Desert, Mountain or Waterfront- Choosing Your Retirement Climate

SaddleBrooke in Tucson, AZ is popular with active adults who want the dual benefit of a desert climate with access to nearby mountains.
SaddleBrooke in Tucson, AZ
SaddleBrooke in Tucson, AZ is popular with active adults who want the dual benefit of a desert climate with access to nearby mountains.

It’s easy to dream about your ideal retirement location, but how do you know that the city you choose will match up to your fantasy? Travel brochures, movies and destination TV shows can make many locations look like paradise. Whether your dream is of sunny beaches, high desert, or majestic mountains, it’s important to take the time to research and visit an area before making it your new home.

For retirees who dream of living in the arid or semi-arid climate of a desert, a dream destination is likely to be found in the American Southwest. The more southern Mojave, Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts have long summers with high temperatures and semi-tropical plant life, while the Grand Basin Desert has somewhat cooler temperatures.

Many people move to the desert in the hopes that the dry climate will help with asthma or allergies. Depending on the severity of the asthma and the type of allergies, the climate change may or may not bring an improvement. Sun exposure and heat-related illnesses are also a concern when living in a desert environment, so care should be taken to stay hydrated and use sun block as needed.

A Desert Retirement

There are many spectacular age-restricted active adult communities set in desert climates. Both Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona are popular retirement locations and include impressive communities such as the original Sun City by Del Webb, and SaddleBrooke by Robson.

Retirees also enjoy high desert living in the communities near Las Vegas, Nevada, such as Siena by Sunrise Colony Company, or Sun City Anthem in Henderson. When mountain views are an important feature in a retirement destination, retirees can choose from communities on either side of the country.

Retire in the Mountains

The Rocky Mountains stretch over 3,000 miles along America’s westernmost states and include over 100 separate mountain chains. On the east coast, the Appalachian Mountains extend from central Alabama up through the New England area.

Living at a higher altitude can be an adjustment. Though the effects are generally felt at around 4,000 feet above sea level, some people may be affected at much lower altitudes. The effects may be felt more while visiting as it takes a few weeks for the body to acclimate. Even those living in the foothills of the mountains may feel the affect of a higher altitude when they travel up the mountain for hiking or other recreations.

With elevations between 5,000 and 6,000 feet, mountain lovers may feel at home in communities near Denver, Colorado, such as Heritage Eagle Bend Golf Club in Aurora. At a similar elevation, retirees may prefer the heights of Prescott, Arizona, including the age-targeted community of Prescott Lakes. At an elevation of 4,400 feet, Sierra Canyon in Reno, Nevada is another impressive mountain community.

Coastal Retirements

Waterfront living can mean many things. Some retirees envision oceanside living near a sunny semi-tropical beach, while others picture a home beside a lush lake. Oceanside living is limited to coastal states, while lakeside homes can be found throughout the country. Retirement communities in coastal cities tend to have a higher average cost of living than lakeside communities. They are also more prone to being tourist towns, whereas lakeside living may be more secluded. Yet the choice between coastal or lakefront living is largely a matter of personal preference.

For spectacular coastal living, retirees may opt to live in Southern California communities such as Ocean Hills Country Club in Oceanside. Florida is a well known coastal retirement state, yet Central Florida boasts many lakeside communities as well. Retirees can explore waterfront living throughout the country, including impressive communities such as Del Webb Frisco Lakes in Texas and Sun City Hilton Head in South Carolina.

Whether your dream retirement location includes a sandy beach, rural lake, mountain vistas, or an arid desert, it is important to learn as much as possible about the area before making the move. Plan visits at different times of the year, particularly during the area’s off-season.

While the tourist attractions are a big draw during a vacation, planning a visit to the area’s active adult communities may give you an opportunity to talk to some actual residents and learn more about living in the area year round. Where you live is an important decision and a bit of research will help merge your dream retirement with the reality of the destination.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and
Details here.

Share this post:

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

Call us to speak with a customer service representative.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get Weekly Updates

I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting [email protected] Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Best Places to Snowbird in 2021

We’ve gathered 25 of the best places for snowbirds, including cities in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada. For each entry, we’ve also provided a list of recommended 55+ communities in the area. If you’re ready to find your own winter retreat this season, here are some of the best places to consider.

A group of older adults socialize within their 55+ community.

Top 10 FAQs About Living in 55+ Communities

We’re here to answer all of your questions about joining a mature living community, so you can feel empowered in your decision. This is the next great adventure of your life, and we’re firm believers in leaving the stress out. Check out these top 10 FAQs about living in 55+ communities.

A senior couple takes a hike in a low-humidity state they chose for their retirement.

Retirement: What Are the Top 5 States With the Lowest Humidity?

There are many factors in deciding where to retire, and the weather can be one of them. Luckily, many of the states with nice weather also offer additional benefits for people over 60 and have several exciting active adult communities. Here are the four best states for a low-humidity retirement.

Lake view during autumn at dusk of Table Rock Mountain in Pickens, South Carolina.

5 Reasons To Consider a South Carolina Retirement

What does South Carolina have to offer active adults? A selection of over 80 active adult communities is just the beginning. These five reasons to consider a South Carolina retirement just might convince you that this southern coastal state has everything you’re looking for in a 55+ community.

The Best Places to Retire in South Carolina

South Carolina is known for having some of the best golf courses in the country, but that’s not all it has to offer active adults. The state has a rich history and culture, a wide selection of entertainment and recreation, and miles of beaches and coastal living.

North Carolina vs. South Carolina

The Carolinas are a power couple when it comes to maintaining an active lifestyle in an amazing climate, but they’re separated by more than just a border. A side-by-side comparison of the two can quickly show which is better for you when it comes to your interests and needs.

Exterior view of a model home at Del Webb Carolina Gardens, Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina on a sunny day.

55+ Communities With New Homes for Sale Near Raleigh

If you’re in the market for a new construction home in Raleigh, North Carolina there are plenty of options to consider. We’ve put together a list to help you start your search for the perfect neighborhood with new homes.

About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

Scroll to Top