As the retirement ages approach, it may be time to consider where to spend the ‘golden years.’ For some, warm climates and sandy beaches may be their calling. However, for others, retiring in the mountains is the ultimate dream. Who can fault it? Finding peace in the mountains away from the city’s busy streets can be amazing. The mountains beckon with crisp fresh air, outdoor activities, and small yet close-knitted communities to engage with.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best mountain towns for retirement. We’ll consider overall Livability, including factors such as cost of living and crime rates.
Our first suggested mountain town for retirement in Knoxville. Nestled near the Great Smoky Mountains, the city provides great mountain access. Technically, Knoxville isn’t in the mountains but rather in the Great Appalachian Valley or known locally as the Tennessee Valley. However, from the city, the mountainous landscapes are clearly visible.
In terms of Livability, Knoxville scores 71/100, with the low cost of living being the most relevant factor for retirees. At the time of writing, the average home value is around $300,000. There are many amenities within Knoxville especially tailored towards retirees. For example, Sherrill Hills Retirement Resort provides a luxury retirement community that may be of interest.
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
Next up, we have the city of Hot Springs Village, located in the foothills of the Ouachita Mountains. It is a highly regarded and well-sought-after community, especially among retirees. Key attractions included nine unique golf courses. Eleven recreational lakes and 26,000 acres of land, all within the city limits. It truly is a gem for retirees.
In terms of Livability, the city scores 76/100 with the low cost of living and low crime rates being the most attractive factors. Additionally, property values in the area at the time of writing stand at around $275,000.
Located near Monte Sano Mountain or “Mountain of Health, Huntsville is our next recommended town for retirees. From the fresh air, clean water, and cool temperatures of the mountains, Huntsville opens up a world of opportunities. Additionally, the mountain range of the nearby Appalachian Mountains can be seen throughout the city.
In terms of Livability, the city scores 65/100; the biggest appeal is the low cost of living. Additionally, house values in the area stand at around $250,000 at the time of writing.
Our next addition to the list of mountain towns for retirement is Charlottesville. A charming and historical city situated perfectly in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The city’s community combines the feel of a small town with amenities fit for a big city. Retirees will feel perfectly at home here. Additionally, access to the stunning mountains and outdoor activities will be sure to keep them busy.
In terms of Livability, the city scores 71/100, with the low cost of living being the highest-rated factor. Additionally, property values are currently worth around $400,000 on average. However, for the amenities, it is definitely worth it!
Morgantown, West Virginia
The next city on the list hails from West Virginia, none other than Morgantown. Located in the Monongahela Valley and surrounded by the Appalachian Mountains, it is truly a sight to behold. The city holds a diverse community, including college students. As a result, there is plenty going on. One of the key attractions for outdoor enthusiasts is the nearby Coopers Rock State Forest, which features stunning views, hiking trails, and rock climbing opportunities.
In terms of Livability, the city scored 79/100, with low costs of living and low crime rates being the most relevant factors. In addition, the average property value in Morgantown is around $250,000, which is also quite affordable.
Up next, from the heart of the Teton Mountains, we have the scenic city of Jackson. The stunning mountain scenery and abundant wildlife are enough to help this city secure its place on this list. It is the perfect city with plenty of outdoor activities, including mountain biking, horseback riding, and other amenities to keep retirees content.
In terms of Livability, the city scores 70/100, with low crime rates and the low cost of living being the highest-rated factors. However, in terms of the average property price, Jackson is one of the more expensive ones, with prices at $1.5 million at the time of writing.
Asheville, North Carolina
Next up, we have another city located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Asheville offers plenty for outdoor enthusiasts. This includes access to the Pisgah National Forest, located just under a 30-minute drive away. Retirees are able to explore the hiking trails while taking in the stunning mountain vistas every day. Additionally, Asheville is one of the stops along the scenic blue ridge parkway, which opens up the door for further exploration.
In terms of Livability, the city scores 62/100, with the highest-rated factor being the low cost of living. At the time of writing, average property prices stand at around $425,000, which is reasonable for what’s on offer.
Up next, we have another beautiful and historic town, Durango. The town in the San Juan Mountains holds stunning mountain views, including rugged peaks, deep canyons, and beautiful waterfalls. In addition, the San Juan National Forest offers plenty of outdoor activities and is conveniently accessible from Durango.
In terms of Livability, the town scored 63/100, with the cost of living being better than the national average. In comparison with other cities on this list, property values in Durango are higher, with the average at $650,000.
Taos, New Mexico
The next town on our list comes from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico, Taos. The town is certainly unique and will keep retirees entertained throughout the year. Besides the mountainous scenery, Taos is also home to numerous galleries and museums. Additionally, the nearby Taos Ski Valley offers a skiing resort, which provides a fun atmosphere.
In terms of Livability, the town scores 67/100, with low cost of living being the highest-rated factor. Additionally, the house prices in Taos stand at an average of $380,000.
The final city on our list is Bozeman, located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Known for its amazing natural scenery, there’s plenty on offer. For example, Yellowstone National Park is located close by, offering easy accessibility for outdoor recreation.
In terms of Livability, the city scores 63/100, with the low crime rate being the highest-rated factor. The cost of living is rated a C- which is actually the lowest on the list. However, property prices are currently around an average of $650,000. Due to its proximity to the Rocky Mountains, we felt we had to include Bozeman on this list.
Where is the cheapest place to live in the mountains?
Morgantown, West Virginia, is the cheapest place to live. Not only does it score well for Livability but with low house prices at an average of $250,000, it’s quite affordable.
Where do the happiest retirees live?
The happiest retirees are those who are able to engage in activities while having a warm community around them. Whether that’s in retirement resorts or in close-knit towns can depend. Additionally, ensuring that retirement savings stretch through the retirement years can reduce stress and worries. So, looking for affordable mountain towns can ensure retirees will be happy. However, having access to nature and beautiful scenery is likely to keep anybody smiling!
Where is the best place to retire in the Smoky Mountains?
The best place to retire is in the Smoky Mountains in Knoxville. Due to its convenience, access to activities, and important amenities such as healthcare – it’s clear to see why.
Where is the safest and most affordable place to retire?
Again, Morgantown, West Virginia, is the highest-rated town for Livability on this list and so is the safest and most affordable place to retire. However, there are other retirement communities and gated communities that we haven’t included on this list which could potentially be other alternatives.
There are many mountainous towns in the United States which can provide a great place to retire. There’s plenty on offer from mountain towns with warm weather to winter wonderlands! Depending on affordability, your options may be limited; however, it’s definitely worth visiting the towns and cities to ensure your compatibility. Regardless, having access to the great outdoors during the ‘golden years’ is the best way to enjoy retirement while staying busy.