Known for its mountain ranges and scenic landscapes, Colorado is the perfect place for retirees seeking an active lifestyle. The state is geographically diverse, home to several national parks, forests, and monuments, and offers no shortage of recreational activities for active adults. Residents love the state’s four distinct seasons, the cultural amenities found in major metro areas, and the expanse of preserved natural land.
Climate & Geography
With a wide variety of land, including forests, plains, mountains, and deserts, Colorado has a mix of climates throughout the state. In general, summers are warm, dry, and typically moderated by elevation. Winters are cold and have nearly double the snowfall of the national average. Colorado temperatures can range drastically between morning and night, especially during the summers.
Colorado encompasses the southern Rocky Mountains, the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau, and the western edge of the Great Plains. The western side is mountainous, while the eastern side is mostly farmland, rangeland, and small farming villages. Most of the population lives in the Front Range on the eastern side of the Rockies, in and around Denver.
Recreation, Culture, & Entertainment
One of Colorado’s biggest draws is its abundance of outdoor recreation. The state has four national parks, eight national monuments, 11 national forests, and numerous refuges, wilderness areas, and conservation areas. Hiking, biking trails, and rock climbing are major activities in the state. The Garden of the Gods at the base of Pikes Peak located near Colorado Springs is a natural geological formation and one of the most popular rock-climbing sites in the U.S.
Other popular outdoor activities in Colorado include golfing with scenic mountain views, skiing on dry, fresh powder in the winter, and rafting through the canyons.
Colorado also has plenty of cultural and entertainment options for residents to enjoy. Red Rocks Amphitheater is one of the most famous outdoor venues in the country and hosts concerts and shows in the large geographical formation. The area between Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins is known as the “Napa Valley of beer” because of its density of craft breweries. In addition, the Denver metropolitan area has multiple museums, art galleries, and theaters.
Cost of Living & Taxes
The cost of living in Colorado is higher than the national average, which is mainly because housing is more expensive. Groceries and transportation are just above average as well, but utilities and health care are below.
Though Colorado does tax all forms of retirement income, including Social Security, 401(k)s, IRAs, and pensions, they are eligible for deduction. This deduction is up to $20,000 for retirees aged 55 to 64, and up to $24,000 for those above 65. Similarly, the state offers a homestead exemption for retirees who have lived in their home for 10 years. The average sales tax rate is 7.5 percent, which is fairly high, but groceries and prescription medication are exempt.
Colorado scores highly on Gallup’s Well-Being Index, ranking in the top six states. Its three major metropolitan areas, Boulder, Denver, and Fort Collins, also all rank in the top 15 communities across the country.
There are three hospitals that are nationally ranked by U.S News in the state: UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, and Parker Adventist Hospital in Parker. Porter Adventist Hospital and SCL Health Saint Joseph Hospital in Denver are both rated as high performing, as is Penrose-St Francis Health Services in Colorado Springs.