A sunset over West Texas scrubland

If you're seeking a Texas retirement, you may want to look beyond the major metropolitan areas and consider West Texas.

Many active adults researching the best places to retire in Texas look to big cities such as Dallas, Austin, or Houston. However, it pays to look beyond the major metropolitan areas and expand your search to the wide-open spaces of West Texas. The Big Bend Region boasts vast desert skies, rugged plateaus, and the only mountains in the Lone Star State.

West Texas is home to El Paso, which is the country’s 22nd largest city and one of the nation’s safest cities, according to SafeWise. El Paso straddles the U.S.-Mexico border, making it easy to take a day trip into Mexico. West Texas also contains several smaller cities and towns, each with its own unique charm and standout culture. When you want to take a road trip to San Antonio, the drive is doable in a day, with Alamo City about eight hours away.

If you’re thinking about retiring in Texas, here's more about where and why to retire in West Texas.

An Affordable Cost of Living

Texas offers many affordable places to live, especially for active adults who want to live in the suburbs of large cities. However, you can also find affordable Texas homes for sale by looking a little farther out. According to Compare.com, El Paso and other West Texas towns provide some of the cheapest places to live in Texas. The cost of living in El Paso is about 81 percent of the U.S. average, so your retirement budget can stretch much further here. 

Odessa, a modern city with a cowboy spirit, also stands out as an inexpensive retirement destination. In fact, the city ranks as the best affordable place to live in Texas, according to Livability.

An Intriguing Oasis

Located in the high desert between Big Bend National Park and the Davis Mountains lies Marfa, a magical West Texas town of about 2,000 people. Famous for its Marfa Mystery Lights, this Texas destination is home to interesting museums, stylish boutiques, and even a fully stocked Prada store right in the middle of the desert.

But rather than providing a luxury shopping experience, this store is an architectural art project. The building, made from a biodegradable adobe-like substance, is designed to slowly melt back into the earth. Marfa’s unique appeal draws people from all over the world—including big-name celebrities.

Plenty of Natural Beauty

For nature lovers, West Texas offers some of the state’s most spectacular scenery. The sun seems to shine a little brighter here, and you can enjoy majestic sunrises and sunsets from one of two national parks: Big Bend National Park or Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Big Bend National Park spans more than 800,000 acres of mountains, deserts, and rivers, offering challenging climbs for active adults who enjoy hiking or mountain biking. Guadalupe National Park also offers a fun hiking experience, containing more than 80 miles of trails that span from easy nature walks to strenuous all-day hikes. Birdwatchers can also enjoy their favorite pastime at Guadalupe National Park. More than 300 species of birds either nest in the park or migrate through it, making it haven for those who want to observe a great diversity of birds.

A Vibrant Music Scene

Austin may get the spotlight when it comes to live music, but West Texas is home to plenty of exciting music venues and events. Country-music fans can get their boots tappin’ at Crude Fest, one of West Texas’ premier music festivals. Each year, the event draws fans from all over the state and nation to hear some of the biggest names in Texas red dirt country music.

In El Paso, active adults can catch a variety of bands and artists in places such as The District Pub and Kitchen, a popular venue that showcases great pub food and hot local bands, or the Lowbrow Palace, a live-music venue in the heart of downtown.

Where to Hang Your Hat

Active adults who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city living can explore many options in West Texas. This region is ideal for a ranch-style retirement, whether you want 20 acres or 100 acres. By living in the country, you can surround yourself in all the natural splendor of West Texas while still enjoying access to city amenities and entertainment options in places such as El Paso and Odessa.

Want to explore other parts of The Lone Star State? Check out a variety of homes for sale in Texas.