The Top Destinations for Retirees in 2024: Where to Move for a Happy Retirement

By: Harrison Gough Last Updated: Jan 01, 2024

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Ready to retire? We’ll explore the best retirement destinations of 2024, and the factors you should keep in mind when finding your place to finally settle down.

The Top Destinations for Retirees in 2024: Where to Move for a Happy Retirement

Retirement is a big deal. While we spend most of our lives waiting for it, it’s important to spend some time planning for it as well. Of course, retirement planning means picking the right place to spend your golden years.

Do you want to be more active? Are you looking for better weather? Or are you trying to get closer to your friends and family?

The destination makes all the difference – and so does doing your research. In this article, we’ll walk you through the top destinations for retirees in 2024, and how you can make your move as smooth as possible.

Retiree Trends and Demographics

The retiree population is always changing, influenced by several trends and demographics. Currently, the baby boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) is the driving force in retiree migration patterns.

Baby boomers have finally reached retirement age, which means many are seeking warmer climates and more affordable living arrangements.

According to a recent report by the National Institute on Retirement Security, a significant majority of Americans, across party lines, are concerned about their retirement security.

The report indicates that approximately 70 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of Independents, and 62 percent of Republicans express worry about their financial well-being in retirement.

Additionally, more retirees are seeking out locations that provide opportunities for outdoor recreation, such as hiking, golfing, or skiing.

The top states and regions for retirees vary depending on individual preferences. Some people like warmer weather, and some folks like to ski. Some people have a bit more financial security as they prepare to retire, and others want to play it safe and affordable.

No matter the reason for a move, a few states consistently rank high on retiree lists: Florida, Arizona, and North Carolina. However, there are plenty of other places to consider when you’re getting ready to retire.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Retirement Destination

It’s important to choose the right retirement destination, but how can you really measure your post-retirement bliss? Here’s how to weigh the pros and cons of the places on your radar.

1. Cost of Living and Affordability

Most retirees live on a fixed income and have limited resources. If you’re trying to play it safe with your money, you should look for places with a lower cost of living and more affordable housing options.

Be sure to keep the following in mind:

  • Housing costs, including renting or buying a home, property taxes, and insurance
  • Utilities, including electricity, gas, water, and internet
  • Transportation costs, including car expenses and public transportation
  • Healthcare expenses, including insurance premiums and co-pays

2. Climate and Weather

The climate can determine how you spend your retirement. Do you want to enjoy some winter sports and go skiing regularly? Or do you want to catch some sun all year round?

If you’re retiring, you may as well choose a place with great weather. While many retirees look for warmer climates (particularly those who lived in colder regions of the US), a growing number of retirees are considering cooler locations for some much-missed seasonality.

Keep in mind, every state has its own environmental pros and cons. The Northeast may provide beautiful foliage in the autumn, but that’s just the calm before winter storms and gray weather.

Florida is sunny and warm, but hurricanes happen regularly. California is also sunny and warm, but it’s California.

3. Access to Healthcare and Social Services

Retirement is something you should look forward to. We’re not going to say that healthcare becomes more important as we age.

We’re not going to tell you that people slow down as they get older. We’re certainly not going to remind you that it’s harder to heal up if you hurt yourself nowadays.

Instead, we’ll just say this: Retirees oftentimes seek locations with excellent healthcare services. If you’re having too much fun in your retirement destination, it’s good to know that there are quality hospitals, clinics, and healthcare providers nearby who can patch you up.

4. Recreational Opportunities

What’s the point of retiring if you can’t have any fun? If you’re done working, it’s time to focus on the activities you’ve been waiting for. Retirees look for places with plenty of outdoor recreation – and they should.

Hiking, golfing, swimming, skiing… the list goes on. Access to parks, trails, and other outdoor areas can significantly impact how you spend your retirement. After all, it’d be pretty hard to go fishing if you’re nowhere near water.

5. Cultural Amenities

Be on the lookout for places that offer plenty of social engagement and cultural attractions such as museums or theaters if you’re more of the outgoing type.

Art galleries and museums are always worth visiting, but if your grandkids come over often, it’s nice to know they’ll have plenty to do in your area. Movie theaters, shopping, and other entertainment hotspots keep things exciting.

And just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you can’t pick up something new. As an added treat for yourself, look into any lifelong learning classes. Retirement means plenty of free time, so use it wisely and don’t let it go to waste.

The Top Destinations for Retirees in 2024

Several states consistently rank high on retiree lists, including Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Texas, and Nevada. Let’s explore these places in a little more detail.

1. Arizona: A Sunny and Affordable Retirement Haven

Arizona is an attractive destination for retirees who’ve had enough of the cold. 300 days of sunshine? More than 300 reasons to move.

Arizona also offers affordable housing options, a low cost of living, and a wide range of recreational activities. Hiking and golfing are always available – and even skiing in certain areas. Cities such as Scottsdale, Mesa, and Tucson are popular retirement destinations, offering a mix of urban and suburban living.

2. Florida: The Ultimate Retirement Destination

Warm weather, white sand beaches, and a (relatively) affordable cost of living? You’ll be wondering why you didn’t move to Florida sooner.

Florida has a reputation for retirees and for good reason. It’s got plenty of sunshine, plenty of activities, and plenty of excellent healthcare facilities. If you’re considering a senior-living neighborhood, Florida also has many several well-known retirement communities. Places like The Villages and Sun City offer a wide range of amenities and social activities.

3. North Carolina: A Perfect Blend of Urban and Rural Living

Florida and Arizona are well-known retirement destinations, but North Carolina is high up on the list as well. North Carolina offers retirees a perfect blend of urban and rural living, and cities like Charlotte and Raleigh have a lot to offer by way of attractions, healthcare, and relatively low prices.

While you may not expect it, North Carolina also has a mild climate. There are plenty of affordable housing options and plenty of hiking and golfing. If you want to be closer to the beach, coastal towns such as Wilmington and New Bern are also popular retirement destinations.

4. Texas: Low Taxes and Warm Weather

Texas is an attractive destination for retirees looking for a warm climate and greater affordability. If you haven’t slowed down and you’re looking for more to do, Cities such as Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio offer a mix of urban and suburban living.

Texas also offers surprisingly solid healthcare facilities and cultural amenities. And much like Florida, the Lone Star State has several popular retirement communities. Sun City Texas and Robson Ranch both offer a wide range of social activities and amenities, and that’s just two of many.

5. Nevada: A Tax-Friendly and Exciting Destination for Retirees

Nevada offers retirees a tax-friendly environment and exciting lifestyle, particularly in cities such as Las Vegas and Reno. You can expect a much lower cost of living and plenty of warm weather, tool.

Nevada isn’t all just Vegas and Reno, though. There’s a wide range of recreational opportunities to enjoy. Golf, scenic hikes, and (much like Arizona) a surprising amount of skiing for a state that’s well-known for warm desert vistas. Don’t forget to look into retirement communities such as Sun City Anthem and Del Webb at Lake Las Vegas if you need more of a social network.

Lesser-Known Retirement Destinations for 2024

Everyone knows about Florida. And a lot of people know about Arizona, too. But there’s a growing number of other states that are winning over retirees.

Here are some underrated destinations for the recently retired:

1. Delaware: A Hidden Gem and a Relaxing Pace

Delaware may be small, but there’s plenty for retirees who want some peace and quiet. You’ll get to enjoy a mild climate, affordable housing, great healthcare facilities.

Delaware enjoys a low cost of living and a low tax burden, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious retirees. It’s also close enough to the northeast megalopolis in case you suddenly get an itch to see some city life (and maybe remember why you went looking for peace and quiet in the first place).

2. Idaho: Endless Outdoor Recreational Opportunities

Idaho is known for a lot more than just potatoes. It’s a beautiful state and boasts vast stretches of untouched wilderness. All the nature and open space mean you’ll be able to really stretch out and focus on enjoying the great outdoors.

Idaho also has a relatively mild climate. Aside from snowy winters, the whole state is great for spending time outside. You’ll also find an affordable cost of living and a strong sense of community.

Though Idaho isn’t highly populated, small cities such as Boise and Coeur d’Alene also offer excellent healthcare facilities and cultural amenities, too.

3. Tennessee: Welcoming and Affordable

Tennessee is an underrated retirement destination. If you don’t plan on slowing down after retiring, you’ll appreciate the vibrant music and cultural scene. And if you’re hoping to keep things quiet and relaxed, you’ll still be able to enjoy the low cost of living and rural communities you can call home.

Tennessee has a mild climate, with four distinct seasons. You’ll also get a wide range of recreational opportunities, including hiking, golfing, and fishing. Popular retirement destinations in Tennessee include Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, all with a mix of urban and suburban living.

4. Georgia: Charming Towns, Warm Weather, and Low Taxes

Georgia has plenty of history, and plenty of great attractions for the recently-retired. Notably, low taxes, warm weather, and charming towns with relatively affordable housing.

Georgia has decent weather all year round, and you’ll find excellent healthcare facilities in bigger cities like Atlanta. There’s also plenty of retirement communities in areas like Savannah and Athens. Of course, Atlanta has retirement communities as well, but we just want you to know there’s an entire state of goodness worth checking out.

5. Utah: A Perfect Destination for Active Retirees Seeking Adventure

Love the outdoors? Utah’s your place. If you’re on the adventurous side, Utah’s landscape will win you over. Sweeping vistas, dramatic canyons, world-class hiking, and much more. Plus, Utah isn’t super expensive compared to the rest of the United States.

Wherever you choose to live in Utah, you won’t be far from trails and the great outdoors. But if you want something a little more urban, Salt Lake City and St. George have you covered. They both have excellent cultural attractions, hospitals, and clinics to suit your needs.

Retirement Communities and Senior Living Options

You may be retiring, but you can still get out and socialize a little. Retirement communities and senior living options offer retirees a wide variety of activities and entertainment. Let’s explore the different types of retirement communities and senior living options.

1. Independent Living Communities

It’s important to remember you’ll have a lot of freedom in an independent living community. You’ll have a safety net, but you’ll be able to stretch your legs a little.

These communities offer a wide range of amenities, including social activities, dining options, and housekeeping services. They may also offer transportation services.

2. Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities provide support for seniors who need help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing, and meal prep. These facilities offer more hands on care than independent living communities.

At an assisted living facility, you can expect housekeeping, medication management, and transportation services. Additionally, your assisted living facility may offer social activities and access to healthcare providers.

3. Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Continuing care retirement communities offer care that matches your needs, starting with independent living and continuing through assisted living and nursing care.

These communities provide healthcare and social activities, as well as housekeeping and dining. They’re a great option if you don’t want to move as your needs change over time.

Making the Move: Tips for a Smooth Transition

Moving to a new location can be overwhelming, particularly for retirees who have lived in the same place for many years. Fortunately, proper planning and preparation can make the transition smoother.

Here are some tips for an easy move:

1. Prepare Ahead of Time

Start preparing for your move as early as possible – we recommend at least six months in advance. Create a checklist of tasks you need to take care of, including packing, decluttering, and notifying utility companies and other services of your move.

2. Downsizing and Decluttering

Downsizing and decluttering is essential. When you’re moving to a smaller home or retirement community, you need to make the most of your space, and that means getting rid of the excess.

Start by going through your possessions and deciding what to keep, donate, or sell. You can pawn off some of your stuff to pay for the move, but you can also pass it on to younger family members.

3. Hiring a Moving Company

Hiring a moving company can save you time and stress. Research different moving companies and read reviews from other retirees who have used their services. Get multiple quotes and choose a company that fits your budget and needs. Be on the lookout for senior discounts, too.

4. Settling into Your New Home

Settling into your new home can take time, particularly if you’re in a new city or state. Take the time to explore your new community, meet your neighbors, and get involved in local activities. Join a club or organization, volunteer, or take a class to meet new people and get to know your new surroundings.

Retirement Moving FAQs

What should I keep in mind when choosing a retirement destination?

There are several important factors to consider when choosing a retirement destination, notably the cost of living, the climate and weather, and access to healthcare and social service. You’ll also want to look into recreational opportunities and cultural amenities.

What are the best retirement destinations for budget-conscious retirees?

If you’re trying to keep your budget small, Delaware, Tennessee, and Georgia all offer affordable housing and a low cost of living. Keep your eyes open for any states that are known for low taxes, as well.

What are the benefits of living in a retirement community?

Retirement communities provide access to social activities and dining options. Some retirement communities also offer housekeeping and transportation.

Depending on the level of care you think you’ll need, you can choose an independent living or assisted living facility. Some communities provide continuing care, which allows you to stay in the same location without needing to move when your needs change.

What are the most popular senior living options in 2024?

The most popular senior living options in 2024 include independent living communities, assisted living facilities, and continuing care retirement communities.

What should retirees consider when downsizing and decluttering before a move?

You should think about what possessions you’d like to keep, donate, or sell when you’re planning out a move. Moving more stuff means paying more money. On the other hand, selling off stuff that you don’t need anymore can help you pay for your big move.

Think about a garage sale or even selling your unneeded belongings online. You can also donate to charities, or hand down some of your belongings to family members.

Finding Your Happy Place: Choosing the Best Retirement Destination for You

Retirement is a big step. After years and years of working, it’s finally time to sit back, relax, and have those adventures you’ve always dreamed of. Finding the right retirement destination sets the stage for your golden years. All you have to do now is get packing.

Now that you’ve seen some top destinations, it’s time to start planning your big move. Check back in with us for some helpful moving guides, and don’t forget to read up on our tips and tricks to make moving day even easier!