The Best Places to Retire in Texas

San Antonio\'s scenery and RiverWalk make it a popular destination for retirees.

As the nation’s second-largest state, Texas is full of regions that appeal to all different types of active adults. Whether retirees want to escape the cold, move closer to family, or indulge in a culture of state pride that’s unlike anywhere else, Texas offers an abundance of choices for active adults.

One great thing about living in Texas is that it is a no-income-tax state; all forms of retirement income, including Social Security benefits, are not taxed. 

Texas is also an for retirees who enjoy diverse landscapes. Home to ample natural beauty from mountains to peaceful pastures, Texas is also home to four of the country’s largest metropolitan areas: Houston, San Antonio, Dallas/Fort Worth, and Austin. Texans can savor world-class restaurants, entertainment, and shopping while pausing to smell the yellow roses. Read on to learn some of the best places to retire in Texas.

Central Texas

View down the San Antonio, Texas Boardwalk
Those looking to retire in comfort and style need not look further than San Antonio.

Austin

As the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin stands apart among Texas cities. Active adults can relish their retirement at the city’s many art and music festivals or enjoy more refined entertainment at the Austin Lyric Opera and the Paramount Theatre.

One of the most popular sites for residents and tourists alike is Lady Bird Lake. Located in Downtown Austin, Lady Bird Lake offers unique views of the city skyline with water activities like rented kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards. Also, Congress Bridge, which spans Lady Bird Lake, is home to 1.5 million bats, the largest urban bat colony in North America. For nine months out of the year, residents can watch the bats take flight in the evening from land or water. 

St. David’s Medical Center is the top-ranked hospital in Austin, high performing in nephrology and seven other conditions and procedures, including heart-related conditions.

San Antonio

Those looking to retire in comfort and style need not look further than San Antonio, which is in the midst of a population boom according to the most recent census.

The cost of living in San Antonio is 14 percent lower than the national index, and lower than the  state average according to Payscale. When compared to Houston and Dallas, San Antonio has the lowest cost of living rate.

People are flocking to this historic city for its welcoming culture, exciting nightlife, and overall relaxed pace. Retirees can escape to the scenic oasis of cypress-lined paved paths and arched stone bridges of the world-famous San Antonio River Walk.  

The top-ranked hospital in San Antonio is Methodist Hospital, with a strong performance in five adult procedures and conditions, including heart conditions and knee replacements.

Central Texas Retirement Communities

North Texas

Aerial view of the Dallas, Texas skyline at sunset
Dallas offers a wide range of recreation that are sure to keep residents busy.

Active adults who desire easy access to big-city amenities but also natural surroundings will find the best of both worlds in North Texas. Here, retirees can find dozens of natural and man-made lakes, including the serene waters and breathtaking views of Possum Kingdom Lake, just two hours west of Fort Worth.

Dallas

As the third most populated city in Texas, Dallas offers a wide range of recreation that are sure to keep residents busy. Lewisville Lake and Lake Grapevine beckon to boating and nature enthusiasts. North Texas is also home to exciting events such as the State Fair of Texas and the Cotton Bowl. Locals can soak up natural beauty at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden or take a stroll back in time at the Will Rogers Memorial Center.

UT Southwestern Medical Center is ranked number one in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The hospital is nationally ranked in nine specialties, including heart, brain, and cancer-related conditions.

The cost of living in Dallas is slightly above the national index.

Fort Worth

In Fort Worth, there are more than 200 parks and public greenspaces where residents can work and relax. 

Though Austin is known for its musical history, Fort Worth has its own deep roots; live music venues in the city range from roadhouses to concert halls. Fort Worth is known for its rodeos; Stockyards Championship Rodeo offers an authentic Western experience with bull riding, roping, barrel racing, and more.

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth is ranked number four in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The hospital is ranked nationally in multiple specialties and is high-performing in heart conditions and common replacement surgeries.

The cost of living in Fort Worth is slightly lower than the national index. Housing is the main factor in the cost of living difference.

North Texas Retirement Communities

Coastal Texas

View of Houston, Texas skyline from a pond just outside of the city
Houston offers copious amounts of free activities and events.

For retirees looking to pursue their passion for boating or fishing, or for those who simply want to enjoy a sunset over the sea, Texas’ coastal cities don’t disappoint. Palm tree-lined League City and the legendary Kemah Boardwalk provide plenty of recreation opportunities, whether retirees want to take in the sights and sounds, or indulge in some of Texas’ best seafood.

Houston offers copious amounts of free activities and events, including the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, the Urban Harvest Farmers Market, and many art museums that offer free admission. Miller Outdoor Theatre frequently hosts free live performances ranging from music concerts to Shakespeare plays.  

Houston Methodist Hospital is the top-ranked hospital in the area, ranking number one in the entire state for patient care and safety. Closer to Houston, the suburb of Katy has previously been named the best place to retire in Texas by SmartAsset, thanks to the city’s abundance of medical care options and recreation centers.

Coastal Texas Retirement Communities

South Texas

View of two whitetail deer foraging in a pink meadow located in South Texas
Tucked away from city lights, retirees can bask in the tropical climate all year long.

The stars at night seem to shine bigger and brighter in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, an area rich in culture and tradition. Tucked away from city lights, retirees can bask in the tropical climate all year long and enjoy plentiful recreational activities including golfing, fishing, and boating.

South Padre Island is a resort town known for its beautiful beaches and home to a sea turtle rehabilitation center. The town serves as the perfect weekend getaway for Texas residents. 

Active adults will particularly enjoy the offerings in Harlingen, which became the first South Texas town to achieve Texas Certified Retirement Community status. Downtown Harlingen is filled with unique boutiques and restaurants, art galleries, and the Harlingen Farmers Market. Harlingen Community Theatre hosts several musicals and plays throughout the year.

South Texas Retirement Communities

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