Spring Season Retirement 55places.com
Spring and retirement have two things in common: change.

This week marks the first week of spring, where the bright, beautiful colors of the new season greets the winter-weary. Although many retirees have chosen to live in cities where winter is a foreign concept, there are many reasons why the season is an exciting one. Plant life explodes, the days become longer, summer vacation looms, and science has confirmed people are happier.

But not all springs are equal. In some parts of the country, the season is indistinguishable from the rest of the year while, for others, it’s an unmistakable sign of warmer months ahead. Those who can’t resist the charms of the spring season and want to make the most of it should consider retiring in these areas.

Portland, Oregon

What better place to enjoy spring than in a city that has the nickname “City of Roses”? The city’s spring activities seem to revolve around the flower synonymous with romance. Portland’s International Rose Test Garden has 4.5 acres with over 10,000 plants in about 550 different varieties and stands as one of the city’s highlights. The stunning garden also holds events in the amphitheater.

Spring is also when Portlanders venture outdoors after a dark and rainy winter. April sees outdoor events make their triumphant return with Wine Trail weekend, Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, music festivals, and the opening of the city’s famous farmers’ markets. There are eight active adult communities in the Portland area, three of which are in the city itself.

Cape May, New Jersey

Although New Jersey doesn’t seem to immediately jump to mind when one thinks of a charming spring, the state’s southern portion is home to idyllic towns that burst with vibrancy upon the passing of blizzard season. Nowhere is that more evident than in the town of Cape May. Spring’s arrival not only ushers in the season of strolling along the city’s historic cobblestone streets lined with Victorian architecture, but also the season of outdoor festivals, farmers' markets, and the city’s collection of blooming gardens.

Cape May is also a popular location for fishing but is especially renowned for its birdwatching (so much so that the local observatory has a springtime event simply called So. Many. Birds). Spring also allows locals to make the most of their charming town before the surge of tourist season. Retirees wanting to take advantage of the spring season in the Garden State have six active adult communities to choose from in Cape May County.

Washington D.C.

The charm of the nation’s capital is on full display with the city’s illustrious history, idyllic avenues, and swaths of parks. When spring is on display in Washington D.C., it truly is a spectacle unlike anywhere else. To view the diverse buildings in the city is to take a tour of Old World architecture unrivaled on the continent, making a springtime walk though the city the country’s most colorful and immersive historical experience.

Spring in Washington D.C., though, is more than just fresh flowers in the farmers' market or an appreciation of distinctive architectural styles. The National Cherry Blossom Festival is a two-week celebration of the Japanese-native trees that runs the gamut of spring activities. Residents look forward to kite festivals, bike rides, fireworks shows, and live music. Living in one of the dozens of active adult communities in the Washington D.C. area means being just minutes from the biggest celebration of spring in the country.

Charleston, SC 

The Southern aesthetic in Charleston has been enrapturing locals and tourists alike for generations. Historical structures bursting with color flank lush streets and make for a scenic stroll year round. Although winters here are generally mild, the hot, humid summers make spring the perfect time of year to visit.

The milder weather not only makes Charleston a more agreeable location in the spring, but the city’s natural beauty is amplified by the blooming of azaleas in late March. The Spring Festival of Houses and Gardens gives visitors an up close and personal look at some of the city’s most awe-inspiring private residences, and Flowertown Festival, in the suburban city of Summerville, brings out the area’s artists and green thumbs. There are currently eight active adult communities in the Charleston area for 55+ homebuyers looking for spring charm.

Chicago, IL 

There are few cities more appreciative of the signs of spring than Chicago. Frequent brutal winters in the Windy City make the coming of spring as festive as any holiday and the city wastes no time making the most of the warmer weather and sunny days. Spring in Chicago means seeing locals at their happiest before the onset of summer tourist season.

Chicago provides more reasons to visit in the spring than grinning residents. The city’s 570 parks spread across approximately 7,600 acres and host springtime activities like garden shows, parades, and runs for charity. Chicago has a flower and garden show in mid-March and while outside the city, spring lovers can explore the area’s ephemerals, acres of savannah and woodlands, or get lost in the breathtaking beauty of the botanic garden in Glencoe. The Chicago area is also lush with 55+ communities, having over 40 just outside of the city.