For many people, retirement is the reward after decades of working and raising a family. After all that anticipation, deciding where to spend that precious time can be a tough decision, so Stacker compiled a list of the best places in the United States to spend those golden years.

Stacker used Niche rankings that utilize a variety of factors such as weather and access to health care. A maximum of 10 places per state were included. You can read more about the Niche methodology here. Warm, sunny weather was the most common denominator among the best places to retire, whether they were communities on the coasts of Florida and California or in the deserts of Arizona. Some locations boast of sunshine hundreds of days each year.

Options for recreation play another big role, especially top-ranked golf courses and clubs for tennis. Other top retirement destinations offer natural attractions, like trails for biking and walking or mountain settings for hiking and bird-watching. Sand and surf are key, with beaches, boardwalks, boating docks, marinas, fishing charters, swimming, and sailing opportunities. Desert sites are popular as well, offering the promise of sunny days, little rain, and striking landscapes.

See below for text version of list:

#100: Bella Vista, Arkansas

- Population: 28,328
- Median home value: $162,900 (87% own)
- Median rent: $973 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $66,094

Bella Vista, Arkansas, is known for its outdoor recreation possibilities. It boasts several lakes, golf courses, and the Back 40, a system of almost 40 miles of trails for biking, hiking, birdwatching, and walking.

#99: Weston Lakes, Texas

- Population: 3,490
- Median home value: $434,800 (99% own)
- Median rent: $1,175 (1% rent)
- Median household income: $162,038

Weston Lakes is a planned, gated community with lakes stocked for fishing and a championship golf course. It is located in rolling hills to the west of Houston.

#98: Hurstbourne, Kentucky

- Population: 4,383
- Median home value: $414,200 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,128 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $116,292

Hurstbourne, Kentucky, was developed from an elegant old estate, and many of its streams, plantings, and historic stone buildings have been preserved. The golf course at the Hurstbourne Country Club is ranked among the best in the country.

#97: Tiburon, California

- Population: 9,151
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (71% own)
- Median rent: $2,315 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $163,865

Scenic Tiburon features Angel Island State Park, an island in San Francisco Bay favored for hiking, biking, and picnicking. The island is easily accessible from Tiburon by ferry, and San Francisco is nearby.

#96: Hot Springs Village, Arkansas

- Population: 14,466
- Median home value: $203,300 (87% own)
- Median rent: $1,130 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $60,995

Hot Springs Village in the Ouachita Mountains is the largest private gated community in the country at more than 26,000 acres. It sports nine golf courses and 11 recreational lakes, and it is close to Hot Springs and Little Rock, Arkansas.

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#95: Centerville, Ohio

- Population: 23,821
- Median home value: $183,000 (71% own)
- Median rent: $886 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $71,221

Centerville, Ohio, features about 30 old stone houses, built from native limestone, that give it a historic feel. For elderly residents, the city offers home maintenance resources and a call-in program to check on residents’ well-being.

#94: Pleasant Ridge, Michigan

- Population: 2,389
- Median home value: $332,900 (96% own)
- Median rent: $1,336 (4% rent)
- Median household income: $116,583

Pleasant Ridge, a mile and a half north of Detroit, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for the classic houses along its wide, tree-lined streets. The community is built on an ancient beach ridge, one of many that are located parallel to the Great Lakes and their channels.

#93: Fairview, Texas

- Population: 8,665
- Median home value: $374,300 (77% own)
- Median rent: $1,308 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $92,159

Fairview is part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. The suburb has low crime, and it is popular with retirees.

#92: Newport Beach, California

- Population: 86,280
- Median home value: $1,787,300 (56% own)
- Median rent: $2,175 (44% rent)
- Median household income: $122,709

Newport Beach encompasses the 21-square-mile harbor of Newport Bay and has 8 miles of ocean beaches. In Orange County south of Los Angeles, it draws people who like boating, fishing, and swimming.

#91: Lakeside City, Texas

- Population: 1,120
- Median home value: $161,700 (94% own)
- Median rent: $850 (6% rent)
- Median household income: $80,417

Lakeside City is located in north central Texas, on the southern shore of Lake Wichita and 15 miles from the Oklahoma border. It has a small-town feel and a low-cost of living, and the lake provides recreational options.

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#90: Beverly Hills, California

- Population: 34,362
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (41% own)
- Median rent: $2,130 (59% rent)
- Median household income: $103,403

Affluent and elegant, Beverly Hills, California, offers top restaurants, spas, and luxury shopping on Rodeo Drive. But with a median home price of more than $3.5 million, it’s out of reach for most retirees.

#89: Greenville, Delaware

- Population: 2,333
- Median home value: $682,000 (49% own)
- Median rent: $1,374 (51% rent)
- Median household income: $108,393

Close to Wilmington, Delaware, and not far from Philadelphia, woodsy Greenville is nestled near the picturesque Brandywine Valley. Former Vice President Joe Biden has made his home there.

#88: Southern Shores, North Carolina

- Population: 2,850
- Median home value: $469,100 (94% own)
- Median rent: $1,781 (6% rent)
- Median household income: $98,977

Southern Shores is situated to the north of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on the Outer Banks. The oceanfront town is residential, with low-density single-family homes and little commercial development.

#87: Flat Rock, North Carolina

- Population: 3,298
- Median home value: $424,800 (89% own)
- Median rent: $1,172 (11% rent)
- Median household income: $72,192

Close to Asheville and closer yet to Hendersonville, North Carolina, Flat Rock is a village with arts and crafts galleries, restaurants, and shops. It dates back to a time when wealthy residents of Charleston, South Carolina, and plantation owners built summer homes in the mountains to escape the summer heat. Located in the village is the state theater of North Carolina’s Flat Rock Playhouse and the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site.

#86: Ocean City, Maryland

- Population: 6,990
- Median home value: $290,900 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,046 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $54,667

Beachfront Ocean City, Maryland, has a year-round population of about 7,000 people and can swell to more than 300,000 on typical summer weekends. It has 11 miles of Atlantic Ocean beaches and a lengthy boardwalk, and it is popular for fishing from the surf, from piers, and from charter boats.

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#85: Biltmore Forest, North Carolina

- Population: 1,536
- Median home value: $866,900 (89% own)
- Median rent: $1,196 (11% rent)
- Median household income: $161,042

The tiny town of Biltmore Forest, North Carolina, in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is less than 3-square-miles and has a population of about 1,300. It is built on land that formerly was part of the Biltmore estate, the majestic home of George and Edith Vanderbilt.

#84: Pantops, Virginia

- Population: 3,569
- Median home value: $318,000 (26% own)
- Median rent: $1,304 (74% rent)
- Median household income: $70,068

Pantops, which sits on land once owned by the family of Thomas Jefferson, is a suburb to the east of Charlottesville, Virginia. Many homes have a view of the Rivanna River or Pantops Mountain. The University of Virginia, which Jefferson founded, is nearby.

#83: The Village, Oklahoma

- Population: 9,385
- Median home value: $129,800 (67% own)
- Median rent: $1,133 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $58,651

The Village is a suburb surrounded almost entirely by Oklahoma City. For retirees, it offers quiet residences within easy reach of city services, business, arts, health care, and transportation. Housing prices and the cost of living are relatively low.

#82: Timonium, Maryland

- Population: 10,140
- Median home value: $369,900 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,327 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $93,489

Timonium is a Baltimore suburb that gets high marks for accessibility to restaurants, shops, and transportation. It is served by a light rail system that carries passengers to downtown Baltimore and to Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. The former Timonium Race Track property is now home to the yearly Maryland State Fair.

#81: Larkspur, California

- Population: 12,375
- Median home value: $1,264,800 (49% own)
- Median rent: $2,053 (51% rent)
- Median household income: $101,754

Marin County’s Larkspur is scenic and historically rich, filled with false-front commercial facades, Victorian homes, a Mission Revival-style City Hall, and the art deco Lark Theater. Larkspur Landing has dining, open-air shopping, and the Golden Gate Ferry terminal for boat travel to San Francisco.

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#80: Carolina Shores, North Carolina

- Population: 3,944
- Median home value: $183,800 (92% own)
- Median rent: $1,412 (8% rent)
- Median household income: $54,844

At the southeastern-most point of North Carolina, Carolina Shores is part of the metropolitan area of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It has a half dozen planned communities, several golf courses, boating on the Intracoastal Waterway, nature trails, deep-sea fishing, and pristine Atlantic Ocean beaches.

#79: Surfside Beach, South Carolina

- Population: 4,312
- Median home value: $270,000 (66% own)
- Median rent: $981 (34% rent)
- Median household income: $53,852

Family-oriented Surfside Beach has made it a point to be inclusive and welcoming, declaring itself an autism-friendly travel destination with specially trained employees at local businesses and specially designed lodging, and providing multiple entry points to beaches that can accommodate wheelchairs. More residential and year-round than other nearby resort towns, Surfside Beach is close to Myrtle Beach and to the Grand Strand, a 60-mile stretch of beaches along the South Carolina coast.

#78: Southport, North Carolina

- Population: 3,585
- Median home value: $259,700 (74% own)
- Median rent: $922 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $53,994

Strikingly beautiful Southport, North Carolina, alongside the Cape Fear River, features historic Victorian homes and live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. It bustles with cafes, boutiques, and antique shops, and it wins praise for its weather, beaches, walkability, and standard of living.

#77: Seal Beach, California

- Population: 24,364
- Median home value: $358,700 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,848 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $67,917

At the northern end of Orange County, Seal Beach, California, has sweeping beaches, picturesque neighborhoods, and one of the state’s longest wooden piers. The saltwater wetlands of the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge provide habitat for thousands of birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway as well as for an array of fish, sea turtles, and butterflies.

#76: Wetherington, Ohio

- Population: 1,283
- Median home value: $432,900 (89% own)
- Median rent: $975 (11% rent)
- Median household income: $104,125

Wetherington is a private, gated community of about 300 single-family homes and a number of condominiums. It has a lively town center, landscaped common areas, pools, tennis courts, a country club with golf, and a walking and biking path more than 3 miles long. It is close to Dayton, Ohio, and to Cincinnati.

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#75: Del Mar, California

- Population: 4,340
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (51% own)
- Median rent: $2,200 (49% rent)
- Median household income: $110,966

Charming Del Mar, 20 miles north of San Diego, was once a getaway oceanside location for Hollywood film stars. It has its Tudor-style buildings, outdoor cafes and the feel of a European village. It also features thoroughbred racing at the Del Mar Racetrack.

#74: North Hills, New York

- Population: 5,639
- Median home value: $981,400 (87% own)
- Median rent: $1,557 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $137,423

North Hills, New York, is an affluent village on Long Island’s north shore. The enclave of former huge estates is less than 3-square-miles, with a population of about 5,000 people. Most of its neighborhoods are gated, with tennis courts, pools, golf courses, and parkland.

#73: Belvedere, California

- Population: 2,098
- Median home value: $2,000,000 (76% own)
- Median rent: $2,635 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $223,182

Tiny Belvedere, less than 1-square-mile in size, in Marin County, is surrounded on three sides by the San Francisco Bay. The population of just over 2,000 people is clustered in three neighborhoods, two of them islands. The hilly community features views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, and Mount Tamalpais. It’s wealthy, with a median income in 2017 of more than $213,000 and the median price of a home at $2 million.

#72: Creve Coeur, Missouri

- Population: 18,445
- Median home value: $399,400 (69% own)
- Median rent: $1,211 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $100,735

Residents say Creve Coeur, a suburb west of St. Louis, is centrally located and friendly, with spacious houses at affordable prices. Creve Coeur Lake, a cut-off meander loop of the Missouri River, has miles of paved bicycle paths, hiking trails, boating, fishing, and picnic shelters.

#71: Del Monte Forest, California

- Population: 4,197
- Median home value: $1,210,400 (83% own)
- Median rent: $2,976 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $138,889

Del Monte Forest is a small beach city on Monterey Bay, south of San Francisco. It is known for its beauty, comfortable climate, and recreation like the top-rated golfing at nearby Pebble Beach. But the cost of living is more than twice the national average.

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#70: Indian Hills, Kentucky

- Population: 2,965
- Median home value: $510,600 (100% own)
- Median rent: data not available (0% rent)
- Median household income: $184,375

Indian Hills, on the shores of the Ohio River, is a comfortable suburb of Louisville, Kentucky, and also about 100 miles from Cincinnati. But for retirees, Kentucky does not offer the best elder services, quality of life, or access to quality health care.

#69: Graymoor-Devondale, Kentucky

- Population: 2,959
- Median home value: $236,500 (72% own)
- Median rent: $852 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $64,792

The Louisville, Kentucky, suburb of Graymoor-Devondale, with a population of about 3,000, has plentiful shops and restaurants and easy access to the Louisville Champions Park on the Ohio River banks. It offers a number of good golfing choices as well.

#68: North Decatur, Georgia

- Population: 17,298
- Median home value: $281,600 (54% own)
- Median rent: $1,151 (46% rent)
- Median household income: $75,953

North Decatur is a suburb of Atlanta near Emory University. It has convenient public transportation to medical care facilities, the more commercial city of Decatur, Georgia, and to midtown Atlanta.

#67: Laguna Woods, California

- Population: 16,228
- Median home value: $278,300 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,695 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $41,928

Laguna Woods, California, sits on what was once a sprawling cattle ranch in Orange County. It features Laguna Woods Village, a gated community for older adults that offers tennis, horseback riding, golf, swimming, performing arts, and a bus transportation system to reach shops, restaurants, churches, and health care facilities.

#66: Surf City, New Jersey

- Population: 1,292
- Median home value: $702,100 (83% own)
- Median rent: $1,215 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $84,167

Surf City is located on New Jersey’s Long Beach Island, an Atlantic Ocean barrier island. It has ocean and bay beaches, a main boulevard of shopping and restaurants, and boating facilities. It is popular with retirees, and nearly half the residents are 65 or older.

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#65: University Gardens, New York

- Population: 4,202
- Median home value: $750,500 (77% own)
- Median rent: $1,552 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $115,536

University Gardens is a community within Great Neck, New York, which has 218 homes and describes itself as having 10 times as many trees. There are plentiful golf courses, recreation choices, and shopping nearby on Long Island’s North Shore, and the theater district and midtown Manhattan are less than 20 miles away.

#64: Westminster, Louisiana

- Population: 2,819
- Median home value: $257,100 (69% own)
- Median rent: $1,194 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $83,074

Westminster, a quiet neighborhood suburb of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is diverse, with a Lebanese population and Japanese speakers. Nearly 1 in 5 residents has French ancestry. Louisiana State and Southern universities are nearby, and seniors and retirees in Westminster tend to be highly educated.

#63: Barton Creek, Texas

- Population: 2,928
- Median home value: $1,181,900 (71% own)
- Median rent: $1,360 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $158,958

Wooded and hilly, upscale Barton Creek features the popular Greenbelt Trail that is nearly 14 miles long, with a waterfall and shoreline along Lady Bird Lake. While nearby Austin, Texas, is brimming with arts, culture, business, and services, Barton Creek’s cost of living is high. The median price of a home is nearly $1.3 million.

#62: Desert Hills, Arizona

- Population: 2,703
- Median home value: $144,900 (82% own)
- Median rent: $727 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $45,365

Desert Hills is a popular retirement location to the north of Phoenix, with large rural lots, horse corrals, and many custom-built homes. With no homeowners association, it does not offer many typical community amenities, but residents say they enjoy the architecture and landscaping options associated with having no governing association.

#61: King, Wisconsin

- Population: 1,804
- Median home value: $116,000 (71% own)
- Median rent: $808 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $67,583

King is located in Wisconsin’s Waupaca region, which features the Crystal River and the spring-fed Chain O’ Lakes. The 22 glacially formed lakes offer an array of boating, swimming, and fishing. Some lakes are reserved for quiet, no-wake activities, while others allow jet skis and powerboating. King’s cost of living is low and housing is affordable, but it draws complaints for harsh winter weather.

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#60: Trent Woods, North Carolina

- Population: 4,081
- Median home value: $227,200 (89% own)
- Median rent: $1,224 (11% rent)
- Median household income: $86,593

On North Carolina’s coast, Trent Woods is a riverfront community, inland from the Atlantic Ocean beaches. It features a natural setting, with views of the Croatan National Forest. There’s fishing, boating, and golfing, and it’s an affordable location.

#59: Village of Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan

- Population: 2,860
- Median home value: $477,600 (92% own)
- Median rent: $1,833 (8% rent)
- Median household income: $150,703

Grosse Pointe Shores is one of five cities that comprise Grosse Pointe, Michigan. On the banks of Lake St. Clair, the Shores has ample recreation, parkland, historic homes, and the opulent Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.

#58: Great Neck Plaza, New York

- Population: 6,957
- Median home value: $354,400 (57% own)
- Median rent: $1,830 (43% rent)
- Median household income: $78,770

The village of Great Neck Plaza is under a square mile, with a picturesque, upscale commercial district. From the village rail station, midtown Manhattan is about an hour away. To the north and east are boating and beaches of the Long Island Sound.

#57: Penn Wynne, Pennsylvania

- Population: 5,758
- Median home value: $366,200 (88% own)
- Median rent: $1,473 (12% rent)
- Median household income: $131,161

Penn Wynne is a small suburb to the west of Philadelphia. Charming and upscale, it has plenty of arts, culture, and educational options. It’s convenient for driving and train travel, and it’s more affordable than several of the neighboring communities.

#56: Great Neck Estates, New York

- Population: 2,841
- Median home value: $1,356,100 (90% own)
- Median rent: $1,884 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $148,939

Great Neck Estates is a village in Long Island’s town of North Hempstead. Its waterfront park on the shores of Little Neck Bay features an Olympic-sized swimming pool, tennis courts, a marina, and boat docks.

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#55: Piermont, New York

- Population: 2,543
- Median home value: $560,300 (68% own)
- Median rent: $1,887 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $117,857

Hilly Piermont, New York, overlooks the Hudson River. Many of the older homes are craftsman cottages and historic Victorians, and newer construction stretches along the waterfront. It has a small, but bustling restaurant scene, and Manhattan is about a 60-minute ride by bus or train.

#54: Carefree, Arizona

- Population: 3,749
- Median home value: $721,500 (78% own)
- Median rent: $1,264 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $97,773

Not far from Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, in the Sonoran Desert is the rural, residential town of Carefree with about 1,900 homes. Marked by eye-catching rock outcroppings, Carefree is higher in elevation than its neighbors and tends to be several degrees cooler. It was named by its founders, two local businessmen who bought the land in 1955 and launched the Carefree Development Corp.

#53: Great Neck Gardens, New York

- Population: 1,183
- Median home value: $941,800 (92% own)
- Median rent: data not available (8% rent)
- Median household income: $218,603

A New York City suburb, affluent Great Neck Gardens is located on Long Island’s north shore. Its cost of living is nearly twice as high as the rest of New York, and the median price of a home is more than $1 million.

#52: Emerald Bay, Texas

- Population: 1,307
- Median home value: $240,900 (98% own)
- Median rent: data not available (2% rent)
- Median household income: $74,470

Emerald Bay is a member-owned golfing community on Lake Palestine, southeast of Dallas and near Tyler, Texas. It has a championship golf course as well as facilities for tennis, fishing, swimming, and boating.

#51: St. Simons, Georgia

- Population: 14,302
- Median home value: $366,100 (75% own)
- Median rent: $1,409 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $85,350

Historic St. Simons, Georgia, is brimming with stately mansions, beaches, and picturesque oak-lined lanes. The area has a number of top golf courses, and the PGA’s RSM Classic tournament is held at the Sea Island Golf Club on St. Simons.

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#50: Town and Country, Missouri

- Population: 11,066
- Median home value: $726,600 (86% own)
- Median rent: $1,114 (14% rent)
- Median household income: $178,000

Town and Country, an upscale suburb of St. Louis, is popular with retirees. It is quiet, with large residential properties, wooded pathways, and parkland, yet it is conveniently located near the Midwestern hub city.

#49: Pinehurst, North Carolina

- Population: 15,821
- Median home value: $297,100 (85% own)
- Median rent: $1,547 (15% rent)
- Median household income: $80,128

The village of Pinehurst, home to the renowned Pinehurst golf course, is modeled as a community of cottages, hotels, and boarding houses offering respite in the region’s lush pine forests. Quiet and safe, it is about 50 miles from Charlotte, North Carolina, and less than 75 miles from Raleigh, North Carolina. Its historic golf club has hosted more championships than any other in the nation, and it is the planned site of the U.S. Open in 2024.

#48: Ocean View, Delaware

- Population: 2,198
- Median home value: $336,100 (87% own)
- Median rent: $1,346 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $76,734

Just a mile west of the Atlantic Ocean, Ocean View, Delaware, with fewer than 2,000 year-round residents is a popular retirement destination. It has easy access to outdoor recreation from surf fishing to sailing.

#47: St. James, North Carolina

- Population: 5,133
- Median home value: $449,400 (96% own)
- Median rent: $1,711 (4% rent)
- Median household income: $101,563

St. James, incorporated in 1999, is located in the coastal wetlands of North Carolina, some 30 miles south of Wilmington, North Carolina, with a sizable population of retirees. It has several golf courses, tennis courts, and pools as well as a beach club and marina. Not far away are the Oak Island Nature Center and Lighthouse.

#46: Orange Beach, Alabama

- Population: 5,927
- Median home value: $295,500 (69% own)
- Median rent: $1,103 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $81,506

Fans of Orange Beach, Alabama, say it offers the same wide sandy beaches, outdoor activities, and waterfront dining as its Gulf of Mexico neighbors in Florida, but at more affordable prices. Orange Beach has more than 8 miles of beaches and more than 25 miles of trails for biking and walking, as well as state parks, fishing piers, and boat-chartering choices.

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#45: Holly Hills, Colorado

- Population: 2,909
- Median home value: $426,500 (93% own)
- Median rent: $2,634 (7% rent)
- Median household income: $136,176

Close to downtown Denver, Holly Hills, Colorado, is affluent, with mostly older and many large homes. Passing through it is the High Line Canal, a 71-mile greenway trail that is one of the nation’s longest linear parks. Holly Hills also is part of the area’s convenient light rail system.

#44: Indian Wells, California

- Population: 5,317
- Median home value: $706,800 (85% own)
- Median rent: $861 (15% rent)
- Median household income: $104,522

Luxurious Indian Wells, in California’s Santa Rosa Mountains, is just a few minutes’ drive from Palm Springs, California. It was popular with Hollywood stars in the ’50s and ’60s, and today its palm tree-lined streets are filled with spas, top dining, and shops. Indian Wells hosts the annual BNP Paribas Open professional tennis tournament. The cost of living is high, especially for housing.

#43: Roslyn, New York

- Population: 2,852
- Median home value: $396,200 (70% own)
- Median rent: $2,524 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $105,000

The picturesque village of Roslyn, New York, is less than one-square-mile, with historic commercial buildings and homes, an early 18th-century Dutch-style grist mill, and a downtown duck pond and park. It is an easy trip to midtown Manhattan, about 22 miles away.

 

 

#42: Isle of Palms, South Carolina

- Population: 4,345
- Median home value: $814,400 (84% own)
- Median rent: $1,976 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $112,287

The barrier island community of Isle of Palms is just north of Charleston, South Carolina, with miles of sandy beaches as well as plentiful spas, golf courses, and the Wild Dunes Resort with private homes and condominiums. Isle of Palms is a nesting site for female loggerhead turtles that build nests and lay eggs between May and August.

 

#41: Woodbury, New York

- Population: 8,603
- Median home value: $840,000 (87% own)
- Median rent: $2,631 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $168,605

Suburban Woodbury, on New York’s Long Island, has a sizable retired population. It has green parkland, single-family homes, and condominium complexes for seniors. New York City by train is less than an hour away.

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#40: Manhasset, New York

- Population: 8,138
- Median home value: $1,057,500 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,426 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $133,456

The small town of Manhasset, New York, sports a “Miracle Mile” of luxury shops and upscale restaurants. Nearby are Long Island’s beaches and waterways, and New York City is just about 20 miles away.

#39: Palm Valley, Texas

- Population: 1,706
- Median home value: $169,500 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,114 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $72,500

Palm Valley, Texas, sits in the lower Rio Grande Valley, just north of the Mexico border. It has easy access to golf at the Harlingen Country Club, birding and nature preserves, and salt-water fishing at nearby South Padre Island. The cost of living is low, and housing is especially affordable.

#38: Parole, Maryland

- Population: 16,232
- Median home value: $437,900 (66% own)
- Median rent: $1,852 (34% rent)
- Median household income: $100,367

Parole is a historic locale in eastern Maryland. At the time of the Civil War, camps located here exchanged captured soldiers under a parole system. It is adjacent to historic Annapolis, Maryland, on the scenic Chesapeake Bay.

#37: Sun Lakes, Arizona

- Population: 14,582
- Median home value: $264,200 (91% own)
- Median rent: $1,390 (9% rent)
- Median household income: $58,894

Sun Lakes, Arizona, is a planned adult community of five country club-style neighborhoods, each with a golf course, close to downtown Phoenix and to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. It has restaurants, fitness centers, swimming pools, tennis courts, fishing lakes, and miles of trails for walking and biking.

#36: Oro Valley, Arizona

- Population: 43,815
- Median home value: $297,500 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,191 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $76,484

Outdoor activities abound in Oro Valley, located north of Tucson, Arizona, between the Tortolita and Santa Catalina mountains. Miles of trails allow for biking, birding, hiking, and horseback riding, and the town is filled with galleries and studios. Oro Valley has more than 150 works of sculpture and other large public art installations on display, thanks to a mandate that began in 1997 requiring commercial developers set aside 1% of a project’s budget to create public art.

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#35: Chevy Chase, Maryland

- Population: 9,611
- Median home value: $916,700 (78% own)
- Median rent: $2,242 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $180,917

As a suburb of Washington D.C., Chevy Chase, Maryland, offers easy access to the capital region’s arts, culture, shopping, and plentiful medical care facilities. The city is popular with retirees, and more than 40% of its population are senior citizens, but taxes are high.

#34: Garrett Park, Maryland

- Population: 1,010
- Median home value: $812,000 (90% own)
- Median rent: $1,646 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $179,306

Garrett Park, Maryland, was designed to resemble an English village with tree-lined streets, and the town itself is a designated and protected arboretum of trees, shrubs, plants, and gardens. Garrett Park hosts architectural tours to show off its diverse array of homes—Victorians; Colonials; stone cottages; Sears’ Modern Home catalog houses; Swiss-style chalets; and tiny Chevy houses, sold in the 1920s along with a new car parked in the driveway.

#33: Bingham Farms, Michigan

- Population: 1,101
- Median home value: $395,400 (87% own)
- Median rent: $1,042 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $118,571

Picturesque Bingham Farms is a village on the banks of the winding Franklin Branch of the Rouge River. It is just 1.25-square-miles, with wildlife and wooded ravines. The village is about halfway between Detroit and Pontiac, Michigan.

#32: Shenandoah, Texas

- Population: 2,817
- Median home value: $247,200 (57% own)
- Median rent: $1,085 (43% rent)
- Median household income: $78,643

Shenandoah, Texas, is a small town north of Houston, with dozens of restaurants, shops, and miles of trails for hiking or riding in its pine- and oak-forested parkland. Its sports venues regularly host major college football, swimming, and diving championships.

#31: Olmos Park, Texas

- Population: 1,999
- Median home value: $714,800 (76% own)
- Median rent: $805 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $167,667

Olmos Park is an affluent enclave of about 800 homes, surrounded entirely by the city of San Antonio, with impressive estates dating to the 1920s. Much of it is green and shaded by a canopy of old oak trees. Although Olmos Park is only about three-fifths of a square mile, it operates its own police, fire, and environmental services departments.

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#30: Sunset Beach, North Carolina

- Population: 3,826
- Median home value: $273,200 (83% own)
- Median rent: $1,081 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $56,086

The town of Sunset Beach is set on a barrier island and on the mainland of southeastern North Carolina along the Intracoastal Waterway. Its historic pontoon swing bridge was replaced in 2010 by a steel span. From a small beginning in the late 1950s, Sunset Beach has grown, with some 3,400 year-round residents, three golf courses, preserved marshland and dunes, a protection program for nesting loggerhead sea turtles, and lush birding trails.

#29: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

- Population: 39,820
- Median home value: $469,300 (78% own)
- Median rent: $1,211 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $73,972

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, consists mostly of gated communities, which it calls plantations, some of which are private and residential for year-round living and others that feature resorts and golf courses for visitors. The wealthy island offers deep-water boat docks, fishing, tennis, and boardwalks in a setting of live oaks and palmetto palm trees, lagoons, and beaches. It has a high population of retirees, but its drawbacks for seniors include a lack of doctor’s offices and expensive housing.

#28: Sun City, Arizona

- Population: 39,348
- Median home value: $145,800 (82% own)
- Median rent: $1,067 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $38,899

Arizona’s Sun City was the first planned recreation and residential community for older adults. It opened with five model homes in 1960 and was quickly successful, tapping into the novel idea that seniors wanted to enjoy active retirement. Sun City is designed to be self-contained so that residents need not leave, and it has top-ranked health care facilities.

#27: Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina

- Population: 1,368
- Median home value: $372,300 (89% own)
- Median rent: $1,145 (11% rent)
- Median household income: $73,958

Facing Bogue Sound, the barrier island side of Pine Knoll Shores is quieter and more secluded than neighboring towns on North Carolina’s Inner Banks. The region has beaches and beauty that rival the better known Outer Banks further north and access to culture, commerce, and services in Morehead City and Beaufort, North Carolina. One of the state’s three public aquariums is located in Pine Knoll Shores.

 

#26: Murrells Inlet, South Carolina

- Population: 9,396
- Median home value: $250,600 (82% own)
- Median rent: $1,143 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $55,735

Murrell’s Inlet was a historic fishing village and a summer retreat for South Carolina’s wealthy rice plantation owners. Today the community champions its environment and natural gems with features like the Wacca Wache freshwater marina amid the cypress and oak trees along the Waccamaw River and the MarshWalk, a boardwalk through a wildlife-filled salt marsh.

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#25: Paradise Valley, Arizona

- Population: 14,215
- Median home value: $1,505,300 (93% own)
- Median rent: $1,862 (7% rent)
- Median household income: $204,145

Paradise Valley, with a population of about 13,000, is residential but has nine resorts, three golf courses, and four medical centers. Development in the area started largely after World War II, and Paradise Valley was incorporated in 1961 to protect against commercial expansion from nearby Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, with the stated goals of staying residential with minimal government regulation and zoning of no more than one house per one acre. It boasts 294 sunny days on average and about 7 inches of rain each year.

#24: Hollywood Park, Texas

- Population: 3,342
- Median home value: $326,200 (82% own)
- Median rent: $3,303 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $112,083

Hollywood Park is a largely residential enclave in the San Antonio metropolitan area, with plentiful trees and large home lots. It has shopping and restaurants of its own and is 15 miles from San Antonio’s downtown amenities.

#23: Catalina Foothills, Arizona

- Population: 50,426
- Median home value: $426,400 (73% own)
- Median rent: $1,025 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $85,059

The Catalina Foothills, with about 54,000 residents, is located in the stunning Sonoran Desert north of Tucson, Arizona. It is known for its art galleries and golf courses as well as its sunsets, outdoor recreation, and the scenic Santa Catalina Mountains. It is popular with retirees, and more than half the population is 50 or older.

#22: South Kensington, Maryland

- Population: 8,769
- Median home value: $736,300 (90% own)
- Median rent: $2,164 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $181,941

South Kensington gets high marks for low crime, lots of parks and outdoor activities, stores, and coffee shops—all options that retirees might value. It’s convenient to Washington D.C. via Maryland Area Regional Commuter trains and the Metro rapid transit system.

#21: Bethany Beach, Delaware

- Population: 1,006
- Median home value: $509,400 (97% own)
- Median rent: $1,211 (3% rent)
- Median household income: $79,904

Bethany Beach, Delaware, is big on recreation and the outdoors. Boating, parasailing, fishing, clamming, crabbing, and swimming all are popular pastimes in the beachfront community. The town shows movies on the beach and has a trolley service, nature center, and a farmers market reserved for vendors who produce or grow their own goods.

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#20: Fountain Hills, Arizona

- Population: 24,490
- Median home value: $404,800 (79% own)
- Median rent: $1,233 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $81,537

Fountain Hills, Arizona, is a good spot for nature- and art-loving retirees. It has a local chamber music ensemble, community chorus, and a large public art collection with opportunities to become a docent and to lead tours. Fountain Hills is a designated International Dark Sky Community, with an astronomy club that throws regular star parties, and the local library loans out telescopes. Also, the MLB Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks hold their spring training nearby.

#19: Sun City West, Arizona

- Population: 25,444
- Median home value: $201,900 (88% own)
- Median rent: $1,243 (12% rent)
- Median household income: $47,739

Along with having seven golf courses, Sun City West, Arizona, which opened in 1978, has a 30-lane bowling center, five swimming pools, and more than 100 clubs dedicated to sports, arts, hobbies, and creative interests. The adult community is home to almost 30,000 residents.

#18: West Lake Hills, Texas

- Population: 3,314
- Median home value: $979,200 (79% own)
- Median rent: $1,445 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $165,375

West Lake Hills, about 4-square-miles in size with a population of about 3,000, is an affluent suburb of expansive homes, winding roads, and hills about 6 miles from downtown Austin, Texas. The median price of a home is about $1 million, more than five times the mean price nationwide.

#17: Dutch Island, Georgia

- Population: 1,013
- Median home value: $503,000 (100% own)
- Median rent: data not available (0% rent)
- Median household income: $123,281

The tiny Dutch Island gated community, just about 500 acres, sits on the Intracoastal Waterway near Savannah, Georgia. It has lagoons and ponds, a deep-water dock, and tennis courts. Many of its homes have private pools and docks.

#16: Windy Hills, Kentucky

- Population: 2,297
- Median home value: $257,600 (97% own)
- Median rent: $1,542 (3% rent)
- Median household income: $94,145

Windy Hills boasts picturesque historic houses dating to the late 1700s, built by pioneers from Virginia and Pennsylvania. The town is largely residential, pleasant for walking, and less than 10 miles from downtown Louisville, Kentucky.

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#15: Garden City, South Carolina

- Population: 10,070
- Median home value: $140,200 (77% own)
- Median rent: $975 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $43,920

A few miles south of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is Garden City, popular for boating, crabbing and fishing. It’s built on a peninsula between tidal marshes and the Atlantic Ocean and has about 5 miles of beaches.

#14: Leland Grove, Illinois

- Population: 1,457
- Median home value: $222,300 (96% own)
- Median rent: $950 (4% rent)
- Median household income: $108,750

Many of Leland Grove’s 1,500 residents are artists, designers, and members of the media, giving the small city a creative character. The cost of living and the price of housing are reasonably low in the Springfield, Illinois, suburb.

 

#13: Green Valley, Arizona

- Population: 21,723
- Median home value: $167,800 (81% own)
- Median rent: $978 (19% rent)
- Median household income: $49,731

Green Valley is a retirement community consisting of more than 100 homeowner associations, distinct in their appearance, character, and neighborhoods. About 23,000 people are year-round residents. It’s located in the majestic Sonoran Desert, midway between Tucson, Arizona, and Nogales, Mexico.

#12: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

- Population: 1,281
- Median home value: $926,200 (75% own)
- Median rent: $1,290 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $97,750

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, is popular for its boardwalk, its restaurants, its fishing boat marina, and its breathtaking beachfront homes. It has a lively and highly rated restaurant scene as well. But it can get very crowded with summer visitors.

#11: Siesta Key, Florida

- Population: 5,667
- Median home value: $682,900 (84% own)
- Median rent: $1,486 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $93,083

The 8-mile island of Siesta Key on the Gulf of Mexico coast near Sarasota, Florida, is known for its sandy beaches and turquoise water. Housing is expensive—nearly three times the price of an average home in Florida.

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#10: Jensen Beach, Florida

- Population: 13,477
- Median home value: $212,300 (75% own)
- Median rent: $1,014 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $53,920

On the Indian River along Florida’s Atlantic coast, Jensen Beach has a charming downtown with a weekly street fair and Caribbean- and Key West-style restaurants. Many homes are cottages with front porches and picket fences.

#9: Highland Beach, Florida

- Population: 3,858
- Median home value: $592,800 (85% own)
- Median rent: $2,292 (15% rent)
- Median household income: $105,929

Just 1.1-square-miles, the town of Highland Beach, is sandwiched between Delray Beach, Florida, to the north and Boca Raton, Florida, to the south. It is residential, with a year-round population of about 4,000 that more than doubles in size during the winter. Four out of five residents are retirees.

#8: Cypress Lake, Florida

- Population: 13,120
- Median home value: $150,200 (68% own)
- Median rent: $1,162 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $48,408

Cypress Lake is a suburb of Fort Myers, Florida, that features a low cost of living compared to much of coastal Florida. Nearly all the homes are neither new nor old, but late 20th-century, between 20 and 50 years old. The suburb is home to the highly regarded Cypress Lake Golf Club.

#7: North River Shores, Florida

- Population: 3,663
- Median home value: $203,400 (78% own)
- Median rent: $1,221 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $52,729

North River Shores, Florida, is conveniently close to shopping, churches, and health care facilities as well as to Atlantic Ocean barrier islands and beaches. It’s located on the St. Lucie River, with boating access to the Atlantic Ocean and the Okeechobee Waterway, a 154-mile canal that crosses Florida through the Everglades to the Gulf of Mexico at Fort Myers.

#6: Whiskey Creek, Florida

- Population: 5,030
- Median home value: $222,700 (90% own)
- Median rent: $1,170 (10% rent)
- Median household income: $73,810

Whiskey Creek, a community in Fort Myers, has condominiums reserved for adults over 55 and is overseen by a homeowners association. Some homes have boating access to the Gulf of Mexico by way of the Caloosahatchee River.

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#5: Ridge Wood Heights, Florida

- Population: 4,140
- Median home value: $188,200 (68% own)
- Median rent: $999 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $53,235

Suburban Ridge Wood Heights, with a population of fewer than 4,000 people, is near Sarasota, Florida’s popular beaches and mangrove forests as well as its shopping and dining. It has dozens of golf courses nearby.

#4: South Palm Beach, Florida

- Population: 1,347
- Median home value: $251,400 (79% own)
- Median rent: $1,560 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $54,756

South Palm Beach sits on a barrier island, with the Intracoastal Waterway on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. About 3,000 people live in the residential community that is just over one-half of a mile long. The cost of living, on average, is higher than in the rest of Florida, especially for housing and transportation.

#3: Lake Success, New York

- Population: 3,102
- Median home value: $1,192,800 (98% own)
- Median rent: $3,501 (2% rent)
- Median household income: $190,500

Lake Success, an incorporated village in the town of North Hempstead, New York, is less than 20 miles from midtown Manhattan. Within its 2-square-miles are 43 acres of lakes. Its Village Club of Lake Success golf course is located on the site of a private Vanderbilt family golf club.

#2: Hillsboro Beach, Florida

- Population: 1,631
- Median home value: $389,700 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,821 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $68,050

Upscale Hillsboro Beach is on a barrier island, sometimes called Millionaire’s Mile, that is about 900 feet across at its widest section. Its waterfront homes face either the Intracoastal Waterway or the Atlantic Ocean. About 20 miles to the south is Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

#1: Pelican Bay, Florida

- Population: 5,844
- Median home value: $912,300 (95% own)
- Median rent: $1,529 (5% rent)
- Median household income: $127,571

Luxurious Pelican Bay, Florida, sits on about 3-square-miles, surrounded by beaches and parkland. It has about 6,500 homes and a host of activities such as sailing, tennis, and kayaking. Its beaches can be reached only by boardwalk or Pelican Bay’s tram system.

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