The suburbs might be the ideal way for a retiree to squeeze every drop out of their hard-earned time off after the close of their career. You can spend the day in a nearby city to enjoy all the urban amenities that make them such popular destinations, but you’ll also be much closer to more natural settings that can provide for a whole different range of activities. And perhaps most importantly, you won’t have to worry as much about those big city prices running through your nest egg faster than you would like.
That’s why GOBankingRates has compiled some of these exurban towns that are best suited for your golden years, using factors like the cost of housing, incomes in the area and the percentage of the population that is retirees. After scoring each category, the results were ranked to show which options are your best bet for saving money and having your best time yet.
So which suburb might be right for your retirement? Here’s a look at some American gems you might be interested in calling home.
Last updated: Sept. 10, 2020
20. Lavallette, New Jersey
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 63.5%
- Median home listing price: $599,000
Located on the Barnegat Peninsula — the small strip of land along the New Jersey coast that separates Barenegat Bay from the Atlantic — Lavallette is a beach lover’s dream. You’ll be a relatively short drive from the city life of New York and Newark to the north, but your home base features a number of lovely options along the Jersey Shore — including Island Beach State Park just south on the Barnegat Peninsula.
19. Isle of Palms, South Carolina
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 46.0%
- Median home listing price: $942,000
Located near Charleston — one of America’s oldest cities — Isle of Palms could be just the place to live out your golden years in the Palmetto State. This is the island life that also accommodates some pretty serious luxury, too, if you’re interested — this resort community features a marina and championship golf and tennis in addition to its beautiful ocean beaches.
18. Chevy Chase, Maryland
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 26.6%
- Median home listing price: $1,189,000
No, this is not a community built for fans of the seminal comedy star, the town has actually been around since the 1890s — though Chevy Chase fans are likely still welcome. This tony Maryland community is just outside the nation’s capital for anyone hoping to spend their retirement exploring the Smithsonian without having to live in the city. That is, provided you can afford the seven-figure home that represents the median price there.
17. Mission Hills, Kansas
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 28.6%
- Median home listing price: $1,287,500
Situated just south of, well, both Kansas Cities, Mission Hills could be just the suburban oasis from which you can venture into the locale so famous for its BBQ and jazz. This city features a number of decorative fountains and urns throughout the area, some of which are hundreds of years old. It’s part of a town that touts the way it intertwines natural elements with everyday life.
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16. Mesquite, Nevada
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 63.1%
- Median home listing price: $289,900
Retirees can find plenty to do in Mesquite, which has casinos, golf courses, entertainment venues and outdoor attractions in the Virgin River Valley. This town, one hour and 15 minutes away from Las Vegas, has nearly 8,000 households and a property tax rate of 0.966%. The cost of living in Mesquite is slightly above the national average but lower than the cost of living in Las Vegas.
15. North Oaks, Minnesota
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 44.5%
- Median home listing price: $826,500
There’s little chance of North Oaks ruining Minnesota’s reputation as the Land of 10,000 Lakes — they’re peppered liberally around the surrounding area. So if your retirement dreams involve a pontoon boat and a small lake to putter around on, this could be the place for you. And with Minneapolis directly to the town’s southwest, you’re not far from a wide range of urban amenities as well.
14. Indian Wells, California
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 70.6%
- Median home listing price: $859,000
If the only thing you think of when you hear “Coachella” is hordes of young people packing into music festivals, you’re really missing out. The Coachella Valley is a gorgeous area with a lot to explore. Indian Wells is right outside of Palm Desert and down CA-111 from Palm Springs, locating it right between the Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Joshua Tree National Park — allowing you to enjoy one of the most picturesque portions of California’s high desert or to beat the heat by escaping to the thin mountain air.
13. Laguna Woods, California
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 83.6%
- Median home listing price: $300,000
The heart of Laguna Woods is Laguna Woods Village, an active lifestyle community located outside of Los Angeles for people 55 and older. The retirement village is located only 10 minutes from the Laguna Beach coastline and has a variety of amenities, including golf courses, tennis courts and an equestrian center. And with over 4 out of 5 households collecting Social Security, it’s a safe bet that the local economy here is geared toward retirees.
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12. Ponce Inlet, Florida
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 60.3%
- Median home listing price: $458,800
Ponce de Leon was famously searching for the Fountain of Youth when he became the first European to set foot in Florida. However, you’ll find that focusing on enjoying your retirement in Ponce Inlet should work out a lot better than trying to recapture your youth with a search for “Ponce Fountain.” This Florida community is situated on the Atlantic coast just south of Daytona Beach, and it’s home to the tallest lighthouse in Florida — a historic site with a corresponding museum.
11. Pepper Pike, Ohio
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 37.8%
- Median home listing price: $542,000
Pepper Pike is one great option for retirees interested in calling northeastern Ohio their home. This Cleveland suburb touts its green spaces interwoven with neighborhoods and is largely residential. Housing options do include townhouses for those less interested in a traditional home, and you’re not far from Lake Erie for anyone who hopes to make enjoying some time on the water a big part of their retirement.
10. Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 45.4%
- Median home listing price: $575,000
Metro Detroit offers plenty that people not familiar with the area might not be familiar with. If you want to enjoy nature, Lake St. Clair is close by with an abundance of parks, and anyone willing to drive north into some of the state’s more remote areas will likely find a lot to enjoy. And the Detroit proper is home to a wide variety of amenities, including the legendary Detroit Institute of Art and the Motown Museum.
9. Olympia Fields, Illinois
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 54.9%
- Median home listing price: $229,500
The village of Olympia Fields is home to the Olympia Fields Country Club, unique architecture, convenient public transportation access and more than 140 acres of parkland. Homes are pretty affordable in this Chicago suburb, and the city’s mass transit system means spending a day exploring the loop or visiting the Field Museum would be relatively easy from this locale. However, if the hassle of city life isn’t for you, staying near home still means having access to a robust park system with something available for everyone.
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8. Estero, Florida
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 61.9%
- Median home listing price: $349,900
This Florida burg is on the state’s Gulf Coast, on the coast protected by Estero and Big Hickory Islands. And you’ll be able to really enjoy the local natural habitat between nearby Koreshan State Park and the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve. And for those who prefer learning about history, you can try the Mound Key Archaeological State Park that includes mounds that rise 30 feet over the water at what was believed to be a ceremonial center for the local Calusa.
7. Longboat Key, Florida
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 74.6%
- Median home listing price: $714,500
Longboat Key stretches out into the Gulf of Mexico just off the Florida coast near Sarasota. The town offers a variety of beautiful beaches to enjoy. In fact, shell mounds found in the area suggest that people have been coming to this spot to celebrate good times since the Timucuan and Calusa were doing it long before European settlers showed up.
6. Leisuretowne, New Jersey
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 86.0%
- Median home listing price: $153,000
Unless Lesiuretowne has befallen a positively stupifying trend of people suffering injuries that prevent them from working, the fact that nearly 9 out of 10 households here are collecting Social Security is probably a sign that this is a community made up almost entirely of retirees and senior citizens. The closest major city is Philadelphia to the east, but this is one New Jersey locale where you might see a little more of what led to it being dubbed the “Garden State” — with the Brendan T. Byrne and Wharton State Forests just a short drive away.
5. Plantation, Florida
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 81.4%
- Median home listing price: $360,000
Plantation is home to tree-lined streets, multiple recreation facilities and a vibrant business community. The Miami suburb blends an urban environment with a hometown lifestyle and offers numerous amenities, including golf courses, parks, shopping and a public library. Plantation has about 2,700 households, and it could be a good alternative to pricey Miami for retirees hoping to plant roots in South Florida.
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4. Green Valley, Arizona
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 86.0%
- Median home listing price: $219,900
Green Valley is a retirement community located in the lush hills of the Santa Cruz River Valley. In addition to teeing off on the numerous golf courses, residents can enjoy bird-watching and hiking trails. The Tucson suburb is one of the larger suburbs included in this study, with more than 13,000 households — with a whopping 86% of those collecting Social Security benefits.
3. Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 78.5%
- Median home listing price: $210,000
Hot Springs National Park — located in nearby Hot Springs — is the oldest piece of federally-protected land in the United States, long known as “America’s spa” for the natural springs there. For Hot Springs Village — a recreational resort community — that nearby destination comes alongside being a short drive from Little Rock to the east and the Ouachita National Forest to the west.
2. Timber Pines, Florida
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 87.4%
- Median home listing price: $206,500
Timber Pines is a private retirement community that boasts “Country Club Living for Active Adults.” The community has more than 3,000 homes and features amenities such as golf courses, tennis courts, heated community pools and walking paths. The Tampa suburb is the best suburb to retire in because it has the greatest percentage of households collecting Social Security income — which means lots of fellow retirees — as well as the lowest median home price and the lowest cost of living of all the suburbs included in this ranking. To top it all off, some of the best beaches in the country are just a short drive away.
1. Rio Verde, Arizona
- Percentage of households collecting Social Security: 87.8%
- Median home listing price: $560,000
The 87.8% of households receiving Social Security benefits represent the highest proportion of any town listed here. The Phoenix suburb is located to the northeast of America’s fifth-largest city, putting it relatively close to plenty of rural features as well as the faster life in the big city. The town is situated right on the edge of the Tonto National Forest.
The Best Suburbs for Retirees
The best suburbs for retirees are typically clustered in states where the weather is warm and living costs are lower. Traditional retirement destination states like Arizona and Florida are well-represented in this study, but a number of colder states like Illinois and Minnesota also made the list, in case you love a good snowy day.
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Please note photos are for illustrative purposes only and depict the large city closest to each suburb listed in the study.
Methodology: To find 20 great suburbs for retirees, GOBankingRates looked at all communities in the U.S. with 1,000 to 50,000 total households that are located within one of the country’s 100 largest metropolitan statistical areas by population, according to the United States Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis. These metrics were selected to ensure that each community is closely tied to a major urban area without being a large city itself. GOBankingRates then scored all qualifying cities on their (1) average household income, (2) percent of households that collect Social Security, (3) average income for households that collect Social Security, (4) percent of households with retirement income, (5) average income for households that collect retirement income, and (6) estimated median property tax paid by residents. Factors (1-5) were sourced from the 2018 American Community Survey conducted by the Census Bureau and higher values were considered preferable while factor (6) was calculated by multiplying Zillow’s estimated typical home value for each city by the median property tax rate in each city’s state, as published by Tax-rates.org and a lower value was considered preferable. GOBankingRates then analyzed the 60 highest-scoring cities in more depth, scoring them against each other on their (7) 2020 cost of living index score from Sperling’s Best Places and (8) median home listing price from Zillow in addition to factors (1-6). Lower values were considered preferable for factors (7) and (8). The final roundup of great suburbs represents those communities with the highest combined score on factors (1-8) with all factors weighted equally. To ensure a wide geographic spread of suburbs, only one suburb per major MSA was included in the final ranking. All data was collected on and up to date as of Aug. 27-28, 2020.