Moving Into Retirement
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20 Underrated Places to Retire in the U.S.

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Moving Into Retirement
adamkaz / E+ / Getty Images CC

Moving Into Retirement

As retirement nears, many people make lists of possible places to spend their golden years. Some even look outside the country to take advantage of the currency exchange and other benefits, although that presents challenges. These U.S. locales have gotten buzz on retirement-focused blogs and forum postings but little attention as top destinations for retirees. Cheapism compared indicators such as cost of living, median home prices, and health care costs and availability in these places against the national averages, as reported by Sperling's Best Places, to come up with destinations that deserve a closer look.

Related: The Most Luxurious Retirement Communities in America

Sequim, Washington
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Sequim, Washington

An outlier in the Pacific Northwest, Sequim (pronounced "skwim") does not receive the same torrential amounts of rain as the rest of the state. The town is small and relatively isolated, although big-box stores are moving into the area. Sequim has a large community of retirees, and residents can drive two hours to Seattle for cultural events such as ballet or theater. Major medical facilities are 25 minutes away in Port Angeles.

Uptown district
Uptown district by Indy beetle (CC BY-SA)

Greenville, North Carolina

Greenville and surrounding Pitt County offer a friendly and inexpensive landing spot for retirees. East Carolina University students give the city a lively college-town feel, and the downtown area is a charming cultural center with restaurants, retail shops, and events. The local Vidant Medical Center is one of the largest hospitals in the state. Due to its health care facilities, offices, and clinics, the west side of town is known as the Medical District.

Merritt Island, Florida
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Merritt Island, Florida

Warm weather and favorable tax laws make Florida a go-to state for retirement. For wildlife lovers, Merritt Island (actually a peninsula) may be an ideal location. The cost of living and median home price are above the national averages, but the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, public parks, and surrounding waters provide plenty of value for the money. Space enthusiasts will thrill to Cape Canaveral, right across the Banana River.

Related: 25 Places in America With the Most Seniors

Arlington, Texas
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Arlington, Texas

With both a football and a baseball stadium, Arlington offers many opportunities to catch a game. On off days, residents can enjoy the local parks and sunny weather. The cost of living is just slightly higher than average, with a median home price of $204,600. Dallas and Fort Worth can be reached in less than 30 minutes, and the nearby international airport provides easy access to the rest of the world.

Sherman or Denison, Texas
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Sherman or Denison, Texas

North of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Sherman and Denison are small towns with a cost of living about 20% lower than the national average and a median home price between $115,000 and $125,000. Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is nearby, as is Lake Texoma, and the Texoma Medical Center sits between the two cities.

Huntsville, Alabama
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Huntsville, Alabama

Thanks to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the Redstone Arsenal military base, Huntsville has earned the nickname Rocket City. It bests the national averages for cost of living, housing price, and physicians per capita. There are four universities in the area, the largest being the University of Alabama in Huntsville. In addition to museums, golf courses, and parks, the city has a symphony, a ballet company, several theaters, a performing arts center, and a gaggle of local breweries.

Corpus Christi, Texas
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Corpus Christi, Texas

A below-average cost of living, a median home price of $146,200, and warm weather make Corpus Christi an attractive retirement choice. Boating, golfing, and exploring the museum district are favorite activities. The city is also a popular spring break destination, which might be bothersome, but fortunately the beaches are peaceful the rest of the year.

Related: 20 Secrets to Help Retirees Save Money

Salt Springs, Marion County, FL
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Marion County, Florida

Central Florida's Marion County is home to some notable senior communities, including Lake Weir Living, which welcomes RVs, classic cars, and boats (and gearheads in general) alongside its stock of permanent housing. Homes in this community clock in both below and above the national median of nearly $275,000, but there are homes in the surrounding area that are much cheaper, and the cost of living in the county seat of Ocala is more than 15% below the national average.  

Ogden, Utah
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Ogden, Utah

Ogden is not as well-known as some other cities in Utah but offers plenty of culture and is comparatively less expensive. Ogden is a good fit for seniors who want to live an active lifestyle and don't mind chilly winters. The nearby mountains host skiers in the winter and hikers in the summer, and local rivers are made for kayaking and canoeing. Enjoy golf at one of the many courses in the area, or check out bowling, indoor sky diving, a climbing wall, and more inside the 125,000-square-foot Salomon Center.

Florissant City Hall
Florissant City Hall by Paul Sableman (CC BY)

Florissant, Missouri

As a small town in the heart of America, this suburb north of St. Louis may fly under the radar as a retirement destination, but downtown Florissant has been undergoing a welcome renaissance. The cost of living is nearly 20% below the national average, and the median home price is $107,700, well below the national average of nearly $275,000.

Related: 13 of the Biggest Retirement Regrets Among Seniors

New Orleans, Louisiana
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New Orleans, Louisiana

Better known for its music and bar scene than as a retirement destination, New Orleans still may be a great fit for some retirees. The average cost of living and median home price are below the national average, and there are around 60% more physicians per capita than the national average. Of course, good food and entertainment are plentiful.

Reno Nevada
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Reno, Nevada

The "Biggest Little City in the World" attracts retirees with the state's lack of income and inheritance taxes, helping balance out a cost of living and median home price above the national averages. The number of physicians per capita is above average, and there are multiple medical centers in the area. Although Reno is known for its casinos, there are also many festivals throughout the year and outdoor attractions in the Tahoe National Forest and on Mount Rose.

Redding, California
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Redding, California

In north-central California, Redding is in the valley just south of Shasta County. Nature lovers will enjoy nearby Mount Shasta, rivers, and lakes, and there are many local attractions and events within the city itself. Although the cost of living and median home price are higher than the national averages, there are three hospitals and an active senior community.

Related: 18 Things You Should Do If You Want to Retire Early

Warren, Michigan
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Warren, Michigan

For retirees who don't mind some snowy weather, this town of around 135,000 residents north of the Detroit metroplex  has a cost of living below the national average and a median home price of around $140,000 — about half that of the national average. Nearby Lake St. Clair offers year-round recreation activities, including a three-mile hike/bike trail, fishing, ice skating, and cross-country ski trails. 

Omaha, Nebraska
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Omaha, Nebraska

This eastern Cornhusker town might not be the first place people think of when it comes to retiring, but it has plenty to recommend it, including a lower cost of living than the national average, and a median home cost of around $177,000. The number of physicians per capita is well over the national average, and there's also plenty to do here. Omaha has a thriving culinary scene and a zoo, aquarium, and wildlife park. It also hosts the College World Series each year.

Tucson, Arizona
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Tucson, Arizona

The city often called the "Old Pueblo" has been growing as an attractive retirement destination for some time, but it also has a younger crowd via the University of Arizona campus that helps keep things hip and happening. In addition to a lower cost of living and median home price of around $185,000, there are plenty of retirement communities to choose from in Tucson, and recreational opportunities like golfing and hiking abound. 

Related: What It's Really Like to Retire in an RV

Silver Spring, Maryland
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Silver Spring-Frederick-Rockville, Maryland

Retirees who like to be around history and culture might look to these three smaller communities, all about 30 minutes to an hour away from the nation's capital. Frederick, the farthest from D.C., is by far the most affordable, with a median home price just over the national average and a lower cost of living than Silver Spring or Rockville, but the trade-off there is far fewer physicians per capita. 

Virginia Beach, Virginia
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Virginia Beach, Virginia

This city has a lot to recommend it to retirees, including a lower than national median home price of around $268,000, and more physicians per capita than the national average. It's known for its water recreation activities, educated populace, and stable economy, although with nearly half a million residents, it might feel too crowded for some. Those who like the area but want something smaller could look at Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Portsmouth to the south. 

Related: The 20 Best Beaches on the East Coast

Riverside
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Riverside, California

Located about halfway between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, Riverside isn't cheap. Its cost of living and median home price are well above the national average. But its location between those two cities, not to mention the surrounding outdoor amenities, gives retirees plenty in the way of activities. It also has a health cost index well below the national average.  

Louisville, Kentucky
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Louisville, Kentucky

Those who want a bit of Southern flair with their retirement can look to this city of around 600,000. Known for a low cost of living, a thriving arts and culture scene, and plenty of historic districts to explore, Louisville's median home price is around $160,000. It also has a solid 335 physicians per 100,000 residents (the national average is 210). 

Related: No Pension. No 401(k). How to Get by on Social Security