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!”
Bluffton, SC. Pauline said: “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.”
Larry and others like Bluffton too, but fret about the traffic in season.
Carl would add Province in Maricopa, AZ to the list. He’s lived here since 2012 and has met friendly people all around. “The “community culture” 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.”
For Jack and his wife, their “…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.”
Bella Vista, Arkansas. Bonnie visited Bentonville in the northwest corner of Arkansas and found a retirement area known as Bella Vista. She was 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.”
Jasper, Tennessee is where Jan settled. “We’ve semi settled on the southeast area of Tennessee, west of Chattanooga, in Jasper. 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. 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 here attitude.”
Star, Idaho. Cathy H: “We relocated from northern California to Star a year and a half ago and we love it here. Very friendly place. Check out Star! It is still close to Boise. I have to have Costco and Trader Joes. We have a Costco in Nampa which is close to us too.” Others, including Vickie, are looking toward Idaho because they like how it reflects their conservative views. Star is near Meridian, and one of the communities mentioned by Members there is Heritage Grove.
Sacramento, CA. John cast a friendly vote for this California city. “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 fallback is Fort Worth metro area as it is safe and retirement friendly.”
Note that many other Members commented that they couldn’t wait to get out of California for expense and political reasons.
Palm Coast, FL. Dave M: ‘ “We ultimately chose 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.
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.”
Grand Rapids, MI. James would “… suggest that you check out Grand Rapids, Michigan. The area has 4 seasons. It is 30 minutes from shark free and beautiful Lake Michigan. Great cultural community ( review Art Prize) , diverse. Many small towns nearby if you don’t want to live in metro area. Great sporting area , camping and skiing.”
Henderson, NV. Eric says they “….have lived in Henderson, NV, as snowbirds 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 snowbirds and full time residents.”
Maxine added more comments about Henderson: “Something for everyone, rents are good for seniors, housing competitive depends what you want to spend great place to live and get around.”
For Bonnie S, her “… 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 in Conway is a wonderful 55+ community with low HOA fees and a very active clubhouse.
Thanks to everyone for these really helpful Comments from our previous article. We love the friendly places you have chosen to live in. Your insight is hard to come by. If you have other friendly places to retire, please suggest them in the Comments section below.