10 Great Small Towns to Retire

Small town retirement

When a small town has a high quality of life and a good economy, it often begins to draw new residents. Small cities allow you to escape the crowds and traffic of large metro areas but still retain the stores, services and health care options that make life in retirement easier. Here’s a look at the fastest-growing small cities in the U.S. with between 50,000 and 100,000 residents, according to Census Bureau data. These potential retirement spots provide natural beauty, entertainment options and convenient access to a larger city when you need it.

Georgetown, Texas

Georgetown is a haven for the old and the young. This college town is the home of Southwestern University, the oldest higher education institution in Texas. There’s also a massive retirement community for those age 55 and older called Sun City Texas, which has over 15,000 residents. Georgetown’s population has increased 10.5% over the past year to 75,420 people in 2021. The city has a charming town square with historic buildings that is frequently bustling with festivals and events. Georgetown also provides convenient access to the scenic rivers and lakes of the Texas Hill Country. Plus, the live music and barbecue of Austin are only 30 miles away.

Leander, Texas

Leander’s population has grown by 10.1% over the past year to 67,124 in 2021. This Austin suburb added 6,159 new residents in the year that ended on July 1, 2021. Retirees can choose to pursue the city pleasures of nearby Austin, play a round of golf at the Crystal Falls Golf Club or explore the surrounding Texas Hill Country at the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. The city organizes events and trips for residents age 55 and older, including hikes, wine tastings, museum visits and river cruises.

Queen Creek, Arizona

Queen Creek is a destination for foodies where locally grown olives are pressed into high-quality extra virgin olive oil, heritage and ancient grains are stone milled into flour and you can pick your own organic produce. The population has grown by 8.9% over the past year and now has 66,346 people. This suburb of Phoenix is located in the southeast part of the metro area. The weather is hot and sunny for much of the year, and you’ll need air conditioning to get through the often sweltering summers. Queen Creek can also be a base from which to explore the San Tan Mountains and Sonoran Desert.

New Braunfels, Texas

Located between San Antonio and Austin, this Texas Hill Country town provides convenient access to both larger cities. The population was 98,857 in 2021, up 8.3% from 2020. Originally settled by German immigrants, the city celebrates its heritage at several annual festivals, including Wurstfest and Wassailfest. You can take your grandchildren to the Schlitterbahn Waterpark or on a safari through Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch and Caverns, both of which provide discounts to seniors. Locals often stay cool during the sweltering summers by tubing down the Comal and Guadalupe rivers.

Fort Myers, Florida

If your retirement dream involves beaches and palm trees, you may be able to find it in Fort Myers. Located along the Caloosahatchee River near Florida’s Gulf Coast, Fort Myers is a relaxing beach retirement spot. The population has grown by 6.8% over the past year to 92,245 in 2021, and 35% of the population is age 60 or older. This popular retirement destination is among the top 10 cities on the U.S. News list of Best Places to Retire in 2022. The affordable housing costs in Fort Myers make it easier for retirees on a budget to relocate to Florida.

Casa Grande, Arizona

Located about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson, residents of Casa Grande can easily commute to both larger cities. The area has long, hot summers and brief, mild winters. The city shares its name with the nearby Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, where ancient Sonoran Desert people once built a “great house” and irrigation canals. There are several golf courses in the area, some of which charge quite affordable rates. The population of Casa Grande has grown by 6.2% over the past year and now includes 57,699 people.

Maricopa, Arizona

Maricopa is a Sonoran Desert city surrounded by mountain ranges that include the Sierra Estrellas, Palo Verde and Saddleback Mountains. The city provides an ideal vantagepoint to watch colorful desert sunsets. Maricopa is bordered by two Native American communities and has a museum and heritage center that display and preserve cultural artifacts. The city had 62,720 residents in 2021, up 6.1% from 2020. Maricopa is a small city that is about a 45-minute drive from Phoenix.

North Port, Florida

This water-centric city has miles of freshwater canals, natural springs, a creek, a river and is located near the Gulf of Mexico. There’s also a forest within the city limits, Myakka State Forest, that has over 40 miles of trails. North Port has seen its population expand by 5.5% over the past year to 80,021 people in 2021. One unique landmark is an underwater archeological and ecological preserve, Little Salt Spring, which is owned by the University of Miami. The mild winter weather allows for golfing, fishing, boating and horseback riding year-round.

Spring Hill, Tennessee

Spring Hill is among the fastest-growing cities in the country. The Spring Hill population has grown by 5.4% in the past year and is now 53,339 people, according to Census Bureau data. History buffs can explore the historic battlefield where the Civil War Battle of Spring Hill took place and visit the Rippavilla Plantation, a former plantation and museum which holds events and educational tours year-round. Located just over 30 miles from Nashville, retirees can easily visit the state capital city for music, nightlife or access to medical care, including the top-ranked Vanderbilt University Medical Center, which is among the top 20 best hospitals on the U.S. News best hospitals honor roll.

Caldwell, Idaho

Caldwell is located about 30 miles from Idaho’s capital city, Boise. This small city is among the fastest-growing suburbs in the U.S., according to Census Bureau data. Caldwell had a population of 63,629 in 2021, up 5.2% from 2020. Retirees can visit the many vineyards and wineries of the Sunnyslope Wine Trail or spend time in the downtown’s Indian Creek Plaza, which offers hundreds of events year-round. There are also many community activities for seniors, including arts and crafts events and dance and exercise classes.

10 small towns to consider for retirement:

–Georgetown, Texas.

— Leander, Texas.

— Queen Creek, Arizona.

— New Braunfels. Texas.

— Fort Myers, Florida.

— Casa Grande, Arizona.

— Maricopa, Arizona.

— North Port, Florida.

— Spring Hill, Tennessee.

— Caldwell, Idaho.

More from U.S. News

The Best Places to Retire in 2021-2022

10 Affordable Places to Rent an Apartment in Retirement

Retirement Spots With Year-Round Nice Weather

10 Great Small Towns to Retire originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 07/18/22: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information

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