated or answered above.

    The Villages IS a nice place to retire. Everything you said is true. I especially like the fact that it is a golf cart community. You can travel from the north end all the way to the south end (20 miles) entirely by golf cart. No need to take your car out of the garage if you don’t want to.

    But when you do, be prepared for traffic. We retired here from the Midwest and never experienced traffic like exists around here. Horrible. Especially in the winter months. Used to slow down some in summer, but not any more. Too many people have “discovered” our community.

    by Fred H. — May 14, 2016

  45. OK you asked……If you are in one of the big cities or the coast you are generally all right because you have a mix of people. We are right between Greensboro and Durham. Durham is a great town. BUT in 8 years I have found we are not the united states, we are the south, north, west and texas. We can never been united because we are to big and the cultural differences are to great. (Note from Editor…. you get the idea, we edited out some potentially inflammatory comments about southerners in this section).

    I have a Autistic son, who is high functioning now and trying college. The do not acknowledge the federal government so they do not follow the federal disability guidelines. He can not go to a state university because he was so bad when he was young he was federally exempt from a language . They will not even let him in to try and take a language. I have found most of the people born here very complacent, they don’t fight for what is right and fair and if you are a woman you should not speak up at all. We also made the mistake of moving into a HOA, which they tell you it is necessary to keep you home values all it creates is a Nazi group of people that get power and go nuts. I have been to court for things the approved and then 6 weeks later , we made a mistake after all the supplies were bought. We won in court but has been harassed since. I have even testified in Raleigh before the General Assembly about HOA’s and heard horror story’s of even people loosing their home because of the flowers they had or a woman whose husband got sick and she got money finds and they took her home.We will take a big loss when we sell because they build in sections and the state does nothing to prevent the builders from building much lower prices home in the third section, so first is 150. second is 170 and the third is 100. so your value of the home is gone.

    I don’t have 20 more years to be miserable and wait. So I want out. I will not go back to LI, it is just to crowed. 8 years here not one friend we came because my husband spent 14 weeks at 9/11 and I felt this would help him.But it did not as I tell out friends up north, I live in a foreign land. It is not the united states.

    by ella — May 14, 2016

  46. As a former east coast northerner I’d like to add my observations. Lived in many 55+ communities, Del Webb/Sun City Hilton Head (which is Bluffton SC) Del Webb Charleston (which is Summerville SC) Solivita Kissimmee/Poinciana FL & Lakeside Crossing Myrtle Beach. Now I’m in SE Las Vegas (1 blk to Henderson NV). There are many options here that other locations do not have. Three Del Webb communities, 30+ 55 active adult apartment complexes (full activities), many manufactured home 55 communities (full activities). Community buses if you need them, mobile doctor companies, lots of services geared to retirees. Most of all no flying palmetto bugs (2+ inches big), no alligators, no snakes, no mosquitos, no lizards so for me this was a huge plus. I’m 10 miles from the strip (best entertainment anywhere) but have three close by casinos (personally don’t gamble but the glitz makes one feel lively) with shows, buffets, 2-3 newcomer groups with another 50 activities/clubs/organizations. Something for everyone, rents are good for seniors, housing competitive depends what you want to spend great place to live and get around.

    by maxine — May 14, 2016

  47. Ella – from NC. Sounds like you’ve been thru the mill. Perhaps if you are able and want to stay on the east coast, you can make the move to Myrtle Beach SC (the best for retirees that I’ve found in the Carolinas.) Lived there for many years and never encountered anything like you stated in your area Summerville/Charleston is about 85% similar to what you described to me anyway. I’m originally from Long Island. Hope things get better for you, good luck!

    by maxine — May 14, 2016

  48. I have said the coast of both NC and SC have more diverse people and the big cities. But I came from suburbia and though that would be the way to go. You only heard a few of the things, no one is accountable and all we have hit is brick walls.

    ONE important issue anyone that moves here should know is there are no laws or over site of any HOA”s. The have written no checks and balances into the law, they are dictatorships. So if you get a bat s__t group in; there is no one to report them to but the community, and they are usually afraid to stand up to them.

    Snow and all I am going North as soon as I can find a town with great public transportation in central or southern NJ or Delaware, or eastern PA.

    by ella — May 14, 2016

  49. Re the Carolinas – my husband and I have lived in several places in both of the Carolinas (coast and inland). We have never encountered anything like Ella from NC has described. In every single place we have lived, I have made great friends and even after moving, we have stayed in touch. We also have lived in several communities with HOA (both 55+ and not 55+) and have never had any problems.

    The Carolinas is not for everyone especially if you have strong political or religious views – two topics I do not discuss. My three favorite places have been the Pinehurst area, Rock Hill, SC and Myrtle Beach. We currently are in the Piedmont area of NC and hope to move back to Myrtle Beach. If you are looking for “Northern” friends – Myrtle Trace is a wonderful 55+ community with low HOA fees and a very active clubhouse.

    With all our moves, I have learned there is no perfect place – you need to know what is most important and be willing to compromise on other things. To all who are searching – good luck~

    by Bonnie S — May 14, 2016

  50. Former LI’er moved to FL 17 yrrs ago. Most horrible state in the US. Do not move to Brevard county it is terrible, people are rude, lazy & will steal the shirt off your back while you are looking t them, pay is terrible and they expect you to work for long hours with no overtime. {In NY I made $18/hour (98) & in FL was paid $7/hr dor same work, after 2 years I was making $7.34/hr. I was on a job interview once and the person interviewing me said they don’t call it Melboring for nothing} traffic is miserable. Love St. Augustine, St. Petersbu rg, Brooksville, Vero Beach but I have not lived in any of them. You never know about a place until you live there. I have lived in TX, MI, NY & FL and NY is by far the best. Back when I lived in MI, Plymouth was wonderful to live in, and in TX Midland was very nice but by far LI, NY is the best. I lived in W. Islip and today it is just as great as back then. My ideal town would be to live in Montauk and if I ever hit the lottery really big I will be moving there.

    by Joan — May 14, 2016

  51. In response to 4 seasons, I am a semi-native (lived here more than half my age) to CO. I have/am possibly thinking of a relocation for retirement but it is so damn hard to leave CO. They say God was born here. From the low lands to the majestic 14K peaks, the weather can be so different from one place to the next. The humidity is relatively dry but unlike AZ or NM. The snow melts very quickly due to dryness and plenty of sunshine. The outdoor activities are overwhelming regardless of the seasons. The economy is growing leaps and bounds and you can find all of the “box” stores you could ever want. Housing is still relatively cheaper than many states although it is getting higher. Taxes are reasonable. There is so much going on it cannot be all detailed here. There are parts of CO that are struggling like many other states but the Front Range is growing by leaps and bounds. I personally love the areas north of Denver. Don’t focus on just one city. Check it all out. You won’t be disappointed unless you want high humidity, arid deserts, swamps, earthquakes, and other natural attractions. Now….don’t tell what we Coloradoans already know.

    by Ken S — May 14, 2016

  52. Maxine: Sun City in Blufton, Solivita and Lakeside Crossing or the Seasons in Myrtle Beach are all on my short-list! Can you share a few comments on each?

    by Kate — May 15, 2016

  53. Ella 2 sounds like you might just be in an unsuitable place. I have lived in both Carolinas and found them delightful.
    Yes Ella 1 it is confusing, I was thinking, she can’t hike there, when did this happen!

    by Debra — May 15, 2016

  54. Sounds to me like Ella moved South expecting less snow, warmer weather and everything else would be the same. Well, it isn’t…. I have lived in NC for over 25 years, along Ella’s “diverse” coast and I have no idea what she means by that except that, for me, too many people from the North are moving here and expecting to change it to what they left. That is not going to happen so if that is what you want, stay away. She obviously did not do much checking before moving here or she would have known the climate. This is not the liberal bastion I think she wants. Good luck Ella moving back up North.

    by Dick — May 15, 2016

  55. Hi Debra, I am surprised and pleased that you remember i like to hike! I feel like a celebrity.
    Should i sign myself Ella Kardashian?

    by ella — May 15, 2016

  56. In relation to ella II’s comments my friend and her husband recently visited his sister in Arkansas. While there they took a trip to the Ozarks. My friend, who is of Irish descent and extremely fair of skin and hair color, told me that the lack of ethnic diversity made her and her husband terribly uncomfortable. She said that someone with darker skin, like my 100% Italian husband, would probably be made to feel very unwelcome! She told me they would never go back! I just thought this was interesting enough to pass along even though it doesn’t really fit into this blog topic.

    by ella — May 15, 2016

  57. I am looking for an area that is multi-cultural and progessive thinking with a spiritual community I can join along with my husband who is younger and from another country and darker skin. I am now retiring and will live on my social security and my husband needs a job in the tech field and also wants to get further training. We do not need a mortgage and prefer either a condo that allows our 3 smaller dogs or a smaller house. We do not want a retirement community and do not need the activities and fees of those. Any suggestions on housing is appreciated. I prefer 4 seasons and do not want to live in a hot or humid environment year round. Thank you.

    by June — May 15, 2016

  58. Does anyone know anything about James Island or Johns Island in SC

    by Don — May 15, 2016

  59. Kate, the only thing I don’t like about Lakeside Crossing is you do not own the land – I lived across the street in Myrtle Trace and absolutely loved it (sorry I moved from there but had family health issues). It is very easy to meet friends there and the clubhouse is very active!

    by Bonnie S — May 15, 2016

  60. another update: some general observations on the NEW ENGLAND transplants. moved to WAKE COUNTY NC from MEXIFORNIA, almost 2 years now. 2 things that we did not have in our plans. NC changed their income tax law & we have met a lot of very NON SOUTHERN people. not sure what is going on, but there is a CLASH of attitudes here. we had read and heard bits and pieces, about the clashes, but did not believe it was a REAL issue. well, we were wrong. our background is MIDDLE AMERICA, but we have learned to adapt to where ever we made our home. for the NE transplants, it is up to YOU to adapt to the SOUTH and not expect the SOUTH to CHANGE. we too have had some awkward social moments, due to aggressive NE ATTITUDES. not sure why, but the NE crowd seems to want to be in charge of everything 7/24. being polite, friendly and easy going, appears to be absent. just some observations. oh yes, my wife and I are leaving for another paradise, somewhere. the adventure continues.

    by davefh — May 15, 2016

  61. Does anyone have Info on the Lakeland Florida area and areas going west . Looking into that part of Florida Do not want the Spring Hill area And I know Bradenton and Sarasota will cost to much I believe. Thank you.

    by Joe H — May 15, 2016

  62. I’m very interested in Athens, GA. My nephew lives in Hoschton, Ga about 1/2 hour away. I like the idea of Athens because of the OLLI program at U of GA. I’ve been there once and will be going again next month. Any thoughts, opinions, whatever on Athens would be greatly appreciated.

    by Stacey — May 15, 2016

  63. Ella 1 That is an excellent idea to avoid confusion. You have been so definite about your retirement needs I was shocked when I thought you were in the middle of NC.

    by Debra — May 16, 2016

  64. Kate, We just recently bought into Lakeside Crossing, but we are still a few more weeks away from actually making our move down there. However, thus so far, our impressions of all of the people with whom we have met have been very favorable. Not only that, but the sales staff of Lakeside Crossing have bent over backwards doing their very best to ensure that our transition there is a smooth one. The community has 2 gorgeous clubhouses, and there’s an indoor pool in one of the club houses. They just got all new exercise equipment in their fitness center, and not only that, but they just recently broke ground on an outdoor pool which they expect to have completed by the end of the summer, and they are also working on making Lakeside a “gated” community, too. There’s way too many activities/amenities to list all of them here, but suffice it to say that if you’re bored, it’s nobody’s fault but your own. Bonnie S. is correct whenever she says that residents of Lakeside Crossing do not “own” the land. However, whenever you get right down to it, none of us owns anything in this life — it’s all on loan, and we’re just borrowing it for a short time 🙂 🙂

    by Valerie — May 16, 2016

  65. RE: NC
    Loved Chapel Hill, did not like Wilmington. Maybe finding the right place in a state is for those who didn’t like the Carolinas…or just move on when you can. Sorry for which ever Ella did not like it.

    Very few criteria for most of us in retirement is “STATE wide”…lots of variation within a state. An exception in income tax…not so with other taxes…and with state income tax, it can change quickly.

    That is why I like a list like this, it names towns…not states!

    by elaine — May 16, 2016

  66. Let’s put it this way, Elaine, if you are a liberal, you will love Chapel Hill. If you are conservative, you will love Wilmington….. Enough said.

    by Dick — May 17, 2016

  67. I lived just outside of (Hampstead) and worked in Wilmington and apparently was very fortunate – I found a good mix of conservative/liberal people – I loved the Wilmington area. The waterfront area is wonderful although it has grown quite a bit since I lived there.

    by Bonnie S — May 17, 2016

  68. Thank you both. Unfortunately we are limited because we want to be close to our son. Are there any other communities that you would suggest in the Raleigh , Durham, Chapel Hill area? We really want to live in a 55 plus active community.

    by maryann — May 18, 2016

  69. Has anyone moved from the Northeast to 55+ retirement communities in Texas? I am a different Debra, just joining.

    by Debra — May 18, 2016

  70. We are considering lake front in northern, GA, the Blue Ridge area, anyone have any input? Thx!

    by Diana — May 18, 2016

  71. Maryann, I would consider the Epcon communities in the area. Although all are not 55+ communities, they are very active. You can also look at Creekside at Bethpage.

    by Dick — May 19, 2016

  72. HAHAHA….re: Chapel Hill vs Wilmington, NC. Dick I am “ultra” middle of the road…an independent those has voted both Republican and Democratic in the past. This year…well maybe I will vote for Canada (a joke folks). TO keep it on track for this friendly towns or retirement blog…I did not find the people in Wilmington friendly.

    But my interests and hobbies are not those that discuss politics unless it is AKC vs NADAC vs USDAA. Or maybe NHRA vs Nascar.

    I have lived in the north, the south, rural, urban, ubranized suburbia, suburbia. I am not a control freak and will not try to tell you how to vote, where to go to church. etc.. I will listen politely and do what’s right for me. And for the record compete in all three of the dog venues and the only races I ever go to are horse races.

    by elaine — May 19, 2016

  73. Elaine, your interests and politics are just like mine! Only I would add CPE to the mix….. 🙂
    Did you find a friendly place that meets your needs?

    I am in the Midwest now, tired of winters and looking forward to retiring in the Southeast somewhere…..

    by Sue — May 20, 2016

  74. Hi Sue, look at this Blog and if you have more questions send them there…I will watch for them there, I am ending up in NE Georgia.

    PS if you are interested in FL and enjoy dog sports , you might enjoy this website. see map on this site it is very useful. Wish other states had this

    by elaine — May 20, 2016

  75. Some comments made to the Blog Post concerning Del Webb/Pulte have been moved to

    If you want to comment about that topic, please go there.

    by Admin — May 20, 2016

  76. After searching for over a year, I have decided to move to Venice, Florida from Virginia Beach, Virginia. My house is on the market and as soon as I get a contract, I am off to Venice to find something just for me.
    Can anyone give me any information from personnaly living there, and any areas to look for a place? I want to be close to town, close to trails, and able to ride my bike to the beach.
    Thank you!

    by Maryann Barnes — May 21, 2016

  77. Tom, I hope you will see this before you decide upon the Del Webb in Reno. We, too, looked at a loved most of the models. My husband’s cousin who is a long time resident of the area informed us that he had friends who lived up the hill from the Del Webb and had enough damage to their home in the last earthquake that it was unsalable. That must mean there is a fault line running right through the area and the homes in the Del Webb would be affected.

    My husband and I are both native Californians but won’t miss what it has become in the least. We made the trip to Boise and put a reservation on a lot in Heritage Grove (55+ community) in Meridian. Met with the builder and was totally impressed. The two gentlemen who are Tresido were voted in the top 40 builders in the nation. Very accommodating and smart. A friend of a friend who happens to be Mormon gave us the name of the Bishop of the nearby LDS and his phone number. He suggested we call when we are ready to move our possessions into the house as they would send help. We are so excited and are readying our house for sale. Expect to be able to move into our new house by the end of September or early October.

    by Katherine Teissere — May 24, 2016

  78. I live in Montana and the hot spot for retirees from here has become Green Valley, AZ. I’ve not been there, but the folks I’ve talked to who have moved there, either as snowbirds or permanent residents rave about it. What has anyone else heard, if anything? Thanks

    by jim — June 9, 2016

  79. Jim, Had once thought of checking this area out but it is too close to the border for my comfort. If you are interested in Arizona, the Prescott area is a popular destination for retirees. We considered this but found Idaho to be the best for us.

    by Katherine Teissere — June 16, 2016

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