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20 Picture-Perfect Destinations That American Retirees Love

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By Alessia Barranca

Frugal Feature

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Choosing where to retire is a big decision. You want a place that offers a good quality of life, affordability, and access to the things that are important to you. Taking into account factors like climate, healthcare, and cost of living, we take a look at the best 20 places to retire:

Asheville, North Carolina

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Asheville is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts in the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains. With its cool summers and mild winters, you can enjoy the beauty of the mountains year-round. In Asheville, you’ll find a stellar art scene with many galleries, studios, theaters, and over 50 breweries. Most importantly, the city enjoys a low cost of living so that you can retire comfortably.

Charleston, South Carolina

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Charleston is a rich historical city known for its beautiful antebellum architecture and cobblestone streets. Activities include golf, fishing, beach days, and exploring Fort Sumter, all favorites of retirees in the area. While the cost of living in Charleston is slightly above the national average, healthcare costs are lower than the national average.

Cuenca, Ecuador

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Cuenca, a colonial city in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador, is best known for its beautiful architecture, friendly people, and low cost of living. Cuenca is a great place to retire if you are looking for a slower pace of life and a chance to immerse yourself in a new culture. The weather in Cuenca is spring-like year-round, with mild temperatures and little humidity. One pull for U.S. retirees is that it is close to home, so people never have to be too far away from their families.

Boquete, Panama

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Boquete, a mountain town in western Panama, is loved for its beautiful scenery, cool climate, and friendly expats. Boquete is a great place to retire if you are looking for an active lifestyle, as the area has plenty of hiking, biking, and fishing opportunities. The cost of living in Boquete is very affordable, with healthcare costs being a fraction of what they are in the United States.

Belgrade, Montana

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Belgrade is a small town in the Gallatin Valley of Montana that boasts beautiful scenery and friendly communities. The city is a perfect place to retire if you are looking for a slower pace of life and a chance to connect with nature. The cost of living in Belgrade is below the national average, and healthcare costs are also lower than the national average.


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Belize is a Central American country on the eastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. It is a great place to retire if you want a tropical climate, beautiful beaches, and a laid-back lifestyle. Belize is also a popular destination for scuba diving and snorkeling. The weather in Belize is hot and humid year-round, with a rainy season from May to November. The cost of living is very affordable, with cheaper healthcare than in the United States.


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Portugal is a country in Europe located on the Iberian Peninsula. It is a desirable place to retire if you are looking for a beautiful country with a rich history and culture. With affordable living and a sound healthcare system, retirees can easily enjoy a high standard of living with high-quality healthcare that’s affordable. Portugal particularly appeals to those who love sailing, golfing, and beach life.

Medellin, Columbia

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Medellín, a city in Colombia, is a popular destination for expats and digital nomads. Medellín offers a much lower cost of living than many North American and European cities. Housing, transportation, food, and entertainment are all relatively affordable. Expats can live a comfortable life on a fixed income. 

Lakeside, Montana

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Lakeside, Montana, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, a small-town atmosphere, and access to outdoor activities, making it appealing to retirees looking for a relaxing location to spend their golden years. Situated on the shore of Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, Lakeside offers stellar waterfront views and access to boating, fishing, and swimming.

Costa Rica

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Costa Rica ranks as one of the world’s best places to retire consistently, as it offers a relatively affordable cost of living. Housing, food, healthcare, and entertainment can be significantly cheaper. The country is a haven for nature lovers, with abundant plant and animal life. Birdwatching, spotting monkeys, and encountering sloths are all everyday experiences.


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France, with its rich culture, stunning scenery, and renowned cuisine, is a dream retirement destination for many Americans. The country is a center for art, music, film, and theater. Museums like the Louvre and countless art galleries offer endless opportunities for cultural exploration. Foodies can enjoy gastronomic delights like freshly baked croissants, macarons, and hearty stews.

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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Playa del Carmen is a town on the Caribbean coast and a popular retirement destination due to its beautiful beaches. With turquoise water and abundant marine life, it is a great place to retire if you want a relaxed lifestyle and plenty of swimming, snorkeling, and diving opportunities. You’ll find year-round hot and humid weather, with a rainy season from May to November. Living here is very affordable, with healthcare costs being a particular draw.

Daytona Beach, Florida

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With good weather all year round, Florida is a popular retirement destination. Daytona Beach offers a relatively affordable cost of living compared to many other coastal towns in Florida. Housing, groceries, and transportation tend to be on the lower end, allowing retirees to stretch their budgets further. The area is famous for its hard-packed sand beaches, perfect for sunbathing, walking, or participating in water sports. There’s also a vibrant beachfront scene with restaurants, shops, and entertainment options.


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Much of Spain enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate with sunshine year-round, a significant draw for retirees seeking to escape colder climates. Spain boasts a variety of landscapes, from the long stretch of coastline of the Costa del Sol to the rolling hills of Andalusia and the majestic peaks of the Pyrenees mountains. Compared to many parts of the United States, Spain offers a more affordable cost of living. Housing, groceries, and transportation can be significantly cheaper, allowing retirees on a fixed income to live comfortably.

York, Pennsylvania

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York offers a significantly lower cost of living than the national average, especially regarding housing and property taxes. This is a beautiful advantage for retirees on a fixed income. The city has a friendly and close-knit community atmosphere. Retirees can expect a slower pace of life than in bustling cities, so it is perfect for those who want to relax after a lifetime of hard work.

Cincinnati, Ohio

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Cincinnati offers a variety of neighborhoods, each with its unique character. When you retire, you can choose from walkable, historic districts to quiet, suburban communities. Cincinnati has a well-regarded healthcare system with nationally ranked hospitals and medical centers. It is a good spot for people who want to experience all four seasons rather than being hot all year round.


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Italy enchants many Americans with its dream combination of cultural riches, breathtaking landscapes, and delectable cuisine, making it a prime retirement destination. Retirees can make the most of their time immersing themselves in the cradle of the Renaissance, with world-famous art museums like the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and architectural marvels like St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. While some areas can be expensive, the cost of living in Italy can be lower than in some parts of the U.S., especially considering housing and healthcare.


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The Netherlands boasts a universal healthcare system providing residents with basic medical coverage. For those with ongoing medical needs, this serves as an advantage. While supplemental insurance might be recommended, healthcare costs can be lower than in the United States. Cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Utrecht offer a vibrant mix of historical sites, renowned museums, and charming canals. Explore Dutch Golden Age art, explore fascinating historical periods, or enjoy picturesque architecture.


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Norway is gorgeous, with fjords, mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. The scenery is breathtaking, offering endless outdoor exploration and adventure opportunities. It enjoys a meager crime rate, making it a safe place to live and explore, and retirees can feel secure and comfortable in their surroundings. Norway has a high cost of living, so this needs to be considered. However, the healthcare system is one of the best in the world.

New Zealand

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New Zealand is renowned for its dramatic landscapes, from snow-capped mountains and glaciers to pristine beaches, rolling hills, geothermal wonders, and lush rainforests. It enjoys a temperate climate with warm summers and mild winters. , making it an ideal place to live for those who want to escape the extremes of hot or cold weather. While New Zealand is not the most budget-friendly retirement destination, the cost of living can be lower than in many other developed countries, such as the United States or Canada.


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Belgium offers a compelling combination of a high quality of life, a robust social safety net, beautiful cities steeped in history, and a central European location ideal for further exploration. Belgium could be your ideal retirement haven if you value good healthcare, safety, a walkable lifestyle, and a rich cultural scene with delicious food.