Updated June 2019 — (Originally published January , 2015) — Finding that “Goldilocks” place to retire is a goal for many people. A town which has just the right weather year round, offers great value for your hard earned dollars, and has everything you need for great year round enjoyment. Although it is not always easy to find one place that is great 12 months a year, if you can find one it avoids the problems that come with a snowbird retirement – one where you live in 2 or more places. Those issues include having to pay for and maintain 2 households, move back and forth twice each year, and juggle 2 sets of friends, churches, and volunteer work, etc.
This is part 3 of our series with more great choices for year round living. Part 1 identified 5 great towns where we think the year round living is sweet. Part 2 gave our top picks for year round living in 5 more categories, such as“Year Round Excitement”, “Most Charming”, “Recreation”, etc. You will find links to Part 1 and Part 2 of the series at the bottom of this article, along with the link to our fascinating 2018 Member Survey results on the opposite of living in one place all year round – being a snowbird and at living in at least 2 places.
What You Said
One of the best resources we have on this site is the comments we receive from you our members. Parts 1 and 2 in this series generated 126 comments with a raft of reader suggestions on great year round places to retire. In this installment we have distilled those ideas (with credit), plus throw in some extra ideas of our own. Note that the original Comments included many reasons why some places are NOT great places to retire, as well as many other interesting opinions about what is important when you are just choosing one. We haven’t included those comments here, but if you go to Parts 1 and 2 you can read them in their entirety. Please don’t forget to share your further ideas and comments at the end!
Florence, Oregon: We have chosen Oregon coast town of Florence as a perfect retirement home.. Year round moderate temps , rain but no snow, community college , great library , senior center, lots of antique shops and several great restaurants, 1 1/2 hour from Eugene and university, airport etc. and bigger shopping z and same distance to coos bay and north Bend . Has great parks for hiking , boating (lakes and rivers abound), fishing, hiking, and nature. Golf course, a casino, and a gym. Wonderful short drives and hikes everywhere to explore. Small town community involvement and about half of population is retired so like-minded people everywhere and senior friendly shopping discounts, doctors, hospital etc. Little traffic and great place to build a private home or buy. Some gated and senior communities and lots of tucked away neighborhoods. Many volunteer opportunities and friendly people. We are loving it and our home with view of lake. (susanmcb)
Colorado: My picks would be towns where there is plenty of recreation year round and a diverse group of people. The only problem is they might be mutually exclusive. The recreation oriented people would probably love a town in the mountains of Colorado where you can ski in the winter and mountain bike in the summer. But then all these outdoorsy types probably aren’t that diverse, are they. I think for diversity newer towns or resorts that draw in a mix of people are good. Folks from somewhere else meet the people who have always lived here. Can be interesting. (Mark)
Arizona: I decided to move to Arizona 3 years ago and absolutely love it. I have a lovely home that is very well built in a planned community by the mountains and hiking trails, with all the community amenities, gym, tennis courts, beauty spa, pools, basketball court, and more! Friendly people move here from all over. I chose an area just N.of Scottsdale, just love it. So close to everything! I like the great healthcare we have here, all the constant things happening in the area, great shopping, the nice people, the list is almost endless, and I love my new home. Just right for my lifestyle, and of course I love the fabulous sunny weather of Arizona. (Loralee)
Tucson: I just bought a small home in Tucson, and am now packing up my NY home in preparation for moving. I chose Tucson because: I think the topography is prettier and more interesting. Not as flat as Phoenix, beautiful saguaro cacti and flowering shrubs all around, surrounded by mountains; Tucson is only blue city in red state and yes, I swing liberal; wonderful university and university neighborhood; very active live music scene. (Ginger)
Prescott, AZ: We retired to the Prescott area in late 2011. Although income tax breaks are helpful, sales taxes in AZ in general are high. I have always thought property taxes were not too bad here, but I came from IL, and our property taxes were not cheap. The weather here is great, with all four seasons. Between Prescott and Prescott Valley, there is a population of near 80,000 folks, so services are plentiful, and there are lots of doctors, and a hospital in Prescott, and a hospital in Prescott Valley. Housing options are also plentiful. Lots of nice subdivisions if you want new, and depending on your budget, lots of vintage historic offerings near down town. There are lots of rentals from apartments to condos to houses. (Janet)
Greenville, SC: Check out Greenville. I think it might offer what you are looking for in terms of price & proximity to mountains. Good luck. (Maureen)
The Carolinas: reported on a trip he took to: My wife and I just returned from a two week trip through the Carolinas. We did not want a coastal area so we focused on Raleigh–Durham, Greenville, SC and Charlotte. The weather in all three of these areas is similar, mild winters and hot steamy summers (not as hot as Charleston). (Jack)
Hertford, NC: We chose northeast North Carolina for temperate year round living in Albemarle Plantation in Hertford, NC. We cannot afford to own two places nor would we want to travel back and forth. We are in North Carolina’s inner banks which has a moderate climate influenced in part by the coastal climate. We are only a day’s drive to the northeast or Florida where we have relatives to visit and yet we have left the congestion of the cities behind. We are in a gated community that offers golf and boating and have a myriad of volunteer opportunities to stay busy. This community is low cost enough for us to own our house outright after selling our Northeast home.
We like the community because the people are friendly and easy to meet. The nearest city is Elizabeth City, NC about 20 minutes away where you can find just about everything. (Charlie)
Mid Atlantic Beach area: Have lived in our fun East Coast Mid Atlantic Beach area (Delaware) now for 7 years. Still loving the busy happy vibe here near the beach. The 4 seasons are perfect for us as we enjoy the change of seasons and ‘Mild’ winters here on the Coast. We are not ready for ‘golf cart’ travel yet. Short jaunt to many restaurants, shopping, entertainment and of course the gorgeous beaches in the Lewes–Rehoboth area of DE. Wonderful Art town of Milford right up the road with many festivals and shopping also year round. (sunlovinggal)
Georgia: In anticipation of retirement we bought a home on Lake Sinclair in Middle Georgia. We retired permanently last year and have been extremely happy with our choice. We are rural in nature but close to many areas of shopping and cultural activities. We’re basically right in the middle of Atlanta, Athens, Augusta and Macon. Some closer towns are Milledgeville, Eatonton, Greensboro and Madison. This area is extremely rich in history and the people are warm and friendly. If your in to fishing, skiing or just relaxing on the water this is the place you should check out. (Mark K)
Bluffton, SC: While not the mountains I have found Bluffton, SC a very warm and engaging place..It is one of the fastest growing towns in America and many Baby Boomers are relocating there..You are within 20 miles or so of Savannah, Beaufort, Hilton Head and about 1 hour from Charleston…These are all top 100 cities in the recent poll conducted, Beaufort was ranked #4 and Bluffton ranked #36 (best retirement towns) We have just purchased a home (being built)in a beautilful community….We have everything close, shopping, drug stores and Medical Care. (Paul)
Atlanta: I retired “in place” in Atlanta. I moved to Atlanta from Michigan almost 11 years ago for employment, retired a year and a half ago. I tolerate the summers in order to enjoy the long springs and falls and the short winters. I live “in town;” that is, inside the perimeter of I-285, and that’s really the only way I’d live here. I was never more than 15 minutes from my office, I live within walking distance of many places I like to go, and I’m very close to public transportation. I like the convenience of living in a city that is a hub for several airlines, and I very much like the diversity of in-town Atlanta. The way I’ve come to think of big cities is that you don’t really live in the whole city. You live in your part of the city; and that makes it very manageable. (Nancy)
None of commenters suggested Texas, which offers plenty of year round places to retire, along with its low tax environment. Salt Lake City has a good year round climate plus outstanding recreation. Places like Walla Walla in eastern Washington have pretty good weather all year. And Tennessee not only is low tax state but the climate is not so given to seasonal extremes.
Finding a location that offers great living year round is a lot easier than having to move back and forth between two locations. It is also cheaper. You can use the ideas in this series to help you identify a year round location that might work for you.
Comments. Please share your thoughts below about these year round choices for retirement living, along with your ideas for other places you think should have made the list.