In recent years, retirees have expanded their search for the perfect 55+ community, creating some surprising retirement locations. Although Florida and the Southwest are often regarded as the most desirable areas for retirement, active adults are now discovering that the states between the two areas have everything they’re looking for and more.
To meet this demand, 55+ communities have been popping up along the Gulf Coast. With a dynamic culture, lower cost of living, plentiful golf options, and a pleasant climate, the Gulf Coast in Alabama is now beginning to compete with retirement location heavyweights like California and Florida’s Atlantic Coast.
Alabama’s tax friendly policies have made it especially welcoming to retirees, boasting a modest 5% sales tax, while those 65 and better pay no taxes on pensions, Social Security, and those still working pay a very low state income tax. The overall cost of living in Alabama is 10.8% less than their counterparts throughout the country.
But retiring on Alabama’s Gulf Coast won’t just save you money. The white sand beaches, Old World towns, and welcoming culture means that the Gulf Coast area not only ticks off the retirement must-haves, but also provides a unique retirement lifestyle that’s incomparable.
The city of Gulf Shores has 32 miles of beaches with the same sky-blue water and sparkling white sand that many assume to be the exclusive domain of Florida’s retirement communities. Alabama’s coast is peppered with areas perfect for fishing, boating, kayaking, and even dolphin watching.
The cities along Alabama’s Gulf Coast often get overlooked when it comes to culture and are overshadowed by their coastal counterparts like New Orleans and Seaside, FL. Fairhope, between Mobile and Gulf Shores, is a former artists’ collective that has opened to other residents but never lost the cultural dynamism that made it unique. Gulf Shores has camping in Gulf State Park, a popular fishing pier, and a national wildlife refuge. It also continues the area’s reputation for being an arts haven by hosting events like the Annual Festival of Art, Ballyhoo, and the Waterway Village Art Market.
The Gulf Coast area of Alabama also evokes the spirit of Southern hospitality that makes the region a draw for many retirees. The area is proud yet inclusive, active and still relaxed, embracing creativity in the shadow of Antebellum architecture.
Golfers can also get all the variety of Palm Springs without the hefty price tag because the area hosts eight golf courses. Designed by some the game’s most renowned architects, these courses have jaw-dropping views so common in the South, undulating greens, and world-class clubhouses. Kiva Dunes Golf Course in Gulf Shores is consistently ranked as one of the finest in the country and two local courses are the only ones designed by Arnold Palmer in the entire state.
Retirees can find the perfect 55+ community for them on Alabama’s Gulf Coast area. LiveOak Village is the area’s largest active adult neighborhood, featuring 400 single-family homes available on a new or resale basis. A well-equipped clubhouse hosts numerous events and activities and a homeowners’ association takes care of exterior home maintenance, giving residents here more time to explore all the area has to offer.
For a more low-key style of retirement living, Sea Pines at Bon Secour has 84 attached homes also available on a new or resale basis. With fewer than a hundred homes, this neighborhood by Epcon Communities brings the developer’s renowned low-maintenance lifestyle to the Gulf Coast region. A 3,000 square-foot clubhouse is the center of it all, providing fitness equipment and several rooms to socialize in or join a game of cards. An outdoor pool, patio, and walking trails gives residents here plenty of opportunities to enjoy the gorgeous year-round climate.
Alabama’s Gulf Coast area just might be one of the true hidden retirement gems in the country, providing the warm climate, unrivaled culture, and golf course access for a fraction of the cost of other popular retirement destinations.