Longtime readers know that I caution against using lists of “best places to retire.”What’s appealing and important to the editors of a list might not be to you. I link to them, however, so you can see a sampling of what’s available and the reasons people give for favoring different places. This list is a little different from most. The editors first identified some key passions people tend to have. Then, it sought to find places that have an abundance of opportunities to explore one or more of those passions. Some areas are featured for only one passion, while others are considered good for multiple activities. The list includes some frequently-recommended retirement places (Naples, Fla.; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Asheville, N.C.) and some unusual ones (New York City, Los Angeles).
Besides activities, the data we reviewed in making our selections include serious crime rates, the strength of the local economy (in case you want to work part-time or later sell a house into a strong climate) and the availability of health care as measured by relative physicians per capita. We also took note of whether a given area ranks high or low on the 2017 Milken Institute of Best Cities for Successful Aging report, which evaluates 381 metropolitan areas on dozens of factors considered indicative of a good retirement.
Because high living costs and taxes by themselves didn’t disqualify a place from this list, we’ve included some expensive cities, including Boulder, Colo., New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. But we can also recommend locations like Athens, Ga., Crossville, Dallas, Iowa City and Palm Bay, Fla., where the median home price is less than $200,000.