• Retiring in small towns in the US offers a peaceful and comfortable lifestyle with a wide range of recreational and cultural activities available.
  • These towns provide access to stunning natural settings, making them ideal for retirees who enjoy outdoor activities and beautiful landscapes.
  • Factors such as cost of living, safety, medical options, facility accessibility, and quality of life make these small towns great choices for retirement in the US.

As people near retirement, they often contemplate their options for the next phase of their lives, with some older people opting to retire in a country rated high on the retirement index, such as Panama. However, retiring in a small town can offer various benefits, including a slower pace of life, economical living conditions, a strong sense of society, and access to stunning natural settings.

For seniors, small towns in the US can provide a peaceful and comfortable lifestyle, with a wide range of recreational and cultural activities available. In terms of cost, safety, available medical options, facility accessibility, and quality of life, this article will focus on the top small towns to retire to in the US. Whether retirees are seeking a seaside paradise, an attractive mountain town, or a vibrant community with a strong sense of history, these charming US towns have their golden years covered.

UPDATE: 2023/09/04 21:02 EST BY MARIA BOU INK

Permanent Vacation: These Are The Best Small Towns You Can Retire To In The U.S.

After working hard the entire life, there is nothing better than being rewarded with the best retirement possible. Therefore, this list of the best small towns to retire in the U.S. was updated to include more states and communities.

Related: These Are Officially The 10 Most Affordable Small Towns In The U.S.

14 Dillsboro, North Carolina

Dillsboro, North Carolina on map
Dillsboro, North Carolina on map

This small U.S. town is close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park's southern entrance on the Tuckasegee River's banks. Dillsboro, which has less than 300 people living there, exudes the elegance of the railroad town it was in the 19th century.

The retirement town's accessible center is home to galleries that highlight recent local artists as well as century-old businesses, eateries, and gift shops. Arts and crafts are the focus of yearly festivities. Dillsboro's cost of living is similar to the national average. It is one of the best small towns for retirement if people are looking for authentic small-town living, a historical environment, and year-round outdoor activities; Additionally, if they need a change of pace, Asheville is about an hour away.

  • North Carolina Income Tax: Applicable

13 Santa Cruz, California

Lighthouse Walton Santa Cruz in California
Lighthouse Walton Santa Cruz in California

Santa Cruz could be the best place to reside if retirees are attracted to the seaside and like a small-town atmosphere. This seaside U.S. town with views of the ocean continues to draw a lot of new people. From 2021 to 2022, Santa Cruz's population increased by 12.5%.

Retired people have a lot of attractions to enjoy. They can stroll the boardwalk, they may also explore the nearby lighthouses and search for wildlife like sea lions. There are several chances for boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing. There are healthy food alternatives, art galleries, and a weekly farmers market in the city center. Every year in November, the Wine Walk features tasting stations within neighborhood stores.

  • California Income Tax: Applicable

12 Iowa City, Iowa

The old Cedar Rapids (Iowa) City Hall
The old Cedar Rapids (Iowa) City Hall sits on an island in the Cedar River.

College towns, like Iowa City, are excellent retirement destinations since there are so many athletic events, lectures, and cultural activities. Additionally, there are museums and galleries on campus, such as the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History. Due in large part to the highly regarded University of Iowa Health System, Iowa City has a low crime rate and a large number of competent medical professionals.

Retirees can watch a football game at Kinnick Stadium, the Hawkeyes' home field, or stroll the Literary Walk, which honors the achievements of close to 50 renowned authors with links to Iowa City.

  • Iowa Income Tax: Applicable

11 St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine city skyline and Bridge of Lions
St. Augustine city skyline and Bridge of Lions

St. Augustine, Florida, which is 40 miles (64.37 km) southeast of Jacksonville, was recognized by Kiplinger as one of the smart places to retire in 2019. The publication cited the community's cultural activities, affordable luxury living, and first-rate health care. Additionally, over a quarter of the population is composed of those 65 and older. The cost of living in St. Augustine is around 5% more than the national average. A benefit for retirees attracted to the Sunshine State is that Florida residents do not pay state income taxes.

  • Florida Income Tax: Not applicable

10 Beaufort, South Carolina

A beautiful scenery of a marina in Beaufort, North Carolina
Photo by Gene Gallin on Unsplash
A beautiful scenery of a marina in Beaufort, North Carolina

Beaufort, South Carolina, is a beachfront society that has a long past stretching back to the early 1700s. The town is one of the best small towns to retire to in the US, with its tree-lined streets, ancient residences, and bustling waterfront area that creates a charming small-town atmosphere. Retirees in Beaufort can enjoy mild winters, stunning beaches, and a thriving arts and cultural scene.

In addition, this place has narrow streets lined with giant oak trees draped with moss that make it very attractive. The area is also one of the most charming fishing towns in America, offering a wonderful opportunity for individuals who love to cast the line as a pastime activity. For those seeking a laid-back coastal lifestyle with plenty of charm and character, Beaufort, South Carolina, is a top choice.

  • South Carolina Income Tax: Applicable

Related: 10 Countries Anyone Would Be Happy To Retire To

9 Savannah, Georgia

Shops and restaurants in River Street, Savannah
Shops and restaurants in River Street, Savannah

Savannah is one of the most beautiful towns to visit in Georgia, as it is an excellent choice for retirement because of its historic charm. Plus, there are many activities and things to do in Savannah, not just for residents but also visitors, making it one of the best tourist destinations in the US for southern charm. The town's moderate climate and relatively low cost of living make it an affordable and comfortable place to retire. Savannah provides many possibilities for seniors to learn about and interact with local culture, thanks to its extensive history that dates back to the colonial era.

Savannah also has an excellent healthcare system, with many hospitals and clinics offering high-quality care to elders. The town also has a vibrant society of retirees, with plenty of social clubs, volunteer opportunities, and other activities available for seniors to stay active and engaged. Given it ticks all the right boxes for seniors, Savannah easily earns its mention among the best small towns in the US to retire to.

  • Georgia Income Tax: Applicable

8 Sandpoint, Idaho

Sandpoint, ID, USA
Photo by Backroad Packers on Unsplash
Sandpoint, Idaho, USA

Sandpoint is in the panhandle of Idaho, near the border with Washington state, and is accessible by several major highways, which makes it easy to travel around. The area is known for its beautiful mountain scenery and its wide range of activities to do in these beautiful landscapes. It's also one of the best towns for retirement in the US; retirees in Sandpoint can enjoy a relaxed, small-town lifestyle with plenty of natural beauty and views of the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountains, which are visible from many parts of town.

The town is a great option for people looking for a tranquil, secure retirement resort because of its warm, inviting community and low crime rate. Additionally, Sandpoint's location offers easy access to larger cities like Spokane, Washington, which is just a short drive away.

  • Idaho Income Tax: Applicable

Whether for residents or tourists, Sandpoint offers plenty of things to do and see.

7 St. George, Utah

Man standing on a rock in a state park in St. George, Utah
Photo by Anelale Nájera on Unsplash
Man standing on a rock in a state park in St. George, Utah

St. George, Utah, is one of the numerous good retirement destinations in the US for those seeking a sunny location with beautiful scenery. The town boasts a mild, dry environment and is bordered by spectacular red sandstone cliffs, making it perfect for outdoor activities. Additionally, St. George is highly known for its top-notch golf courses and is close to many other high-class facilities.

Retirees can enjoy a leisurely round of golf while taking in the stunning mountain views and warm sunshine. Additionally, a lot of cultural occasions occur there every year, including the St. George Art Festival, which people can enjoy and get to interact with each other. With well-maintained roads and infrastructure, retirees can easily get around and access the amenities they need.

  • Utah Income Tax: Applicable

Related: Discover America's Hidden Gems: 10 Of The Smallest US Towns You Must See to Believe

6 Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs, Arkansas
Photo 165023332 © Sean Pavone |
Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA town skyline 

Hot Springs, Arkansas, is easily one of the best places in the US to retire to, given that it offers a peaceful and relaxing lifestyle. The town's natural beauty, including its therapeutic hot springs, attracts retirees seeking to benefit from its calming, healing properties.

With a friendly and welcoming community, retirees can immerse themselves in cultural events and activities. The town is not overcrowded, providing easy access to the surrounding natural beauty. Hot Springs offers a serene retirement experience in a beautiful setting.

  • Arkansas Income Tax: Applicable

5 Prescott, Arizona

Ranch in Prescott Arizona
Image by Kate McGahan from Pixabay
Ranch in Prescott Arizona

Prescott, Arizona, finds itself among the best places in the United States to retire to; it's a charming mountain town with a rich cultural history and a mild climate that is perfect for retirees seeking outdoor recreation opportunities. The Prescott National Forest surrounds the town, with over 1.25 million acres of forests, lakes, and mountains to explore and enjoy nature.

The town boasts numerous museums, art galleries, and historic buildings that preserve its Western heritage. These sites help to preserve the culture and history of the society. Retirees can relax in the historic downtown area, filled with shops, restaurants, and galleries.

  • Arizona Income Tax: Applicable

4 Franklin, Tennessee

Franklin, Tennessee
Photo by Josh Withers on Unsplash
Franklin, Tennessee

Franklin, Tennessee, is one of the wealthiest cities in the state, with many celebrities living there. The town welcomes visitors and new residents with open arms, so here, one will feel at home. The historic downtown area offers retirees locally-owned restaurants and quaint shops. It's easily among the best places for retirement in the US because the weather is pleasant and mild, and it never gets too hot or cold there.

Retirees can enjoy the town's numerous parks and green spaces and the stunning views of the surrounding countryside on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Overall, Franklin offers a peaceful and idyllic retirement experience.

  • Tennessee Income Tax: Not applicable

3 Lewes, Delaware

Lewes, Delaware, USA
Photo 170396016 Khairil Junos |
Lewes, Delaware, USA

Lewes, Delaware, is a charming town with a rich history and plenty of amenities for retirees. The town offers retirees numerous shops, restaurants, and galleries, as well as a beautiful beach and scenic coastal marshes. There are several community groups and organizations catering to retirees, including book clubs, gardening clubs, and social groups.

The community is warm and hospitable, and there are numerous annual festivals and traditional festivities.

  • Delaware Income Tax: Applicable

Related: 14 Most Beautiful Towns In America

2 Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

 The main street Sherman Avenue near 4th street in the historic lakeside downtown of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Kirk Fisher via Shutterstock
The main street Sherman Avenue near 4th street in the historic lakeside downtown of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Retirees looking for a laid-back lifestyle in a city that is known for its relaxing vacation retreats will find Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, a viable option. The community is one of the best retirement towns in the US, as it's a sanctuary for outdoor enthusiasts since it has a stunning lake and various beaches, parks, and trails.

It also offers retirees a variety of traditional and artistic events, as well as a lively downtown area with local shops, restaurants, and breweries. The town's low cost of living makes it an affordable retirement destination with a fulfilling lifestyle. Retirees moving here can enjoy all these benefits, as well as affordable housing with moderate tax rates.

  • Idaho Income Tax: Applicable

1 New Braunfels, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas, USA
Regan Bender / Shuttersock
An aerial view of the town and church in New Braunfels, Texas, USA

New Braunfels, Texas, is a vibrant and unique small town with a rich German heritage and easily earns its place among the top retirement towns in the US. The town's architecture, food, and traditions reflect its cultural history. Retirees can enjoy events like Wurstfest, where they can sample delicious German food and drink while enjoying live music and dancing.

The town is surrounded by beautiful natural surroundings, with the Guadalupe River and Canyon Lake nearby. New Braunfels is a safe and secure town making it a perfect place for retirees to live. The town offers various social groups and activities, promoting a strong sense of community.

  • Texas Income Tax: Not applicable