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Beyond Asheville: More Under-Rated Best Places to Retire

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

February 1, 2011 — As many of us have discovered, the glamour queen (or king) we might be first attracted to often doesn’t turn out to be as enchanting in the long term as the quiet beauty in the back of the room. A similar phenomenon happens with best places to retire lists, so last year we came out with a list of “The Most Under-Rated Places to Retire”. Our readers seemed to like the concept, so here we go again with our 2011 list: More Under-Rated Places to Retire. Part 3 in the series was published in 2014 (see bottom of article for link).

We started with our search for this year’s list by using the Topretirements “Retirement Ranger“. There we specified these criteria:
1. Lower than average cost of living
2. Average January temperature above 40 degrees (F.), (we’ll do a similar list of towns in cooler climes in the future)
3. Higher than average cultural life
4. Tax-Friendly State.
We took the list of the 40+ towns that the Ranger provided and then screened out towns we featured on our previous under-rated list, towns on our 100 most popular places to retire list, and towns that seem to be selected over and over again. In a couple of cases we included towns that have a higher than average cost of living compared to the U.S. overall, but are a relative bargain for the region. Here goes, in no particular order:

Mount Dora, FL – Located near the highest elevation in Florida, this is a classy old town has plenty of charm and things to do.

Auburn-Opelika, AL – This town and suburb is one of the fastest growing communities in the country. It not only has a major university (Auburn), but it also has a beautiful downtown with culture and shopping.

St. Petersburg, FL – To see just why St. Petersburg is so special, all you have to do is look at a map – this charming old city is set on a peninsula on Tampa Bay. Surrounded by beaches and water, St. Petersburg has a low-key and relaxing feel to it.

Ashland, OR – Home to one of the largest Shakespeare festivals in the world,one that attracts 400,000 visitors a year, Ashland is a wonderful town with fantastic cultural opportunities. Ashland’s housing costs are above the U.S. figure although not out of line for the West Coast (median home here was about $300,000 in 2010). We felt that the town has so many things going for it that it deserves to be included on this list.

Corpus Christi, TX – Located on the water with great beaches, Corpus Christi generally gets rave reviews from its residents. Seems like there is always something to do in this affordable town at the southern tip of Texas, where the median home goes for $133,000.

Sequim – WA – Airline pilots are generally credited with discovering Sequim as a retirement town. It seems that in the generally overcast skies of Washington, there was always a “blue hole” above Sequim. In addition to good weather, Sequim is on the water and close to the mountains. It is relatively inexpensive by west coast standards.

Fredericksburg, TX – This town is justly proud of its German-American heritage. Fredericksburg gets a lot of tourists for its festivals, restaurants and other attractions like the WW II Museum and the Nimitz Hotel. LBJ used to go to church here.

Ogden, UT – The Salomon Recreation Center is one of the highpoints of this town. Featuring indoor climbing, surfing, dance, and a lot more in this giant facility, it has helped propel Ogden into one of the leading towns in America for high-adventure. Ogden also has a burgeoning art scene with the restored Egyptian Theatre.

Georgetown, TX – This town north of Austin has a very large concentration of active adult communities, some of them very large like Sun City Texas. It has more than 200 restored Victorian and pre-WW1 buildings in the pretty downtown. Georgetown is not unknown by any means, it has won numerous awards in recent years.

Dahlonega, GA – One of our Topretirements members called Dahlonega, located in the north, one of the nicest towns in Georgia. It was home to the first gold rush in the U.S. and is also close to Lake Lanier.

For further reading:
Part 1: The Most Under-Rated Places to Retire”
Part 3: 5 More Under-Appreciated Places to Retire.
What do you think? Do you have some favorite retirement towns that never seem to make a “best” list? If so, we would like to hear about it. Please let us know via the Comments section below.

Posted by John Brady on February 1st, 2011


  1. Asheville is wonderful and still a retirement destination but there are some other wonderful small towns nearby. Franklin in Macon County, and Sylva in Jackson County are wonderful retirement communities for those who love outdoor activities and a step back in time.

    by Pam — February 2, 2011

  2. We have been semi-searching for a year and a half now. I like the idea of low taxes, temperate weather and convenience to medical and shopping. We visited Mt Dora which is a great small town, but like all of Florida, too hot for half the year. Greenville, SC is a great area with a vibrant downtow, low real estate costs and moderate taxes, but pretty hot and humid in the summer months. We looked at several places in Tennessee, Fairfield Glade and Tellico Village, but both are somewhat remote to “big” city acces.

    We like Asheville, with all its known advantages, but real estate is not cheap. We keep being drawn to Hendersonville, NC. We have visited several times and found the area has a nice downtown area, cheaper housing than Ashville, yet only 20 miles up the Interstate. Temps seem to be moderate due to higher elevations than SC. Taxes are higher…need to fill out the taxes on a trial basis to see what it will cost.

    by Bill — August 28, 2013

  3. We have been looking in North Carolina for last year for a place to retire. Southport N.C. is really nice but the Wilmington NC is very crowded. Haven’t checked on Hendersonville N.C.but have ruled out Charlotte NC too crowed and reminds us of NYC.

    by john — August 28, 2013

  4. Bill, I couldn’t help but think of two places as I read your post. Maryville, TN, which is outside Knoxville, a small college town, very cute with easy access to all Knoxville offers. Knoxville is a surprisingly nice area. We go there often to see family and are always saying it would be a great place to live. Secondly, Waynesville, NC. It is about 40 miles from Asheville. It’s a small older quaint town with shops and restaurants. We go and stay at a B&B when we can. It has some of the cultural influence of Asheville, but smaller. Just a couple thoughts for you. If I could handle that much cold weather, I’d go to either one to live. Unfortunately, I think FL is our destination for winters, eventually all year, because of family and warm winters, though I hate summer down there.

    by Connie — August 28, 2013

  5. I’m glad that Connie mentioned Waynesville, NC. It’s really a cute little town and close enough to Asheville for cultural activities. I would also mention Brevard, NC. Nice shops, restaurants, lower priced real estate and a fascinating family of white squirrels that are the subject of local lore and a yearly festival! It’s also a college town. Hendersonville is getting quite built-up and almost a rush-hour type traffic issue on occasion due to its proximity to Asheville. We fell in love with Black Mountain but wanted to be close to downtown and real estate was very limited and very pricey. We chose to build in Asheville, a 10 minute walk from town, so we could control housing cost a little bit.

    by cherie — August 28, 2013

  6. Hi, Does anyone have comments on Tehachapi Ca? it was mentioned in one of these lists for retirement (as well as Bakersfeild ca). My husband and I are planning on visiting but would love to hear any comment from others looking for retirement locations. thank you

    by judy b. — August 28, 2013

  7. We recently retired to Bristol, RI. While RI has one of the worst unemployment numbers, for those retirees not seeking further employment, it is a wonderful spot. It is a college town, has a number of cultural attractions, a vibrant historic downtown and waterfront, fabulous restaurants, affordable real estate, and magnificent parks, walking trails, and sailing. For New Englanders who do not choose to leave the area, Bristol is a great retirement town. check out the website ExploreBristolByLandorBySea which has a wealth of information regarding the town’s attractions.

    by Jane lavender — August 28, 2013

  8. Cherie is good to mention Brevard, NC. I haven’t spent much time there, but my aunt was going to retire there until family issues required her to be in TX. She felt Brevard had enough culture and diversity to satisfy her. Black Mountain is awesome, but as noted I am sure quite expensive. Asheville is one of my favorite places, but just can’t do the winters anymore (I know that sounds crazy to real northerners and I do know Asheville does not fit that category (I grew up in Northern NY).

    by Connie — August 28, 2013

  9. Bakersfield, CA: Believe that a recent report listed Bakersfield’s air quality as the #1 worst in the US.

    by Sondra — August 28, 2013

  10. I would be interested in others thought on Mt Dora, FL. We have considered that and would love to be outside Orlando as opposed to in it. Concerned that prices have gone up enough that it may be difficult to find something inexpensive enough. We are concerned about crime in most any location in FL.

    by Connie — August 28, 2013

  11. I would be interested in others thoughts on Mt Dora, FL. We have considered that location and would love to be outside Orlando as opposed to in it. Concerned that prices have gone up enough that it may be difficult to find something inexpensive enough. We are a bit anxious about crime in most any location in central FL.

    by Connie — August 28, 2013

  12. Sure appreciate your reference to the rich value of diversity, Connie! We are looking to be on fresh water with a rich diverse community that reflects the culture and progressive thinking of folks who value differences rather than a cookie-cutter environment. Would really appreciate mid-latitude places that any of you know of (that allow me to give my snow blower away)and have lovely settings on clean, uncrowded lakes. Leaning strongly on eastern states- Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

    by Jim — August 28, 2013

  13. Just came home 3 days ago from a tour of North Carolina and northern South Carolina. Nice places in Wake Forest, Hendersonville, and Greensville SC. Looking north of Charlotte next. So far Greensville and Hendersonville are on top. Lived in Corpus Christi for 3 years. Couldn’t pay me to move there permanently. Visit for the beach and birding. There is a reason the median home range is low. There is only an upper and lower class. Roads are terrible (lots of debris/lots of broken windshields), had my car broken into in broad daylight in a well populated area. Lots of signs advertising lawyers…..

    by Paula — August 28, 2013

  14. Jim, To quote you, “rich diverse community that reflects the culture and progressive thinking of folks who value differences rather than a cookie-cutter environment.” I’m with you on that. Not to offend anyone, but that is a bit tough in the Southeast. It’s getting better, slowly, but slowly. I’m sure there are places I’m not familiar with, but I would check out Asheville if you’re looking to the SE. It has a unique culture and what I call a little bit of modern hippy-like culture. It’s diverse in many ways, but personal preferences and tastes are different. Most smaller towns are not likely to offer as much diversity, but again, that is only my personal take on the general subject.

    by Connie — August 28, 2013

  15. Jim, Yes, I think Asheville is the perfect place for you… It has everything you require.

    by gail — August 29, 2013

  16. Jane, I am born and raised in Mass. but my family has had a summer home in Middletown for about 50 years. I often think Bristol would be a great place to retire: Close to Newport and Providence, the rail trail, cute downtown area, the waterfront, etc. Luckily I still have a few years to figure it all out.

    by Nancy — August 29, 2013

  17. This is mostly to Jim but really anyone interested in Asheville: we did a very intensive study of Asheville. We were afraid it was too good to be true! It isn’t. So far I’ve not met anyone who says they dislike the place! Clean beautiful lakes all around in the mountains with great hiking, fishing, boating, etc. Check out Lake Lure and Lake Junaluska. (lusk is pronounced like tusk – so you won’t sound like a Yankee) Someone dubbed it ‘The Paris of the South’ but I prefer ‘A Grateful Dead concert where no one left.’ The diversity – in everything: housing, age, ethnicity, religion, gender identity – is very broad. There could be more racial diversity for my taste but the cost of housing is something the city needs to work on – middle class prices are almost non-existent. We are going to be scrimping to build there but we’re kind of minimalists anyway. I would pay Asheville a visit. Try to do non-tourist stuff: eat at locally owned places, visit a farmers’ market, take some bike rides. Caution: go too far outside the general Buncombe County area and you will leave the progressive mindset behind. The state of NC is quite conservative and is one of the states working hard to roll out the old voting restrictions of the 60’s. On the bright side, we do plan to sell BOTH our snow blower AND riding mower!

    by cherie — August 29, 2013

  18. I wouldn’t choose it because of heat and humidity, but Birmingham AL is very diverse. I think the medical school has a lot to do with that. It gets a lot of bright people from many countries and cultures. I do remember one of my friends who was Arab, but went to Catholic school in the US telling us many funny stories about her father. He got some lambs for Ramadan and they were in the yard for a couple of days. A few days after Ramadan, a neighbor asked where the poodles went. Her father not understanding the word poodle said there was still some in the freezer and asked if the neighbor wanted some. So keep an open mind if you move there

    I am sure there are other places in the SE where this is true. I keep looking for them…with less heat and humidity. I like the triangle area of NC

    by Elaine — August 29, 2013

  19. Hendersonville, N.C. sounds like what I am looking for. Is good medical care
    available. Is there an airport with major airlines in Asheville?
    Is there a lake and retirement community near Hendersonville, N.C.
    Surprised by some comments about cold winters near Asheville. Where is there pleasant weather year round? Warm winters without hot, humid summers?
    Thanks, Moving South

    by Moving South — August 29, 2013

  20. Paula,
    We have been looking into Greenville,SC., but haven’t visited as of yet. Can you tell us a bit about it and why you liked it so much. Would you live in the city or just outside.

    by susie — August 29, 2013

  21. Paula what was your impression on northern coast of South Carolina area? We have been looking into the Myrtle Beach area and liked what we saw. Lots of entertainment, good beaches, restaurants, close to the mountains, mild winters and lower taxes than North Carolina! Real Estate is reasonably priced and only a few miles from the beach. Property taxes are very low and medical is close as is the airport.

    by Skip — August 29, 2013

  22. I looked at Santa Fe but found it to be one of the least hospitable places for the disabled. Access is awful. I was looking at an ACLF for my sister and asked if her cat would be welcome. Their jaws dropped that I would even ask. It is one of the most pet friendly places that I have ever been. I love the setting and the lack of mold (I am from Miami). I want to live in an art colony before I die. Techapi is one as well.

    by Beth — August 29, 2013

  23. We are thinking Tennessee (from Florida)& considering the Knoxville area. Looking at my parents, we are in line to live beyond our ‘driving years’, so wondering about health care quality, asst’d living quality, & transportation (medical &/or public) availability. Better off in Florida for the taxes & Homestead Laws but can’t take the heat/humidity any longer.!! We live just north of Orlando & south of Mt. Dora – traffic is heavy here too.

    by Jeanne C — August 30, 2013

  24. Susie, Greenville, SC has a vibrant downtown area that is very walkable. Lots of stores, (don’t mis the Mast General Store), restaurants of many tastes, and bars. Falls Park located downtown is a favorite gathering place for picnics and strolling around. The Bi-Lo Center is home to lots of concerts and events. There is also a minor league Baseball team in town. The economy seems to be doing well. There is a BMW plant north of town, along with other supporting plants, such as Michelin Tires.
    Real estate is very reasonable. Put a search on Trulia to see new listings. Weather does get hot and muggy in the summer months, which to me is the only downside to the area.

    by Bill — August 30, 2013

  25. Jean –
    We are also seriously looking in the Knoxville area and rented cabins in the mountains in June and again at Christmas – our daughter from FL and her sons joined us. My daughter and I took in a musical production (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) and were very impressed with the talent of the young people. Prices at restaurants were very reasonable for a tourist designation. However traffic in June was horrific! We are now looking at Maryville, or just outside in Townsend, home of ‘Rocky Top’ and known as the ‘quiet’ side of the Smokey Mts.
    Since we have a home to sell, and weather this summer prevented finishing the outside chores, we are targeting putting it on the market in the spring. I have been involved with two realtors, one in Maryville and one in the mountain area, and I have become a serious Zillow browser and have several ‘saved’ areas.
    The new Le Conte hospital in Sevierville (yes there is a way to avoid the traffic)is associated with the Univ. of TN medical college and we are considering close proximity for a taxi – I think the only public transport is the trolleys in the tourist area, and my back could not handle a trolley. I have not found any medical transport but am still looking. Also if eligible, they are building a new VA hospital right next door to Le Conte, and even though my husband is ret. Army, the income chart is exceptionally low, so that even with a service connected disability (due to Agent orange, pink, white etc.), we have too much income for him to use their services – at least that is true in the central VA area.
    Now Townsend is right outside the Cades Cove, Wear Valley area, and although the available real estate is limited I am looking at two builders who have some all one level, close to town with views, available. Also there are cabins available but we would consider only one with a view but do not want to live ‘up high’ during bad weather so we are content looking ‘up’ instead of ‘down’!
    Maryville is all that you have read here, and then some… and there is a LOT of housing available, however I have not found anything affordable on Lake Tellico. Try outside Maryville towards Knoxville in Kodak and Alcoa. Homes we could not afford three years ago are very affordable now. There are also more ‘villa’ type developments than I can possibly list in Knoxville, two or three in Sevierville and several in Maryville – although it is difficult to find all on one floor, masters are almost always on the main floor. There are several that just have a ‘bonus’ room with stairs, so perfect for visiting grandchildren and children. There is no public transportation in Townsend, however it is not far to the UT Medical clinic and taxi’s are available. If I remember correctly, Maryville does have a bus service.
    You can email me if you like for more information or names of the realtors I am working with at

    by Diane S — August 30, 2013

  26. Greenville vs the general Asheville area: We checked out Greenville and we found we preferred Asheville/Hendersonville for several reasons. The humidity in the summer was one. The mountains around Asheville was another. I grew up in the flatlands of northern IL, OH and southern MI but lived the last 25 years in the Poconos of PA. I have become addicted to mountains even PA’s little ones! And finally there’s a “weirdness” to Asheville that is just charming. I think Greenville is a bit more staid and conservative and that of course is a personal preference. For Moving South, there is an airport in Asheville but service is limited and mostly to FL and Chicago. There is a large very good airport 2 hours away in Charlotte. There is good public transport in Asheville – bio-fueled bus system! Mission hospital is the main medical facility but it is not a teaching hospital. It’s well-rated but if you need specialized care, you probably need to get to a teaching facility up near Charlotte or better yet, Chapel Hill/research triangle. But the idea is to stay fit and avoid those doctors by using all the healthy resources in the Asheville area! I suspect by the way retirees are flooding into the area, medical treatment grow and improve. And as far as weather in the winter, “cold” seems to be a relative word. Last March an inch of snow closed the schools and sent all the kids out to build snowmen! The snow disappeared by afternoon!

    by cherie — August 30, 2013

  27. Does anyone have thoughts on Bend, Oregon vs Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho? Appreciated. gary

    by Gary Tackett — August 30, 2013

  28. I too am interested in Bend as well as towns around Eugene, Oregon. I am 66 young and still have the joie de vivre….

    by Josiane — August 30, 2013

  29. Hi as usual Thank You for the great blog info..we just came back from Lancaster Cty Pa and a home that we like approx 2000 sq ft 55 community was $300,000 and at a tax rate of .029 x that amount the tax would be close to $7500 per yr..not really low as some claimed in blogs..just wanted to pass that along..nd beware not to only rely on selling agent as the rep told us $4400..
    my suggestion is verify tax with the Assessors Office for whatever Countyin Pa..
    the plus with Pa is if you have a high retirement income they do not have a state tax on any pension icome..pension,401, SS, that could easily offset the property tax if you have substansial retirement income..lookin forward to any info ..Thanks
    next trip South Carolina

    by Robbie — August 30, 2013

  30. Heading South,
    We have visited Hendersonville and Asheville many times over the last 3 years. We also looked at other places like Brevard, Mountain View, etc. Hendersonville fits what we are looking for: has 2 hospitals, VA hospital in Asheville, the Ashville airport is about 20 minutes north, Greenville/Spartanburg is about 40 minutes south. Interstate 26 intersects I 40 just south of Asheville. Temperture is nice all year: doesn’t get into the 80’s or 90’s but a few days during the summer, lows in January/Feb are in 20’s/30’s. They haven’t had a snow storm in 2 years, but you get the four seasons. The town is vibrant, easy to meet folks, downtown is family friendly/safe to walk at night. NC does have a state income tax :2 (?) rate levels, if you have military service prior to 1986 your military retirement is not taxed (Balfour rule). The state doesn’t tax social security. Check other links on this site for more tax information on the state and local property taxes. Cost of living is around 100 +/- 2 points on a scale of 100 as average across the US. Mountains and access to App trail are 20 minutes away. Apple festival (Labor Day) is big. Got to go, more later. Plan to retire there next year.

    by Doc — August 30, 2013

  31. Thanks Robbie. Really good point about taxes! PA is still at the top of my list to be near kids. Aside from finding that RE taxes vary so much by county, I’ve also observed that the RE tax listings are completely inaccurate. Realtors disclose only one number, often the school taxes since they are the highest. If it helps, I pay school, county, and township real estate taxes in Allegheny County, PA (Western PA) for a total hit of about $2,400 per $100,000 of housing value. On the positive side, my utilities and homeowners’ insurance aren’t too bad and it’s always easy to get yard service, cleaning, handyman, pool maintenance and other services at reasonable prices. Sales tax is 7%, but there are many exclusions in PA such as for clothing, food, and medicine. No annual personal property tax on vehicles, other than the annual inspection and registration fees. The trick is figuring out a net cost for each location. I’d like to see spreadsheets with apple to apple comparisons, such as housing based on $100,000, expected spending based on a $50,000 income, car valued at $25,000, etc. We can then use whatever multipliers or divisors apply to our individual circumstances.

    by Sharon — August 31, 2013

  32. Been throughout SC and want to give you a “heads up”. Pay attention to what county you are in, they taxes vary greatly.

    by Marilyn — August 31, 2013

  33. Well, I looked at St. Petersburg and here is my opinion. The people are generally nice and friendly. The city itself (the downtown area) is okay; there is a fair selection of places to eat, drink, and shop. There is a fair number of homeless people around town. They tend to congregate at one of the parks in town. There are no beaches in the city. You have to drive to the west coast to find a decent beach for swimming and sunning. Housing near town is not cheap. Flood insurance would be required in many areas that I considered desirable. All in all, it is not for me.

    by Tom — August 31, 2013

  34. Bend Oregon is really beautiful country and sun shines close to 300 days per year they tell me, but it does get cold. It is high desert and water seems to be available possibly runoff from the Cascade mountains. We seriously considered it. Sisters a little further west is a small town which you can’t hardly get thru on a weekend…hwy 20 goes right thru it. As to approach the mountains the average rainfall/snowfall increases, as you move west from Sisters to the Metolious (sp) River the rainfall/snowfall increases again. I really like the area and it’s beauty, but have opted not to go there just because of the cold winteer weather. It is beautiful and if you are a skier or outdoors person, this is for you. Golf courses and fishing are great. Hope this helps.

    by Mark P — August 31, 2013

  35. Tom , thanks for comments on St. Pete– and the mention of ‘flood insurance’..seldom to individuals blogs about Florida locations mention flo0d and /or homeowner policies..
    we had looked in near naples area and was informed by our State Farm Company that they will not issue any new homeowner policy in Florida..and was the case with 2 other insurers..and only existing policy holders there would continue coverage..and companies that were issuing the costs were triple what we pay in NY..sometimes individuals state well my insurance is $1100 per yr..but we must know the coverage and cost of home..for example a friend in Smryna Beach said I was wrong as they nhad a policy for $1100 turns out they were in a 1 bedroom codo bldg and the price of sale was 110K..and the condo carried flood insurance and included that in hoa we wanted a 250K home and the quotes we recieved were triple that amt without flood ins..
    so when we buy..all of my opinion must do ‘homework’ to assure the reality..Thanks to all for ‘blogs’ as alaways freat info..

    by Robbie answers Tom — September 1, 2013

  36. Mark,
    Thanks for your comments on Bend…I am curious, did you check out other places in Oregon? Have you settled somewhere or are you still researching? Finding the right place to retirement is often an aventure. Good luck.

    by Josiane — September 1, 2013

  37. Looking at possible retirement in Post Falls, Idaho. Any advice/suggestions?

    by Nancy — September 1, 2013

  38. Sharon liked your comments and agree on the beauty of Pa..even though the tax burden (property) could be say $7500 tax..that is somewhat offset by the fact that Pa does not tax any retirement in Delaware I worked out a tax form and there would be a $2500 income tax..and of course the tax in Del on a 300K home is about $ that must be in our considerations..we did visit a insurance agent there and recieved quotes..the amt was very similiar to our NY home and property etc…so that looked fine..and we went to a hospital there in lancaster couny and found it to be extremly nice and they accepted our medical plans we plan 2 other visits one in Delaware to check insurance and medical (eyes on checks oof hospital/urget care etc)..then on back to So Corolina..and do the described above..
    so will share some thoughts/opinions after those trips..and Thank You for sharing your experiences as well as everyone else..sure is enjoyable reading this column..have a great Sept..

    by Robbie — September 2, 2013

  39. To Rosiane, We were in Central Oregon yesterday and it was beautiful, Too bad it gets cold there in the winter. We live in the Willamette Valley near Salem where we statistically get only 60-70 sunny days per year but this year was the exception. We have had more than 100-120?? It dries up in MAy or June and sometimes as late as early July then we get vitually no rain for 2-3 months. Summers are fabulous. The coast is windy and rainy, Florence is nice but more wind and rain, beutiful when the sun does come out. When it is rainy here it is supposed to be nice in Brookings but stats show more rain there. Many retirees are in Brookings.. We are still looking, maybe Arizone for winters.
    Try these sites;

    by Mark P — September 2, 2013

  40. We lived in Bend,Or. for 10 years, leaving just 4 years ago. We grew tired of the long winters. It is quite common to have frost in June, and snow flurries late into spring. Winter starts by the end of October, with snow on Halloween being common. Gardening is very difficult, Most plants will need to be started indoors to avoid late frosts. Bend is truly beautiful country and we have fond memories of the area. It seems to be a better fit for a younger population, with great skiing and snowboarding. As of 4 years ago the income tax was quite high, as I recall in the 9% range, and it does apply to out of state pensions. Hope this helps someone.

    by Larry M. — September 2, 2013

  41. Having lived in Oregon most of my life (I’m 65 now), I’ve seen Bend grow from a small rural town to a fast paced booming town that is expensive. Yes, it’s nice there, but it’s also for a younger population. If you like snow and skiing then that’s the place for you. People come to Oregon in the summer and see the good weather, move here, then suddenly realize it rains the entire winter and into spring, and most summers and falls are nice. Once the winter sets in, if it isn’t raining there is a continual gray cloud overhead. So many people here are Vitamin D deficient too. SO, my recommendation if you plan to relocate to Oregon, do your homework, visit in Winter and most of all, enjoy your stay when you are here. We have beautiful mountains, beaches, cities, golf courses…pretty much something for everyone, both young and old.

    by Roberta — September 3, 2013

  42. I’ve lived in Bakersfield, CA for about 24 years. Since arriving, I’d developed asthma from the bad air. Luckily, bicycle riding is easy around here and that has helped me immensely.

    The worst things about Bakersfield are the abundant trash and illegal immigration. People think nothing of throwing trash from vehicles or dumping in fields. The immigration issue shows because so many people don’t have a license or insurance. Finally, taxes and political attitudes have caused us to actively plan retirement out of CA.

    Tehachapi is about a 30 – 40 minute drive from Bakersfield. It has the altitude to give seasonal changes, including snow. Culturally, you’re going to have to head to Bakersfield or LA.

    The good news is that Bakersfield is fairly inexpensive compared to much of the state. It is about 2 hours from Los Angeles, the beach, the mountains, shopping, skiing, culture, amusement parks and more. The state itself is beautiful and vast; you could spend years here and never see it all.

    by Donna — September 15, 2013

  43. A few people were asking about Elizabeth City on some other Blog posts that werent as relevant as this one. So we are reposting over here: (Editor’s note: Don’t miss our City Review of Elizabeth City:
    and also this Blog article where we profiled Elizabeth City in “Would You Take a Chance on an up and Coming Place to Retire

    From Futura:
    We’ve been traveling to Elizabeth City for the past 20 years. Like the area and it’s proximity to the outer banks with out the traffic. Considering retiring there at some point.

    From Elizabeth:
    Hi Interested in Elizabeth City,
    We have thought of Elizabeth City. We are from NY but do like the historical nature of this place. It is interesting and has access to the Outer Banks, and there is a lot of water around. The people there are very friendly. I have checked it out online and have been there. I don’t like those Hurricanes so I may not be a good match for me, but then I really don’t know where it is safe any more. Please, more info about Elizabeth City, NC? Thanks in advance. Elizabeth!

    by Admin — September 15, 2013

  44. Any one have information on retiring in Delaware close to Ocean City MD?

    by Jay — September 16, 2013

  45. Driving down to Elizabeth City this morning. Interviewed our first CT based realtor. Could be down there as early as next summer. We traveled from GA coast back to CT earlier this year. The farther north we went, the more we enjoyed it. Waterfront property is much more affordable in the Elizabeth City area. As to hurricanes, friends of ours lost one dock and suffered one evacuation in 20 years. Not a bad deal.

    by Futura — September 16, 2013

  46. Does anybody have any information on active 55 plus communities within 30 miles of Bethesda MD?

    by Dan — September 17, 2013

  47. Futura,
    Do you mean that friends from Elizabeth City had had only one evacuation and lost only one dock in 20 years? That would be rather a good record. I love that area. I have been wondering about the Hurricane risk in that particular area. Not bad is correct.
    My husband and I went to the Coast Guard Station and conducted some business there and then just checked out the rest of the area. I am a bit of a History Buff and enjoyed learning all the early history of the area.
    I don’t care for Dismal Swamp, but I do like the access to the Outer Banks.

    by Elizabeth — September 17, 2013

  48. Morning Bloggers..we have been trying to locate home owners insurance companies that will issue a policy to individuale buying in Florida..several companies have told us they no longer will issue a NEW policy and will only cover existing clients..
    so we are seeking information from home buyers who have bought in the last year or so..and Thank You ALL for information shared in the blogs..
    we are seeking to purchase a new built home as have learned homes over a certain number of years old may not meet current codes and policies can be very expensive..and with that in mind if possible could sure find the costs helpful ie…a 200,000 home cost was xxxx amount of dollars per year

    by Robbie — September 18, 2013

  49. Robbie..I would contact the State Department of Insurance as they will tell you who is writing homeowners insurance…I also would check with an independent agent locally for help in writing a homeowners policy…

    by Paul Schmidt — September 18, 2013

  50. Robbie – In Florida it’s all about location. If you’re buying ‘coastal’, you’ll have a difficult time – if you’re buying inland, not so much. Try Farmers Insurance for inland. Good luck with that.

    by Jeanne C — September 18, 2013

  51. Check yesterdays, and the previous days,Tampa paper. See the stories related to insurance premiuims and increasing rates.

    by Chuck — September 19, 2013

  52. Everyone looking to retire in Florida by the beach check with the insurance company and see if they cover the area and if flood insurance is required. The cost is very high not to mention property taxes. We almost bought a home and then found out there were no insurance companies that covered homeowners in the area. This was in Delray Beach three miles inland .

    by Skip — September 19, 2013

  53. I was wondering if anyone has any information about Southern Maryland for retirement. I’ve been through there a few times and it seems like a nice little area. I don’t know much about taxes and home prices, but if there is anyone out there that could help me, I would really appricate it.

    by Rick — September 19, 2013

  54. No one ever comes to the South Texas Valley. We have tons of 55+ parks. The one I live in is VERY inexpensive, To make the most of your money, you must buy in a park where you own your own lot, as we do. We have all amenities you would want/ we make our own decisions with an elected Board of Directors. Come see me and I will show you around. I have about $90K in my Mobile and Carport. I pay about $165 for HOA/Taxes/Insurance monthly. Utilities are extra.

    by Beverly — September 19, 2013

  55. Thanks Chuck..your blog suggesting a look at Tampa Newspaper was very interesting..looked that up and was a three page story about insurance rates escalating as of Oct 1st, 2013..and info on homes built before 1974 could be out of the market if sold..and other things that we found extremly helpful..and sure undermines buying in Florida..looks like more trouble ahead as things go forward in insurance area..I have, read in other articles that some major insurance companies have broke Florida into a seperate company…ie…(company name)Florida ..that gives them less risk to the entire nationwide network should a disaster occur in Florida..
    so anyone thinking about buying in Florida should look at the article..and Thank you Chuck..and also the other bloggers who answered my request for info about insurance in Florida..specifically ..Skip, Jeanne and Paul

    by Robbie — September 20, 2013

  56. To Beverly, I would like more information please. Name of community and name of town. Weather etc.
    Is it tornado country? I would like a place where you own your own lot.

    by Dianne — September 20, 2013

  57. For Robbie & others looking at Florida. We built a new home in Fort Myers, FL in Nov. 2012. At that time we got flood insurance for $351 a year and complete replacement coverage for our home for $1,584.00. We do not live in a flood zone; however, we are on a lake so feel based on the cost, it is worth our peace of mind. We just got our renewals from both companies. Flood ins. through Tower Hill Insurance is now $414 (up $63.00 per year) and homeowners through Florida Peninsula Insurance (located in Tampa, FL) is $1,682.(up $98.00. We had no problem finding a company to cover us. Matter of fact, our agent gave us quote from four different companies doing business in this area. It is noted on our policy that due to having a new home with current code for Florida hurricanes, we are saving about 50% on our rates so buying an older home in Florida not up to code should be carefully looked at and insurance quotes obtained BEFORE buying. We did question why our FEMA flood insurance went up and were told that everyone all over the country is going to experience higher rates partly due to Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy up in New Jersey and FEMA is planning to continue to raise rates until they have sufficient reserves to cover future flooding. With the floods we are all now seeing in Colorado where less than 9% of homeowners have flood insurance, you can bet there will be a big increase in owners wanting flood insurance when they rebuild or repair their homes. We are all going to pay for each disaster but I do get exasperated at some of the comments I see here about Florida causing all the rate increases and no one writing policies here. That simply is not true.

    by Terri — September 20, 2013

  58. Dianne
    I live at Pharr South Mobile Home Park in Pharr Texas. We are very close to McAllen Texas. We are close to 5 years in this Park. There has never been a tornado. We are 1 hr and 15 minutes from South Padre Island. We have been in a Tropical Storm where we had hail damage twice. Our Insurance paid for all the damage. The last Hurricane was 5 years ago and did minimal damage to the area. We live 5 miles from Mexico. I have never had any negative experience from any Mexicans. Nor has anyone I know. This Park has a Website. It also shows what is for sale here. Remember, you do not buy a Mobile home if you do not purchase your lot with it. I came from Dallas Texas. It is not as hot here as Dallas. By 5:30 in the evening it begins to cool off in the Summer. Winters are very pleasant, some cooler than others. You do not need to speak Spanish unless you need to work. Some jobs do not require Spanish. The cost of living here is very low.

    by Beverly — September 20, 2013

  59. Beverly, Thank you, Great information. I will look it up.

    by Dianne — September 21, 2013

  60. Thanks Terri for your blog on homeowners insurance Florida..the sums you pay are based on home it would be helpful to know the premium as well as the ttal coverage on home ie 100k 200k we can compute that to costs of purchase..let me first mention I am a suscriber to a we site named..Insurance Journal..and it has a wealth of information used mostly by appraisors..but it is open and free for anyone..there are articles of interest about insurance throughout the US..and the site has been helpful gathering info on Florida..please, take a look..I am certainly not contradicting the fact that you can get insurance..
    recently, I have read that almost all major carriers are leaving Florida as far as new policies ..existing will stay until homes sold..
    you mentioned Tower Hill Insurance..that is a company that went in business in 1972..and recently was in a deal with the Florida Insures State company named CITIZENS..they are to take part in a group of 10 Florida companies that will take over 400,000 of the State residents that were insured by some cases Citizens is paying the companies millions to take over the policies..for example Heritage Insurance (Florida) was to recieve 52 Million to take 60.000 policies and to date they have procured 39,000 policies at a cost to Citizens of 33 million..
    citizens was directed by the Florida Govenor to cut down on policy volume as if an emercency struck they would not be solvent..and Citizens is owned by the State..
    on Sept 3, 2013 Florida granted the Citizens a rate hike of 6.3 %..
    another Florida Company hs notified the State they plan a 40% increase…most increases in State will start in Nov 2013..
    so my point is that the Insures Journal is a great tool for Floridians as well as home seekers in Florida or any other State for that matter..
    and all the information I have written is from previous and very current e mails from the Journal..and stated to the best of my knowlege to be true as I read them..
    and finally the info suggested in the past from other bloggers ie to read online articles in the Tampa Bay News..
    and surely agree with Terri about the rising costs from FEMA regarding Flood insurance..and the Journal makes comments about that situation..
    and , finally, thanks for your comments Terri as well as other Bloggers..and I hope all the information from one and us in our choices..

    by Robbie — September 23, 2013

  61. Jay and others re Ocean City, MD
    We have vacationed in Bethany Beach and Ocean City areas. Beautiful beaches and homes and lots of amenities. But very crowded in season. Traffic heavy unless you like urban driving. Beaches and restaurants crowded. Have to juggle cars for parking places and lug beach gear for several blocks.

    by Moving South — October 14, 2013

  62. Jay …RE: Delaware Beaches…We retired to the beautiful beaches of Delaware 6 years ago. LOVE it. We are in the Lewes/Rehoboth area right off Coastal Hwy. Short jaunt to the beaches, restaurants and all activites the beach area has to offer with it’S many festivals YEAR ROUND..we are never bored. TAX FRIENDLY Delaware also has year round status with it’s Mid-Atlantic weather. We love the change of seasons and perfect summer temps…do not care for all the humidity the South has. Take a good look at Delaware…you will love it as we do I am sure. WE DO! Come, Visit, Stay and Fall in love with our Gem of a State.:cool:

    by sunlovingal — October 15, 2013

  63. Sunlovingal: I haven’t looked at Delaware yet. I noted your comment about it being tax-friendly. Does it tax 401k withdrawals and social security? What are the real estate taxes like? Thanks for any information.

    by Sharon — October 16, 2013

  64. SHARON: The First State is one of the tax-friendliest states on the East Coast. Social Security benefits are exempt from state income taxes. Residents 60 and older can exclude $12,500 per person of qualified pension benefits and investment income, including dividends, interest and capital gains, from income taxes. Taxpayers 65 and older who don’t itemize are eligible for an additional standard deduction of $2,500 on top of the state’s regular $3,250 standard deduction ($6,500 for couples filing jointly).

    Real estate is subject to county, school district, vocational school district and municipal property taxes. Property is assessed at different percentages of market value, according to locality. The median property tax on a $249,400 median-valued home is $1,078, according to the Tax Foundation. Homeowners 65 and older are eligible for a credit equal to half of their school property taxes, up to $500. Residents who moved to Delaware after December 31, 2012, must live in the state for three consecutive years to qualify for the credit.
    per….Love it here! Good luck in your search!!

    by sunlovingal — October 16, 2013

  65. […] For further reading: Most Under-rated Places to Retire Beyond Asheville: More Under-Rated Places to Retire […]

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  66. […] more ideas see: Most Under-Rated Places to Retire – Part 1 Beyond Asheville – More Under-rated Places to Retire – Part 2 10 Affordable Places to Retire Where You Might Actually Want to Live (adsbygoogle = […]

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