Retirement should be a time of rest, relaxation and enjoyment. The commutes have been driven, the projects completed and the checks cashed. It's time for a new adventure to begin.
Retirement provides the opportunity to move to a new area or begin traveling. Regardless of your parents' reasons for retiring, they will likely have more time and freedom on their hands. They should consider their retirement goals and objectives to choose an area that suits their needs.
There are many factors to consider when moving to a new location. Does the area have a high quality of life and low housing costs? Will it be an accessible travel destination when family comes to visit? What's the environment like, and are there any appealing activities?
Keep reading to discover seven unique cities that are great for retirement.
1. Fort Myers, Florida
Fort Myers is a charming midsized town in southwest Florida. The Caloosahatchee River runs through the city and into the Gulf of Mexico. There's a variety of relaxing activities, including extensive dining and shops.
It's a popular retirement area with an older population, which offers a sense of community and a calm atmosphere. The weather is warm year-round, allowing residents to enjoy outdoor activities like fishing, boating, golfing or resting at the beach.
2. Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota is home to beautiful award-winning beaches and a flourishing art scene. This town is only about an hour away from Tampa and two hours from Orlando, which means trips to the airport are a breeze. This growing metropolitan city offers shops and restaurants to keep tourists, families and retirees busy.
It also has extensive outdoor opportunities like nearby parks and golf courses. Like most places in Florida, the temperature is above the national average, so your parents can enjoy fresh produce and warm weather all year. Sarasota is an affordable option for anyone looking to retire by the beach.
3. Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Lancaster offers the best of city and county living. Scenic farmland is a short drive away from downtown entertainment, and the Susquehanna River provides outdoor recreation and beauty throughout the year. Pennsylvania experiences all four seasons, which means your parents can enjoy a range of weather and temperatures in their new home.
Living expenses in Lancaster generally follow the national average, but the exceptional health care makes this city stand out. It scored a 9.3 out of 10 on the Healthcare Quality Index, and it provides convenient resources. It's less than two hours away from cities like Baltimore and Philadelphia, allowing residents to enjoy big-city perks without the outrageous prices.
4. Asheville, North Carolina
If your parents want to experience retirement surrounded by stunning views and a hip vibe, Asheville is ideal.
The Pisgah and Nantahala national forests surround the mountain town, which sits along the Blue Ridge Parkway near the Great Smoky Mountain region in western North Carolina. Outdoor enthusiasts will love hiking, biking and exploring the natural vistas. If your parents love fly fishing, they can enjoy guided expeditions.
The downtown offers plenty of shops and handcrafted wares. You will frequently see buskers playing in the street in this trendy city. Other noteworthy activities include touring the Biltmore Estate and discovering the buzzworthy food scene. In many ways, this down-to-earth place is the full-package for retirees.
5. Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is famous for its music scene and is the perfect retirement home for anyone with an appreciation for country tunes. It's renowned for the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium, where you can go to see live performances.
Additionally, this state capital is also considered a massive college town. Some people may think this a downside, but for others, it will keep them feeling fresh and young. Your parents can easily catch local professional sports teams like the Titans or Predator if that's their passion.
Nashville has an international airport, which makes traveling during retirement easy.
6. Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids is just east of Lake Michigan — you can be at the water's edge in less than an hour by car. This city is known for its art scene and has multiple museums. Once a year, it becomes a living art gallery drawing crowds from around the world.
Grand Rapids has something for everyone, with shopping malls, historic sites, golfing and beach fun. The city is also known for its craft breweries and culinary scene. In addition, this friendly region has a substantial LGBT community and hosts an annual pride event.
7. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
As they say, everything's bigger in Texas — including the job opportunities in Dallas-Fort Worth. Maybe you're wondering why job opportunities should be a factor in retirement. The reason is twofold. If you want to live near your folks, this area offers terrific opportunities and affordable housing costs. Also, 55% of employees plan to work during retirement, so business growth may be a factor when choosing a new home.
This area is considered a metroplex that encompasses numerous counties. Located in the north of Texas, it's roughly a three-hour drive to Austin or Oklahoma City. The city offers a mix of cowboy and metropolitan vibes and has a growing young professional population. However, it's still ideal for retirement because of the friendly atmosphere and nonexistent income tax.
This is the beginning of an incredible new chapter in your parents' lives. Start right by analyzing financial factors before helping them choose a new place to call home. Make a list of the cities that stood out to them and what characteristics were the best.
Remember, the world is your oyster, and nothing is stopping you or your parents from exploring it.