11 of the best warm weather places to retire in the United States
Did you know that living in warmer weather is better for your health than living in cold weather? Obtaining your essential vitamin D, being more motivated to go outside, and having a healthier heart and lungs are just a few of the winning benefits.
It only makes sense that you’d want to retire somewhere warm. Not only will it help increase your life expectancy (yay for more retirement), but no one wants to spend all of their newfound free time inside.
But how do you know where to go to live out your retirement in warmth? And better yet, what about other living factors? You don’t want to move to some sand dunes with nothing to do.
Fortunately, there’s now a list that compiles the most important retirement-related details for the warmest locations in the US.
Read on to learn about the 11 best warm weather places to retire. Note that these are in no particular order, but there is something for everyone.
1. Lafayette, Louisiana
Lafayette, LA doesn’t know the meaning of cold with the lowest average only ever hitting 43 degrees and a toasty high of 92 degrees.
The 4th largest city in Louisiana, Lafayette is a southern, nature lover’s dream. With lakes, rivers, and swamps galore, the city provides ample opportunities to partake in outdoor sports.
The Cajun town is also a mere 2 hours from the famous New Orleans. That is if you ever finish trying out Lafayette’s restaurants and farmers markets, which are plenty.
The average home in this area goes for about $157,000, with the cost of living falling at 8% cheaper than the national average. What’s more, Lafayette also has a deep historic association with Cajun French culture, which means great food, history, and music. That must have played a big role in why retirable.com put Lafayette near the top of its list for the best cities to retire in the US.
Those aged 65+ make up 13% of the population.
2. Santa Maria, California
Turning down the heat just a little, Santa Maria averages a refreshing 73 degrees in summer with a low of 40 degrees in winter. Accompanying great weather is a mere 14 days of rain a year, making it one of the best small towns to retire in.
This quaint town is where suburban heaven meets hills of farmland. With much of this farmland dedicated to vineyards, Santa Maria is well known for its delicious and varied wines. Adding to a tasty retirement is a reputation for excellent barbeque.
In their free time, retirees can expect to enjoy outdoor parks or professional-level live performances at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts.
The average home here goes for approximately $275,000, and seniors make up 11% of the population.
3. Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, despite more frequent rain than those previously discussed, maintains temperature averages no lower than 43 degrees and no higher than 88 degrees. This is perfect for a beach town whose other favorite pastimes include golfing year-round.
Not a huge fan of golfing and long walks on the beach? Perhaps a long walk around the historic town’s charming architecture suites you better, or one of the many parks or art centers will catch your fancy.
The average home lists at $203,300, but Charleston throws in a bonus in that it totes tax breaks for its senior citizens.
The 65+ community makes up 12% of the population.
4. Portland, Oregon
Portland Oregon gets slightly chillier with average lows of 36 degrees in winter, but will suit retirees who still enjoy witnessing the seasons year-round. With average highs of 81 degrees, it’s still one of the warmer options available.
Portland also boasts a whopping 227 parks that are available to the public. This doesn’t even include all of the mountains and nature trails available to explore. Outdoor enthusiasts will never run low on options. Golfing is also popular year-round here.
Need a break from the gorgeous outdoors? There’s a huge downtown area with options for everything, including shopping, food, and entertainment. A bonus for the elderly and the environment is the extensive public transportation system.
The cost of living is a bit higher here with the average home listed at $416,000. Even so, Portland has some of the best retirement communities, many of which are run by an excellent senior living management company.
Those who are 65+ make up 12.3% of the population.
5. Hot Springs, Arkansas
Another one of the best warm weather places to retire is Hot Springs, Arkansas. This is due to its frequent summer highs of 93 degrees.
Although it gets all the way down to 31 degrees in winter, the town offers something special for these colder days: 47 different hot springs. With that many, you’re bound to keep warm with amazing views to accompany you.
In the warmer months, keep yourself busy with the many art galleries and art festivals that decorate the town.
The average home in Hot Springs, Arkansas lists at $151,800.
This could explain why 20% of the population is 65+, making it easy for retirees to find and make friends.
6. Galveston, Texas
When you think of Texas you probably think about cowboy hats and cactuses, not beaches. Well, Galveston just so happens to be an island, making the coast easy to get to for a day of relaxation.
As to be expected in Texas, though, the weather stays warm with average highs of 89 degrees to keep the beach enjoyable. One of the warmer destinations on this list, Galveston’s average lows are as high as 49 degrees.
If you’re not busy viewing a number of scenic coastal areas, there are a ton of restaurants and bars to explore. Due to its touristy nature, there are also plenty of fun attractions.
Consisting of a cross between urban and suburban, the average home in Galveston sits at $295,000.
Te senior community here makes up 16% of the population.
7. Vero Beach, Florida
Amping up the heat again, Vero Beach, Florida is one of the best places to retire. Here, the average low comes to 52 degrees, with high averages of 90 degrees that keep you in the water. It’s no wonder that surveys show Florida to be the number one destination for where people want to retire.
You probably guessed from the name, but here you’ll find plenty of stretching sand and beautiful blue water. The immense amount of coast in addition to several rivers makes Vero Beach very popular for water-based activities such as boating and fishing.
Need a break from the water?
Vero Beach has tons more to offer. With 41 parks, several art museums and professional theaters, and a large downtown area, you’ll never get bored in this resort-like city.
The average home in Vero Beach is listed at $222,800.
Unsurprisingly, it’s home to a population where 29% of people are seniors. That’s the highest on this list and hard to come by!
8. Los Angeles, California
On the other coast rests Los Angeles, California. Perhaps “rests” is the wrong term to describe this bustling city.
With average lows of 48 degrees in winter and average highs of 83 degrees in summer, it’s no wonder it makes the list of best warm places to retire. In addition to the heat, it’s sunny a whopping 73% of the year in Los Angeles.
That means there’s very little rain to keep you from the great outdoors, and boy is there a lot of options here. Are you a skier with a love for marvelous mountains? Or perhaps you’re a bigger fan of ocean-front views or stunning valleys? Los Angeles has them all!
If you’re looking for more activity in the city itself, you’ve come to the right place. Los Angeles is known for its culture and diversity, so there are always exciting events, art festivals and tasty restaurants to discover.
Not to mention that Los Angeles, California is one of the primary locations for the entertainment industry. A mere 6 miles from Hollywood, you’re bound to run into the occasional celebrity.
When you do need a change of pace, there are several nearby cities that all offer something a little different.
It’s important to note, though, that Los Angeles has a high cost of living compared to other locations. The average home sells for $481,900.
Even so, people make it work as seniors make up 12% of the population.
This could have something to do with the fact that the best of the best in health care professionals reside here.
9. Key West, Florida
Back in Florida, Key West competes with sunny California – and wins. At least in terms of sun and weather.
The low averages in Key West are even higher at a mere 65 degrees. Average highs of 90 degrees coincide with the tropical nature of the keys.
Plus, it’s sunny 76% of the entire year. Goodbye rain!
It’s easy to imagine why the pace of life down in the keys is considered slow and relaxed compared to the rest of the US.
As is the case with most beach towns, fishing and boating are wildly popular and only a couple of the water-based activities available. In fact, Key West is famous for fishing and its gorgeous coral reef systems that you can scuba dive. It’s also home to the Fort Davis Taylor National Park.
A lot of people don’t realize that Key West has quite an extensive history in the US. A stroll through Old Town reveals several historic colonial homes that take you back in time.
Another benefit of retiring in a place like Key West is that you don’t need a car to get around. It’s easy to walk and there are plenty of other transportation options available.
The only downside to Key West is that paradise comes at a price and it’s an expensive place to live. A home alone on average costs $629,600.
The 65+ community makes up 13% of the total population.
10. Hilo, Hawaii
The last two destinations on this list require moving across the sea while staying in the US. For a real change of pace and retirement paradise, there’s Hilo, Hawaii.
Despite being the 2nd largest city in Hawaii, Hilo carries a quiet and relaxed lifestyle.
The weather year-round averages lows of 64 degrees and highs of 83 degrees. That’s less than a 20-degree shift all year. While it does rain frequently in Hilo, it’s usually at night.
As fantastic as it is, the weather is only one of the many qualities that will make you feel like you’re on a true vacation. Living in Hilo, you have access to several stunning views. Whether its the long stretches of beach, the waterfalls, or even the tropical forest – there’s something you’ll love.
Even so, living here isn’t for the faint of heart. Located next to two volcanoes, one of which is active, Hilo can be intimidating. Fortunately, there are plenty of experts and research centers monitoring the volcano’s activity.
Living in Hawaii tends to be far on the expensive side. While commodities will cost more than you’re used to, housing in this city is less expensive than some other locations with the average home listed at $369,300.
About 18% of Hilo’s population is 65+.
11. Honolulu, Hawaii
Remaining in the tropical paradise that is Hawaii, there’s another contender that makes the list of best warm weather places to retire.
A little warmer than Hilo, the state’s capital Honolulu has low weather averages of 66 degrees and highs of 88 degrees. This sunnier portion of the island is also sunny 71% of the year.
Honolulu provides residents with a relaxed way of life, and the expansive beaches and nature trails encourage various outdoor activities from hiking to surfing.
On the other hand, the inner city is far from lacking. Honolulu is home to the world’s largest outdoor mall, and due to tourism, has an active nightlife. Seniors can also enjoy the robust public transportation.
All this wonder, though, comes at a price. Hawaii, and Honolulu especially, is the most expensive place to live in the entire US. For housing alone, you can expect to pay an average of $707,200.
Regardless, people make it work. 15% of the population in Honolulu is aged 65+.
Choosing From the Best Warm Weather Places to Retire
Now that you know the 11 best warm weather places to retire, it’s time to start thinking about which one suits you.
When it comes down to picking your perfect paradise, there’s a lot to keep in mind. Weighing items like cost of living, rain versus sunshine, seasonality, food choices, entertainment options, top retirement communities, and types of terrain are essential to your long-term happiness. Ultimately, you want to pick somewhere that encourages your hobbies and that you can call home.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to come back frequently for more lifestyle advice!