16 Cities in The U.S. That Are Perfect For Retirement and Your Budget

Steve Cummings

Riley Waterfront Park

Thinking about where to retire? It's all about finding a spot that fits both your lifestyle and your budget. Luckily, the U.S. is full of diverse cities whether you're dreaming of peaceful beachfront mornings, bustling city streets rich with cultural experiences, or quiet suburbs close to nature.

Each place offers its own blend of affordable living, good healthcare, and plenty of things to do. So, whether you're looking to stretch your dollars in a cozy small town or enjoy your retirement without breaking the bank in a lively city, there's something out there for everyone. Let's dive into some of the best places in the U.S. to retire, keeping both comfort and cost in mind.

1. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, PA
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Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has climbed to the top spot as an excellent place for retirees, thanks to its outstanding healthcare and the happiness of its residents . This state capital is also known for being tax-friendly for retirees.

Located along the scenic Susquehanna River, Harrisburg offers Riverfront Park as a prime spot for outdoor activities like running and biking. It's also close to state forests ideal for hiking and camping, and is within driving distance of major cities like New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.

2. Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, SC
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Charleston, South Carolina, consistently ranks among the top places to retire, is renowned for its historic charm, picturesque squares, and burgeoning retiree-friendly developments. With a robust economy fueled by tourism, military bases, and a growing tech sector, Charleston offers diverse employment opportunities. Mild winters, abundant cultural attractions like museums and festivals, seven hospitals, and convenient access via an international airport add to its appeal. For fishing enthusiasts, Charleston boasts the highest number of fishing facilities per capita, making it an ideal destination for those seeking leisurely pursuits by the water.

3. Scranton, Pennsylvania 

Scranton, PA
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Scranton, nestled conveniently between New York City and Philadelphia, offers retirees the best of both worlds: proximity to major cities coupled with a small-town vibe, affordable housing, and low crime rates. Renowned for its access to quality healthcare, it consists of historical gems like the Lackawanna County Courthouse. With nearly 20% of its population aged 65 or older, retirees find a welcoming community. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore scenic trails like the Lackawanna Heritage Trail and Davis Trail at Nay Aug Park or relax with a picnic at Sturgis Park. Scranton offers a perfect blend of urban convenience and natural beauty for retirees.

4. Juneau, Alaska

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Alaska beckons adventurous retirees with its unique financial perks and breathtaking wilderness. Residents receive an annual dividend from the state's oil wealth savings account, on top of enjoying no state income or sales tax, and exemption from taxing Social Security and retirement benefits. Despite being the most tax-friendly state for retirees, only 10.1% of Alaska's population is 65 and older, leaving ample space for younger residents to enjoy the state's benefits. Juneau, the capital, offers a charming downtown and a plethora of outdoor activities.

5. Hot Springs, Arkansas 

Hot Springs, Arkansas
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Hot Springs, Arkansas, is the ultimate relaxation destination for retirees, having natural hot springs and rejuvenating bathhouses right in Hot Springs National Park. Beyond soaking in the therapeutic waters, the city offers numerous spa and massage services for additional pampering. Golf enthusiasts can tee off at one of the 11 championship courses, while fishing and boating opportunities abound on the local lakes.

Plus, retirees can breathe easy knowing that living costs are significantly lower than the national average, with housing, transportation, and healthcare expenses all below par. With its serene surroundings and wallet-friendly amenities, Hot Springs promises a stress-free retirement haven.

6. New York City, New York

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New York City offers retirees an unparalleled array of cultural, culinary, and outdoor experiences. From world-class theaters and restaurants to iconic museums, there's never a dull moment in the Big Apple. Residents revel in the fast-paced lifestyle while enjoying leisurely activities like strolling through Central Park or walking pets. With top-notch healthcare facilities and a strong job market, retirees with financial means can access any specialist needed and even supplement their income. Despite its high cost of living, New York City ranks high for happiness and desirability.

7. Youngstown, Ohio

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Nestled near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, Youngstown, Ohio, offers retirees a welcoming community with a pocket-friendly lifestyle. Ranked for affordability, it's a place where retirement dollars go the extra mile. Home to Youngstown State University, the city buzzes with energy from its vibrant campus and NCAA Division 1 sports teams.

Retirees can enjoy leisurely rounds of golf with senior discounts at Mill Creek MetroParks, boasting over 5,000 acres of outdoor bliss. Downtown's revival brings lively eateries and intriguing galleries, adding to the city's charm. Youngstown is where affordability meets community spirit, making it an ideal spot for retirement.

8. Brownsville, Texas

Brownsville, Texas
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Down at the southern tip of Texas lies Brownsville, a city having a delightful mix of a deep-water seaport and a year-round semi-tropical climate. The weather here is just perfect for outdoor activities, with a dash of cultural flair from neighboring Mexico adding to its charm. Compared to bustling cities like Austin or Houston, Brownsville is a pocket-friendly paradise, with median home prices hovering around $262,000 and rents at a comfortable $785 per month. While waterfront living might come with a slightly higher price tag, overall Brownsville residents enjoy a more affordable lifestyle compared to the national average.

9. Hickory, North Carolina

In Hickory, North Carolina, furniture craftsmanship thrives, with unique pieces showcased at the Hickory Furniture Mart. Lake Hickory offers over 100 miles of shoreline, perfect for boating and fishing, while the city's mild climate and proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains create an outdoor haven year-round. Affordability is key for retirees here, with a median home price of $281,607 and median rent of $743 per month, allowing retirees to stretch their income comfortably. Hickory blends artisanal charm with natural beauty, offering retirees a tranquil and budget-friendly lifestyle amidst picturesque surroundings.

10. Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Lake Havasu City, Arizona
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Nestled along the eastern shore of Lake Havasu, Lake Havasu City beckons with its appeal to both young and older crowds, making it an ideal spot for early retirees. With a median age of 50.4, the city offers a diverse range of recreational activities, from boating and fishing to scuba diving and water skiing, thanks to its proximity to the lake and California border. Recognized for its growing regional business scene and robust job market by Kiplinger, Lake Havasu City provides a solid economic foundation for those considering a return to work post-retirement.

11. Denver, Colorado

Denver, CO
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Denver, Colorado, contributes significantly to the state's high health rankings, with the metro area recognized as the 12th best big city for successful aging. Its active lifestyle and quality infrastructure make it attractive for retirees. Strong employment opportunities and economic stability cater to early retirees seeking work options. For later stages of retirement, Denver offers well-funded transit for older adults, top-rated nursing homes, and extensive continuing care services. With its blend of health-conscious living, economic vitality, and comprehensive support systems, Denver stands out as a prime destination for retirees.

12. Newark, Delaware

Newark, Delaware
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Newark, Delaware, home to the University of Delaware, offers a vibrant lifestyle ideal for young retirees. The bustling campus scene provides entertainment and cultural events, while the surrounding community boasts a variety of dining and shopping options. As retirees age, they can take advantage of continuing education programs and quality healthcare facilities provided by the university. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore miles of trails and parkland. Delaware's tax-friendly policies benefit residents of all ages, making it an attractive choice for an affordable retirement destination.

13. Toledo, Ohio

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Toledo, Ohio, dubbed the “Glass City” for its glass-making heritage, sits on Lake Erie's western shores near Michigan. With a diverse four-season climate, it offers hot summers and cold winters. Affordable housing, with a median home price of $116,239 and median rent of $809, ensures a high quality of life on a retirement budget. Historic homes, notably in the Old West End neighborhood, provide additional charm for those willing to splurge. Toledo's blend of affordability, heritage, and scenic lakefront location makes it an appealing destination for retirees looking for a comfortable and culturally rich lifestyle.

14. Fort Wayne, Indiana

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With a median home price of $210,000 and median rent of $839, living costs are manageable. Despite its affordability, Fort Wayne provides access to big-city amenities and unique events. Retirees can delve into their family history at the Allen County Public Library's Genealogy Center or explore art at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art with senior discounts. Farmers markets and nearby Amish communities add to the city's charm, offering retirees a diverse and enriching lifestyle.

15. Springfield, Missouri

Springfield, MO
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Springfield, Missouri, known as the Queen City of the Ozarks, serves as the vibrant hub of southwest Missouri. Home to higher education institutions and major company headquarters, Springfield offers a lively downtown scene with music, dining, and cultural attractions. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore numerous parks, trails, and caves in the metro area. With a significantly lower cost of living compared to national averages, including a median home price of $290,875 and median rent of $809, retirees can stretch their budget while enjoying a rich variety of amenities and natural beauty in Springfield.

16. Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Winston Salem
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Winston-Salem, North Carolina, offers retirees an affordable alternative to pricey wine country living. Surrounded by three local wine regions, residents can savor locally produced wines without breaking the bank. This vibrant and walkable community has low housing costs, with a median home price of $327,063 and median rent of $834. Retirees can comfortably afford a home in Winston-Salem, enjoying the charm of the area and its proximity to wine country while staying within budget.

A Round-Up Of Some Great Retirement Spots

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So, there you have it – a roundup of budget-friendly retirement spots across the U.S.! From the serene coastlines to bustling urban centers and quaint wine regions, these cities offer something for everyone. With affordable housing, healthcare, and plenty of activities, retirees can enjoy their golden years without worrying about breaking the bank. 

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