The 5 Best States in Which to Grow Old

Updated on January 3, 2020

When it comes to getting older and considering retirement, many people entering their later adulthood years desire change. While change can come in many forms, sometimes moving to a more idyllic area of the country to live out your twilight years can be just what the doctor ordered. Many retirees test the waters by living part of the year in a different climate. These retirees are often referred to as “snowbirds.” The term snowbirds was coined from the animals who fly south to warmer climates during the cold months. Snowbirds often live in New England for the spring and summer and Florida for the fall and winter. Or Canada when it’s hot and Arizona or Palm Springs when it’s not. Eventually the traveling between two locations gets tiresome and permanently resettling in the warmer climate occurs.

Retirement communities in California and other temperately desired states are usually more in demand, and as a result can be more costly. Or maybe you already live in one of these areas for which the older generation now saves up to move, so you’re interested in a less common retirement destination. Regardless of your current living situation, we’ve put together a list of the 5 best states in which to grow old. Let us know in the comments which ones you agree or disagree with.


Whether it’s San Francisco, Napa, San Diego, Orange County, Santa Barbara or Los Angeles — California is full of thriving communities perfect to put down roots and grow old. Clearly the cost of living is the biggest hindrance when considering retiring in California, however certain areas just outside of the most desired locations can often become the best of both worlds. Examples include Hayward instead of San Francisco/Oakland, Santa Clarita instead of Los Angeles, or the various cities surrounding Palm Springs. California is perfect for retirees because of its culture, climate, and renowned hospitals, ranking #7 on’s Best Places to Grow Old list.


Similar to California, Arizona is also known for its coveted climate (until it hits 110 degrees), activities for all ages, and lauded healthcare institutions/professionals. The main difference between retiring in Arizona as opposed to California is affordability. Some of the most popular retirement areas (with varying price ranges) around the Grand Canyon State include Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Sun City, Prescott, Litchfield Park, and Cave Creek. The state was ranked #6 on’s 2017 list of the Best Places to Grow Old. Similar to states like California and Florida, Arizona has always been a popular destination for retirees, however the areas in which to settle continue to shift with each passing generation.


Salt Lake City, Provo, and Orem are all considered to be three of the best cities to grow old in. So what is it about the state of Utah that’s perfect for a late in life move? To begin with, you have to be okay with living in the cold. If you’re in search of a warm climate, Utah is not the best choice. However, if you enjoy the snow and snow-related activities, Utah can be a great location for physically active retirees. Utah ranks in the top half for low crime, general wellness, and overall affordability. In 2017, named Utah #1 on the Best Places to Grow Old list.


Florida has been considered the premier destination for American retirees for such a long time, it became a stereotype. If you grew up on the East Coast, there’s a high probability your grandparents live or lived in Florida. It seemed like everybody would always spend their spring break in either Miami, Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, or Boca Raton. Today, cities like Fort Myers, Sarasota, Jacksonville, Tampa, and Orlando rank among the most popular cities to retire. Ranking #5 on’s Best State for Retirement list in both 2018 and 2019, Florida is only second to Hawaii in the optimal weather category. The state is also full of cultural events and endless activities in which older adults can become involved. With a thriving elderly community across the entire state, Florida has remained one of the best states to grow old in for nearly a century.


Nebraska may be one of the least ideal locations temperately to settle down, however what it lacks in weather it gains in several other important categories when considering retirement. In 2019, ranked Nebraska as the #1 Best State for Retirement. While this may initially come as a surprise, Nebraska offers a number of perks to the older generation settling down such as affordable cost of living, low crime rates, ample volunteer and work opportunities, low poverty rate, and overall wellness. Although the public transportation options can be limiting, the Omaha area presents several cultural choices for older adults looking to stay active. Other Nebraska cities popular among retirees include Chadron, York, Seward, and Papillion. Because who needs the beach when you’ve got the midwest?

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