22 Underrated Places to Retire in the U.S.

Senior tourist woman walking in nature park

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Senior tourist woman walking in nature park
Igor Alecsander/istockphoto

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, average 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

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. 

Related: 30 Unexpectedly Awesome Places to Retire Across America

A couple at Minnehaha Falls


This capital of the Midwest feels big in every way, from its business base to its cultural offerings, and its cost of living is reasonably about 7% higher than the national average. But  its $294,200 average home price is still well below the national average, the famed Mayo Clinic is nearby and Best Places says retirees there report “high levels of satisfaction and social and emotional support.” The place is also peppered with gems — from a thriving Somalian community to one of the most beautiful Beaches in America.

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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. 

Related: 10 College Towns That Retirees Love, Too

Merritt Island, Florida

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 is a bit above the national average, but average home price is below — and 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.

Pavilion of Two Sisters in New Orleans City Park
Page Light Studios/istockphoto

Hartford, Connecticut

A stable economy, thriving arts scene, and cultural diversity lead off the reasons why Hartford is a nice place to live — if you can take the cracks about living among a bunch of insurance companies in stride, which a bunch of boomers already have. A reputation for being slightly dull seems unimportant when you have all the good stuff as well as an average home prices of just $180,000 and a cost of living  6% lower than the national average. And lots of insurers around has spawned impressively affordable home health care. 

Arlington, Texas

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 metro area average home price of more than $311,000. 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.

Baltimore Row Houses


Johns Hopkins, Mercy Medical Center, and the University of Maryland Medical Center are top-ranked and will feel right around the corner from the home you buy for the low average price of $180,000, enjoying a cost of living about 12% lower than the national average. There's also tons to do in Charm City, which is known for is known for top-notch blue crab, baseball, and a fascinating history.

Related: The Best Things To Do In Baltimore

Sherman or Denison, Texas

Denison or Sherman, 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 an average home price between $203,800 and $234,700. Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is nearby, as is Lake Texoma, and the Texoma Medical Center sits between the two cities.

Huntsville, Alabama

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. 

Related: Top 25 U.S. Cities for Craft Beer

Pittsburgh Tourists Taking Photos On Cell Phones


Plenty of boomer retirees have already discovered the affordability of Steel City, which has average home prices of $204,700 and a cost of living 12.5% below the national average. But there's also low crime, a great downtown and cultural institutions such as the Andy Warhol Museum and Pittsburgh Public Theater, and a huge economic base of big companies served by plenty of convenient health care providers. It's even one of the best U.S. cities to live in without a car.

Corpus Christi, Texas
Sean Pavone/istockphoto

Corpus Christi, Texas

A below-average cost of living, an average home price of $210,500, 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
Sherry Yates Young/shutterstock

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 average, but there are homes in the surrounding area that are much cheaper, and the cost of living in the county seat of Ocala is well below the national average.  

Ogden, Utah
johnnya123 / istockphoto

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 18% below the national average, and the average home price is $180,000, well below the national average of $433,100.

Related: 13 of the Biggest Retirement Regrets Among Seniors

Reno Nevada

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 home price above the national averages. The number of physicians per capita has been tracked 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

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 is higher than the national average, home prices are lower, and there are three hospitals and an active senior community.

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

Warren, Michigan
Mike Kline (notkalvin)/Getty Images

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 an average home price of around $173,700 — well below the national average. Nearby Lake St. Clair offers year-round recreation activities, including a 3-mile hike/bike trail, fishing, ice skating, and cross-country ski trails. 

Omaha, Nebraska

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 an sverage home cost of around $252,100. The number of physicians per capita has been 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

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 average home price of around $303,400, there are plenty of retirement communities to choose from in Tucson, and recreational opportunities such as golfing and hiking abound. 

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

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Virginia Beach, Virginia

This city has a lot to recommend it to retirees despite an average home price of around $378,000 — it tends to have more physicians per capita than the national average, for instance. It's known for its water recreation activities, educated populace, and stable economy, although with nearly a half-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

Jon Bilous/shutterstock

Riverside, California

About halfway between Los Angeles and Palm Springs, Riverside isn't cheap. Its cost of living and average home price are way 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

Louisville, Kentucky

Those who want a bit of Southern flair with their retirement can look to this city of around 618,000. Known for a low cost of living, a thriving arts and culture scene, and plenty of historic districts to explore, Louisville's average home price is around $229,700. It has also been ranked as having a solid 335 physicians per 100,000 residents (the national average is 278). 

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