Moving to the Desert: 4 Desert Retirement Locations To Put on Your List

A 55+ couple enjoying their desert retirement.

5 minute read

What You’ll Gain From Reading This Article: This article provides insights into various desert retirement locations in the Southwest region of the United States. The article highlights the reasons why retirees are drawn to these areas, focusing on factors such as the lower cost of living, mild winters, and abundant sunshine.


Retirement opens up a whole world of options. For many seniors, this is a long-awaited opportunity to move somewhere different. Often, retirees peruse desert retirement locations, seeking someplace that’s sunny and warm for their new home. They yearn to leave behind the snow, ice, and chores that come with harsh winters. This makes the Southwest portion of the country a natural choice for seniors looking for somewhere new to settle.

As you explore this new phase in your life, let’s explore a few desert cities that have a lot to offer retirees.

A senior couple on a road trip through the desert.

One of the reasons why seniors are drawn to the Southwest is that it’s often less expensive to live there. According to a survey conducted by GOBankingRates, the cost of living in the Southwest is substantially lower than in the North. This makes desert retirement locations extra appealing to seniors on a limited income. 

However, the lower cost of living is just one important factor that appeals to retirees. The climate is also tempting, with mild winters and plenty of sunshine. Many desert retirement locations can get pretty hot in the summer. However, the lower humidity makes high temperatures more bearable. Plus, during the winter months, you can enjoy the sunshine as other parts of the country are buried in snow. 

Because it’s such an appealing region, many cities in the Southwest have a built-in community of fellow retirees. In turn, local businesses cater to these populations. This environment also makes it easier to access entertainment, dining, and recreation that retirees tend to enjoy. Additionally, many communities have easy access to excellent health care facilities, a vital part of a high quality of life.

If that sounds like the sort of home you’re looking for, here are four great desert retirement locations to consider.

1. Tucson, Arizona

Sunrise over the Sonoran Desert near Scottsdale, Arizona, one of many desert retirement locations.

Arizona strives to make life financially easier for seniors. The state doesn’t impose tax on Social Security benefits. Gifts, inheritance, and estates are also exempt from state taxes. If you’re over 65, you’re also eligible for a break on your property taxes.

Tucson is the second largest city in senior-friendly Arizona. This makes it a great place to enjoy interesting cultural and entertainment outings. To further boost your active lifestyle, health care costs in Tucson are below the national average without sacrificing the quality you deserve. The city boasts three highly ranked hospitals. 

In Tucson, there are also plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation. The city and surrounding area features 120 parks to enjoy, plenty of trails for bike riding or walking, and 15 golf courses.

2. Scottsdale, Arizona

Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, one of many desert retirement locations.

Another great desert retirement location in Arizona is Scottsdale. This refined city is known as the Beverly Hills of the Desert because of its top-shelf shopping, dining, and entertainment. It’s also a great city for cultural events, such as the annual Scottsdale Art Festival, which draws artists from around the globe.

If you’re more of an outdoorsy person, you may enjoy the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. It’s one of the nation’s largest urban wilderness areas. You’ll also find lots of beautiful landscapes to explore, whether you love to hike, bike, or stroll. With 330 days of sunshine a year, you’ll have many chances to get outside.

3. St. George, Utah

Waterfalls flowing over the red rock at Gunlock State Park in Utah.

This part of Utah, where its border meets Arizona and Nevada, is known for its stunning red rock vistas. It’s considered a great location for golf, with 12 courses to choose from. The beautiful landscape is also a playground for outdoor recreation, with wide open spaces for hiking.

The cost of living in Utah is a little higher than the national average, but St. George is one of the least expensive parts of the state. Also, property taxes in Utah are lower than the national average. Retirees are eligible for a further 45% reduction on their property taxes.

With a little over 94,000 residents, St. George only has one major hospital in the city. However, that hospital is highly ranked, landing at number four in the state.

4. Mesquite, Nevada

A valley and mountains in Mesquite, Nevada, one of many desert retirement locations.

Just around the corner from St. George, you’ll find Mesquite. It’s a little over an hour’s drive from Las Vegas, making it easy to travel for some entertainment. At the same time, it’s not far from some of the best outdoor recreation sites in the area, including Lake Mead, the Grand Canyon, and Gold Butte National Monument

Nevada residents don’t pay state income tax or inheritance tax, lowering the overall tax burden. Prices on staples such as utilities, groceries, and health care are all below the national average in Mesquite.

This is a great option for seniors who prefer a small-town feel. Mesquite has a modest population of just over 21,000. Given its small size, it understandably only has one local hospital. The good news is that you’re not far from Las Vegas if you need specialist care that’s not available in Mesquite.

Let 55places Help You Find Your Dream Home in the Desert!

If you’re seeking desert retirement locations, we invite you to contact us today! At 55places, we specialize in helping people find the perfect home in the right community. Our real estate professionals are experts in 55+ communities, and we know how to match people with the right location. We would love to show you the wonderful homes that are available for you.

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