Each year, Money magazine puts out a list of their top picks for the Best Places to Retire. In 2012, the 25 diverse retirement destinations that made the cut include choices focused on big cities, small towns, resort areas and college towns. Many of these popular locations are also within easy access of several fabulous active adult communities.
When it comes to retirement-friendly big cities, Money’s list recommends hot spots with spectacular scenery like Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Portland, Oregon. The Albuquerque area is one of our top picks as well, with affordable homes in amenity-rich communities like Jubilee at Los Lunas, in Los Lunas, and Alegria in Bernalillo. Those who prefer Oregon’s northwest charm, may find their ideal retirement homes in a large community like The Estates, in Woodburn, or in a more intimate gem like Ceres Gleann, in Dallas.
In Arizona, Tucson received recognition as a big city with distinct cultural appeal in the form of historical missions, old mining towns, museums and art galleries. Tucson boasts a yearly average of 350 sunny days, as well as challenging golf courses and luxurious age-restricted communities like Saddlebrooke, Sun City Oro Valley and Continental Ranch Sunflower.
Arizona also earns a nod for having one of the top destinations for retirees who dream of a small town retirement. One hundred miles north of Phoenix, the Prescott area offers picturesque scenery and a mild climate which experiences all four seasons, including summer temperatures that rarely rise over 90 degrees. Despite its rustic setting, Prescott has quality health care facilities, golf courses, local retail centers and amenity-rich active adult communities, such as Prescott Lakes or Hassayampa Village.
Retirees who value a country club setting may feel more at home in a community which offers luxurious on-site amenities and easy access to local attractions and tourist destinations. St. George, Utah, nabbed a top spot among resort area retirement destinations with its sunny blue skies, numerous golf courses, spectacular attractions and annual festivals. With impressive amenities and homes in a wide range of styles and prices, SunRiver at St. George is one 55+ community which puts Utah’s resort-style living within reach of many retirees.
Other resort areas cited for their retirement-friendly attributes include St. Augustine, Florida, and Fredericksburg, Texas. While many retirees focus more on Southern Florida destinations, the northeastern city of St. Augustine is a small town that is big on resort-style appeal. Retirees who love to golf will be particularly interested in Cascades at World Golf Village. This amenity-rich community is home to many attractions including the PGA Academy, the World Golf Hall of Fame and the famous Caddyshack restaurant, which is owned by actor Bill Murray and his brothers.
Located about 90 minutes west of Austin, Fredericksburg earned praise for its income-tax-free living, outdoor recreations and Texas Hill Country, a historic town which celebrates its German roots. Retiring Texans can easily explore Texas Hill Country for themselves if they choose a nearby community like Del Webb’s Hill Country Retreat in historic San Antonio.
When none of these areas seem to have the right feel, retirees may turn to bustling college towns which offer a vibrant nightlife, diverse attractions and many lifelong learning opportunities. A few of the notable college towns which made Money’s 2012 retirement list include Bellingham, Washington; Bloomington, Indiana; Lynchburg, Virginia; and Athens, Georgia.
There is no single retirement destination which will appeal to every active adult. Some retirees prefer an urban setting and others dream of a rustic retreat. A college town has an energetic vibe, and resort areas can make every day feel like a vacation. When considering Money’s best places to retire, which type of destination meets your retirement dreams?