Best Places To Retire In The U.S. In 2023: Top 5 Cities Most Recommended By Experts

The Golden Girls might look a lot different in 2023 because according to CBS News, Florida isn’t dominating the top places to retire. With interest rate hikes, a high-priced housing market and ongoing home insurance surges in The Sunshine State, that made us wonder: Where are the best places to retire in the U.S. in 2023? 

One factor considered by experts who determine the top places to retire is the amount of available leisure activities. A recent survey found the average retiree grows bored after just one year of a life free of employment. But rather than go back to the workforce, most would opt to try a new experience to liven things up. So, where you decide to live and its opportunities for new experiences could have a big impact on your overall satisfaction with retirement. And this may be especially important for extroverts who may have the hardest time coping outside of the office environment, according to a study on personality traits.

Besides things to do, when determining the best places to retire in the U.S., experts also considered cost of living, average income of those 65+ and state tax, among other variables. That’s because money is a big deal (for most of us) when it comes to exiting the workforce. Sadly, a survey determined just over a quarter of Americans ages 54-73 believe there is no amount of money that could sit in their savings account that would make them feel comfortable retiring. 

But for those that do decide to retire or have no other choice due to medical reasons or forced retirement, let’s find out: Is Florida truly out of the running for retirees? Read on for the top five places in the U.S. to retire, according to 10 expert websites. You may even be surprised by the list! And make sure to leave a comment letting us know if you agree with the recommendations, or if there’s a best-kept secret out there we should know about. 

The List: Best Places To Retire In The U.S., According To Experts 

1. Lancaster, Pennsylvania

There may be no city in the U.S. that has that traditional, friendly, true-Americana vibe to it that than the farmy, cozy city of Lancaster. CBS News covers the best U.S. cities to retire, with Lancaster first on the list: “Metropolitan areas in Pennsylvania dominated the top spots on the list, with Lancaster earning the number one slot for its quality health care for seniors, retiree tax rates and overall happiness of residents.” 

If cost is a factor for you, Changing America recommends this city as well. “Lancaster is affordable compared with other major metro areas, and homes are less expensive than the national median home sale price … food, health care, transportation and other living expenses fall in line with the national average.”

Downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Downtown Lancaster, Pennsylvania has that warm, welcoming, old-school vibe of a traditional American city. (Photo by Benjamin Rascoe on Unsplash)

“Rich in heritage, history, and culture, the city of Lancaster has something for everyone. Our small-town, bustling city atmosphere offers exceptional dining, diverse shopping, and noteworthy historical landmarks,” the city boasts on its official website.

Another popular Pennsylvania city for retirees is Harrisburg.

2. Asheville, North Carolina

The great outdoors + great healthcare are two major selling points for Asheville, North Carolina when it comes to retirees.

“Asheville is one of the best places to retire in! With affordable housing and tax exemptions for Social Security retirement benefits, this North Carolina city helps you stretch your dollar farther. In addition to veteran services and long-term care, there are many hospitals in the area, including Mission Hospital, which is recognized as one of the best hospitals in North Carolina. Nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville gives residents stunning mountain views and outdoor activities,” SpaceWise writes.

Those outdoor experiences may be just what you need to keep you feeling satisfied in retirement. That, and the tax laws.

Blue Ridge Mountains in Asheville, North Carolina
A ride along the Blue Ridge Parkway Overlook allows motorists to enjoy a beautiful, relaxing view of the mountains in Asheville.

According to Forbes, “Outdoor experiences — forests, parks, hiking terrain and whitewater paddling — and in-town culture abound around this scenic city in the Blue Ridge Mountains region of western North Carolina. The city is somewhat bikeable, although not all that walkable. The state income tax rate is a flat 4.99% for 2022, but Social Security income is exempt and there’s no state estate tax.” 

3. Orlando, Florida

Orlando is a sprawling city, and you’ll even find some 55+ communities there, with the most famous being The Villages. It’s not in Orlando, but is located 50 miles northwest. Forbes says it’s a fast-growing senior-citizen-oriented town of 132,000!  

Here’s why you may retire in the city though instead, per Condé Nast Traveler: “Even if you don’t necessarily want to trade your work hat for Mickey Ears, Orlando is one of the country’s best cities for retirees. Orlando has a particular abundance of quiet communities, great restaurants, and independent stores — and its inland location means you won’t have to worry quite as much during hurricane season. (Bonus: Given Orlando’s proximity to theme parks, you definitely won’t have to work hard to convince your grandkids to visit.)”

Sunrise walk around Lake Eola park in Orlando on a chilly December morning.
There’s more than just theme park life in Orlando. Here’s a beautiful look at the city skyline at sunrise along Lake Eola park. (Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash)

Retire Better Now recommends it for the endless activities, writing, Retiring in Orlando puts you in the heart of Florida in a place where it’s hard to ever be bored! Besides the theme parks, the city of Orlando is a bustling center with more than 2.5 million people in the greater metropolitan area. There are tons of restaurants, bars and outdoor activities to enjoy during the warm tropical summers and mild winters.” 

4. Charleston, South Carolina

Yahoo! used four main ranking categories for their list of the best places to retire: affordability, access to activities, quality of life and healthcare. “This city along the Atlantic coast is well-known for its historic charm and first-rate culinary scene. It ranked in the top half for all four categories, and did especially well in terms of activities and affordability.”

A horse carriage takes a stroll in Charleston, South Carolina.
Photo by Leonel Heisenberg on Unsplash

WalletHub compared more than 180 U.S. cities across 46 key metrics and found Charleston to be a top contender for retirees. “Retirement isn’t all about the money, though. Retirees want to live in a place where they enjoy safety and access to good healthcare, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ideal city will also have lots of ways to spend leisure time, along with good weather.” 

5. Fort Wayne, Indiana

Kiplinger recommends Fort Wayne for its outdoor offerings, free college classes for seniors and lower than average home prices: “Fort Wayne and Allen County have a lot to offer, including 100 miles of biking, hiking and kayaking trails, meandering rivers, and peaceful forests. Farmers markets, breweries and a recently revitalized downtown also add to Fort Wayne’s draw. If you’re 60 or older, you can audit classes at the Fort Wayne campus of Purdue University for free through its Senior Scholars program. Home prices in Fort Wayne make it an attractive locale as well.”

Retirable also ranks it highly for all the things to do: “It is affordable and offers a metro area with a thriving arts scene. It is particularly known for the Three Rivers Festival in the summertime, named after the three local rivers: the St. Marys, the St. Joseph, and the Maumee. Outdoor activities abound, with over 80 parks.

Beautiful view of fall foliage and nature along Lakeside Park in Fort Wayne, Indiana
Studies show that being immersed in nature is excellent for brain health — all the more reason to retire in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where there’s plenty of nature to take in. Here we see beautiful fall foliage along Lakeside Park. (Photo by Greg Byman on Unsplash)

Any places you think the experts missed as the best places to retire? We want to know! Drop us a comment below with your feedback.


Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.


  1. Your priorities for retirement are no where near mine. I want entertainment but not what you envision.
    I know more and more people want to live in cities but I don’t and I am not alone. Most retirees have lived in big cities and want to get away and live in a safe peaceful place.
    A shooting range hurts nothing.

    1. I retired to the Midwest and am from a fairly big city, namely Nashville, TN. Where I live now is essentially a tiny dot on the map in a flyover state. Population of roughly 3,100. Ain’t squat for entertainment and although I’d like a few of the things from back home, I wouldn’t trade anything I have now for that. I was hoping one of these on the list would be similar, but as it stands, unless certain states start seceding, I’m staying put. Otherwise, maybe somewhere in Texas.

    2. These surveys are all the same, in almost all cases they push leftist hellholes. Most everyone I’ve talked to have no desire to live in a city much less a cold, crowded high crime and high tax one.
      Give me 5 acres, a small house and barn, a few small animals and I’m in heaven.?

      1. To each their own sir and speak for yourself you [email protected]$ redneck. Why did you turn it into something that is either left wing or right wing? This comment is also coming from a person who has most likely never been to any of the said locations. I have, and have worked in one of them, and met tons of retiree’s in that city. If that’s where they want to retire and it’s not a barn and farm animals, then so what!?

    1. Orlando is a right wing extremist state run by a fascist autocratic governor. He loved the vaccine until he didn’t.

  2. Have any of you been to Asheville? Housing costs are some of the highest in North Carolina!! It is wonderful but unless your a millionaire or above, retirement there is not possible.

  3. It would appear that very few of the cities mentioned have protections for the LGBTQIA populations that are looking for an inclusive retirement.

    1. And we all know that the world revolves around the 5-7 % LGBTQXYZ community because they are very special and need special treatment and special places for their special lifestyles.

  4. You’re out of touch if you think Asheville is an affordable retirement city. Housing costs are sky high thanks to the promotion of it as being a great place to retire 😂

  5. Why the HELL O would you put Orlando on this list??? Tourist city, tourist prices, backward thinking governor (let’s go back to the past thinking) I’ll say I’m gay and happy when and where I want to, did I mention tourists… People going to Disney World complain about congestion/traffic.

  6. I live in Hendersonville and people living in Asheville are moving to Hendersonville. People that work in Asheville can’t afford to live there. It’s the most expensive city in NC.

  7. I’m 67, single, own 120 acre farm, need a partner someone to enjoy what time remains. Other than that, living in a country setting trumps most everything. Peace and quite are priceless in a country that believes it’s ok to disturb others with booming cars with extremely loud mufflers even in the country.

    1. The only big city on this list is Orlando and it references the nearby Villages, one of the most Trumpian cities in the country filled with backward, racist fake Christians. But please do stay where you’re comfortable, among redneck bigots and science deniers.

      1. Lmao. Another leftist snowflake bigot triggered by an article about retirement living options. You people are difficult to get away from.

    1. Consider living outside the country.Many Genxyz’ers will fit in well in North Korea, China, Venezuela, and other thought control states, as their philosophies are comparable.

      1. Georgetown SC, is very peaceful and quiet although may bore some people. I’m in Florence SC and I love it so come on down. Enough to do and very affordable

  8. While restaurants and free college classes are all great, these type of articles rarely delve into the more practical issues around aging. Grocery delivery? Paratransit? House cleaning? In-home help? Stair-free housing? Or assisted living complexes? Wheelchair or walker accessible trails, parks and businesses?

  9. Lancaster and Harrisburg are not anywhere you would want to live. Like many other places, the suburban areas around them are nice, but the cities themselves are unsafe, dirty, and unwelcoming for anything more than a quick dinner trip occasionally.

    1. Ok . .good. at 75 and 10 yrs + into retirement,I think the snowbirds approach has worked well for me,as opposed to choosing one permanent location. I like the wide open spaces in Texas,but it gets Cold. So I opt for winters in Palm springs or Orlando.

      1. I like your thinking! We recently retired and moved from Southern California back to Indianapolis (our birthplace). After 2 Indy winters we became snowbirds buying a condo in a 55+ St. Petersburg, FL community. You can’t beat Florida weather from January to May. After that it’s not that great. Indy to St. Petersburg is drivable and flights are reasonable. Now we just fly because we keep a car there.

    2. 100% Agree!
      I lived in Harrisburg for 8 years.
      Misery index required me to leave.
      Lancaster is complete boredom!!

  10. Ls Porte, IN is an unknown and underutilized germ 90 minutes drive from Chicago with access to first-class health care, including the best hospitals.
    Taxes are still low, and infrastructure meets the needs of residents and visitors alike.

  11. What nonsense!! Asheville is the most expensive place to live. Mission Hospital is always in trouble for overcharging and various offenses. Growth is rapid, affordable housing is nonexistent, traffic horrendous. What used to be beautiful mountain views are now crowded with ugly houses. Get a grip.

    1. Agreed. Mission Hospital is awful – badly run, understaffed, and it’s currently being sued by multiple cities / counties for being a monopoly that offers high prices for poor outcomes. Housing is scarce, expensive, and usually has multi stories, hard for aging in place.

  12. Sheesh! I would just like to live where it has a rural country farm feel, but without all of the generational hating on each other!

  13. I live near Lancaster PA and enjoy visiting there but retiring there no way. PA is the ninth highest tax rate in the US to start with and Lancaster has above average property tax for the state. While Lanxaster has plenty to do it is a tourist town so even though it has small town appeal it has big town traffic and crime. It is not NY or LA but there are some of the same gangs in little Lancaster. Great place to visit but to expensive and too many tourist for my ideal retirement spot.

    1. PA’s *overall* tax burden, per wallethub, is #26.
      You’re correct about Lancaster’s property tax though.
      There are some small parts to avoid, just like any town of equivalent size you could name, but I felt perfectly safe walking through most of it daily.
      Great foodie scene, nice parks nearby, good hospital, very walkable… I wouldn’t mind retiring in Lancaster (if I were going to live in a city at all).

  14. What about the wonderfully designed retirement community The Villages, Florida? Nightly free entertainment with dancing in now four different Town Squares of a variety of great musicians. Hundreds of clubs for practically any hobby and free golf courses galore. A wide range of affordability with housing from the mid 150’s to over a million dollar homes.

  15. Plenty to enjoy in Lancaster and surrounds. Business vibrant and gives inner city a fair cut. Break the law- watch out.

  16. Both myself and my wife were born in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and now live in Florida. No comparison.
    Fort Wayne is cold and totally brown 7 months out of the year.
    I am surprised that it is rated number five.

  17. Rethink moving to the highest home insurance rates in the Orlando area.
    Traffic is horrible and property tax is high. Also medical care is substandard with Advent Health taking over most practices. We made a mistake moving from northern CA to this area in the so called best area around Orlando.

    1. What about Corpus Christi, Texas or the surrounding areas? Or Natchez, Mississippi? Great weather. Great locations.

  18. I am glad to see that there are valid comments being made about this list.
    We are getting ready to retire, and central Virginia is half-way between: the ocean and mountains; the North East U.S. and the South East U.S.
    There is plenty of history, open landscape, and exciting cities to explore, small and large. Plenty of regional, annual events, to attend!

  19. who ever wrote this article is dreaming and did not do their research. Orlando a tourist and high crime. Ashville was the place yo retire 30 years ago now it too expensive. Lancaster PA to fricken cold. I won’t waste my breath on the rest…the best place yo retire is up and coming and getting there before everyone else, so every 20 yrs or so its somewhere else….people you’ll have to do your research because this article blows!

    1. Stereotype much ? Guarantee you’ve never been near any of those states. But thanks for bringing your useless racial and political prejudices into the discussion, Sven from Sweden.

    2. The POOR uneducated Dems continue to be naive and misinformed!!
      The POOR Dems still are unable to think for themselves and love to get HAD by the Biden,and Pelosi

  20. Try finding affordable housing in Asheville. We had to move out in the county, and it’s becoming unaffordable, too !!

  21. Retire.. LMFAO!!! I’m 46 & despite being employed part-time since the day I turned 12 & working full time, at least at one job if not two (one FT & the other either PT or also FT), I am still unlikely never see retirement.
    To further exhibit the ridiculousness of it, I not only graduated from a respected college with a 3.92 GPA & three degrees (BA, BS, MA), but I also avoided the four primary “financial potholes” of life (college loans, divorce, children & accruing any credit card or other compounded interest debt), and yet still, my eternally single, childless, unmarried/undivorced, never borrowed anything from anyone lifestyle will most likely end with me having reported to some job or workplace on that very same day or maybe at best the one or two days before (if I happen to die on my day/days off). And yet, you still want to push this retirement BS despite the fact that in 25-30 years when I’m due to retire (& that’s IF I even get to 70, 72 or whatever the retirement age is by then) there most likely won’t be any money left in the coffers of the US to pay for or help pay for seniors to retire. You might as well add as a place on this list “wherever a cold day in hell” is, since that’s exactly when I’ll be able to stop working!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *