Best U.S. Towns to Retire In
Sarasota, Fla. Photo: Shutterstock

If you're worn out from traffic, noise and the high cost of living in a busy urban area, you might be tempted to retire somewhere a little more down-home, smaller, with a slower pace of living.

But you still want a nice quality of life, good health care and a sense of community. Well, Topretirements.com has an extensive collection of profiles of towns and over-55 retirement communities. The retirement site, which President John Brady describes as the place "where Baby Boomers go to find their best place to retire," reviews places to retire both in the U.S. and abroad.


Here, we're featuring 30 small towns from their list of 100 most popular places to retire, based on the places with the most reader interest and opinions.

These towns are all smaller than 100,000. A few of them are adjacent to or part of larger metro areas.

(But if you still like the excitement and lifestyle afforded by bigger cities, check out our gallery of the best big cities in the U.S. to retire to.

Here are 30 great little towns to retire in:

Green Valley, Ariz.
Green Valley, Ariz.
Ken Bosma from Green Valley Arizona USA

Green Valley, Ariz. -- Near the hiking and birding areas of the Santa Rita Mountains in southern Arizona, Green Valley is an unincorporated retirement community comprising 59 homeowner associations. It has a population of about 21,391. It's close to Tucson and the Mexico border. Above, the Santa Rita Mountains in Green Valley.

Prescott, Ariz.
Prescott, Ariz.
Photo: Shutterstock

Prescott, Ariz. --  Located at an elevation of 5,400 feet in the mountains of north central Arizona, Prescott (population just under 40,000 in 2011), was the original territorial capital of the Arizona Territory. It still celebrates its cowboy heritage. Above, the Prescott Veterans Day parade downtown.

Asheville, N.C.
Asheville, N.C.
Photo: Shutterstock

Asheville, N.C. -- Asheville is a prosperous small city of just over 75,000 in the Blue Ridge mountains of western North Carolina. The downtown is filled with cafes, restaurants, and Art Deco buildings.

Sarasota, Fla.
Sarasota, Fla.
Photo: Shutterstock

Sarasota, Fla. -- Some consider Sarasota to be the cultural capital of Florida, after Miami. Sarasota has one of Florida's best downtowns with many interesting neighborhoods. It has an impressive array of cultural facilities, along with high-rise, luxury hotels. The barrier islands have great beaches.

Beaufort, S.C.
Beaufort, S.C.
Photo: Deborah McCague/Shutterstock

Beaufort, S.C. -- The Old South lives on in the quaint seaside charm of Beaufort. Known as the "Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands," horse-drawn carriages roll along streets past antebellum mansions, and trees are overhung with Spanish moss in the town's charming historic district. Beaufort has nearly 70,000 people, comprising the city and its surrounding towns. It is part of a larger metro area with an estimated year-round population of 193,882. Above, the historic Doctor Joseph Johnson house in Beaufort.

Pensacola, Fla.
Pensacola, Fla.
Photo: Shutterstock

Pensacola, Fla. -- Pensacola is a popular town for retirement and tourism in the western end of the Florida panhandle. Its location on the Pensacola Bay gives it access to the emerald green waters and sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. Read more about Pensacola.

Paris, Tenn.
Paris, Tenn.
Photo: Myshadesofgray/Wikipedia

Paris, Tenn. -- Paris is a small town of about 10,000 in northwest Tennessee, 15 miles from the vast and popular Land Between the Lakes recreation area.

Brevard, N.C.
Brevard, N.C.
Photo: James Kirkikis/Shutterstock

Brevard, N.C. -- The town of Brevard, surrounded by the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, consistently ranks near the top of popular lists of "best retirement communities" and "best places to live, work, and play." It has about 7,000 people. It is near the Nantahala National Forest. Above, a folk art gift shop.

Murphy, N.C.
Murphy, N.C.
Photo: Shutterstock

Murphy, N.C. -- Murphy is a great place for retirement, particularly if you are interested in a quiet and rural environment. The climate is mild and the scenery is breathtaking with mountains and lakes. It's a very small town with about 1,600 people, located near Hiwassee Lake, above.

New Bern, N.C.
New Bern, N.C.
Photo: Grzegorz Czapski/Shutterstock

New Bern, N.C. -- This city of over 30,000 grew by 30% from 2000 to 2013. It has a tree-lined historic district and a charming downtown. New Bern was named a "Certified Retirement Community" by the state of North Carolina in 2015.

Flagstaff, Ariz.
Flagstaff, Ariz.
Photo: Coconino National Forest

Flagstaff, Ariz. -- Centered amid some of the most enchanting physical landmarks in the world, including the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff is a top-rated community for retirement. Recreation abounds here, and it's a well-known spot for stargazing.

Bluffton, S.C.
Bluffton, S.C.
Photo: Mike Tilley

Bluffton, S.C. -- Bluffton, located near Hilton Head Island and the coast, is a charming, walkable, old town on the May River. It has about 13,000 people calling it home, with 37,000 in the area.

Mesquite, Nev.
Mesquite, Nev.
Photo: Stan Shebs/Wikipedia

Mesquite, Nev. -- Mesquite is an extremely popular retirement town of about 18,000 in southeastern Nevada on Interstate 15 right on the Arizona border, and very close to Utah, too. Casinos arrived here in the 1970s. The town markets itself as a low-key alternative to Las Vegas.

St. Simons Island, Ga.
St. Simons Island, Ga.
Photo: Shutterstock

St. Simons Island, Ga. -- Living in affluent St. Simons Island, the southernmost community in Georgia, could be like going to paradise. There are beautiful sandy beaches, luxurious homes, and summer lasts for 7 months. Above, the lighthouse of St. Simons Island.

Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Photo: James Kirkikis/Shutterstock

Myrtle Beach, S.C. -- Myrtle Beach is a favorite beach and golf resort community as it's home to The Grand Strand, one of the world's longest sections of perfect beach. And it boasts more than 120 golf courses. It also has a reputation as a hot spot for live family entertainment, music, and celebrity concerts.

Southport, N.C.
Southport, N.C.
Photo: Shutterstock

Southport, N.C. --Southport was an active seaport in colonial times and remains one of the few active fishing villages in North Carolina. Its picturesque location features more than 28 miles of sandy beaches and a number of lighthouses. Population: 3,269.

Charlottesville, Va.
Charlottesville, Va.
Photo: ImagineerInc/Shutterstock

Charlottesville, Va. -- Often lauded as a retirement destination, and home to the University of Virginia, this college town offers tree-lined dignity and charm that makes it easy to see why so many active adults are planning to retire here. Above, the downtown mall.

Sequim, Wash.
Sequim, Wash.
Photo: huyenhoang/Shutterstock

Sequim, Wash. -- Sequim is popular both with retirees and with people looking for second homes. The town has has won numerous awards as a great place to live and retire. Sequim has about 6,600 people, with about 20,000 more in the area.

Chapel Hill, N.C.
Chapel Hill, N.C.
Photo: Bryan Pollard/Shutterstock

Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Chapel Hill is a particularly beautiful town in the gentle hills of central North Carolina. The University of North Carolina, above, is the centerpiece of this charming small town with a cosmopolitan flair that makes it appealing as a retirement community.

Dunedin, Fla.
Dunedin, Fla.
Photo: Ilya Images/Shutterstock

Dunedin, Fla. -- Dunedin is an old sailing town of about 36,000, with a spectacular setting on the west coast of Florida that has at least a mile of unobstructed views of Gulf beaches. Settled by Scots, it retains many interesting Scottish traditions and festivals. It's also home to the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training. Above, a jogger on the Dunedin causeway.

Sedona, Ariz.
Sedona, Ariz.
Photo: Shutterstock

Sedona, Ariz. -- The Red Rocks of Sedona are world famous for colors displayed by illuminating sunrises and sunsets on the red sandstone. That beauty, combined with the mountains, climate, hiking and the arts have made Sedona a popular retirement community of about 10,000. It has a busy arts community and a new age vibe.

Beaufort, N.C.
Beaufort, N.C.
Photo: Stephen B. Goodwin/Shutterstock

Beaufort, N.C. -- Beaufort is a charming and friendly small town of 4,200 by the sea. This old seaport has an interesting history and beautiful housing; many homes sport historic plaques.

Maryville, Tenn.
Maryville, Tenn.
Photo: Brian Stansberry

Maryville, Tenn. -- This small college town has all of the things that make Tennessee retirements so appealing: low taxes, low cost of living, and outstanding recreation opportunities in nearby lakes and Great Smoky Mountains. It's home to Maryville College, a private four-year liberal arts college and only 15 miles from a much bigger college town — Knoxville (home of the University of Tennessee.) Above, bridges over Pistol Creek at Greenbelt Park.

Fairhope, Ala.
Fairhope, Ala.
Photo: Shutterstock

Fairhope, Ala. -- This is one of the most unusual (and nicest) retirement communities anywhere, according to folks at TopRetirements.com. Fairhope has made some movement from utopian experiment to retirement community. It is part art/intellectual colony and boutique resort. Some local residents refer to Fairhope as "Carmel-by-the-Bay" alluding to California's Carmel-by-the-Sea on the Monterey Peninsula. Above, the pier in Fairhope on Mobile Bay.

Mount Airy, N.C.
Mount Airy, N.C.
Photo: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

Mount Airy, N.C. -- Mount Airy has a vital downtown that attracts tourists and retirees. In 2013, it was designated by the State of North Carolina as an official North Carolina Retirement Destination. It was the home of actor Andy Griffith, and may remind you of Mayberry, the town in "The Andy Griffith Show." Above, Floyd's Barbershop.

Gulf Shores, Ala.
Gulf Shores, Ala.
Photo: Shutterstock

Gulf Shores, Ala. -- Located on a barrier island in western Alabama, Gulf Shores is an upscale resort and retirement community at the entrance to Mobile Bay, where the warm Gulf of Mexico washes onto this pristine white sand beach. There are many places to explore in your boat, play golf, or enjoy the beaches. It has less than 12,000 people.

Fernandina Beach, Fla.
Fernandina Beach, Fla.
Photo: Shutterstock

Fernandina Beach, Fla. -- Fernandina Beach is old Florida. It has a charming downtown with an artsy feel and many quiet neighborhoods featuring Victorian homes. Above, the nearby Fort Clinch.

Williamsburg, Va.
Williamsburg, Va.
Photo: Rui Serra Maia/Shutterstock

Williamsburg, Va. -- Williamsburg is a very popular retirement community. Colonial Williamsburg is actually a living representation/restoration of the 18th century colonial capital. If you are a history buff and you love antiques, this is the place for you. In 2014, the population was about 14,691.

Crossville, Tenn.
Crossville, Tenn.
Photo: Shutterstock

Crossville, Tenn. -- The big reason Crossville is desirable as a retirement community is because it is a relative bargain. It is dubbed the "Golf Capital of Tennessee," thanks to the 12 golf courses in the area. There is also great beauty in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It has less than 12,000 people.

Hayesville, N.C.
Hayesville, N.C.
Photo: TVA web team/Wikipedia

Hayesville, N.C. -- Hayesville is a beautiful, friendly, but very small town (less than 400 people) that combines small-town charm with the beauty of mountains, lakes, rivers and streams. Opportunities for camping, golf, fishing, hiking, horseback riding and water sports are plentiful. There is a prehistoric and historic archaeological site near town. Above, the nearby Chatuge Dam.

Learn more about Hayesville and all of these towns at Topretirements.com.

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This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.