Best Places To Retire in Arizona 2018-2019
Best Places To Retire In Arizona 2018-2019
If you are searching for the best places to retire in Arizona for 2018-2019, this guide should help! Furthermore, SLS Communities has great retirement locations in many exciting areas of Arizona. Thousands of retirees flock to Arizona each year to enjoy the moderate climate, escape the snow, and enjoy a state that has dedicated communities, towns, and cities for retirement age Americans.
Initially, we created a list of locations with a population over 20,000, which gave us 32 places. After that, we used data collected from the 2010 U.S Census, the U.S Weather Service, FBI and business listings with focus on five various criteria:
- Crime Rate (lower is better)
- Cost of Living (lower is better)
- Weather (The score of air quality and average summer temperatures)
- Amenities (physicians, libraries, entertainment, arts, restaurants, parks, adult education, etc.)
- Distance from closest international airport (closer is better)
Because so many enjoy taking a stroll through parks, we added this to the amenities list this time. Also, exploring national parks is a great activity, no matter a person’s age or status.
Once this information was obtained, each place was ranked from 1 to 32 in the different categories, with the number one rank being best. We then averaged the ranking of each location into a single Big Deal Score, with the lowest score being the number one spot.
To view how other locations ranked, you can look at the bottom of the article to get a more detailed rank. Now, let’s review the top 11 and see how each ranks.
An exciting and vibrant planned retirement community just west of Phoenix, Sun City has the reputation of being perhaps the most senior oriented city in the state. It features great stores, from the well-known chains to small boutiques, a wide array of medical professionals and facilities geared for the senior. Also, in many areas licensed golf carts can travel on roads! With nearly three-quarters of the city being of senior age or above, you will feel right at home with many social clubs and sports like pickleball, bowling and golf.
Sun City West
Sun City West has grown quickly and established itself as one of the top 25 places in the nation to retire too and with good reason! Like Sun City, it was planned and built with the senior in mind. Although not quite as large as Sun City itself, it combines a cozy feel with easy access to everything in Sun City. Not that you will run out of things to do in Sun City West that offers a wide variety of sports and lots of different social clubs for various interests.
Situated in the northern suburbs of the Phoenix metropolitan area, the popularity of Peoria continues to grow every year with seniors looking for a place to live close to all the major amenities and convenience of a major city (it’s only 11 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.) It’s surrounded by some of the most beautiful desert mountain landscape in the nation. With an average low in winter of 55 degrees and an average summer high of 95 degrees, it is an ideal climate for many seniors looking to relocate!
With a population of just over half a million, Tucson continues to grow and is a great option for seniors wanting to be part of bustling city life. The city itself is a combo of the very modern and old western charm and flavor. With over 300 days of sunshine per year, it is a favorite with outdoor lovers. The city is a popular destination for lovers of the arts with many theatres and galleries and if you are looking to for a city where you can enjoy the company of younger people, it is home to the University of Arizona!
Situated on the Arizona-Mexico border, Nogales is blessed with a cooler summer climate that most of Arizona. An average daily high of just 77 degrees makes it ideal for seniors looking for a more temperate climate. It is a favorite place for walkers and hikers as the trails are not as extreme as other areas in the state. Being a border town, it will help if you can speak Spanish or be familiar with Mexican culture to take full of advantage of what Nogales ha to offer.
One of the most historic towns in Arizona, Prescott, less than two hours from Phoenix, yet at an elevation of nearly 5500 feet has maintained its small town feel despite a population of around 40,000. Whiskey Row (the main strip for nightlife) dates to frontier times. Increasingly popular with baby boomers, Prescott offers a cooler climate than Phoenix with older even historic, housing available downtown and modern retirement complexes available on the outskirts.
Yuma is known as just about the sunniest and driest spot in the USA. They get less than three inches of rain per year and over 330 days of sunshine! The city predates the 1849 California Gold Rush and much of the architecture of the city reflects that era. Lying on the banks of the Colorado River, Yuma has long been a US Army base and today still has a strong military community. Many seniors love Yuma as the cost of living is reasonable and there are many top-notch RV and mobile home communities.
Prescott Valley is the younger brother of Prescott. A planned community originating in the 1960’s it has now expanded and virtually joined at the hip with Prescott as suburbs creep ever closer to each other. It is slightly cheaper than Prescott for seniors to live, especially as you go further east towards Humboldt-Dewey and Mayer, but with most local amenities still in Prescott, a car is essential. Prescott Valley is very senior friendly with many activities and groups to interest the senior.
Located in the western suburbs of Phoenix, this small community (less than 6000) has an increasing senior population and may be ideal for seniors looking to permanently relocate to Arizona. Most people in Litchfield Park own their home and the community is known for embracing traditional American values. With an air force base near by, it has a patriotic vibe. Although local senior oriented amenities are fewer, everything is just a short car ride away in Phoenix.
One of the wealthiest cities in the country for its size, Scottsdale is home to many rotating arts festivals and fashion shows throughout the year and many seniors call the place home. It is also home to many private golf and country club communities, as well as being the home of The Phoenix Open (now sponsored by Waste Management.) Scottsdale is also home to many corporations and small businesses. Scottsdale is not the most affordable area in Arizona but has a lot to offer if it is within your budget.
Situated in the heart of the east valley, the growing population of Mesa (fast approaching 500,000) has made it one of the most diverse and affordable cities in Arizona with a wide range of housing options and communities for nearly every taste. Seniors enjoy having access to shopping close by from the major brand stores to independent small businesses, as well as access to nearly all forms of medical care. Mesa is a diverse community, upbeat and friendly, therefore welcoming to the active senior.
East of the east valley and nearly 60 miles from Phoenix, the city of Florence situated along US Route 60 is gradually becoming a more popular destination with seniors. A low cost of living is slightly offset by the fact you will have to drive to Apache Junction and Mesa for major grocery and big box stores. There is also a lack of dining options in the area. That said, the Sonoran Desert views are spectacular, and it is a few degrees cooler than the phoenix metro area.
Ranking in at number six on our weather category, Sierra Vista also provides many amenities and came in at 10th on the list with the cost of living being decent too. Of course, being the hummingbird capital of the United States, if birdwatching is one of your hobbies then you are going to find joy in being surrounded by all sorts of birds that are not common in other areas of Arizona.
The closest airport is a 68-mile drive, but it’s still closer than some other locations on the list. But, to balance things out, there are many things to keep busy with. In warmer months, the Sierra Vista Aquatic Center is available for locals, which is known as The Cove by many. There are also the therapy spas, lap pools, and wave pool available.
With just over a population of 28,000, Kingman offers many amenities for being a smaller place. This is the location of the International Route 66 Festival, which is an event that lasts four days with a parade, car show, and much more. Also, just off the historic road is The Roadrunner Café, which continues to provide great breakfasts to locals and travelers.
Although, if you are interest in traveling by airport, you will have a 102-mile road trip ahead of you, which will likely take you down the historic route.
When it came to traveling, Sahuarita came in at number seven, and also ranked seventh on the weather category. This makes it easy to stay and enjoy the sun or travel and enjoy other destinations.
Also, Sahuarita provides a very safe environment, ranking 4th on our crime list with just 1,087 crimes out of 100,000 people. There are many festivals and attractions for fun, including the annual Fiesta Sahuarita.
Because this place has a high standard of life, the cost of living is much more expensive than other places on our list, with a ranking of 24th on our category list. Additionally, when it came to retiree amenities per capita, it was also the lowest on our list.
Locations That Still Need Enriching
Each cactus has barbs of its own, and Arizona provided some among these great havens for retirees. El Mirage was ranked at the bottom of the list, with very poor scores in both weather and amenities, with an average summer temperature of 95 degrees. Trailing close behind was Marana, with few amenities for retirees, and a higher crime rate. While Avondale is a pretty location, it also came in the bottom of the list due to extreme summer temperatures and the crime rate.
With these locations aside, there is a lot that Arizona has to offer. For those that are seeking adventure or simply wanting to relax on the pool side, this state is able to shine some light on your golden years.
As you may notice, the list does not contain any real small locations. There are some who believe that smaller spots are ideal for retirement, and small towns such as Camp Verde, Benson, Somerton, Cottonwood, Cave Creek, Wickenburg, and Sedona can be great. However, for our list we focused on places with a population over 20,000.
In addition to population, we took the following things into consideration to come up with our top 11.
SLS Retirement Communities
We have 4 locations open and another location under construction in the state of Arizona which offer a variety of services and living arrangements. From independent living to fully assisted living we compliment our services with highly sought after amenities including memory care. See below for the locations we currently have available.