Best Places To Retire In The US

Written by
Amber Hobert
Published on
July 9, 2024
Table of Contents

The Top Places To Enjoy Retirement In The US

Retirement planning can be a very tedious process. You will have to set your affairs in order beforehand, including your personal finance, to ensure that your income now will be enough to meet your needs when you retire. You also have to find a good insurance company that provides the best and most affordable insurance services. Some of these services include health insurance, car insurance, home insurance, and life insurance, among others.

More importantly, you will have to decide on where to retire. The place you choose as your retirement home will significantly influence the tax you will pay, the inheritance you can pass on to your family and charities, and the quality of life you will have when you leave employment. In this article, I will be helping you identify the best places to retire in the United States.

Three Great Places To Retire In The US

Sarasota, Florida

Sarasota is likely one of the best places in the US to retire for many reasons. It is known for its unique, vibrant arts, food culture, and beachy environment. Sarasota has over 800,000 people and is renowned for the popular beach of Siesta Key, rooftop bars, and opera houses.

Before now, Sarasota was not a top destination for retirees, but this has completely changed over time. Over the last few years, many people have chosen this area as their retirement home. Popular in Sarasota is the fast-rising Rosemary district which features eclectic mural storefronts. Rosemary district also hosts new condominiums and hotels.

Key attractions

Sarasota is blessed with Lido Key and Siesta Key beaches known for their white sands. There are so many outdoor activities you can do in the city. It is a home of art, periodically hosts the Sarasota orchestra, has an Opera House, the Asolo Theater, and the Van Wezel Art halls. It attracts a lot of live classical music performances annually.

Sarasota is home to the popular John and Mable Ringling Museum of Arts, the Cuscus Museum, Ringling lush, and the Mediterranean home. There are also a good number of seaside restaurants and tiki bars, all for your pleasure.

Cost of living

Sarasota is not cheap compared to other similar cities; the average cost of renting an apartment is a bit higher than other similar places. Although there is no state income tax in Sarasota, like other Florida cities, this benefit is nullified by its high property taxes.

Resident demography

Sarasota residents are majorly retirees with a median retirement age of 53. It also hosts a good number of popular education facilities, including the University of South Florida, the New College of Florida, and the Ringling College of Arts and Designs. Public school in the region is a great attraction as parents bring their kids there for studies. Currently, about 18% of the population is below 20.

Naples, Florida

Another excellent place for retirement in Naples, Florida, located between the shores of the Gulf of Mexico and the edge of the everglades. Naples has been known for long as a favorite retirement place for the powerful, cold-averse, and wealthy. Naples is blessed with sprawling golf courses, beaches, and shopping centers.

Although Naples has an aging population, the two beachside communities of Marco Island Naples are just 120 minutes away from bubbling Miami and Tampa.

Key attractions

Although Naples is home to a great number of retirees, it has a fast-growing craft brewery and a good number of bars, clubs, and fun seaside sites. One of the advantages of living there is that you get a free sticker to bypass parking charges at the beaches. The region is home to many wildlife conservation centers, including the corkscrew swamp sanctuary and the Cypress National Preserve.

Other smaller parks include the Barefoot Beach Preserve, the Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, and the Clam Pass Park. The Baker Museum is also in the region and hosts many traveling exhibitions annually. There are many other exciting activities, such as the Naples Winter Wine and Seafood Festivals.

Cost of living

Florida does not have a state income tax. If you intend to live in the two popular cities in the county, Naples and Marco Island, your cost will be higher than those who stay in the rural interior. The mortgage and personal loan rates are generally high because local municipalities depend majorly on property tax as their primary source of revenue.

If you own a property and intend to make the place your permanent residence, you will qualify to get an exemption that will discount the property tax value.

Resident demography

Naples and the two major cities in the regions (collier county and Marco Island) have been the preferred retirement spot for a long time now. Over the years, many senior citizens have settled there to enjoy the beaches, weather, and beautiful golf courses.

Although most occupants are elderly, there is also the presence of the Florida Gulf Coast University and the Florida South-western State College in Naples. These institutions have continued to attract youths to the area.

Daytona Beach, Florida

Daytona has been a preferred retired destination for many people over the years. Every winter, the beaches in Daytona are always overflowing with tourists. Fishing is also a popular fun activity in the region. Aside from fishing, racing and golf are the two other popular recreational activities here.

Daytona also hosts museums, theaters, antique markets, malls, restaurants, colleges, and much more. Living in Daytona beach not only gives you access to the beach, but you also get to enjoy its proximity to other towns such as South Daytona and Ormond Beach.

Key attractions

There are many beautiful attractions in this region ranging from live music and theater production at the Peabody Auditorium; you also enjoy the beachfront Daytona Beach Bandshell Amphitheater. Every evening, the streets come alive with bars and nightclubs. Dayton hosts the annual international speedway half marathon and many other charitable events.

Cost of living

Living here is relatively cheap because the cost of living is lower than the national average. The cost of everyday expenses, especially utilities, is also lower in Daytona. Just like every other place in Florida, Daytona residents do not pay a state income tax. However, the average earning there is lower than the national average.

Resident demography

Because it is a top destination for retirees, the region’s population comprises older people, with an average age above 45. Daytona Beach also serves as host to educational facilities including Daytona College, Stetson University, Bethune-Cookman University, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

The above three areas are the best places to retire in the United States, and they are all in Florida. Other places you can also consider for your retirement in Florida are Melbourne, Tampa, Fort Myers, Port St. Lucie, and Pensacola. Besides Florida, there is Lancaster in Pennsylvania and Ann Arbor in Michigan.

Three Tax-Friendly States To Retire In The US

South Dakota

South Dakota tops the list of preferred destinations for retirees who are very conscious of taxes. First, there is no personal income tax in the state. Pension and security income tax are also excluded, making it a preferred tax haven for American retirees. South Dakota enacted the Dynasty Trust law, which prohibits the taxation of inheritance.

This means you can transfer all your wealth to your family, friends, or charity. In terms of the cost of living and amenities, South Dakota is relatively cheap. For instance, vehicle registration in the state is quick, seamless, and also cheap. While it costs a minimum of around $50 to $255 for vehicle registration in Texas and Florida, you can get your vehicle registered for as low as $36 in South Dakota.

South Dakota also has one the cheapest car insurance in the country, with the price going for as low as $420 compared to $890 in Texas and over $2500 in Florida.


Delaware is also a good choice for retirees in terms of tax. There is no sales tax or death tax, and the property tax is quite low. No wonder it is often called the tax haven for retirees. You will have more disposable income later if you live in the state with all these tax benefits because you pay no state or local sales tax on all your purchases.

You will also have more money to spend on other things since property tax is meager. Additionally, there is no inheritance tax, so you pass more money to your children, grandchildren, family members, friends, and charity.

The only downside here is the middle-of-the-road income tax, which isn’t bad compared to other places. Delaware residents above 60 years can exclude up to $12,500 of their pension and other retirement benefits (including 401(k) distribution, dividends, interest, IRA, and capital gains. Social security benefits are also exempted.


Hawaii is one of the tax-friendly states to retire in the United States. It has a very low average state and local state burden. Social security benefits are not taxed in Hawaii. Also exempted from tax are employer contributions to other forms of retirement income, including 401(k) plans and traditional pensions.

Although real estate prices are quite high in Hawaii, the property tax is meager. Its median property tax is the lowest in the United States. They also have a low sales tax rate of 4%, although locals can add an additional 0.5%.

The downsides are that Hawaii imposes a tax on groceries and clothing, so people end up paying more than the sales rate. Also, the state imposes an estate tax ranging from 10% to 20% on residents.

Things To Consider When Choosing A Place To Retire

Health Insurance

If you retire before you are 65, the age you become eligible for Medicare, or if you do not have health insurance provided by your employer, you need to purchase one that will see you through till you turn 65. The cost of health insurance typically varies from state to state and from one insurance company to another.

Many health insurance packages are also available, depending on your needs. With the ever-changing health care landscape, it is essential to take your time to research the cost and covers provided by different health insurance companies in your location. If you plan to relocate indefinitely to another city, you also need to learn how the health system works and what it will cost you.

Cost of Living

Statistics show that an average American is expected to spend 55% to 80% of their current income in their retirement years. This makes living and mortgage costs a critical factor in choosing a retirement location. South Dakota, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi have the lowest cost of living.

At the end of the divide are Oregon, New York, Massachusetts, California, and Hawaii, the most expensive of the lot. Indiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, South Dakota, Mississippi, and West Virginia have the lowest average cost for property, while New York, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Mississippi have the highest property rates.


Tax is a crucial factor when deciding where to retire. There are three essential taxes to consider with regards to retirement:

Dividend income taxes

The only state that has a tax on dividend income is New Hemisphere.

Retirement income taxes

Hawaii, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Hawaii are the four states that do not have taxes on retirement income. Over half of the states in the United States (27 to be exact) impose some retirement income tax, while Utah, Oregon, and Ohio provide tax relief for some types of income.

Personal income taxes

There are many states with no income tax, including South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Wyoming, Alaska, Florida, Washington, and Florida.

Note that a lower tax rate for the three categories above does not automatically translate to a lower cost of living. The cost of living will depend on other taxes, including inheritance and property tax, which save money.

Make South Dakota Your Retirement Home

Tax is a key determinant when choosing a place to retire, and South Dakota tops the list of states with the best tax policies for retirees. With no sales tax, you save more money that can be used elsewhere. There is also no tax on your pension and other retirement benefits, and as if that was not enough, South Dakota charges no inheritance tax.

So, while residents in other states are battling the pain of losing a substantial part of their fortune to inheritance taxes, South Dakotans have all the liberty to will all their wealth to their children, spouse, friends, family, organization, or charity!

Thinking About Taking That Next Step Into Retirement?

Are you contemplating packing up and moving to a new place to enjoy your long-awaited retirement? If you are wondering how to go about it, why not consider becoming a South Dakotan? If you answered yes, then fear not, as there are copious agencies available to support you. There are many residency services in the state that will help you get a residency there. They also offer premium tax advisory services on how best to maximize the low tax scheme in the state and help you achieve a peaceful retirement.

Moreover, should you need all your important documents or mail transported, you can utilize the services of a professional mail forwarding company to ensure that those crucial documents never go missing.

Sign up for Residency in South Dakota