Morgantown made the list for "20 Best Small Towns to Retire" - White Diamond Realty - West Virginia Real Estate (2024)

When you’re ready to retire, we’ve got a destination. Whether you prefer beaches, mountains, cities or college towns, there’s a match for you. We looked at small towns with populations up to 100,000 residents that have been touted for their low cost of living, affordable housing, public safety, good-quality healthcare and low tax rates.

We also looked at towns with lots to do for active retirees, including outdoor recreation, historic sites, live music, cultural performances, sporting events and bike trails. Many of these picks are in close proximity to universities and strollable historic districts with shopping, coffee shops and restaurants.

Here are 20 of our favorite small towns all across the country that are worthy of being selected as your retirement destination of choice.

Greenville, South Carolina

Set in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains,Greenvilleoffers a captivating mix of natural beauty and Southern charm. The climate is mild, the cost of living is low and there is a lot to do thanks to a thriving food scene and easy access to hiking and biking trails, including those atParis Mountain State Park. The centerpiece of Greenville isFalls Park on the Reedy, a 26-acre urban oasis that boasts a waterfall, dog-friendly paths and a 345-foot-long pedestrian footbridge. Stop inSpill the Beansfor a morning cuppa or afternoon scoop of ice cream.

Iowa City, Iowa

College towns, likeIowa City, make great places to retire thanks to an abundance of sporting events, lectures and artistic performances. There are also on-campus art galleries and museums, like theUniversity of Iowa Museum of Natural History. In Iowa City, you’ll find a low crime rate and plenty of good doctors, thanks to the nationally ranked University of Iowa Health System. Cheer at a football game at Kinnick Stadium, home of the Hawkeyes, or stroll theLiterary Walk, which celebrates the works of nearly 50 accomplished writers with ties to Iowa City.

Lawrence, Kansas

Home to the University of Kansas,Lawrenceis a quintessential college town with arts, culture, sports and plenty of open, green spaces. It’s also a great place to retire thanks to affordable home prices and zero estate tax. It’s among the most bike-friendly cities, too. There are miles of bike lanes and bike paths across Lawrence. Stroll across the beautiful historic district, which has plenty of coffee shops, boutiques, pubs and cafés. TheLawrence Farmers’ Marketis the place to be on Saturday mornings for locally roasted coffee and organic produce.

Roanoke, Virginia

In the heart of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains,Roanokedistinguishes itself as a destination of choice for outdoor-loving retirees. Enjoy a scenic drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway or hike to theRoanoke Star, the world’s largest man-made star that wows with views across the Roanoke Valley. Downtown, Center in the Square is home to several attractions, including theHarrison Museum of African American CultureandRoanoke Pinball Museum. A move to Roanoke rewards with low median home prices, easy access to top-quality healthcare and, of course, fresh mountain air.

Carmel, Indiana

Carmelhas a lot to offer those seeking the perfect retirement destination, including arts, culture, shopping and public parks. It’s also a short drive from the state’s capital, Indianapolis. Biking is popular, thanks to theMonon Trail, a paved rails-to-trails path that stretches 20 miles from Carmel to Indianapolis. Eight bike rental stations along the path make biking the trail accessible to anyone. To be sure, Carmel is more than just a suburb of Indianapolis. Carmel has its own symphony orchestra, world-class performing arts center andCarmel Christkindlmarket, a German-style holiday market.

Franklin, Tennessee

Franklinmay be just 30 minutes south of Nashville, but it’s got plenty to offer on its own, including golf courses, historic sites, art galleries and beautiful parks. It’s also a popular home for celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman which affords them easy access to all of the big city amenities of Nashville. Franklin is home to the double-arched Natchez Trace Bridge, which is photo-worthy year-round, but offers sensational views of the surrounding landscape from on top of the bridge in the fall. Stroll the 16-block historic district for quaint boutiques and delicious brunch spots, likeRuby Sunshine. It’s easy to love Franklin’s abundance of sunny days, little snow accumulation, low state taxes and a plethora of outdoor recreation opportunities.

Eagle, Idaho

The small town ofEaglehas a lot that makes this Boise suburb appealing to active retirees, including access to hiking and skiing, a top-ranked golf course, loads of city events, and a walkable downtown district with boutiques, galleries, restaurants and coffee shops. It’s easy to love the laid-back atmosphere and gorgeous mountain scenery. Enjoy a sandy swimming beach in summer atEagle Island State Parkor get in a few hours of skiing in winter atBogus Basin. Creative types can sign up for a class atFusions Glass Studio.

Cedar Park, Texas

Set in Texas Hill Country,Cedar Parkwows with beautiful green spaces, scenic wine trails, public golf courses, and fashionable boutiques likeHoney & Hay, which sells stylish home decor and seasonal gifts. Ample sunshine, plentiful outdoor recreation, professional sports and no state income tax make Cedar Park a dream for retirees. Stroll theCedar Park Sculpture Gardenon Main Street, then take in an ice hockey game at HEB Center and root for theTexas Stars. When you want to go into the city, Austin is an easy 30-minute drive.

Liberty, Missouri

The Kansas City suburb ofLibertyhas so much for active retirees, including low home prices, sporting events, city parks and historic homes. Take in a football or soccer game atWilliam Jewell College. On campus, the Folly Theatre and Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts host live performances for the community. Walk the nature trails atMartha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary, then head into town for a delicious BBQ lunch atJousting Pigs. To brush up on local history, hit up theJesse James Birthplace Museum.

Catalina Foothills, Arizona

For warm winters, the fashionable Tucson suburb ofCatalina Foothillsis a favorite place to retire. It’s also one of the best places to live in the entire Tucson area thanks to multiple golf courses, a flourishing food scene, and numerous hiking trails across Sabino Canyon and Mount Lemmon. Catalina Foothills is also a stone’s throw fromSaguaro National Park, which is home to the largest cacti in the United States. There are plenty of amazing restaurants too, including open-airContigo Latin KitchenandFini’s Landing.

Charlottesville, Virginia

There’s a lot to love aboutCharlottesville, including historic landmarks, world-class wineries, public art, and, of course, the University of Virginia, which means plenty of great music and interesting speakers come through town. ExploreMonticello, home to our third president, Thomas Jefferson. Then make stops for reds, whites and rosés along theMonticello Wine Trail. TheIX Art Parkis a small outdoor park with murals, sculptures and a concert stage. Outdoor-loving retirees will enjoy being in close proximity toShenandoah National Park, which has more than 500 miles of hiking trails.

Bozeman, Montana

Bozemanranks among the top places to retire thanks to quality healthcare, beautiful mountain scenery, and lots of cultural activities, including the opera, symphony, live concerts and ballet. Of course, outdoor recreation is tops, too. There are two nearby ski resorts –Big SkyandBridger Bowl– as well as lots of hiking and biking trails. Bozeman is also less than 90 minutes fromYellowstone National Park. Dining options are endless, too. You’ll find everything from fresh sushi to smoked barbecue to elevated ramen, as well as five breweries.

Burlington, Vermont

Set on the eastern shore of sprawling Lake Champlain in Vermont,Burlingtonis a dream for water-loving retirees who are all about the lake life, whether sailing, kayaking or motor boating. On the Adirondacks’ largest lake, you can launch boats of all kinds. Off the water, the pedestrian-friendlyChurch Street Marketplacedraws in visitors and residents alike with eclectic art galleries, food carts, bookstores and outdoor gear shops, even a Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop. For lifelong learners, Vermont residents aged 65 and up receive free tuition at theUniversity of Vermont.

Easton, Maryland

Set on Maryland’s Eastern Shore,Eastonis a stone’s throw from the Chesapeake Bay, a popular destination for sailing and boating. Stroll the charming tree-lined streets of Easton for antique shops, stylish boutiques, award-winning restaurants and ice cream parlors. A favorite isStorm and Daughters Ice Cream. Take in a performance at theAvalon Theatre, then revel in green spaces like Idlewild Park and Thompson Park. Access to health care is very good thanks to a regional health system affiliated with the University of Maryland.

Cheyenne, Wyoming

There’s a lot to do inCheyenne, especially for those who are all about cowboy and railroad history. Western heritage is huge in Cheyenne, so it’s no surprise that Cheyenne is home to the world’s largest outdoor rodeo. At theCheyenne Depot Museum, you can learn all about the history of the Union Pacific Railroad, which opened the West up to the masses. There’s also country line dancing, horseback riding, fishing and hiking atVedauwoo Recreation Area. A real bonus for retirees, Wyoming is among the most tax-friendly states in the US.

Morgantown, West Virginia

Home to West Virginia University,Morgantownis a popular place to retire thanks to a low cost of living, plenty of public parks, and lots of on-campus diversions, like football games, extension classes, a symphony orchestra and an art museum. The university also adds to the abundance of medical services available in this small town. There are plenty of ways to savor the town’s natural beauty too, including hikingDorsey’s Knobfor views across the Appalachian Mountains. Hungry? Grab a bite atTable 9, a modern gastropub, orIron Horse Tavern, a go-to for great pub grub.

Richland, Washington

In Washington, look toRichlandfor sunny days, delicious wine, public parks and easy access to healthcare thanks to its proximity to several large hospital systems. Washington has no state income tax, so retirees can hold onto more of their money. Water activities are popular thanks to a location at the confluence of the Columbia and Yakima Rivers. Located inWashington Wine Country, wine tasting is popular, and there are plenty of choices. More than 200 wineries are within one hour of the Tri-Cities region, which includes Richland, Kennewick and Pasco.

Portland, Maine

Portlandis among the best places to retire for a variety of reasons, including a lower cost of living and relatively affordable housing. Portland also wins over retirees with its small-town feel paired with amenities more commonly found in big cities, like good-quality healthcare and a thriving culinary scene. Retirees love that Portland has its own Arts District, which hostsFirst Friday Art Walkevents at galleries, studios and arts venues across town. In 2018 Portland was named Restaurant City of the Year byBon Appetit. That means you’ll find serious eats here, likeFore Street RestaurantandDuckfat.

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

Located in the Berkshires region of western Massachusetts,Pittsfieldis a great place to retire thanks to its natural beauty, historic sites and relative affordability, at least for New England. TheUpstreet Cultural Districtwows with live music, theatre performances and community festivals, while in-town dining features eclectic cafes, a vegan diner, burger joints and coffee lounges. Hike the trails atPittsfield State Forest, then watch a live performance at Colonial Theatre.Hanco*ck Shaker Villagelets you step back in time to the 18th century with artifacts, crafts and gardens. In winter, look toBosquet Mountainfor skiing and snowboarding.

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Fayettevilleis among the best places to retire thanks to plentiful outdoor recreation opportunities given its location in theFayetteville. Home to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville is one more college town that has a lot to offer retirees, including sporting events, cultural museums and theatre performances. As a bonus, residents aged 60 and up can take college classes tuition-free. Downtown, look for tempting restaurants, likeMockingbird Kitchenfor contemporary fare andVetro 1925for upscale Italian. In winter, theLights of the Ozarkslights up the historic downtown square.

Original Article by Erin Gifford, HGTV

Morgantown made the list for "20 Best Small Towns to Retire" - White Diamond Realty - West Virginia Real Estate (2024)


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