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Close your eyes and envision your ideal home in your retirement years. The chances are good that you’ve got a stunning setting in mind as part of that dream.
Beauty certainly means different things to different retirees. You may picture the red rock mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona, or the storm-tossed seas of Portland, Maine, while others imagine living among the Spanish moss and Old-World architecture of Savannah, Georgia.
We’ve chosen a variety of locations, each set in beautiful surroundings where the lifestyle, cultures and recreational possibilities are suited to retirees. There’s no science involved in our choices. They are not the balmy locations that many retirees dream of, although we write about those too.
Our selection process was entirely subjective, just as your quest for a perfect home in retirement will be. But keep reading, and you might get some ideas.
Greenville, South Carolina
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In the foothills of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, this town of about 72,000 gets lots of attention for its retirement assets, including the city’s natural surroundings.
Greenville’s Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 22-mile recreational trail along the Reedy River, “threads through the town’s tranquil parks and thumping downtown scene,” says Conde Nast Traveler.
Greenville is ideally situated. It’s surrounded by state parks and located just about smack dab between Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Georgia capital of Atlanta. State residents age 60 and older enjoy free access to the classes at the local University of South Carolina.
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Wisconsin is famous for lakes, and Madison has several right in and around the town.
Wisconsin’s capital city is found on several lists of best places to retire, and it topped Money.com’s list in 2020. The city itself — home to around 269,000 people — is flanked by two lakes and contains an arboretum and lakeside nature preserve.
Among other attractions: Residents age 60 and older may audit certain classes for free at the local University of Wisconsin campus, and the big-city life of Chicago is just a couple of hours away by car.
Madison’s housing costs are manageable, as Money.com points out. There is, however, one major downside: snow.
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Should you join the roughly 147,000 residents of Savannah for your retirement? There’s a good case to be made for it.
The city’s famed historic architecture makes a beautiful backdrop for the town’s attractions, including its cuisine, arts, culture, the signature live oaks and evocative Spanish moss.