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A retired couple is hiking in Arizona. They’re standing atop a rocky bluff, looking out at stunning rock formations and a deep canyon.

Here Are the Best Places To Retire in Arizona To Make Your Golden Years Active, Exciting, and Memorable

Retirement Arizona

by Matt Lyons Posted on January 16, 2024
Located in the Southwest, Arizona is one of the largest states in the country — with a whopping population of over 7.3 million people. Known for its diverse landscape, which includes the Grand Canyon and the Sonoran Desert, the state is also home to a variety of national parks and forests that can be enjoyed along with the year-round warm weather. 
Planning a move to Arizona? Start by getting a quote from PODS.

Almost 19 percent of the state’s population is 65 and over, so Arizona is clearly a top choice for retirees. In fact, from 2015 to 2019 alone, Arizona had the highest net migration rate in the country, and over 21,400 older adults moved there. 

But where do all these older adults prefer to live? Here’s our list of 12 of the best places to retire in Arizona.

Retiring in Arizona Pros and Cons

The main highlight of living in Arizona is its beautiful outdoor climate. Did you know the state receives more days of sunshine each year than practically any other state in the country? And whether it’s exploring the mountains, lakes, or famous red rocks, there’s always a spot of natural beauty to explore. Arizona is also considered a golfer’s paradise, so you’ll be sure to find premier golf courses all across the state to choose from. 

Some not-so-fabulous aspects of living in the state? While the weather is warm all year, the temperatures will often reach the triple digits in the summer months, which can be a lot for some retirees to handle. And during the cooler months, you may notice an influx of tourists, as the state draws in many snowbirds looking to enjoy a warmer climate. But are these dealbreakers? We don’t think so.

Pros To Retiring in Arizona Versus Nevada

Take a look at the pros of retiring in Arizona versus Nevada, another state with a similar desert climate and beautiful outdoor amenities.

  • Weather: Similar to many parts of Arizona, Nevada has a desert and semi-arid climate with short, mild winters.
  • Cost of living: While both Arizona and Nevada are slightly above the national cost of living index of 100, Arizona has a lower cost of living. Arizona has a cost of living index of 106.4, while Nevada has a cost of living index of 109.7.
  • Favorable tax rates: Nevada has no state income tax, but Arizona’s is still relatively low at 2.55 percent. You also won’t be taxed on Social Security income in Arizona, but you will have to pay on personal retirement income, like your 401(k) and IRA.

Retiring in Arizona Pros and Cons

Q: Is retiring in Arizona a good idea?
A:
Retirees looking for a warmer climate filled with plenty of fun attractions both outdoor and indoors will truly thrive in Arizona!

Q: Is Arizona a tax-friendly state for retirees?
A:
Arizona is considered a moderately tax-friendly state for retirees. The tax rate is relatively low at 2.55 percent, and Social Security income is not taxed. However, you will have to pay taxes on personal retirement income, like your 401(k) and IRA.

Q: What is the best part of Arizona to retire?
A:
From beautiful desert buttes to the breathtaking wonders of the local pinewood forests, northern Arizona offers a unique scenery to enjoy that’s a bit different from the southern portion of the state. 

Q: What is the cheapest place to retire in Arizona?
A:
Because of Benson’s affordable home and rental prices compared to most other areas in the state, it is easily one of the best places to retire in Arizona on a budget. 

Best Places To Retire in Arizona 

With fabulous outdoor amenities, golfing experiences, dining options, and more, here are our top picks for the best places to retire in Arizona in 2024.

A residential neighborhood in the Troon North part of Scottsdale, Arizona. The homes are mostly made of adobe, and many properties feature gravel yards with large bushy trees. Behind the neighborhood is a tall, rocky hill.

Scottsdale, Arizona
(Source: Angela Bommarito - Scottsdale Realtor via Facebook)

1. Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale isn’t just considered the best city to retire in Arizona; Niche has even labeled it the best place to retire in America. The area is known for its many outdoor activities, like swimming and kayaking in the nearby rivers and lakes and exploring the scenic hiking trails. 

Scottsdale has also been referred to as the "Golf Capital of the World" due to the number of golf courses in the area. In fact, if you want to try your hand at championship courses, a few local favorites include the Grayhawk Golf Club and TPC Scottsdale.

2. Catalina Foothills, AZ

The Catalina Foothills area is a bit higher in elevation than other parts of Tucson, so most of the houses in this area have either city or mountain views (if you’re lucky, you’ll get both!). This extra luxury means homes are more expensive than other parts of Tucson, but you’ll likely find the extra amenities worth it.

There are plenty of private golf courses in the Catalina foothills. Some of these include the La Paloma Country Club and the Skyview Golf Club. Sabino Canyon is also located near the eastern part of the Foothills, which is a popular spot for tourists and locals to enjoy various activities, such as hiking, biking, and picnicking. 

3. Litchfield Park, AZ

Located about 20 miles west of Phoenix, the city of Litchfield Park is known for its quiet and comfortable environment. The Wigwam Golf Resort and Spa features three 18-hole championship courses, a community pool, and tennis courts. And one of the most popular places to eat in the area is Ground Control, a gastropub with a great selection of beer, coffee, wine, gelato, and even wood-fired pizzas.

A luxury mansion in the hills of Paradise Valley, Arizona. The home features a large wrap-around porch on the second level, an outdoor pool, a two-car garage, and incredible views of the valley below.

Paradise Valley, Arizona
(Source: Lexi McWhirter via Facebook)

4. Paradise Valley, AZ

Paradise Valley, located east of Phoenix, is one of the area’s most exclusive neighborhoods. It’s near several country clubs, making it the perfect place for various activities, such as playing golf, tennis, and swimming. These luxury facilities are also ideal locations for socializing with other community members.

The Paradise Valley Country Club, in particular, is an invitation-only club that's located in the heart of the community. The facility features a variety of luxury amenities, such as tennis courts, pickleball courts, a competition-style swimming pool, and several dining options. The grounds are also situated with a beautiful view of the mountains and the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.

5. Casas Adobes, AZ

The large town of Casas Adobes is best characterized by its charming blend of natural beauty and accessibility, including convenient access to various establishments of entertainment, retail, and dining.

Situated in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains, you’ll find a diverse selection of restaurants, like Teaspoon, along with other shops and establishments, like those found in Casas Adobes Plaza. This area is an especially ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts, due to its beautiful views and proximity to the Loop trail system, which provides various recreational activities like hiking, biking, and jogging. 

6. Tucson Estates, AZ

In Tucson Estates, home buyers have a wide range of options when it comes to finding a home, as this community prides itself on offering a variety of beautiful properties among the state's stunning natural landscape. You’ll be able to choose from small, ranch-style homes and bungalows to large, Mediterranean-style homes, among many others.

Those looking for a more active retirement lifestyle can enjoy the nearby Tucson Mountain Park, where camping trips and scenic hikes are quite popular among local residents. In the mood for some entertainment? Try checking out the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which features botanical gardens and animal exhibits.

Aerial view of Oro Valley, a suburb of Tucson, Arizona. The city fills a flat valley at the foot of Mt. Kimball.

Oro Valley, Arizona

7. Oro Valley, AZ

Encompassing approximately 136 square miles northwest of Tucson, the town of Oro Valley is one of the best towns to retire in Arizona. Throughout the year, its warm temperatures and sunny skies draw many retired outdoor enthusiasts, in particular, to this area.

A local hotspot is Naranja Park, which features various facilities, like an archery range, a ramada, and an off-leash dog park with areas for both small and large dogs.

Oro Valley also boasts a variety of restaurant options, from casual to upscale dining; however, pizza restaurants are what the area is truly known for. ZPizza is a local hotspot that serves hand-crafted pizza with a variety of fresh-made and flavorful toppings. It also offers a self-serve tap room and includes other offerings such as wings, sandwiches, and salads.

8. Fountain Hills, AZ

Fountain Hills is a master-planned community that was first established in 1970. Designed by Charles Wood, Jr. — the designer of Disneyland —  it wasn't officially incorporated as a city until 1989.

Today, this affordable town is best known for its calm atmosphere and variety of interesting outdoor attractions. A local favorite is the Fountain Hills Botanical Garden, where you can learn about the area’s native plants. This 8-acre garden features signs that explain the plants' names and characteristics, along with a plethora of birds and other animals that gather here. You’ll be also able to enjoy some rounds of golf in Fountain Hills, and you’ll have easy access to hiking and biking trails.

9. Tanque Verde, AZ

Situated in Pima County, the area of Tanque Verde is known for its beautiful desert landscape, colorful sunsets, and plentiful plant life. The area is also a safe place for retirees who love nature and are always up for an outdoor adventure! 

Residents can enjoy various types of outdoor activities, like biking and hiking at nearby Saguaro National Park East or camping and watching wildlife in the Rincon Mountains.

Tanque Verde is also a tight-knit community that's full of fun, year-round events, like the local family-favorite PlayPalooza.

Aerial view of a residential part of Cave Creek, Arizona, on a sunny day. The large property in the foreground features a ranch-style home with mature trees and cacti.

Cave Creek, Arizona
(Source: Scottsdale, Carefree, Cave Creek Real Estate with Kathy Schoonover via Facebook)

10. Cave Creek, AZ

Located north of Phoenix, Cave Creek was first settled by soldiers from Fort McDowell in 1870. A few years later, people from the Bradshaw Mountains discovered gold in the area, which prompted many individuals to relocate to the city. Since then, Cave Creek has continued to embrace its western roots.

The local Rare Earth Gallery has a variety of interesting and unique displays of gemstones and rocks. In addition to jewelry, you can check out historic home accessories and "healing instruments" there.

One of the best places to eat in the area? That’s the Buffalo Chip Saloon and Steakhouse. The restaurant offers a variety of food options, such as chicken wings, pizza, salads, and, of course, steak.

11. Sedona, AZ

The small town of Sedona is located at the entrance to Oak Creek Canyon in Arizona’s high desert. With the most picturesque red sandstone formations, the beautiful scenery combined with all the outdoor activities to do in the area makes Sedona one of the best places to retire in northern Arizona. In fact, it’s been ranked 13th on Niche’s list for the “Best Places to Retire in Arizona.”

If you’re an art buff, you’re in luck. There are dozens of art galleries that host openings, demonstrations, and receptions. A great time to explore Sedona’s local scene is during 1st Fridays in the Galleries, where members of the Sedona Gallery Association showcase artists, special exhibits, and other events. And if you’re into live music, you can check out the concerts put on by Chamber Music Sedona.

The town's recreation department also has a wide range of programs and activities available, including water aerobics, piano lessons, and painting classes. And you can stay active on the many hiking trails through the Coconino National Forest.

12. Benson, AZ

Situated along Interstate 10 in southeastern Arizona, Benson is considered the gateway to the state's famous Kartchner Caverns State Park, which features over two and a half miles of underground passageways. The local San Pedro Golf Course is a popular place to visit for retirees who want to stay active. And if you want to get to know Benson’s history and visit other local favorites, you can always explore places like the Holy Trinity Monastery or take a walking tour of the town

Fun fact: Besides its beautiful landscape of majestic mountains, the clean air in Benson is another attractive quality that makes this town so desirable.

A PODS truck is transporting three PODS portable moving containers cross-country along a freeway. The truck is passing a mountain ridge and dry desert land.

PODS Can Help You Relocate to Arizona 

If you’re looking to retire in Arizona and need help moving and storing your belongings, look no further than PODS. You can have a portable moving and storage container delivered right to your driveway where you can pack and load at your own pace. And when you’re ready, PODS will pick it up and take it to your new home. One month of storage is also included in the package, so you can easily unload your belongings without feeling rushed.

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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