The 6 Sunniest Places to Retire in the U.S.

Looking to soak up some sun during your retirement? Have a look at these six sun-drenched states and their active adult communities.

Are you dreaming of retiring in a sun-drenched spot? Whether you want to escape a dreary climate, you love spending time outdoors, or the sunshine just puts an extra pep in your step, there are many places to consider if you want more sunshine than clouds.

The sunniest places to live offer many benefits for residents, including stronger bones, lower levels of depression, and relief for symptoms associated with eczema and psoriasis. The sunshine also makes it more appealing to spend time outside, which may lead to improved physical health. According to Healthline, all you need is five to 15 minutes of sunlight on your arms, hands, and face two to three times a week to reap the Vitamin D-boosting benefits of the sun. 

If you’re interested in the sunniest places to live, take a look at the latest research from NerdWallet. The company examined data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to put together a list of the sunniest cities in the United States and Puerto Rico. The ranking is based on the annual percentage of average possible sunshine. Topping the list? Yuma, Arizona, where residents can enjoy sunny days 90 percent of the year.

To discover the other sunniest places to retire, read on. In this post, we highlight some of the best states for sunshine and provide recommendations for active adult communities within these sunny states.

1. Arizona

Closeup on a blooming saguaro cactus in Phoenix, Arizona with a mountain in the background
Arizona is a great retirement destination for sun-seekers, but the state also offers many other perks.

If you plan to move to Arizona, you better keep those Ray-Bans handy. Arizona is the sunniest state in the country, with Yuma topping the list for the country’s sunniest destinations.

Phoenix and Tucson come in a close second to Yuma, with both destinations providing sunshine 85 percent of the time, according to NerdWallet. Flagstaff also makes the list of the sunniest places to live, with residents there enjoying sunshine 78 percent of the time.

Arizona is a great retirement destination for sun-seekers, but the state also offers many other perks. For example, Arizona ranks as one of the top states for golf, containing more than 300 golf courses across the state. As one of the most tax-friendly states in the country, Arizona is also easy on the wallet. Arizonans don’t have to pay taxes on Social Security, and they don’t incur gift tax, estate tax, or inheritance tax.

Where to Soak Up the Sun in Arizona

Arizona contains dozens of active adult communities, whether you want to be near the action in a big city or you want a more rural lifestyle with desert views.

TerravitaScottsdale, AZ

Low $400s – Low $1Ms

Terravita in Scottsdale contains 1,380 single-family homes that range from 1,384 to 3,730 square feet. Homes start in the low $400s and feature open floor plans and views of the golf course and mountains.

Request more information about Terravita here.

SaddleBrookeTucson, AZ

High $100s – High $900s

In SaddleBrooke in the sunny city of Tucson, active adult homebuyers can explore a variety of Arizona homes for sale, including single-family homes and villa townhomes. Homes start in the high $100s and feature expansive great rooms, spa-like master bathrooms, and gourmet kitchens. The community’s rolling terrain means homeowners can often enjoy views of the golf course and nearby mountain ranges.

Request more information about SaddleBrooke here.

2. California

Sunset over Stinson Beach just north of San Francisco, California
California is home to nearly 200 active adult communities, giving homebuyers plenty of options for every price point.

The Golden State is also one of the country’s sunniest places to retire. Many California cities ranked highly on NerdWallet’s list, including Redding, Fresno, and Sacramento.

In Redding, residents enjoy sunshine-soaked days 88 percent of the time. Fresno locals enjoy sunny days 79 percent of the time, and residents in Sacramento see sunshine 78 percent of the time.

While California sometimes gets a bad wrap for having horrendous traffic and high taxes, many of these are misperceptions. If you can rethink common myths about living in California, you can find your ideal retirement destination—and reap the benefits of all that West Coast sunshine. 

Where to Soak Up the Sun in California

California is home to nearly 200 active adult communities, giving homebuyers plenty of options for every price point.

Heritage ParkSacramento, CA

Mid $300s – Low $600s

Want to live in Northern California? Check out a 55+ community such as Heritage Park in Sacramento. Homes in this medium-sized community start in the mid $300s and feature low-maintenance landscaping and a variety of floor plans.

Request more information about Heritage Park here.

Sun City Palm DesertPalm Desert, CA

Low $200s – Low $800s

Prefer to explore 55+ communities in Southern California? An abundance of options awaits, including communities such as Sun City Palm Desert. This age-restricted community features single-family homes, homes with casitas, and attached homes that start in the low $200s. Many residences in Sun City Palm Desert feature golf cart storage along with views of the golf course, greenbelt, or mountains. Many homes have undergone full remodels and feature upgrades such as granite countertops and spa-like bathrooms.

Request more information about Sun City Palm Desert here.

3. Nevada

Sunlight on a rock formation at the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada
With all the sunny days to enjoy, it’s no surprise that retiring in Nevada opens the door to an active outdoor lifestyle.

Nevada is home to plenty of bright lights, but the state is famous for more than the neon lights of Las Vegas—Nevada is also one of the sunniest places to live in the United States. Sin City ranks third on NerdWallet’s list, boasting sunshine 85 percent of the time. Those who live in Reno also enjoy plenty of sunny days, as this city gets sunshine 79 percent of the time.

With all the sunny days to enjoy, it’s no surprise that retiring in Nevada opens the door to an active outdoor lifestyle. Retirees can embark on new adventures that pique their interest, whether they head to the scenic mountains near Lake Tahoe or explore the history of Carson City.

Where to Soak Up the Sun in Nevada

Active adult homebuyers looking for homes for sale in Nevada will find many choices to fit nearly every budget.

Sierra CanyonReno, NV

High $300s – Mid $600s

Homes start in the high $300s in Sierra Canyon, a Del Webb active adult community in Reno. Single-family homes in Sierra Canyon typically feature upgrades such as stainless-steel appliances and granite countertops.

Request more information about Sierra Canyon here.

Silver CanyonLas Vegas, NV

Mid $100s – High $100s

In Las Vegas, active adult homebuyers can explore Nevada homes for sale that start in the mid $100s in Silver Canyon. This community contains 133 condominium units that range from 1,015 to 1,200 square feet and feature covered balconies, granite countertops, and mountain views.

Request more information about Silver Canyon here.

4. Texas

A windmill and picturesque greenery on a ranch in Texas Hill Country
The Lone Star State is home to several sunny destinations.

When it comes to one of the sunniest places to retire, Texas is tops. The Lone Star State is home to several sunny destinations, with El Paso shining bright 84 percent of the time. Other Texas cities that landed on NerdWallet’s ranking include Midland-Odessa at 74 percent, Amarillo at 73 percent, Lubbock at 72 percent, Abilene at 70 percent, Galveston at 62 percent, and Dallas-Fort Worth at 61 percent.

Retirees are drawn to Texas for many reasons, from a low cost of living to world-class health care. Dallas offers plenty of opportunities for a rich and lively retirement, and Houston also gives retirees many options for staying active and engaged.

Where to Soak Up the Sun in Texas

Texas contains dozens of active lifestyle communities, each offering its own distinctive personality and flair.

The Village at Tuscan LakesLeague City, TX

High $200s – Mid $300s

At The Village at Tuscan Lakes in League City, residents can make the most of all the sunshine by heading to nearby Galveston Beach. Single-family homes in this active adult community start in the high $200s and feature 1,109 to 2,581 square feet.

Request more information at The Village at Tuscan Lakes here.

Kissing TreeSan Marcos, TX

Low $300s – Mid $600s

Active adults who want access to unique amenities with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors can explore Kissing Tree. This 55+ community in San Marcos features single-family homes for sale that start in the low $300s. Kissing Tree features many amenities not often found in other active adult communities, including an indoor/outdoor bar, a biergarten, a food truck, and a live-music stage.

Request more information about Kissing Tree here.

5. Florida

Palm trees on a beach in the Key West in South Florida
In addition to pristine beaches, Florida offers some of the world’s finest medical centers and excellent affordability.

There’s a reason Florida has long been called “The Sunshine State.” Florida is one of the sunniest places to live in the country, with Key West boasting sunshine 76 percent of the time. Other sunshine-packed Florida destinations include Apalachicola at 66 percent, Jacksonville at 63 percent, and Pensacola at 60 percent.

Retirees have long flocked to Florida—and for good reason. In addition to pristine beaches, Florida offers some of the world’s finest medical centers and excellent affordability. Floridians don’t pay a state income tax, and those aged 60 and older can enjoy many property tax exemptions.

Where to Soak Up the Sun in Florida

Active adult homebuyers looking for homes for sale in Florida have a wide swath of choices throughout the Sunshine State.

VillageWalk at Lake NonaOrlando, FL

Mid $200s – Low $900s

In VillageWalk at Lake Nona in Orlando, buyers can explore single-family homes, attached villas, and townhomes that start in the mid $200s. Many residences feature views of the canals, lakes, or waterways.

Request more information about VillageWalk at Lake Nona here.

Century Village at Boca RatonBoca Raton, FL

Below $100k – High $200s

If you’ve always dreamed of living in Southeast Florida, you can live the life you imagined while sticking to your budget. The condos in Century Village at Boca Raton start below $100k and feature 601 to 1,563 square feet, one to two bedrooms, one to two bathrooms, and lot parking.

Request more information about Century Village at Boca Raton here.

Aberdeen Golf & Country ClubBoynton Beach, FL

Low $100s – Low $500s

Aberdeen Golf and Country Club offers its residents resort-style amenities and a low-maintenance lifestyle. This community in Boynton Beach has condominiums, coach homes, attached villa homes, and single-family homes that start in the low $100s. 

Request more information about Aberdeen Golf & Country Club here.

6. New Mexico

View down the road of Fajada Butte in Chaco Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico
New Mexico is also an enticing choice for retirees who don’t want to contend with traffic and large crowds.

New Mexico rounds out our list of some of the sunniest places to retire. Albuquerque sees sunshine 76 percent of the time while Roswell boasts sunshine 73 percent of the time, making The Land of Enchantment an ideal retirement destination for sunshine lovers.

Considering that only about two million people reside in New Mexico, the state is also an enticing choice for retirees who don’t want to contend with traffic and large crowds. There’s plenty of wide-open space in New Mexico, which appeals to many active adults who want to escape densely populated locations.

Where to Soak Up the Sun in New Mexico

Active adult homebuyers interested in exploring New Mexico homes for sale will find a variety of options.

Jubilee at Los LunasLos Lunas, NM

Low $200s – Low $400s

In Los Lunas, Jubilee at Los Lunas offers buyers 13 floor plans that range from 1,507 to nearly 3,000 square feet. A picturesque mountain backdrop and the region’s desirable climate make this community a favorite among active adult buyers.

Request more information about Jubilee at Los Lunas here.

Sunrise BluffsBelen, NM

Low $100s – High $100s

Active adults who particularly enjoy RV travel can check out Sunrise Bluffs in Belen. This active adult community offers new and resale single-family homes that start in the low $100s, with many homes including attached RV parking.

Request more information about Sunrise Bluffs here.

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