Best Retirement Towns

Many books and articles are available about the best retirement towns, so I took a look.

Kiplinger has it’s best cities for retirement,  They start off mentioning Tampa Florida, well you could say Clearwater and St. Petersburg, since the three are almost joined together in one big area.  With the real estate bust, I hear you can get a deal on a house these days. I would add Sarasota Florida, a town I have visited several times, as a great place to retire.  Sarasota has it all.  Kiplinger goes on to name Harrisburg PA, a city I do not know much about. They say Harrisburg has four seasons and PA does not tax retirement income. That sounds good, but not unique. Why city retirement?

Money/CNN has their best places to retire list as well.  Some included are St. Simmons Island Ga, Walla Walla WA, Prescott AZ ( and Tucson retirement communities) , Holland MI, Williamsburg VA.  Of those I would probably vote for St. Simmons GA (and the Brunswick Golden Isles also) , Williamsburg VA (a good place to vacation as well), and Prescott Arizona, where you could probably get a good deal on a house as well.

AARP has their 5 great places to live. They point out fewer than 5 percent of people 55+ move each year, so this whole exercise may be a mind game. They go on to say Upwards of 90 percent of people say they’d like to stay right in their own communities as they age.  I do believe that. Ok, so we are looking close to home. No problem there.  The first place they list is Atlanta GA. Hey that is close to home since I live in Johns Creek on the north side of Atlanta. I do agree with their first choice.  Portland Oregon is listed and I have heard good things about this area. Well rainy weather may be the exception.  Chandler AZ is listed as on their 5 great places to live. Chandler is part of the Phoenix area and everyone knows someone who has retired to AZ.  I know there are several Sun City communities there, as we several couples on our last cruise who enjoy living there.  Next there is Boston Mass. I have enjoyed visiting there many times but never thought of retiring there. They say retirees love  the Abundance of culture and restaurants in Boston, and I certainly do understand the appeal there.  Next up is Milwaukee WI. Residents say the only way to “get” Milwaukee—an easy 90-mile train ride or drive from Chicago—is to tour its many distinct ethnic neighborhoods, including German, Polish, Italian, and African American communities, and sample the food at the dozens of ethnic festivals that occur throughout the year.

I would recommend getting the book The 50 Best Small Southern Towns by Gerald Sweitzer and Kathy Fields which I have read and liked. Â

I looked at other sites but were not too impressed with their random choices.  I think it is best to scout these out yourself and spend a little time in several locations.Â


Author: Robert Fowler

Robert Fowler is President of Retirement Media Inc