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Looking to Retire Near the Mountains? You’ll Love These 7 Charming Places

If you’ve always wanted to retire near the mountains, we’ve got just the place for YOU!

Life in mountain towns and cities appeals to many people. You might enjoy the natural beauty while others like the idea of hitting the hiking trails or ski slopes whenever they want.

And that’s great because if you choose to retire near the mountains, it’ll afford you the perfect time to gain some new perspective in life.

When it comes to living near the mountains, besides the scenic views, higher altitudes also have the advantage of cooler weather and less humidity. But our nation’s mountain majesties can be found in many locations throughout the US.

Fortunately, you have plenty of prospects to choose from if you’re looking for a place to live near the mountains that also offers benefits like affordability.

In our search, we’ve considered safety, living costs, median incomes for older adults, and residents’ availability of recreational and healthcare facilities. So, on that note, here are our 7 favorite places to retire near the mountains!

Retire Near The Mountains
Photo by Paul Brady Photography at Shutterstock

Cheyenne, Wyoming

Welcome to the Cowboy State! The entire population is about 583,200, meaning roughly six people per square mile. But while Cheyenne is hardly a bustling city regarding headcount, the population density is much higher with approximately 2,200 people per square mile.

But this doesn’t mean it’s lacking in activities. You have plenty of outdoor diversions if you decide to retire near the mountains, including miles of trails for biking, hiking, fishing and boating, horseback riding, birding, and other wildlife viewing.

Curt Gowdy State Park is a mere 24 miles west of Cheyenne and offers over 35 miles of beautiful trails and elevations ranging from 6,800 to 7,900 feet.

Train fans can enjoy the area’s railroad history and fascinating displays of locomotives, including the world’s largest steam engine. Another prominent local attraction?

Each summer since 1897, this city hosts the world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration, called Frontier Days, which has become a 10-day event.

Provo, Utah

The Beehive State is a charming area for active seniors, perfect for those looking to retire near the mountains. Provo, with its stunning mountain peaks within the city limits and Utah Lake right at its doorstep, is particularly buzz-worthy.

Brigham Young University offers intellectual motivation to complement physical activity. Plus, living costs are low for residents aged 60 and up.

Another reason this is one of our favorite places to retire: The Milken Institute rates this city as the best large city for successful aging, noting the area’s prosperous economy and safety.

The population’s high levels of volunteering and healthy lifestyles among older adults are another reason to move here. The metro area also has an abundance of healthcare facilities, with approximately 32 establishments per 1,000 seniors.

Pittsfield, Massachusetts

New England is famous in the nation for being expensive. But don’t rule it out just yet if you wish to retire near the mountains!

Pittsfield, located in the western part of the state, offers a small pocket of relative affordability. In fact, it’s much more reasonably priced than Cambridge and Boston, where living costs are 38.1% and 48.1% above the national average.

According to Zillow, housing is inexpensive: Even the average home value in this retirement city is $173,200, compared with $407,400 for the rest of Massachusetts and $592,300 for Boston proper.

The incredible leaf peeping in the fall may be enough to draw you to the Appalachian Mountains range. But you have plenty to enjoy year-round, including excellent fishing, camping, hiking, and skiing sites.

Retire Near The Mountains
Photo by Jon Bilous at Shutterstock

Laconia, New Hampshire

The small retirement city of Laconia offers a big bargain if you want to retire near the mountains. The overall cost of living is 1.2% lower than the national average, making it much more affordable than Manchester, where living costs are 13.2% above the US average.

Nevertheless, local average incomes are still high, averaging $71,605 for residents for all ages. That adds up to promising odds for a balanced budget. And the Granite State’s tax circumstances for retirees are also solid.

Hidden between Lake Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam Lake, Laconia has been called “The City on the Lake,” home city to New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. This means you’ll have plenty of beaches and water-related activities to enjoy in the warmer months.

But other outdoor recreation abounds nearby, also. For instance, Gunstock Mountain Resort in neighboring Gilford offers camping, snow sports, fairs, events, ziplining, and incredible dining options.

The one downside we must mention, though, is the local crime: Even though the state has a low violent crimes rate of 1.99 per 1,000 residents, this retirement city’s rate is at 4.68, even slightly higher than the US average of 4 violent crimes per 1,000 residents.

The community’s police department lists Weirs Beach-Lakeport and Parade Road-Old North Main Street as the safest neighborhoods in Laconia.

Corvallis, Oregon

Corvallis, located about 85 miles south of Portland, offers a laidback lifestyle with relatively lower costs and less crowds for those looking to retire near the mountains.

The overall cost of living is 19.8% above the US average, which is pricey but more affordable than Portland’s living costs at 47.8% above the rest of the nation. But beyond financials, the area has plenty to offer its residents.

You can enjoy the great outdoors by biking or hiking along 60 beautiful miles of surrounding trails, checking out the local wildlife, or taking advantage of nearby kayaking, fishing, and swimming spots. You can also indulge in the more relaxing offerings of the area.

Corvallis is home to over a dozen wineries, conveniently in the heart of the Willamette Valley, four craft distillers for whiskey and vodka, and six breweries right in town.

Charlottesville, Virginia

Thomas Jefferson laid the foundation for the well-balanced retirement city his hometown turned out to be. From the artists on the downtown promenade to the University of Virginia’s hollering Hoos, this community is a surprising blend of liberal edge and Southern charm, an ideal choice for various retirees.

But beyond the college campus and city center, you can find lots of outdoor entertainment in the hollows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including over 100 miles of the Appalachian Trail in nearby Shenandoah National Park.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Charlottesville captured nationwide attention back in 2017 when a group of white nationalists protested the removal of a Robert E. Lee monument turned violent, wounding dozens of counter-protesters and killing a woman.

But in general, if you want to retire near the mountains, you should know that the area’s violent crime rate is at a low 175.4 reported incidents per 100,000 residents, compared against a 297.8 rate for all cities in the US of similar size, according to the FBI.

Charlottesville also ranks 5th for overall well-being out of all 187 metro areas in the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, with high scores in all categories, including resident satisfaction and physical health.

Retire Near The Mountains
Photo by Marcel Fuentes at Shutterstock

Carlsbad, California

Near San Diego, Carlsbad offers a small-town feel with easy access to big-city amenities along seven miles of the Pacific Ocean coastline.

You can also find 40 parks and over 50 miles of beautiful hiking trails, including various options in the Rancho La Costa Preserve’s Denk Tank Mountain, which is the highest point in Carlsbad.

The retirement city also offers a full roster of artsy activities, including free concerts in the summer and Foreign Film Fridays in the spring.

This is one of the best places to retire near the mountains because throughout the entire year, average highs are somewhere between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and average lows only go down to 45 degrees at most, according to Weather.com.

Rainy days are also a rare occurrence. Plus, you can choose to live among many retirement communities with ocean views.

Of course, the downside is that you must be able to afford it like most of California, where the cost of living is 69% above the US average, making it the second-most expensive state in America, only behind Hawaii. Overall, Carlsbad and the surrounding area is a pricey place to live.

For instance, according to Zillow, the average home value in the US is $229,000. But in California, it’s $548,600. And in Carlsbad? Brace yourself because it’s $860,700!

Taxes throughout California may also weigh heavily on your wallet. So consider these aspects before deciding if it’s worth being near the mountains. It may be worth buying a budget planner to keep yourself organized when considering your retirement finances.

Do YOU count yourself among those who wish to retire near the mountains? What sort of factors are you considering? Please feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Meanwhile, for more articles like this, we highly recommend also reading: Healthcare: Top 10 Most Affordable States for Seniors

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