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A view of the pier on Folly Beach in South Carolina on a sunny summer day.

Vacation Every Day at One of These Best Beach Towns To Retire

Retirement

by Matt Lyons Posted on November 21, 2023
Ready for a relaxing environment that boosts both your physical and mental health? How about one with a plethora of outdoor recreation opportunities and stunning natural beauty to take advantage of — with great healthcare and public transportation to boot? When it comes to relocating after retirement, it’s understandable that you’re likely interested in a place where you can live a laid-back lifestyle but still have fun adventures at your fingertips. And in these best beach towns to retire? You can enjoy all that and more.

Let’s dive in!

1. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

People over 60, in particular, are drawn to Myrtle Beach because it’s one of the most affordable beach towns to retire. In fact, its affordable housing prices and cost of living are much lower than other areas on the west coast.

Aside from the beaches, there are various activities available in the area, such as a gospel brunch at The House of Blues and a visit to the art museum, which hosts 10 to 12 exhibits throughout the year.

Aerial view of Jacksonville Beach in Florida on a sunny summer day. Tall pastel colored condo buildings and hotels dot the sugar-sand beaches as the calm waters lap against the coast.

Jacksonville, FL

2. Jacksonville, Florida

The city of Jacksonville, Florida, is situated near the Georgia state line, and it’s bordered by the St. Johns River, which is a waterway that provides numerous fishing and boating opportunities. The nearby Jacksonville Beach Fishing Pier offers a variety of water activities, like deep water fishing. And during the summer season, the Seawalk pavilion hosts various musical and movie events. Around 22 miles of white sand beaches are located in the city of Jacksonville, which is what makes it one of the best beach towns in Florida to retire. 

3. Biloxi, Mississippi 

The old Mississippi town of Biloxi is located on the Mississippi Sound and Gulf of Mexico. It has several casinos and miles of white sand beaches, but it’s also known for its unique attractions. Take the Beauvoir Estate, for example, which was the home of Jefferson Davis. The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art was also designed by Frank Gehry, a postmodern architect, and one of the town's most popular golf courses is the Windance Country Club.

Q: Where is the cheapest place to retire near the beach? 
A: Out of every place on this list, Biloxi, Mississippi, is the most affordable beach town to retire, as it has the lowest home value and cost of living index. Similarly, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has often been called one of the most affordable beach towns to retire in.

Two Adirondack chairs are set up on the bay side of Park Point in Duluth, Minnesota. The sun is setting across the water, and there are several boats dry-docked across the way.

Duluth, MN

4. Duluth, Minnesota 

  • Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,000
  • Average home value: $257,400
  • State income tax: 5.35%-9.85%
  • Cost of living: 84.7
  • Population 65+ years: 15.7%
  • Healthcare in Duluth: Local healthcare services include Essentia health, St. Luke’s, and the Lake Superior Community Health Center.

In Minnesota, the northern beach town of Duluth is located on the Great Lake Superior, so you can expect four seasons of outdoor enjoyment. There are plenty of activities in the area to keep you busy, such as cross-country skiing, hiking, and birding. The renovated Lakewalk can also be found along Lake Superior, as well as several state parks that feature waterfalls. 

Duluth is known for its thriving craft beverage scene, as there are lots of local breweries and bars, such as the trendy Vikre Distillery. And another plus? Minneapolis-St. Paul is only two hours away!

5. Rehoboth Beach, Delaware 

  • Average rent (one-bedroom): N/A
  • Average home value: $756,000
  • State income tax: 0%-6.6%
  • Cost of living: 108.1
  • Population 65+ years: 44%
  • Healthcare in Rehoboth Beach: Beebe Healthcare accepts Medicare patients and is an accredited hospital.

Located on Delaware's southern coast, Rehoboth Beach is known for its impressively large and clean beach. It’s one of the many seaside towns that make up the state's popular resort area. And it’s certainly one of the best east coast beach towns to retire in!

Rehoboth’s downtown is small, with only a few tall buildings and a few commercial developments. It’s best known for its wooden boardwalk, which features several restaurants, amusements, and shops. The Clear Space Theatre Company, in particular, provides year-round theater and acting classes for adults.

The Rehoboth Art League has six galleries and sponsors various events, such as bus trips and cottage tours. You can also take over 150 classes in various art forms there, such as pottery, drawing, and fiber art.

Local tennis courts can be found in Deauville Beach, and there are also several local hiking trails. The Delaware Seashore State Park is another highlight in the area, which offers year-round boating and fishing.

Q: What is the best East Coast state to retire in? 
A: Delaware’s tax-friendly perks for retirees certainly make it one of the best East Coast states to retire in.

View of the coast in La Jolla, California. Large homes are built into the cliffs above the water, and purple flowers are blooming among the dunes.

La Jolla, CA

6. La Jolla, California

  • Average rent (one-bedroom): $3,450
  • Average home value: $2,25M
  • State income tax: 1%-12.3%
  • Cost of living: 154.9
  • Population 65+ years (San Diego County): 15.5%
  • Healthcare in La Jolla: Nationally recognized care is offered at the Scripps Memorial Hospital, just off I-5 on Genesee Avenue.

San Diego is full of West Coast beach towns that are ideal for retirees. One of these is La Jolla, which boasts a variety of restaurants and cultural attractions, such as the Birch Aquarium and the La Jolla Playhouse. It’s also home to the world-class Torrey Pines Golf Course.

Want to enjoy an adventurous lifestyle? One of the best places to hang glide in San Diego is the Torrey Pines Gliderport. You can experience the exhilaration of gliding over the beach — or simply watch the action instead from the elevated platform. The beaches in this area are also ideal for a wide range of activities, including surfing, swimming, and diving.

7. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The Hilton Head Island area is known for its beautiful beaches and warm weather year round. There are plenty of entertainment options for everyone from young professionals to seniors, such as the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, which features a 350-seat venue for theater, ballet, and musical performances. There are also over 25 championship golf courses, and if you're looking for a retirement community that's close to the beach, The Seabrook offers high quality medical services.

Grandkids coming to visit soon? Take them on a dolphin cruise or plan a day to visit the Coastal Discovery Museum

Fishing boats are docked along the water’s edge in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

Ocean Springs, MS

8. Ocean Springs, Mississippi

  • Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,175
  • Average home value: $250,200
  • State income tax: 0%-5%
  • Cost of living: 83.5
  • Population 65+ years: 19.3%
  • Healthcare in Ocean Springs: Ocean Springs Hospital offers a variety of both inpatient and outpatient services, to meet each individual’s own healthcare needs.

The laid-back and walkable coastal town of Ocean Springs is a perfect place to call home for retirees from all walks of life. This beach town’s historic buildings and live oaks are a major part of the town's charm (aside from the beach, of course). 

One of the area's most popular museums is the Walter Anderson Museum of Art, but you can find numerous other shops, galleries, and more while living in Ocean Springs. The Ocean Springs Art Association, in particular, represents over 300 local artists and holds the largest art festival in the state and along the Gulf Coast, the Peter Anderson Arts & Craft Festival.

Q: Where is the cheapest and safest place to retire to? 
A: Along with being one of the cheapest places on this list, Ocean Springs has a moderate crime rate, and much lower violent crime rates than Mississippi’s average. 

9. Cape Carteret, North Carolina 

  • Average rent (one-bedroom): N/A
  • Average home value: $432,600
  • State income tax: 4.75%
  • Cost of living: 99.3
  • Population 65+ years (Carteret County): 27.3%
  • Healthcare in Cape Carteret: Carteret County Hospital provides all the comprehensive healthcare services you need, so traveling somewhere far is never an issue.

Located along Bogue Sound, Cape Carteret is a quiet residential community and one of the best small beach towns to retire in. Retirees specifically love that the location is near the Outer Banks and the Emerald Isle Bridge.

Cape Carteret is an easy-to-live-in area with a variety of waterfront parks and marinas. It also has several golf courses, a fishing pier, and a community boat ramp. Many homes along the Sound also have boat docks. Festivals and events that occur in nearby towns such as Morehead City and Swansboro are also popular. Some of these include the Mullet Festival and the Beach Music Festival.

Half a dozen people enjoy a peaceful day beside the Folly Beach Pier near Charleston, South Carolina.

Folly Beach, SC

10. Folly Beach, South Carolina 

Situated on South Carolina's coast near Charleston, the town of Folly Beach is known as the Edge of America. It was once a pirate haven, and bounty hunters used to live in this area. Nowadays, it’s a beach paradise that's popular with vacationers and retirees.

The Atlantic Ocean and the Folly River run parallel to each other in this area. Most of the town is surrounded by water, and the pier extends over a thousand feet into the ocean. There are several downtown shops that sell beach clothes, surf boards, and souvenirs, such as McKelvins Surf Shop. The local arts scene is managed by a group known as the Folly Beach Arts and Crafts Guild that ensures there’s always something cultural to do in Folly’s Beach.

11. Port St. Lucie, FL

  • Average rent (one-bedroom): N/A
  • Average home value: $391,800
  • State income tax: No state income tax
  • Cost of living: 98.6
  • Population 65+ years: 20.4%
  • Healthcare in Port St. Lucie: The largest hospital in this area is HCA Florida St. Lucie, which has been serving the community for over 30 years. This facility has a variety of services, including a 24-hour emergency room that's designed for the elderly. Another great option is the Cleveland Clinic on the west side of town.

Port St. Lucie is a little over halfway between Miami and Daytona Beach, but it offers a more laid-back feel than its more bustling neighbors. It doesn't ask its residents to give up on those great amenities, however!

Residents of Port St. Lucie can access the beach from either Jensen Beach or Fort Pierce. Hutchinson Island is also located between them, and there are over 20 miles of beaches in St. Lucie County.

There are plenty of golf courses in Port St. Lucie, and it's the perfect place for people who love to play the sport. The PGA Golf Club is one of the many courses in the area.

Although golf is typically the main focus of people's attention when it comes to things to do in the area, there are also plenty of museums and historical sites that are located there, as well. Some of these include the Hallstrom Planetarium, the A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery, and the Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens

A mature woman is loading a large plastic tub into her PODS portable moving container. The container is already pretty full with neatly stacked moving boxes, several stools, and a throw pillow.

Move to a Top Beach Town With the Help of PODS

No matter where you’re moving from, PODS can help with your move to one of these best beach towns to retire. In addition to taking care of all the driving, PODS offers built-in storage options with every move, multiple container sizes (just rent what you need), and flexible scheduling. Get a moving quote today! 

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.

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