Whether you have your heart set on the east or west coast, four seasons or sunshine year-round, there’s a spot in every state that’s a magnet for those 65 and up (for good reason). Here’s where smart retirees are spending their golden years.

By Marisa Spyker
August 14, 2019
Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

Up until that magical age when we can finally turn in our permanent resignation letters, we all pretty much dream of the possibilities that retirement brings. Where will you travel? Should you learn a new language? Or volunteer at an animal shelter?

But of all the decisions one must make in retirement, perhaps the most significant is where we choose to live out the best years of our lives.

We settle on a state—maybe it’s to be near the kids, or maybe it’s Florida because…well, Florida. And then comes the subsequent decision of specifically where to go within our chosen destinations.

Related: The 10 Best Little Beach Towns in Florida: 

Aside from the details that make a location attractive on the outside—like natural beauty or proximity to the beach—there are also a slew of logistical factors smart soon-to-be retirees often consider. And, lucky for you, financial news site 24/7 Wall Street recently dug up all the important data to determine exactly which county in each state caters most especially to those aged 65 and up.

To identify the best place to live, the website created an index based on 17 health and economic considerations. Health factors included a location’s number of health professionals per capita, the presence of social institutions, access to exercise facilities, and the prevalence of diseases such as diabetes. Economic factors, meanwhile, included median home values, the estimated monthly cost of living for two people, and the amount of state and local taxes.

Related: Here Are the Best and Worst States for Retirement

With a lack of state income taxes and year-round warm weather, it’s no surprise that Florida, as a whole, often tops the list of the best places to retire in the country. But where to go within the Sunshine State? According to 24/7 Wall Street, Sarasota County is the smartest locale for retirees, with nearly 35 percent of its 400k+ population consisting of residents 65 and older and an affordable home value of $215k. (The perfect white-sand beaches and world-class shelling spots don’t hurt either.)

Sarasota, Florida
Photo: Zach Stovall

If seasons call to you, however, you might want to consider setting down roots on a coastline in the northeast. In Delaware, Sussex County—which includes the towns of Rehoboth Beach and Lewes—topped the list for retirees, with a quarter of its population over the age of 65. (Just south of that, Worcester County, which includes Ocean City and Assateague National Seashore, is Maryland’s magnet for retired folks.) Love the landscape of Maine? Cumberland County, which encompasses Portland, Freeport, and a buffet of picturesque islands, entices forever home seekers with its charming cottages and rugged landscape.

Want to see which county made the cut in your home state? See the full list from 24/7 Wall Street below, and get more inspiration on where to retire by the sea here.

Alabama: Baldwin County

Alaska: Kenai Peninsula Borough

Arizona: Pima County

Arkansas: Baxter County

California: Plumas County

Colorado: Chaffee County

Connecticut: Hartford County

Delaware: Sussex County

Florida: Sarasota County

Georgia: Towns County

Hawaii: Hawaii County

Idaho: Valley County

Illinois: Sangamon County

Indiana: Warrick County

Iowa: Winneshiek County

Kansas: Harvey County

Kentucky: Daviess County

Louisiana: Jefferson Parish

Maine: Cumberland County

Maryland: Worcester County

Massachusetts: Hampshire County

Michigan: Emmet County

Minnesota: Cook County

Mississippi: Lauderdale County

Missouri: St. Louis County

Montana: Lewis and Clark County

Nebraska: Nuckolls County

Nevada: Douglas County

New Hampshire: Grafton County

New Jersey: Hunterdon County

New Mexico: Los Alamos County

New York: Warren County

North Carolina: Buncombe County

North Dakota: Ramsey County

Ohio: Cuyahoga County

Oklahoma: Garfield County

Oregon: Lane County

Pennsylvania: Montour County

Rhode Island: Bristol County

South Carolina: Beaufort County

South Dakota: Hughes County

Tennessee: Washington County

Texas: Gillespie County

Utah: Washington County

Vermont: Bennington County

Virginia: Winchester City

Washington: Chelan County

West Virginia: Ohio County

Wisconsin: Wood County

Wyoming: Park County

 

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