Ready to start the next chapter of your life? According to Sundae sellers and research, these are the best places to retire in 2021.
Retirement opens up a world of new possibilities, including the opportunity to move to the place of your dreams. You’re no longer tied to a particular city for work and most likely not still raising kids, so no worries about being near the best schools. You can pick and choose a new home based on your favorite hobbies, the weather, even how close a city is to the beach. With limitless options, it might be time to put the big house up for sale and downsize to somewhere offering your idealized pace of life.
We ranked each city based on where our sellers are going, walkability, number of days of sunshine, cost of living, median home price, and access to Medicare hospitals, in addition to other city amenities that help make retirement enjoyable.
Whether you stick close to your current home, or decide to look for somewhere new to live, these cities — with their natural beauty, tons of sunshine, and varied amenities — are great options to consider.
12. Indian Wells, CA
Located in the Coachella Valley, Indian Wells is a small, hidden gem alongside the more well-known Palm Desert. Beautiful scenery, palm trees, and proximity to the luxurious resorts of Palm Springs give this area high appeal.
Living here is all about relaxing and enjoying life. Spend your time sampling gourmet meals thanks to a thriving culinary scene or schedule your days around the regular art festivals that take place locally. There are also plenty of cultural attractions to explore with your newly-found free time, including the well-known Joshua Tree National Park just outside of the city.
You’ll find dozens of championship golf courses with manicured greens for those who like to play. Prefer a tennis racket in hand instead? The area is also known as a tennis paradise both for those who participate and those who enjoy watching the pros swing a racket.
From shopping to hiking to jumping into a hot air balloon, the abundant sunshine, laid-back lifestyle, and mix of small-town and luxury make Indian Wells a fantastic retirement destination.
11. Steamboat Springs, CO
For those who envision retirement as an opportunity to ski as much as possible, Steamboat Springs may be for you. Located in Colorado’s Yampa Valley, you’ll find multiple ski resorts, and plenty of snowy peaks to explore. When it’s time to soothe sore muscles and simply relax, the city also has its own geothermal hot springs with soaking pools, swimming, and even water slides for the more actively inclined.
Steamboat Springs is also a nice place to live if you pictured retirement against the American West. Its picturesque beauty sits beside perfect outdoor activities and the Rocky Mountains. Partake in boating, fishing and camping, or stick to a more urban schedule of art galleries, botanic gardens, breweries, restaurants, and enjoy the city’s walkability.
For those looking to hit the green in retirement, Steamboat Springs has three 18-hole golf courses. When visitors come to town, there’s plenty of family-friendly fun to fill your days such as horseback riding, a mountain-climbing gondola ride, and even hot air balloons.
10. Carson City, NV
As the capital of Nevada, Carson City is an important seat of legislative activity, but it’s also a great place for retirees to call home. With natural charm and plenty of history, you’ll find the city infused with a bit of the Old West.
Golf is a major activity in town thanks to the Divine Nine. This is a group of golf courses designed by pros like Arnold Palmer, Johnny Miller, and John Harbottle just waiting for your swing. Other activities worth exploring include sightseeing, historical tours, and even organized trips to the local casinos. When it’s time to rejuvenate and simply relax, head to Carson City Hot Springs for some quiet, chill time.
A balanced combination of activity, history, culture, and fun, living in Carson City not only puts you within driving distance to cities like Reno, Lake Tahoe, and even Sacramento, but it also offers up plenty of natural beauty just outside your doorstep. It’s a great home base for the retiree who still likes road tripping.
9. Georgetown, TX
Situated in central Texas, Georgetown gives you a quieter place to call home without having to say goodbye to the bustle of the busier parts of the state. Austin is only 30 miles away, so you don’t have to sacrifice any big-city amenities by calling this small town home.
With the “most beautiful town square in Texas,” living in Georgetown gives you access to traverse an attractive Main Street that’s full of businesses, restaurants, and entertainment. When outside, enjoying the beautiful weather, you can boat and fish on Lake Georgetown or relax on the refreshing lagoon at Blue Hole Park. When it’s time to do something otherworldly, plan a visit to Inner Space Cavern with its remarkable stalagmites and stalactites.
For the golfers, Georgetown has six, 18-hole golf courses plus a 6-hole course for the more casual player. There’s a combination of public courses, with special packages for residents, as well as a few that are private clubs. For other active options, you’ll find plenty of tennis courts and even biking groups to join.
8. Bluffton, SC
If you’re looking to spend retirement in the Low Country, Bluffton is the spot for you. Just a short trip away from Hilton Head, Bluffton offers southern charm and abundant wildlife with a touch of antebellum history all rolled into one.
Retiring here gives you a chance to take a break from the hectic schedule everyday life often brings. Instead of rushing about, you can occupy your time in this quaint town by wandering through art galleries, sitting down to eat at one of the city’s exceptional restaurants or leisurely kayaking along the May River. Soak up some history in Old Town Bluffton or hit the local boutiques for some shopping. There’s also no shortage of golf courses and golf clubs to explore since the abundant amount of sunshiny days means you can play all year round.
Nature also plays a huge role in the ambiance of Bluffton. Check out the local wildlife along the May River or visit one of the local wildlife refuges.
7. Sarasota, FL
Pristine and clear water, amazing temperatures, and wide, sandy beaches all come together to make Sarasota, and its surrounding keys, a perfect retirement destination. A laid-back and friendly pace makes even going to the grocery store a relaxed experience.
Living here, you’ll join many other like-minded people, as the city is a popular destination for retirees. The area caters to older generations with excellent healthcare and delicious dining options. The art and music scene is very happening for those who like exploring cultural activities. For real art enthusiasts, plan a trip to The Ringling.
Sarasota is a social community, and you’ll most likely make friends wherever you go. There are ample community centers to gather, and plenty of boutiques to explore. You may even get an invite to spend the day on a neighbor’s boat. For the golfer, the city offers up 29 courses to enjoy.
6. Chester, VA
Sitting between the James and Appomattox Rivers, Chester is a perfect retirement spot for those who want to spend plenty of time outdoors. Within R. Garland Dodd Park, you’ll find picnic spots and plenty of hiking trails to indulge in, including a floating boardwalk atop a freshwater tidal marsh.
The city also takes its place in history very seriously. The location of Henricus, the second successful English city built in the New World, is within the city limits. It’s also the same area that Pocahontas called home. You can capture a bit of the past in Henricus Historical Park as you walk through, as well as discovering remnants of the Union army throughout the city.
Not totally trapped in the past, Chester also offers up excellent dining and shopping options to indulge, not to mention the 10 different golf courses and golf clubs around the city. You’ll have your pick of activities when you retire to this Eastern city.
5. Belfast, ME
For those thinking they’d like to spend most of their retirement on a sailboat, the coastal town of Belfast is an excellent choice. Located at the mouth of the Passagassawakeag River, the town’s roots are in shipbuilding, so it’s ideal for sailors.
Made for the retiree who enjoys bundling up and crisp air, Belfast summer highs don’t usually exceed the 60s. Get cozy exploring the historic sites, stately homes, and beautiful architecture in town. For a one-of-a-kind experience, take the Museum in the Streets tour. This is a self-guided, walking tour through downtown, residential, and waterfront neighborhoods.
For the art lover, an annual Arts in the Park event is perfect to attend, right at the water’s edge. During the rest of the year, you can visit the Belfast Historical Society and Museum to learn more about the local history. And, while you won’t find any golf courses within the city of Belfast, you can access some great golf in neighboring towns by driving just 10 minutes away.
4. Lincoln, NE
The capital of Nebraska, Lincoln is a thriving city full of people and activity. It’s a perfect family-friendly place, providing lots of fun when the grandkids come visit. Living here is all about the friendly feeling of the Midwest with the amenities of a larger city. There are plenty of parks and trails to leisurely explore as well as museums and a botanical garden. The arts scene is thriving as well and worth delving into. This is thanks to the large population of college students bringing in popular musicians and shows. The city even hosts an Open Door Senior Time each week for exclusive access to the Air Park Recreation Center.
If you love tailgating and football, Lincoln is the right place for you. Spend your weekends cheering on the Huskers and experience the college town ambiance. There’s no shortage of great places to eat and nice places to shop here either. Take advantage of unique activities like FootGolf, a blend of golf and soccer, and special deals in the local bowling alley. There are also 27 golf courses near Lincoln to play on, with five right within city limits.
3. Silver City, NM
A distinct city that’s as much Old West as it is an arts and entertainment hub, you’ll find Silver City in the southwest corner of New Mexico. Small-town living is the mantra around here as is the outdoors since Silver City rests against the 3.3 million-acre Gila National Forest. There’s also a little history thrown in, as the area connects back to Billy the Kid and Geronimo. It’s a great place for retirees interested in putting down roots in a smaller city with a lot of unique features to see.
For the golfer, you can tee off alongside the Western New Mexico University golf team at Scott Park Golf Links. Here you’ll find 18 holes arranged within tree-lined parkland and alongside a lush creek.
Affordable living, a relaxed atmosphere, and amazing natural beauty check all the boxes when it comes to an ideal place to end up in during retirement.
2. Chattanooga, TN
Civil War history combined with a thriving downtown and mountainous beauty in a rolling valley, Chattanooga, is a hidden gem. While the city is in Tennessee, its proximity to Georgia makes it an ideal location for retirees looking to move away from the sprawl of Atlanta without going too far.
There’s so much to do and see in Chattanooga, and its laid-back vibe makes it easy to casually enjoy everything the city has to offer. For nature lovers who want something special, that isn’t too physical, you can explore Ruby Falls, Rock City, and Lookout Mountain. For those more actively inclines, Chattanooga offers dozens of gentle hikes in the mountains.
When the grandkids come to town, divide your time between the Tennessee Aquarium, the children’s museum, and the Tennessee Valley Railroad. For a more cultural experience, make time for the Hunter Museum of Art and the Tivoli Theatre for a start.
While there are quite a few golf courses to pick from in Chattanooga, the most impressive is the Eagle Bluff Golf Club. It’s a challenging course that measures 6,700 yards from start to finish.
In Chattanooga, property prices are all about location. It’s relatively easy to find a house the further out you go, while getting closer to downtown means access to more condos and apartments but comes with its own set of perks. Downtown is highly walkable with the ability to cross over the Tennessee River via the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge.
1. Ocala, FL
Ocala is that restful place everyone is looking for in Florida. You may not have the beach, but you’ve got plenty of water that’s perfect for fishing and boating. For the golfer, there are a variety of public, private, and semi-private courses to try. Del Webb Stone Creek stands out with its water features on 14 of its 18 holes. Juliette Falls is a semi-private course with four waterfalls and plenty of ponds. You may find yourself distracted by the natural beauty when it’s your turn to putt.
Appealing to interests off the green, Ocala offers up horseback riding, history, and distinct experiences in the arts and culture to sample. There are plenty of choices when dining out as well — from international delicacies to local gems. Within the Historic Downtown Square, you’ll discover a shopper’s paradise of cute boutiques and antique storefronts, while other areas of town contain specialty shops and flea markets not to be missed.
Equifax defined cohorts were used to determine which sellers were relocating due to retirement. These cities represent the top 12 where Sundae sellers within this demographic are frequently relocating.
We ranked each city based on the median house price and gathered key data points from the following sources:
Other data was collected through city-specific searches.
The information within the article is only here for illustrative purposes and does not necessarily reflect relevant data as of today. It in no way constitutes financial advice or is a guarantee of property costs.
Start your retirement off right
When you decide it’s time to kick retirement into gear by selling your current home, consider an alternative to listing it on the MLS. This process can take more time than you want to spend passing your home on to a new owner or kickstarting your new retirement chapter in the place of your dreams. It can also bring about unwanted costs by way of home repairs.
Working with Sundae is different. We do the work for you. You’ll receive a cash offer without having to repair, update, or ready your home for showings, and best of all, there’s no fees. This means you can save a little extra for your retirement adventures.
Taking your home sale off-market with Sundae is a perfect solution if you’re looking to downsize or relocate for retirement. You can close and move on your timeline without having to wait for your home to sell.
Contact us today to learn more and then start thinking about which city you’ll start retirement in.
Composed by a team of experienced content, marketing, and real estate professionals, the Sundae Blog is a go-to authority for tips, instructions, and data-driven insights aimed at helping homeowners maintain, renovate, sell, and buy homes, while navigating a complex real estate market.