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Finding That Goldilocks Place To Retire: Year Round Living, Part 3

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

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!

Anacortes, WA: This is another year round retirement community with many services for seniors. And it gets half the rain that Seattle gets with plenty of views of the ocean and mountains. (Verner)

Florence, OR

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 falls in downtown Greenville

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 RaleighDurham, 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 LewesRehoboth 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)

More Ideas
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.

Bottom Line
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.

For further reading:
Part 1: 10 Great Towns for Year Round Living
Part 2: Great Towns for Year Round Living

Results from our 2018 Snowbird Survey

Posted by Admin on January 5th, 2015


  1. […] • Finding That Goldilocks Place To Retire: Year Round, Part 3 […]

    by » 10 Great Year Round Places to Retire – Part 1 - Topretirements — January 5, 2015

  2. Jarvisburge NC…we bought here because we like the beach, yet we are not on it. We are 15 minuted to Kitty Hawk beach. The outer banks have things going on year round. One can volunteer at a lot of events. At 65 how much shopping do I need to do. The area has all the shopping I need. I live on the bay side so I can have a boat if I decide to. There is plenty of good fishing….salt and freshwater. Oh yeah….there are more restaurants than any one needs. Everyone asks…what about hurricanes? What about them? The people have been living on the outer banks for a long time. They’re still there. Yeah …a house here or there gets taken. They are usually right on the water. You only go around once. Here today…gone tomorrow . Live your dream before it is too late. John…from Gardiner NY

    by pigeondude — January 6, 2015

  3. Originally from PA we moved around(CO, KY) eventually spending 30 years in Central FL. I wanted to retire further north, looking for milder, shorter summers. My husband wanted to stay in FL. He hates the cold. We ended up in Bluffton, SC. The summers are just as steamy as FL but don’t last as long. Winters are mostly mild though we’re expecting temperatures in the low 20’s the next few days. We still have a condo in Cocoa Beach which is only 4.5 hours away. We’re closer to our family in VA. We’re close to Savannah and the airport, Hilton Head and Beaufort. Bluffton is growing. There are restaurants, shopping, medical care for all the retirees. Golfing, classes at USC Beaufort across the road from our gated community. Our neighborhood is new within the past year. We all moved with the same goals of enjoying retirement. Everyone is open and fun loving.There is almost too much to do!

    by MarjieW — January 7, 2015

  4. Greetings Pigeondude!
    My sentiments exactly! Looking for cost of living in your area but can find no information. How do you find it?
    Thank you!

    by Debbie — January 7, 2015

  5. Has anyone retired in Rapid City South Dakota? I am pretty sure after looking at other places and the cost of living, this looks like a place we would like. I am from Minnesota so anyplace would be warmer, I do like the change of seasons and dislike hot humid weather.

    by Nancy Irber — January 7, 2015

  6. Don’t rule out Williamsburg,VA…fast becoming a retirement destination of choice. Here you’ll find history, William & Mary for continuing education, fabulous shopping and dining opportunities, great healthcare, a moderate cost of living with pretty low taxes, friendly people and many rental and purchase options for baby-boomers.

    We’re 1 hour from the ocean…minutes from river beaches…2 hours from DC…45 minutes from Richmond…and enjoy mild winters with little or no snow.

    Come check it out!

    by Shirley Kappa — January 7, 2015

  7. How about coming up with retirement places based on rentals. I am single and don’t want the headaches of ownership anymore. I will be selling my home within 2 years and that money will be my “living” along with minimal SS and pension.

    by Trish — January 7, 2015

  8. We moved to SE Tenn. 8 years ago for work and are getting ready to retire. Financially, this is a good place but we cannot wait to get back to New England. We have never settled in and have had enough of the heat and humidity. I don’t mind watching it snow if we don’t have to shovel out any more 🙂 Would love to hear from anyone in New Hampshire or Maine.

    by Holly — January 7, 2015

  9. Bend Oregon is a thriving community in the High Desert of Central Oregon with 81,000 residents. Spectacular scenery and recreation year round. Within 20 minutes from Bend is Spectacular Mt. Bachelor, one of the top places to ski, snow board, or sled in the USA. Snowshoeing, dog sledding, cross country skiing, ice skating, hiking, hot springs, fishing, bird watching, snow mobiling are within easy reach. The Cascades Lakes drive is amazing. Sisters & Sunriver are a couple of the great small resort towns to visit. Crater Lake is within an hour and a half. The Deschutes River divides the city with a lovely active downtown full of restaurants, shops, and theaters. We have a beautiful library and walking trails nearby along the river. The Old Mill District & Amphitheater compliment the downtown and also ties in the river. We get 4 distinct seasons of weather with a dryer climate. 4 year and 2 year college that offers so much. Microbeweries everywhere. 3 hours to Portland. Well worth a visit and a long look.

    by Roe Skidmore — January 7, 2015

  10. My wife and I moved to Santa Fe, NM from East Texas when I retired last year. Love it and would not think of retiring anywhere else. We love the climate, the culture, the food, and the plentiful outdoor activities. I even found a part-time job to keep me busy the rest of the time!

    by Joe — January 7, 2015

  11. We chose Shallotte, NC. It is centered between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach for major city needs. It’s only 20 minutes to North Myrtle Beach. While still a small town in population, it has many major needs like Home Depot, Lowe’s, major drug stores and popular restaurant chains. It’s only a 25 minute drive at most to 3 local beaches. The beaches are less crowded than SC as there are no high rise buildings allowed. It’s still country like living with easy access to the beach.

    by Charlie — January 7, 2015

  12. You are missing a bet I if you do not look into Brewton, Alabama. We retired here about five year about five years ago. Brewton is about five miles north of the Florida state line and fifty miles north of Pensacola. The people are very friendly, taxes are low (Social Security and pensions are not taxed in Alabama) and the climate is great. You can play golf all year round. Our home is located in a Golf Course community. The course was designed by Jerry Pate. Housing is very reasonable as are country club dues. We recommend this area, it’s great.

    by Bill — January 7, 2015

  13. Holly, My wife and 2 adult kids live just outside of Manchester NH. The winters are cold but the summers are nice. The home taxes on about a 2500 SF house are about 7200.00 that includes 5 acres of land. Its getting to the point where I can’t afford to live here. By the way my wife and I still work full time

    by Curt — January 7, 2015

  14. My wife and I moved to Southern Mississippi Coast in July last year. After living for 20 years in the Hill Country of Texas, we were ready for a change. We love driving down Beach Blvd. Forty miles of unobstructed ocean views. The summers are hot and muggy, but so is everywhere else in the south. The cost of living, except for insurance, is very low here. There’s always a festival going on, and if you get bored you can always go fishing, boating or go to a casino. There are 12 here along the coast. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. However, I haven’t experience a hurricane yet. As soon as an H appears in the gulf, we are gone.

    by Ira — January 7, 2015

  15. Since some of us are not a “we” how about a list of good locations for singles? Also possible locations with good rental homes.

    by Dale — January 7, 2015

  16. I agree with several other comments. How about good locations for singles. I’m also done with buying. Rentals?

    by Beth — January 7, 2015

  17. we are seriously considering retiring in Ocala, Fl. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. It seems like it wouldn’t Beas hot and would seem more seasonal to us since we will be moving from Ohio.

    by Shirl — January 7, 2015

  18. We purchased in AZ. 13 miles west of Surprise you will find Del Webb’s Sun City Festival. We bought a new build in March 2011 and retired this June living here full time. Several residents in this community started out as “snowbirds” and came to the conclusion why do we keep leaving Festival, why not live here as a “rounder” (live year round). As such I highly recommend a person do a “stay-n-play” as Festival and see for yourself what living in a resort atmosphere is like and good chance you just may become a “rounder” when you do. When you contact the sales office ask for Elaine Ransom (928-252-6521), great sales person and then via her you can look me up. We can have dinner at the on site Indigo Grill can you can ask more questions about living here. Two of my co-workers did just that and now they are “rounders” as well.

    by Bill Baptista — January 7, 2015

  19. Debbie, We have been visiting the banks are for 10 years now. I never found it to be over expensive in an one way. I come from the Hudson Valley area of NY. Crazy high taxes,gas and everything has a price tag on it.. My taxes went from $4200 in NY to $450 on my home down here. No heating cost down here and A/C almost runs as much up there as here. I don’t pay for my bags of trash down here. And I don’t need to buy a dump permit sticker. But anyway I would contact the Currituck Chamber of Commerce for some direction on cost of living there. If you are looking at living on the banks like Kitty Hawk and Nags Head are then contact the Dare chamber. John

    by pigeondude — January 7, 2015

  20. Pigeondude = $450 Real Estate Taxes on the Banks. Wow, sorry but I find that very hard to believe. What town exactly do you reside in?

    by Robert — January 8, 2015

  21. No…earlier I said we loved the beach but we didn’t buy on the beach. We are 15 minutes to the beach . I am up in Jarvisburg NC. When someone says , I bought this at Ace Hardware on the beach, people would know you meant in Kitty Hawk. Here’s an example; a 3 bedroom, 2 full baths beach box in Kill Devil Hills. Taxes are $1250. Up here in NY where I live this would be $7000 in taxes. But I am retired and don’t need 3 bedrooms. I downsized. So I have 2 now and one bath. Here is another. # bedroom ,1 1/2 bath ranch in Jarvisburg. Taxes about $578. Another,3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bath 1850 sq. ft. , 40,000 sq. ft. lot….taxes $1131. Jump in your car and you will be standing on the sand in 15 minutes…I know. I timed it.

    by pigeondude — January 8, 2015

  22. Have you considered Lafayette, Louisiana? Gets high marks for the food. (And I live for three things: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.) Louisiana is famous for low property taxes (they tax oil companies). And if you don’t want a state income tax, you’re not too far from Texas, which has none.

    by Mark Terry — January 8, 2015

  23. Trish 1/7/15- I am also looking for 55+ Senior “Conventional” Apartment rentals – in Henderson, NV/Las Vegas, NV &/or Reno/Sparks, NV areas. I currently live in FL and am looking to move 5/15. Does anyone have information on specific apartment communities (not mobile home communities) to rent. Barbara W.

    by Barbara W — January 8, 2015

  24. Regarding pigeondude’s riff on taxes on and near the Outer Banks, $1,250 in taxes annually for a nice sized house in Kill Devil Hills is a bargain…although not as big a bargain as his $600 in Jarvisburg. But for those who would like to walk to the beach or take a quick bike ride, the $700 difference, or $60 per month, is well worth it. In fact, before gas prices dropped, you probably would have spent that much on 15 trips per month to the beach from Jarvisburg. (Side note: Kill Devil Hills, like many communities, assesses both a town AND city property tax. Make sure you search local records for any home in which you are interested.)

    by Larry — January 9, 2015

  25. Pigeondude,

    I was delighted to read your post. Both because you’ve found a destination that suits you so well, and also because you’re from Gardiner.

    Most people reading this will not realize what a lovely area Gardiner is with its wooded hills; and small (maybe i should say tiny), sweet town. Minnewaska State Park is my favorite hiking grounds.

    Two questions. Don’t you miss the woods and hilly terrain, and aren’t the summers just too hot?

    Many thanks!

    by ella — January 10, 2015

  26. No not really…It’s time to open a new chapter in life. I’ve spent my whole life in the woods of Gardiner. Nothing there is going to surprise me unless someone says they found bigfoot living up in the Pallamagut. I worked at Minnewaska when the ski slope was there. I would groom all the trails you hike with the powder maker for the cross country skiers. I’ve had frogs, lizards, snakes ,raccoons,skunks, crows and other birds for pets. I’ve train hawks ,owls and falcons. I fish ,I hunt. But…the people are changing in the area. Guns is a bad word…everyone wants no one on their property. I grew up in the fifties and sixties. I had a 22 rifle hanging out of the basket of my bicycle when I was 14 years old. Too many rule and regulations. My life will slow down in a matter of years….not that many away. I never could imagine myself sitting on the porch looking down through a majestic Catskill mountain valley with a lawyer living up the road a mile and a lady that writes childrens books about bullying up the other way. Time for some down earth people and beach and ocean. Lots of fishing where I don’t have to ask permission to fish. Dress for summer and most of us adapt to weather. Basically…New York is pushing me out. Everything about it ,isn’t me anymore.It’s politics ,it’s people and its laws. This country boy doesn’t live in the country any more. Well….did I piss and moan enough…yes…but now you know why I’m leaving. Bye NY!

    by pigeondude — January 10, 2015

  27. Kudos to Pigeondude….& Congrats….
    Hit the road and never look back. Good luck in your new surroundings.

    by botch57 — January 10, 2015

  28. I hear you loud and clear Pigeondude. I have lived most of my life in the Los Angeles metro area. There are way too many times that the regulations and politics just make me cringe.

    by Bubbajog — January 10, 2015

  29. But I have a question for pigeon dude. What is your property insurance per year? Aren’t you in the Flood Plain and do you have National Flood Insurance? What about Wind Insurance?

    by Journey15 — January 10, 2015

  30. pigeondude,

    Your growing up and later years sound idyllic to me. I’ve lived in the wilderness for a few years of my life and have never been able to return for more although i’ve always longed to. I am leaving NY for all the same reasons (aka Andrew Cuomo), however a book on bullying doesn’t sound too bad to me. (You were probably a kid who could hold his own!)

    I do love the ocean, so back to the weather – isn’t it way too hot for way too long?

    Many thanks and congratulations for a life well-lived (present-tense).

    by ella — January 11, 2015

  31. Does anyone have any more suggestions on great Year Round retirement spots? We would love to hear them.

    by Admin — January 11, 2015

  32. I believe my property wind hurricane insurance is around $1250. No I’m not in a flood zone, though I’m only 300 feet from the water. The ? about the heat. I am an outside person. So I adapt. If you stay inside a lot then go out…yeah I will feel hot. I go down to the water in the sound with my black lab and the kayak or to the beach. The rest of life is going to and from your car and stores. Big Whoopy that’s nothing. Go biking in the morning and evenings. To be honest with you…I haven’t found it so oppressive,yet, to shut me down.

    by pigeondude — January 11, 2015

  33. Although we haven’t seen goldilocks yet, we have found the locals to be very friendly to us Midwesterners in our first week of retirement here in eastern TN. We swallow hard when pay for 7 a 9% tax on everything we buy. In MN there is no tax on food or clothing or shoes. We purchased a used vehicle; and they think anything with less than 100 k miles is gold, but they don’t use salt on their roads, so the vehicles look better, even with all the miles. We heard that the closer you get to FL, the better the car deals.
    So, we call for the insurance, only to find that costs double what we pay in MN. They tell us there are too many uninsured motorists, and they haven’t passed ‘”no fault ” here.
    This was recently a “dry” county as well, therefore the price of a bottle of wine is double what we are accustomed to.
    Now, for the fun part……when we left MN last week, it was way below zero, and still is! It has been cold here too, but not near that bad! Even though it is kinda brown, there are still some green trees and grass, and we still think the scenery is beautiful. We love our small 900 sq ft rental on the water, and are looking for an early spring! We went for a walk today!
    I guess everything is relative.

    by Caps — January 11, 2015

  34. Wine = When we moved to Carlisle, Pa (to be near the kids & GC – 1st mistake) I discovered that my favorite brand of wine in the Pa State run store would now cost me $12.00 per btl. In Fl (wine is also sold in Publix Groc stores and the ABC State store) the same wine cost me $7.50 (Merlot) on SALE and Usually $8.50. No, It’s not Ripple/lol but my favorite.

    RE taxes and School taxes are out of sight as is just about everything regarding cost of living compared to what we left. Yes, I made a “wrong turn” and heading back as soon as my house sells. I sound like a broken record BUT DO YOUR HOME WORK VERY VERY VERY WELL BEFORE MAKING A MOVE. I did not and I let emotion govern a decision that required more than that. By the time I move back to Fl I will have lost somewhere in the vicinity of $25,000 – an amount that could have totally been avoided. Caveat Emptor = After rereading this = need a glass of wine.

    by Robert — January 12, 2015

  35. Caps,

    Happy retirement! So glad you’re enjoying your new life. As for the $, at least you’ve saved a bundle living in MN all these years. Enjoy!

    by ella — January 12, 2015

  36. Thanks Ella,
    Hubby’s friends told him it would take about 15 minutes to get ‘used to” retirement . Seems to be about right.
    Property taxes are about half what they are in MN. Nor, do they tax regular income. So, all that should help our bottom line in the future.

    by Caps — January 12, 2015

  37. I forgot to mention, we went to Knoxville on Saturday for shopping and dinner. I’m not sure what’s happened In the last three years, but we spent lots of time in slow traffic, and without reservations, the restaurant waits were 30 – 60 minutes. That has been the scenario there for the last couple of years. We were so hungry, we ate some of our groceries on our 40 minute drive home instead.
    It seems like the cities with any size to them have the same traffic snarls on the weekends. It has been the same situation in MN for over 25 years!

    by Caps — January 12, 2015

  38. Caps, your move sounds exciting! You mentioned that you are living in a 900 square foot rental. Is that a rental that you stay in year round? My husband and I are thinking of the Knoxville area but 30 minutes or so away. We will also be looking for a rental. Have you found that to be easy to find?

    by virginia — January 12, 2015

  39. Caps-where did you decide to rent?

    by LisaJ — January 13, 2015

  40. Shirl, We have been looking at Ocala for the past year. We have visited both new construction and with a realtor sold out 55 communities. We seem to keep going back to Del Webb Stone Creek. We will be doing a explorative stay and play next week to see what the atmosphere is during the in season. Ocala is not as hot as the areas further south in Florida and while not cold does have more seasonal weather.

    by Vicki — January 13, 2015

  41. Just moved to Lake Monticello. VA ,18 miles SE of Charlottesville, VA. Cville as it is called,has a first rate research hospital (U of VA hospital) and all of the amenities one would find in a University town. The “Lake” is located in Fluvanna county which is rural. Has only one traffic light. The “Lake” has about 11,000 people and is a gated community with an 18 hole PGA golf course and a large recreational lake. Housing prices are relative to the SF you want. 1800 sf will be around $220 k with lakefront and golf course lots/homes higher. .Taxes are low,89 cents per 100. Weather is seasonal and some winters are without snow. Come on down or up depending on UR location.

    by John — January 13, 2015

  42. George sent in this comment and we have added our link to Arkansas towns and communities.

    My wife and I have decided to retire to Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. It is a great active adult community, the largest gated community in the U.S. We found this community by accident on a motorcycle trip last year. A very low cost retirement alternative. I have not seen anything in your correspondence re Arkansas??
    Arkansas appears to be a well kept secret.

    by Admin — January 14, 2015

  43. Watch out in Florida, Ocala or where ever. Florida is rife with sinkholes that have already happened or are waiting to happen

    by Dave — January 14, 2015

  44. We are renting for three months in North-Eastern TN, while we search for property. We are about 40 miles from Knoxville, in the Cumberland valley. Someone recommended we have “America’s Home Place” build us a home on a bare lot. Has anyone had any experience with this builder? We had never heard of them.

    by Caps — January 16, 2015

  45. Caps,
    Are you building in the community you had planned to live (and build) in? Are have you decided to move somewhere else? Just asking because if the first, certainly the folks there can recommend good builders.

    Sending you my warmest wishes.

    by ella — January 17, 2015

  46. All of Florida is prone to sinkholes but some areas are more prone than others, like the Tampa area. Here’s a website from the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection that will give you an overview on the topic.

    by Carole — January 17, 2015

  47. Sometimes a lively city with nonstop activities can trump weather, given common-sense precautions on icy or snowy days. Try Ann Arbor, Michigan.

    by Ed LaFreniere — January 18, 2015

  48. Vicki,
    we really loved stonecreek but were concerned about the area in terms of crime. Seem like health care providers seemed a little scarce. Please let us know how you make out? Our stay was enjoyable good luck.

    by Alexander — January 18, 2015

  49. Virginia,
    Sorry, I forgot to address your question.
    We found the current short term furnished rental by driving around last fall looking for a home to purchase.
    The owners usually only rent out their villas during the warmer months for approximately $2k a week. We are their first and only winter tenants and got a much better rate than that.
    We saw some other options by checking the Knoxville area Craigslist. There are also some “TN Lakes area ” vacation rental websites. “Home Away” and “Norris Lake vacation rentals ” were some other sites we checked.
    I hope that helps.

    by Caps — January 18, 2015

  50. George,
    I checked out the website on Hot Springs Village, I was really surprised how reasonable this community is and all it has to offer. They have rentals at great prices also. I checked the weather averages and it seems like the winters are pretty mild. Thanks for the information, I will add this to my list of places to visit. This is why I like this site, I don’t think I ever would of thought of Arkansas.

    by Mona — January 20, 2015

  51. Vicki,
    In your post from Jan 13th you mentioned you were going to do a stay and play visit at Del Webb Stone Creek. How did that work out? I’m curious as to what draws you to Stone Creek over other 55+ communities in the area. I really like the model homes at On Top of the World but I need to pay another visit to Stone Creek. I visited Stone Creek a couple of years ago and saw the models and amenities but think I’d also like to do a exploratory visit. I like the general Ocala area because as you mentioned it’s not as hot as it is further south and it’s not too far from Tampa and Orlando. Retirement is a couple of years away for me so I’m not in a hurry to make a decision. Thanks for your input.

    by Tessa — February 8, 2015

  52. My wife and I are looking for an affordable lakefront community with lots of amenities and decent healthcare in the southeast. So far we’ve only found the Fairfield Glade area in Tennessee to be affordable (nice lakefront homes in the $250K range) plus golf and lots of clubs and organizations. Does anyone know of any other affordable communities that offer the same. Appreciate any input

    by john — February 9, 2015

  53. Shirl and Alexander
    We did our second explore Del Webb a couple of weeks ago. We did one about 2 years ago but it was during off season. Stone Creek continues to grow but is not as large as some of the other communities we have visited. For us On Top of the World is to large. This time we were able to be there while they were having an event (Musical performance) and got to see how many people participate in the programs. Shirl if you decide to stay make sure you request an ambassador. They will take you to dinner and possibly plan activities for during your stay. Alexander, my husband has several medical issues so we will be definitely checking that out more before we would sign on the dotted line. As I said before we just keep going back there. It is like “Honey, I’m home”.

    by Vicki — February 9, 2015

  54. “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.” We have our Colorado version on the East coast in Vermont, there is few mountains towns where you can ski in the winter and mountain bike in the summer, is more convenient as there is many others exciting things you can be involved in.

    by Henry — February 11, 2015

  55. This question came in from Linda. Can anyone help her out? Our thoughts are that it might be time to move into an independent living or CCRC facility where you don’t need to drive, and you can get the services that are needed as we age.

    We are native of North Carolina. We moved to Florida for four years and loved the weather and fun. However, my husband just celebrated his 85th birthday and we knew last year it was time to come home. He is an active 85 year old but we realize it would be easier to be close to home and family as time moves on. We are in Charlotte, our home town. The situation I am asking our help with: Charlotte is wonderful and we love it. Unfortunately many others have also found it to be great and moved here in the four years we were away. It is now so crowded with newcomers and heavy traffic that it is very hard for seniors to deal with. The traffic is a daily nightmare and the road system does not help. We were back many times during our four years away but not until we were here on a daily basis did we realize this situation. We are hearing from many people that they have the same problem. I have looked on your 55 communities site to get up todate on what it out there. We would like to find a small town close to or near a 55 community that will be close to conveniences and medical. However, they mostly are out away from the neighborhoods and require a lot of driving to get those services. We will be open to looking at most any area in NC that would be workable. As you work with so many communities and neighborhoods, do you have any suggestions? We are looking for a small ranch/ cottage type home. Thank you for any information you can send.

    by Admin — February 13, 2015

  56. my wife and i have been looking in preparaton for our exit from NY. we are mid fifties and looking forward to some form of retired life. concerns we have about coloraado are the pot heads and leagalized marijuana….we are NOT in favor of that and think that has definately contributed to a degrdation of the state and its appeal. I have read that there are many pot heads moving there to get their free and/or easily accessable weed and make shift pot towns are poping up and crime is on the increase because of this. is added revenues to a state really that important that residents must sacrifice their own best interests and allow such questionalbe behaviors as legit. I dont see colorado moving in a positive fashion especially for thos who may want to retire there….very sad really

    by jeff — February 13, 2015

  57. I’m with you on that, Jeff.

    by ella — February 14, 2015

  58. Linda,

    Joining in the the web administrator, you may want to check out in Black Mountain, NC just to get a feel as to what a community like that is like. (Sorry for the redundancy.) There are such communities all over the country, many for less money. I would imagine they exist in the area you’re considering.

    My friend lives in Highland Farms and is very happy there. I would imagine he’s about 85 now, but i’m not sure. Haven’t seen him in many years as i live in NYS. Hope you find just the right place.

    by ella — February 14, 2015

  59. Regarding my previous post, i did a little digging and have learned that Highland Farms is a Continuing Care Retirement Community. (Many of you probably knew that.) Sorry about my ambiguity; i’m learning as i go!

    by ella — February 14, 2015

  60. I must applaud Colorado for taking a step in the right direction! While I do not smoke marijuana or use other drugs, I am so happy to see signs that the U.S. is finally lightening up on its oh so restrictive drug laws. In countries where drugs are legal, there are not the huge crime problems associated with illegal drugs. We are filling up prisons and spending vast sums of money trying to incarcerate drug users and dealers! What a waste. Many statistics indicate that if drugs were legalized we would not suddenly have more users. Non-users are not waiting for drugs to be legal so they can start using. The only thing that changes is crime stops. I think Colorado is moving the rest of the country into the 21st century.

    by Ginger — February 14, 2015

  61. The NC DOI has a guide to CCRC communities…it is a 99 page 2013 reference guide. I remember that it had a lot of good material. Not at home and device to small to for me to be sure it was the same one.

    by elaine — February 14, 2015

  62. Ginger,
    I agree that the penalty for smoking pot should be drastically reduced, but legal? Have you ever smoked pot? Have you ever been surrounded by stoned people? That’s not a culture i want to live in. If you do, more power to you.

    by ella — February 14, 2015

  63. Jeff, I don’t think that is an accurate picture of what is happening Colorado. I think you will see more and more states taking the step to legalize marijuana. Even the most conservative states are making a push to legalize pot for medical use.

    by easilyamused — February 15, 2015

  64. I am with Ginger on this, and I think that CO is getting a bad rep. Ok, the legalization of pot is something new, and we have to get used to the idea. Truth be told, I rather someone smoke pot around me than getting drunk and obnoxious, not to mention the medical benefits. So why not keep an open mind?
    It is certainly not something that would deter me from moving into an area.
    When we first moved to TN, we wondered about choppers flying overhead (rural area), soon to find out that we live in an area that is prone to the manufacturing of illegal substances, moonshine and meth to be specific.
    That holds true for VA, KY, TN and even the Carolinas. So please think about that vs a bit of legal, and therefor regulated, pot.
    So, to sum it up before getting off the podium, make a list…good vs bad…and realize, there is no paradise here on earth. We have to weigh what is important to us against what we can live with.

    by godsgirl — February 15, 2015

  65. I lived in Colorado Springs from ’89-’92, and in 2013-2014. I rely on public transportation ; at a city bus stop in 2014 when I asked about routes from a friendly man, he asked if I was one of the thousands who were moving to CO for marijuana. I said “no,” but he proceeded to tell me of his related illegal activities in NY and and how, due to previous convictions, he would stick to rules in CO. He said I could get a dispensary license (wrong-tree barking), and told me how money would go to schools (I had just seen news reports saying most of it will actually go to rehab and drug-associated costs and had lived in a place where the lottery was supposed to fund education, but didn’t, so I was dubious). I have no desire to get into the politics involved, but from my tiny bit of research and what CO friends told me, an outside organization had a great deal of strategic influence, first getting non-resident students voting rights and then getting it on the ballot, apparently as part of a national strategy. Even those who believe legalization is good may not see the unintended ramifications, which are far-reaching. Small example: some think since it is legal, smoking it is ok anywhere, not just in one’s dwelling. But it is restricted to medical use within COS city limits. The management of my nice apartment building had to hire an attorney because a lot of pot smoke was often present in public areas; they had to tell residents it was a violation to smoke it in public areas, since laws related to pot are not as well known as cigarette smoking and some people believe pot smoke is healthful. There was definitely a change in the cultural atmosphere, as compared to my previous residence in COS, and perhaps a change in the type of business which thrive in the economy.
    Having said that, I need to also say I love Colorado and its wonderful people and scenery. I enjoy COS weather (it can feel warmer there at -5 F and no wind than in the UK with 35 F, wind, and damp: perhaps a dew point issue). My circumstances changed, but what I loved about CO did not. It is wise to consider the ramifications of the change, though.

    by Sharon — February 15, 2015

  66. Legalizing pot has been successful for Colorado. As with any new programs there are details that have to be worked out but certainly nothing like the above poster suggests. Now meth is another story. You are right Godsgirl all of these rural areas in the south have a huge problem with meth.

    by easilyamused — February 15, 2015

  67. Does anyone have any comments good or bad about Cordova at Spanish Wells in Bonita Springs Florida. It is a gated community and any comments on Toll Brothers Builders there? If I am on the wrong thread, please forgive and redirect me. Year round living in Florida sounds a bit too hot and humid and I have read many thoughts on that however a family member is ready to trade all the snow and ice of this year for the humidity of Florida.

    by Jennifer — February 15, 2015

  68. Easilyamused, I am glad to have your perspective. There are many ways to define success, depending on which economic or other factors are highlighted, and depending on one’s point of view. I guess that is true for most items on the “Goldilocks” checklist. For example, there are many affordable housing lists that include TX cities without factoring in the need for a car for basic errands, high costs for property tax and insurance, utilities, etc. I lived there for many years as well, so I have noticed that. And even when searching for the perfect climate, stats for temperature and rainfall do not tell the whole story. I am glad to have the benefit of others’ firsthand knowledge given on this website, since it helps give a more complete picture.

    by Sharon — February 15, 2015

  69. I’ve lived in Colorado all my entire 65 years of life. Legalizing another drug, although less harmless than alcohol in many respects, is not a good thing for our state, and we’ll have to wait and see if it is a success. There are many scientific test results coming out presently that show marijuana to be harmful to adolescence brain development, lack of concentration skills in adults, and a diminishing of work and study initiative; not to mention that it is a gateway drug to many that are worse in that culture of drug use. In addition, your neighbor can legally grow up to six plants (yea right) on his property, and believe me it smells like a dead skunk, so you never know what or who is going to move in next to you and all the ramifications this entails. The tax money is nice, but is it really? Money doesn’t answer all of our state’s problems caused by drug use. Our schools are drowning in mediocracy due to a large percentage of kids who don’t give a flip about our country or education (taught middle and high school for 28 years).

    by Gregg — February 15, 2015

  70. Gregg,
    I’m with you. And to all: I wonder why Americans (and others) need to chemically alter our awareness with drugs and alcohol. Is life that bad that it must be fixed with a fix??? If we’re unhappy, why don’t we alter our lives, rather than our consciousness(es)?

    by ella — February 15, 2015

  71. We were considering Florida (The Villages), but now days Florida has been invaded by Pythons and Boa Constrictors, and many other exotic animals. I was told by the representative that The Villages are too far north
    to be affected by these animals. My response was, “when they learn how to hibernate like other reptiles here they will get there after a few generations. I will not risk the lives of my grandchildren to such a horrible death. Myrtle Beach, SC if fine.

    by Norman Prevatte — February 16, 2015

  72. Neither will I go to a state where people smoke Pot. That is also very dangerous.

    by Norman Prevatte — February 16, 2015

  73. godsgirl,
    I have a close friend who was born and raised in Paducah, Kentucky, and she has warned me of the hazards of living in a rural area (in the south) increasing the possibility of being close to a meth lab. Her brother owns 40 acres and guess what? Right next door.
    I am trying to be diligent and am attempting to avoid such a situation if possible. But that doesn’t mean i want to live in a state in which pot is legalized. For my retirement years, i’d prefer to compare good and better. Not bad and worst.
    I’m glad, despite the helicopters, etc., you do enjoy your new home!

    by ella — February 16, 2015

  74. Vicki,
    Thanks for your update on your stay at Del Webb Stone Creek. I’m guessing that the musical event you attended was a good time. I do want to attend events or participate in activities when I visit to get a better feel of the place.

    by Tessa — February 16, 2015

  75. Greg,,,Ela

    well said and I am with you…..

    pot heads do not make overall good citizens who contribute robustly to our society but however, do provide patients for many entitlements and even feed the minimum wage work force which the libs like to tout as part of their constituency.
    Minimum wage jobs were never intended nor should they be for a career move,,,,same as pot should not be masked as the next great solution to government revenues (which are far to often wasted) or perpetuated as an “I care so much about you” smoke screen which if anyone uses their brains, knows it is simply a way to dub down and already and all to often clueless young America, much lie Obama care.

    by jeff — February 16, 2015

  76. There are some extremely strange and irrelevant posts showing up lately. Can we get back to talking about retirement?

    by Lynn — February 16, 2015

  77. Hello,
    I’ve noticed a few others inquiring into options for those of us going it alone and preferring to rent. I currently own a home with a big yard and truly look forward to not having to maintain all and would like to create more of life for myself having worked hard as a conscientious single older mom for the past sixteen years. Any ideas for those of us that are looking for something simpler to make the most of retirement. I live in Canada but have tired of the winters and humid summers.

    by Maria — February 16, 2015

  78. ella,
    I live in South Central Kentucky and the town that I live in does not have a meth lab around every corner. Yes, I suppose there are meth labs in the boons or even in certain places.However Ky is like any place else you have to look at the neighborhood before you move there. Any state city or town any where in the world will have bad areas and Ky is no different. I have lived here for most of my life and have not had any problems. Matter of fact the town that I live in has a lot of nice places for retired people to live and some very nice neighborhoods for everyone. We are also within an hour of Nashville if you want to go to the city to shop. Many of the people that live here are from other places and have moved here to go to school or to work.

    by Angie — February 17, 2015

  79. Angie,
    I’m sorry if i offended you. I am absolutely not saying that there’s anything wrong with Kentucky. I find it a very appealing state. What i was saying is that my friend, who was born and raised there, and has many family members still living there, has warned me to be very careful about where i choose to live in Southern rural towns. Her brother does own 40 acres, and there is a meth lab next door. (And if you remember, i was responding to a post in which local problems with meth labs in the [TN] area were referred to.)

    If i wasn’t so phobic about being far away from the coast, i would definitely consider KT as a retirement option. I would, however, be careful; as i would in ANY place i am considering.

    Enjoy your beautiful state. I hope, one day, to visit.

    by ella — February 18, 2015

  80. Hi John V,

    A friend recommended that we take a look at Greenville since her daughter was living in the area. Around the same time, it showed up on one of the lists (Forbes?) as a desirable retirement destination. I took one trip on my own and then we moved from Houston and rented for awhile in Greenville before buying our current home. We have an older home with 7 acres — I know, I know, we are a bit cuckoo but this is something we needed to do after living in a small house in Houston for 5 yrs! We are enjoying the peace and quiet, knowing full well that this will not be our last house. We are semi-retired in that hubby will go back to work in a contract position; I may also look for a part-time job once my SC license is approved. I forgot to mention that the area has 2 large health care systems within reasonable driving distance, although finding a PCP that accepts Medicare can be challenging. I’ll be happy to answer any more ?s that you may have – I usually check the site daily although I can’t always bring up all of the discussions.

    by Fionna — July 2, 2015

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