America's Most Popular Places to Retire
Looking for a town or city where you'll be surrounded by your fellow retirees? Look no further. These 10 places are home to a massive population of folks 51 and older. We created this list by ranking our Best Places to Live database by the places with the largest share of older residents. (Note: To avoid focusing on just one or two areas, we limited this list to three places per state.)
1. Sun City West, Ariz.
|OVER 50: 97%|
This master planned community, located 45 minutes outside of Phoenix, is a prime spot for retirees looking to socialize and pursue their favorite hobbies. Residents can choose from more than 100 chartered clubs, ranging from music to pinochle to golf to woodworking. This retirement meccas is also home to four recreation centers, where you’ll find lawn bowling, ballrooms, billiard tables, and pickleball courts.
2. Green Valley, Ariz.
|OVER 50: 92%|
Another massive Arizona retirement community, Green Valley has a network of 13 recreation facilities and satellite centers. Members enjoy swimming pools, outdoor grilling areas, fitness rooms, tennis courts, shuffleboard, and a long list of additional amenities. Residents looking for other forms of entertainment can travel to theaters and casinos in Tucson, about a 40-minute drive away.
3. Laguna Woods, Calif.
|OVER 50: 91%|
Approximately three square miles in size, Laguna Woods is situated just six miles from Laguna Beach. The SoCal city, which celebrates the 15th anniversary of its incorporation this year, is dominated by residents of Laguna Woods Village, an age-restricted gated community for people 55 and older.
4. Punta Gorda, Fla.
|OVER 50: 74%|
This quiet Gulf Coast city offers warm weather, beaches, and low-key fishing and boating in the Charlotte Harbor. Punta Gorda’s walkable downtown has cobblestone streets lined with shops and restaurants. Despite it’s Florida charm, It’s still possible to find affordable homes here: median home sale price is $175,000, according to Trulia.
5. Iona, Fla.
|OVER 50: 70%|
Iona is popular with retirees thanks to its convenient location and affordable homes. This census-designated place, across the Caloosahatchee River from Cape Coral, is just a quick 20-minute car ride away from Fort Myers Beach and lovely Sannibel Island.
6. Rancho Mirage, Calif.
|OVER 50: 69%|
Set against the backdrop of the Santa Rosa Mountains, Rancho Mirage is a resort city that was a favorite of former U.S. presidents, including Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. The city has five parks, six trails for hiking and biking, and recreation facilities for residents. Rancho Mirage is also popular with vacationers. The city is packed with resorts and luxury hotels; a new Ritz-Carlton opened up there this year.
7. Seal Beach, Calif.
|OVER 50: 60%|
Seal Beach is home one of the country’s first gated active senior communities, as well as a naval weapons station facility. The city offers special services for retirees, including a dial-a-ride transportation program, home-delivered meals, and tax assistance. Older residents can also hang out together at the local senior pinochle club.
8. Fountain Hills, Ariz.
|OVER 50: 58%|
This master-planned community is located about a half hour from Scottsdale and 40 minutes from Phoenix. Fountain Hills, which was originally a cattle ranch, is surrounded by parks and mountains, including the McDowell Mountains to the west. The town’s Desert Vista Park is a popular spot, with an off-leash dog park, and newly renovated landscaping and walking paths.
9. Camano Island, Wash.
|OVER 50: 53%|
Though Camano Island has a large influx of so-called “snowbirds” during the winter months, the island offers year-round attractions for retirees. The Camano Island State Park has beach access, picnic spaces, boat launch areas, and campsites. The island also has many of the amenities you’d expect from a low-key vacation area, like art galleries, country stores, and B&Bs.
10. Bella Vista, Ark.
|OVER 50: 52%|
One of Money’s 2014 Best Places to Retire picks, Bella Vista is located in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. Residents have easy access to seven lakes for boating, fishing, and swimming. Bella Vista is known for its low cost of living, and homes are affordable, with a median price of $102,000.