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Planning your perfect retirement takes some work. Although just packing up and heading for the beach may sound great, your retirement money could go out with the tide.

Some super popular retirement destinations are very expensive and would eat through your savings in a heartbeat. Meanwhile, more affordable places can suffer from high crime, poor medical care and punishing weather.

We've considered living costs, health care and climate to come up with this countdown of the worst states for retirees. Don’t go here! You’ve been warned.

25. Delaware

Delaware Memorial Bridge by night, looking at the Delaware side from New Jersey.
mandritoiu / Shutterstock
Delaware's bridges and highways tend to be clogged.

Delaware is known for idyllic pursuits like berry picking and whale watching. But this small state also has a wild side. For a taste of the madness, check out the yearly "Punkin Chunkin" pumpkin-throwing competition.

However, even with the lack of sales tax, life here isn’t exactly cheap. The median home listing is currently $275,000 and rising, while the median rental price is $1,300.

And among the greatest inconveniences here are the lack of public transit; the perpetual potholes and construction on the Delaware stretch of I-95; and the constant flow of tourists feeding those blasted seagulls on the beach.

But hey — no place is perfect, right? The local health care system is middling when it comes to quality and access, and the crime rate is close to the national average.

24. Texas

Mailbox painted with the Texas Flag in a street in Texas, USA
Peek Creative Collective / Shutterstock
Texas can be charming, but you don't want to get sick here.

Texas is a big and proud state that really has something for everyone: mountains, valleys, forests, coastal beaches and a few of America's biggest cities to boot. (As in cowboy boot.) You’ll never be bored in Texas.

But seniors looking to relocate here should be aware of the state’s major health care shortcomings: Texas has the third-worst physician-to-patient ratio in the country, which makes it difficult to access much-needed specialist care.

Nursing homes also are poorly staffed and have been cited for numerous violations over the years. Texas has double the national average number of nursing home complaints, according to the health care information site Healthline.

On the plus side, if the Texas humidity doesn’t kill you, it might keep you looking younger longer! The extra moisture in the air can help prevent wrinkles. So it’s not all bad.


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23. Oregon

Oregon coast lighthouse.
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Oregon is a state of natural beauty — and rising costs.

With some of the best bike trails in the country, a breathtaking coastline, summer festivals galore and more than 200 wineries and countless breweries to sample, it’s no wonder people are flocking to visit Oregon.

But relocating to Oregon is a different deal. A major issue you’d encounter are the prohibitive housing costs. In popular cities like Portland, Bend and along the coast, housing costs have risen 7.5% in the past year.

The current median house price statewide is $350,000, and renting a one bedroom in Portland will set you back $1,366 a month.

Other issues are the constant rain in many areas and a new trend of long-lasting forest fires in the summer. And let’s not forget that Oregon is long overdue for the big one: a massive earthquake.

22. South Carolina

Historical downtown area of Charleston, South Carolina, USA at twilight.
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South Carolina has a lot of Southern allure, but also crime and health care issues.

South Carolina boasts some of the best golf in the nation and fantastic weather to enjoy it year ‘round. But the flip side of this sunny coin are the state's grim health care and crime statistics.

The cost of living here is more than 7% lower than the national average — but so are incomes. Access to health care is uneven, which is a shame because the state is home to some of the top hospitals in the U.S.

Potential residents also should be aware that South Carolina has ranked in the top 10 for obesity in recent years, and among the worst states for violent crime.

But if you’ve got a good retirement income planned and South Carolina’s small-town feel still appeals, then there are definitely some safe, affordable suburban places to settle down, such as Wellford (median home value: $78,800) or Edgefield ($92,300).


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21. Michigan

Man walking in snow doing groceries.
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Michigan’s got 3,288 miles of scenic coastline perfect for driving, picnicking and enjoying the view in your retirement. And afterwards, you can go home to delicious local beers, diverse foods and friendly neighbors, even in the darkest winter.

But speaking of winter, the main downside for retirees is Michigan's lake-effect snow. Every year of your retirement, you’ll be treated to backbreaking shoveling, dangerous winter driving, and potholes when the roads thaw in the spring.

Public transit in Michigan is notoriously underfunded and underdeveloped, so you can expect to drive everywhere. (But hey, maybe that's good for the state's famed auto industry?)

All that driving comes at a high price: Michigan's car insurance costs are among the highest in the nation, averaging $1,364 a year, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

20. Tennessee

Gatlinburg TN Great Smoky Mountains National Park Scenic Sunset Landscape vacation getaway destination in the Smokies
Dave Allen Photography / Shutterstock
Tennessee is home to the Great Smoky Mountains and Memphis, called one of the most dangerous cities in America.

From adventurous fun in the state’s mountains and caves, to great food, festivals and shopping, something’s always buzzing in Tennessee. Live music always seems to be playing, even in the streets, and not just in Nashville.

Unfortunately for incoming retirees, Tennessee's ongoing issues with federal health care funding and the increasing costs of drugs and medical procedures have forced some hospitals to cut back or close.

Crime also is a problem in Tennessee: Memphis has been called the fourth most dangerous city in the country and has the highest rate of violent crime in the state, followed by Athens and Dickson.

Still, with retirement savings and a good pension coming in, you could retire happily and enjoy the local wines and whiskies in lovely and safe Oak Ridge (population 29,200), Norris (1,690) or Lookout Mountain (1,930).


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19. Illinois

Chicago skyline at sunset
Alex Zyuzikov / Shutterstock
Illinois offers big-city or small-town living, but watch the high taxes and extreme weather.

Chicago is always a bopping great time, but there’s more to Illinois. With its lovely wine trail, beautiful state parks and quiet suburbs, the state may seem like a peaceful haven for retirees.

Unfortunately, Illinois isn’t the best place for an affordable and comfortable retirement.

Even with the senior citizen homestead exemption that gives homeowners money back during tax season, Illinois property taxes are the second highest in the country, according to SmartAsset.

Homeowners pay a hefty $2,130 in property taxes for each $100,000 of a home’s value — a significant drain on retirement income. Illinois residents also deal with a high average sales tax of 8.19% and extreme weather throughout the year.

18. Georgia

Downtown Intersection
Brett Barnhill / Shutterstock
The traffic in Atlanta is almost as bad as in Los Angeles.

Life in the Peach State can take you from a wild college football game to dolphin watching off the coast of Tybee Island all in one day. Retirees might also enjoy Georgia’s four seasons: summer, pollen, summer and summery Christmas.

Despite its charms, changes over the last few decades have made Georgia less hospitable for senior living. Suburban sprawl has created traffic congestion in Atlanta that now rivals that of Los Angeles.

When combined with the year-round heat and humidity, the traffic has created a serious smog problem.

Although the cost of medical care is comparatively low here, Georgia’s health care system is having major funding problems that have forced several hospitals to shut emergency rooms or close down entirely.


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17. Alabama

Welcome to Sweet Home Alabama Road Sign along Interstate 10 in Robertsdale, Alabama USA, near the State Border with Florida
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Alabama may look friendly, but it has climate, crime and other problems.

What do gorgeous beaches, a monument to the boll weevil and a housewife-striking meteorite have in common? That incomparable Alabama charm and quirkiness, which go together like shrimp and grits. Ya don’t say!

Now for the bad news: Alabama weather means tornadoes and punishingly humid summers, plus the state often finds itself in the path of hurricanes.

Alabama also has the eighth-highest crime rate in the U.S.

The negatives effectively balance out the lower-than-average cost of living.

16. Connecticut

Historical Seaport in Mystic Connecticut
cvrestan / Shutterstock
Connecticut is rich and beautiful — but expensive.

Connecticut offers the quiet charm of New England within a convenient drive of New York City. Locals enjoy a thriving music and theater scene, small-town living and a neighborly atmosphere.

Just watch out for the taxes.

Residents pay high state income taxes and the third-highest property taxes in the U.S. And despite being the richest state based on per-capita income, Connecticut has serious budget issues, including stubborn deficits.

None of this bodes well for the future of the state's infrastructure or public services, particularly for the retirees who would rely on them the most.


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15. Indiana

Indianapolis - Circa February 2016: Indianapolis Motor Speedway. IMS Prepares for the 100th Running of the Indy 500 I
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock
Indiana is home to auto racing's Indy 500.

Indiana residents are serious about their basketball, car racing and juicy bison burgers. And what could make a weekend of fantastic local golf and sandy beaches any better? Nothing — except maybe a sunset walk in one of Indiana’s lovely state parks.

There’s more good news: The state doesn’t tax Social Security benefits and has low property taxes and a low average cost of living.

But Indiana has the third-most tornadoes in the country, sometimes with snow. Plus, it has the worst water pollution, and its industries release the most toxic chemicals in the country, according to the EPA. Talk about bad air!

Health care options are fair. Real estate costs are affordable but rising, with a median house price of $130,000.

14. Maryland

OCEAN CITY, MD - JUNE 25: View on the beach. Ocean City is a well known family resort located on the East Coast in Maryland state. Famous of Crabs and Beaches June 25, 2010 in Ocean City, MD.
Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock
Maryland's beaches really pack 'em in!

Tiny Maryland has a lot to offer its residents. Big-city amenities in Baltimore, orchards full of fresh fruit for your pies, escape-ready mountains and beaches, and sports galore — including live jousting matches.

But Maryland has areas of high crime and low property values, and housing costs are astronomical in safer neighborhoods.

Retirees also should note the state's high taxes, including a recently hiked gasoline tax, a 6% sales tax, plus estate AND inheritance taxes.

And given that most of Maryland is at or near sea level, if the high cost of living doesn’t wipe out your savings, then a flood just might.


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13. Mississippi

HOLLY SPRINGS, MISSISSIPPI. USA - April 26, 2017: The 79th Annual Holly Springs Pilgrimage of Antebellum Homes.
fasthorses / Shutterstock
Mississippi is known for blues music and Southern culture.

With its long summers, great fishing, friendly locals and plentiful seafood, Mississippi sure seems like a good place to settle down and take up fishing.

But Mississippi is a poor state, with one of the lowest incomes per capita in the country.

It's also among the worst for health care quality and outcomes. It’s the third most obese state in the U.S. and has been hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic.

Sure, the taxes are lower than average. But when you consider the state’s long tradition of racial tensions and terrible tornado season, Mississippi seems like a less-than-ideal choice for retirees looking for a quiet retreat.

12. Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Skyline with gathering storm clouds
angie oxley / Shutterstock
Oklahoma is in the middle of "Tornado Alley" in the central U.S.

Life in Oklahoma is a breath of fresh air after city life. No traffic, no big crowds — just friendly faces, country music, food to warm your soul, and a great sports and rodeo scene.

There’s just one big hitch: The state is smack in the middle of “Tornado Alley,” an area of violent storms and destructive winds year-round. March, April and May are the stormiest months.

The frequent battles with Mother Nature have left Oklahoma’s roads and bridges in need of major repairs.

Add in the low number of doctors per capita and a higher-than-average crime rate in its cities, and there’s not much left to admire about Oklahoma other than the glorious sun setting over the wreckage of your retirement dreams.


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11. California

Los Angeles evening sunset highway traffic skyline buildings
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California has high living costs and poor health care quality.

California living means enjoying fresh, locally grown food, great wine and perfect tanning weather daily. But a psychological study from the late 1990s found that living in California doesn’t make people happy.

Maybe it’s all the bills: Bankrate reports California has the second-highest cost of living, the fifth-worst tax burdens and the seventh-worst health care quality in the U.S.

The state's sales tax is the highest in the country, and the roads are in terrible shape due to decades of bureaucratic bumbling on whether to raise the gasoline tax.

Perhaps all of this is what has driven 15% of pensioners out of Cali to live out their golden years in neighboring states. Frankly, if you dream of spending your retirement years in the sun, your retirement dollars will stretch further in Nevada, Arizona and Oregon.

10. Alaska

Sitka, Alaska / USA - April 22, 2013: View Of Sitka Alaska Boats and Buildings from the Water with Mountain Background
Marc Cappelletti / Shutterstock
Alaska is not ideal for retirement.

If you dream of quitting and getting away from it all, Alaska just might fit the bill. Its stunning natural beauty, world-renowned stargazing, mouthwatering seafood and unique year-round festivals all make for the adventure of a lifetime.

But while it may be a fantastic place to visit, Alaska is not ideal for retirement.

Although state and city taxes and real estate prices are lower than in other states, the cost of living is very high in Alaska, since most food, clothing and basic items have to be flown in from elsewhere.

The cost of health care also is the highest in the U.S. and rising, says CNN. Here, a standard knee replacement could cost five times more than in Seattle.


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9. New Mexico

Las Cruces, United States - July 27, 2015: Highway in New Mexico with desert mountains
Andriy Blokhin / Shutterstock
New Mexico can’t seem to strike the right balance between costs and quality when it comes to housing and lifestyle.

In New Mexico you’ll find stunning mountains, white sand dunes and plenty of outdoor fun to keep you active at your own pace. And when you need a break, sit back with a glass of award-winning local wine and watch the carnivals go by.

Sounds great, right? But although the state has adequate health care and a decent number of doctors for the population, New Mexico can’t seem to strike a balance between cost and quality of housing and lifestyle.

Housing costs are 5% above the national average in Albuquerque and almost 20% higher than average in sought-after Santa Fe.

In Las Cruces, violent crime and property crimes are among the highest in the nation.

8. Rhode Island

Providence Rhode Island skyline.
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock
Rhode Island is less than ideal for most retirees.

With more than 100 beaches, mouthwatering seafood, odd local delicacies and decent nightlife and shopping in Providence, little Rhodie is its own unique brand of fun.

Too bad that no amount of clam chowder will keep you warm during the winter nor’easters that’ll bury your house until well into spring. Add in the high taxes and astronomical cost of living, and you’ll see why Rhode Island is less than ideal for most retirees.

Safe and desirable areas such as Newport are prohibitively expensive to live in, while up-and-coming capital Providence has a history of political corruption.

The tiny state also suffers from the worst transportation infrastructure in the country and some of the highest electricity prices, according to data by McKinsey. At least Rhode Island can boast that its health care is ranked seventh in the nation.


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7. Kentucky

View of  Skyline downtown Louisville in Kentucky USA
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Kentucky's downsides even out the benefits of its generally low cost of living.

Thirsty for a nightcap? Look no further than bourbon, the only drink you’ll ever need in Kentucky. Life is all about the simple pleasures: Kids still play outdoors, football’s a religion (GO WILDCATS!!) — and maybe it’s the sheer number of wild turkeys and deer, but hunting sure is popular.

However, 11% of Kentucky seniors live in poverty, and Kiplinger found average health care costs for a retired couple total more than $384,000.

Senior health is poor, due to higher-than-average rates of smoking, a lack of physical activity, and limited access to affordable and nutritious food.

These issues pretty much even out the benefits of the generally low cost of living in the Bluegrass State.

6. Arkansas

Little Rock, Arkansas - February 20th 2016: Little Rock Winter Skyline
Graves Creative Design / Shutterstock
Arkansas has often been rated a terrible place for seniors.

The Natural State sure lives up to its name. Seniors living in Arkansas can look forward to an active retirement, hitting the trails and enjoying the spectacular scenery. And forget beaches — here, you can sit back, relax and float down a creek instead.

Unfortunately, the state's pretty hot springs haven't kept it from being rated a terrible place for seniors.

Bankrate notes that Arkansas has one of the nation's highest crime rates in the country and one of the lowest scores for health care. WalletHub's most recent ranking put the state dead last for quality of life.

Still, Arkansas wins high marks for affordability. You’ll have to decide if that outweighs the crushing summer humidity and resulting hordes of hungry mosquitoes.


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5. New York

The rush of commuters in a New York City subway going towards Brooklyn
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New York state doesn’t offer much support for retirees living on a fixed income.

You might be surprised at what New York state has to offer retirees. Not far from the center of the universe that is Manhattan, you’ll find amazing trails and skiing in the Catskill Mountains, peaceful little towns and lovely wineries.

But no matter where you settle, the cost of living in New York state is 29% above the national average.

To cap it all off, Bankrate put New York 48th among the states for senior health care costs and quality of life.

New York might be an interesting place with lots of variety, but the fact is the state doesn’t offer much support for retirees living on a fixed income.

4. Hawaii

Honolulu, HI, USA - Mar 18, 2017: Tourists who sunbathe and swim in Waikiki Beach, Hawaii. Hawaii will be a perfect day for swimming in warm, sunny days throughout the year.
7maru / Shutterstock
Hawaii may be beautiful, but everything is exorbitantly expensive.

Hawaii sure seems like paradise with its gorgeous weather, beaches and jungles, laid-back lifestyle and amazing food. But the high cost of living will eat through your retirement savings faster than you’d think.

The islands have limited space for housing, which drives up rents and home prices and pushes most people to live in expensive high-rises in crowded cities.

Also, because Hawaii is so far from everything, basic household items, clothing and groceries must be flown in and often cost twice as much as on the mainland. Hawaiians also pay the highest gasoline prices in the U.S.

If you can put up with the vog (volcanic smog), overcrowding and clueless tourists, then you might enjoy retiring in Hawaii. Just make lots of local friends, because you won’t be able to afford to visit your mainland friends and family anytime soon.


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3. West Virginia

A view of the skyline of downtown Charleston, West Virginia.
Katherine Welles / Shutterstock
West Virginia has plenty of has plenty of all-American charm in its capital Charleston and other towns. But it's also a very unhealthy state.

If you seek a quiet retirement in absolutely stunning natural surroundings, then you might hear West Virginia calling your name. But before you pack up and head for these hills, make sure you know all the facts.

It’s true that the cost of living is 3% below the U.S. average, and that the Mountain State is considered tax-friendly for retirees. Unfortunately, the good news ends there.

West Virginia is the fattest state and has the country’s fifth most unhealthy seniors, says the United Health Foundation. McKinsey reports that the state has relatively expensive health care and the fewest visits to dentists in the nation.

And sadly, because of the declining coal industry, many of the state's small towns are crumbling — while rates of property crimes climb.

2. New Jersey

Aerial showing patchwork of homes and buildings in Hoboken, New Jersey.
NE / Shutterstock
High costs make the Garden State no picnic for retirees.

New Jersey has a lot to offer, including sandy beaches, sunny boardwalks, great golfing, delectable restaurants and a hugely diverse population. But it's No. 2 on our list because the high taxes and cost of living can really strain a budget.

Home values have been climbing for years and have reached a median price of $311,600, and renting isn’t cheap, either. The state also has the second-highest combined state and local tax burden in America.

Residents have to report annuities, pensions and some IRA withdrawals during tax season, which can be costly and time-consuming for retirees.

In addition, the state sales tax is almost 7%, which raises prices of restaurant meals, furniture and car repairs, among other things. No wonder the cost of living in New Jersey is 22% above the national average!


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1. Louisiana

Pontchartrain Bridge over the Mississippi river in New Orleans on a cloudy day
Robynrg / Shutterstock
Louisiana has a gumbo of negatives, making it a recipe for retirement disaster.

Why is Louisiana our pick for the very worst state to retire in? True, it's got a lot of positives, including the super friendly people who’ll be your neighbors, a unique food and music culture, and amazing natural beauty.

But suffocating summer heat and humidity, and Category 4 or 5 hurricanes make living here less enjoyable. Further inconveniencing residents are the 9.88% sales tax, which is the nation's highest, and the second-highest crime rate in the U.S.

Add in low-quality health care and hungry alligators, and you’ve got a recipe for retirement disaster.

But if you’re still lured by Louisiana’s southern charm, then a study by Movoto recommends Inniswold, with a lower crime rate than the rest of the state and more temperate summers, or pretty Belle Chasse, renowned for its seafood and Cajun cooking.


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These states were the absolute worst for retirees. Now check out the very best US states for your retirement. We've compiled this list of the best states for your retirement, counting down to No. 1.

20. Nevada

Senior watching Hoover Dam
Elzbieta Sekowska / Shutterstock
Nevada offers seniors more than Las Vegas -- including Hoover Dam.

Nevada has been popular with retirees for decades, thanks to its reasonable home prices, lack of a state income tax and warm climate in the south. But Kiplinger says the cost of living is higher than average.

The state struggled on its way out of the 2008 recession but has seen good tourism numbers recently, which translate to a better economy.

Las Vegas is more than a party town: It also has great weather, parks, golfing, arts and a fast-growing community of retirees. Plus, "Sin City" offers Nevada's best health care, and the median price for a home there is $260,000.

For more sun, water activities and a smaller community feel, check out river-bound Laughlin, where the median home price is $148,000.

19. Wisconsin

A woman on the beach with her dog
Lindsay Snow / Shutterstock
Wisconsin has shoreline along not one but two Great Lakes.

Wisconsin is home to more than 500 golf courses, 15,000 inland lakes, 33,000 miles of rivers, two Great Lakes and 5 million acres of public hunting grounds for outdoorsy seniors to enjoy.

Retirees also benefit from a low cost of living and lower taxes, including no taxes on Social Security benefits or government pensions. Bankrate ranks the state high for health care quality.

Madison is among the best cities in the country for culture, entertainment and amenities at a fraction of big-city prices. The median home price there is $250,000, but apartments can be found for less.

Milwaukee offers modern city living, and the median home value is just $113,900, says Zillow. Or, for $160,000 and up, you can settle in quiet, lakeside of Eau Claire, or in popular Lake Geneva.

18. Nebraska

senior male walking on old railroad trestle acroos Niobrara River , now a multi-use recreational Cowboy Trail in northern Nebraska
marekuliasz / Shutterstock
Nebraska is crisscrossed with hiking trails.

Forget beaches and mountains: Nebraska’s got miles upon miles of walking and biking trails, 6,500 acres of parks and 1,475 acres of wild nature to keep retirees active.

Although Nebraska isn't particularly tax-friendly for seniors, Kiplinger points out that the state has a below-average cost of living, great health care and plenty of shopping and entertainment in its cities.

Lincoln offers shopping, dining and the arts in its Haymarket District. Meanwhile, Omaha is home to a fantastic local beer and football culture, a great music scene, and some of the best steak you’ll ever taste.

Your money goes far in Nebraska, with median home prices sitting at $175,500 in Lincoln and $167,500 in Omaha, according to Zillow.

17. Massachusetts

Fall Foliage Plymouth Massachusetts
Michael Sean O'Leary / Shutterstock
Plymouth, Massachusetts, offers spectacular fall foliage.

It may have snowy winters and high living costs and taxes. But Massachusetts has plenty to offer retirees, including nationally ranked hospitals and a whole lot of history and culture. WalletHub says it's near the top for quality of life.

For those who want to reap the state's many benefits, there are still some reasonably affordable towns in Massachusetts.

In Leominster, a smaller community about an hour outside of Boston, the median home value is $250,000. Home prices in Methuen start at around $200,000, says Trulia, and that town also boasts great shopping and a world-class music hall.

And for those seeking the Cape Cod experience on a budget, condos in historic Plymouth start around $160,000, and single family homes can be had for $300,000.

16. Missouri

Senior couple skiing cross-country in the field
LanaG / Shutterstock
Missouri features hot summers and cool winters.

With over 1,000 miles of gorgeous coastline encircling its lakes, highly-ranked hospitals and a strong brewing and wine industry, Missouri has a lot to offer retirees.

You can enjoy laid-back, country living not far from the big-city amenities of St. Louis and Kansas City. Missouri's agreeable climate features hot summers, cool winters and more than 200 days of sunshine.

Bankrate says the cost of living in Missouri is among the lowest. The state does tax Social Security income and pensions, says SmartAsset, but housing is fairly affordable.

Great communities for retirees include Blue Springs, with its many parks, great health care center and a median home value of $175,100; and the college town of Springfield, with a median home price of $131,100.

15. Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, Pa. USA, Sept. 16, 2017: senior citizens talking at the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum. Sept. 16, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pa. USA
Fernando Garcia Esteban / Shutterstock
Philadelphia is a great place for senior history buffs.

Pennsylvania has a livable four-season climate with hot and humid summers in the southeast, a pleasant fall and a genuine winter.

With its busy cities, pretty natural surroundings and easy access to New Jersey’s beaches, Pennsylvania will never bore you. Retirees will love the Keystone State's low 6% sales tax and no taxes on retirement income or medication.

The town of Lancaster was ranked No. 2 on U.S. News and World Report's 100 best places to retire in America. It has a bustling downtown core, quaint shopping districts, a high-performing hospital and affordable homes.

For a big city, Pittsburgh has a relatively low cost of living and a ton of history, entertainment and amenities. Philadelphia offers top-notch health care, good public transportation, a major international airport and a highly walkable layout.

14. North Dakota

Campsite with a tent and hunting gear in the badlands area of the border of Eastern Montana and Western North Dakota on an early winter day. Overcast sky. Concept for public / BLM land use
melissamn / Shutterstock
North Dakota offers hiking and camping opportunities.

North Dakota proves that you don’t need a beach to have a great retirement. Even with its cold winters, residents make the most of the state’s natural beauty, culture and entertainment all year ‘round.

The bustling city of Bismarck sits on the Missouri River and offers great fishing, watersports and a vibrant arts scene downtown. Fargo has museums, galleries and shopping to keep you engaged.

Although retirement income is taxed, income taxes are relatively low. Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks all have high-performing hospitals, says US News.

The cost of living is generally affordable, and this extends to housing: The median home price is $271,200 in Bismarck, $225,400 in Fargo, and $206,400 in Grand Forks, according to Zillow.

13. Montana

Elderly man sitting on a tree root chair in the Bob Marshall Wilderness enjoying the evening scenery on summertime day.
Jerry Voss / Shutterstock
Montana's forests and mountains promise a very peaceful retirement in the fresh air.

Why consider snowy Montana for your retirement? Aside from its amazing scenery, cool college towns and cities, and historical attractions galore, mountainous Montana has no sales tax and affordable living costs.

The city of Billings, population 100,000, mixes restaurants, shopping and entertainment with an Old West vibe, and has miles of trails to keep you going. The median home price is $185,900, says Livability.com.

Great Falls (median home value $158,900) has a bustling, historic downtown and is close to some great parks, while skiers will want to head to Bozeman (median home price $256,300).

Given Montana’s massive size and sparse population, it’s important to have a plan for getting to good health care. St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula and Billings' Advanced Care Hospital are highly regarded.

12. North Carolina

Senior man with dog enjoying a morning on a sandy beach in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Cvandyke / Shutterstock
North Carolina has both mountains and beaches.

North Carolina is one of the few places where you can visit rugged mountains and sandy beaches in the same day.

With its hot and humid summers and mild-to-chilly winters, North Carolina has the perfect climate for enjoying its charming towns and waterfronts, NASCAR racing and amazing barbeque any time of the year.

Health care costs can be high, but Social Security benefits are not taxed, and property taxes are comparatively low. The state's median home value is $173,800, and the cost of living in North Carolina is 5% below the national average.

In light of all this, it should be no surprise that North Carolina is among the top retirement destinations in the country. SmartAsset found that more than 14,000 people over 60 moved the the state in 2017.

11. Washington

Nature landscape of mountain Baker in Washington State during sunset with a couple lovers watching
Patrick Tr / Shutterstock
Washington's attractions include two mountain ranges.

With more than 3,000 miles of coastline and two mountain ranges, Washington state is perfect for an active retirement. The west coast is rainy and temperate, while eastern cities like Spokane and Chelan have drier four-season climates.

Seattle has it all: great health care, culture, entertainment and safety — but it’s not ideal for retirees on a budget. Kiplinger says the cost of living in the city is 49% above the national average.

According to Zillow, Seattle has a median home price of $764,200, versus $194,500 in Spokane.

Washington has no state income or inheritance tax on property under $2 million. And while medical costs can be high, the state comes out on top for quality of life and health care, says a Caring.com study.

10. Minnesota

Canoer on Kekekabic Lake in the Boundary Waters in Minnesota
Wildnerdpix / Shutterstock
Minnesota offers natural beauty and waterfront fun.

The land of 10,000 lakes (really more like 11,000!) is beloved by residents for its natural beauty and endless miles of waterfront fun. The winters can be genuinely cold, but the snow’s just great for skiing and sledding, dontcha know?

This friendly state is best in the nation for quality of life and health care quality for seniors, says WalletHub.

Kiplinger found that the cost of health care for a retired couple is close to the national average. Given the state’s highly-rated hospitals, your health care dollars will be well spent.

Retirees have been flocking to Minnesota in recent years, and the state has been working to add more services for them. Developers have been busy constructing more senior-friendly buildings where older people can live independently.

9. Arizona

Elderly couple in Grand Canyon National Park - North Rim
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Retirees in Arizona have the Grand Canyon in their backyard.

Arizona is a wonderland of great cities, mountains, canyons (including that Grand one), waterways and even sandy beaches along lakes and rivers.

Where else but Arizona can you tan by the pool in Phoenix, play world-class desert golf, and then go skiing in Falstaff a few hours later?

Bankrate says the state has the second-best weather in the country, after California. Arizona's major cities enjoy around 250 days of sun every year.

Housing costs are not astronomical. You can rent a one-bedroom in the center of Tucson for $675, or in Phoenix for $1,100 a month, Numbeo says. And while Arizona’s average sales tax is a high 8.25%, there's no tax on Social Security.

8. Idaho

Healthy Active Senior Photographer Hiking Outdoors. Copy space.
Denise Lett / Shutterstock
There are lots of outdoor activities in Idaho, thanks to its mountainous geography.

Idaho’s got a whole lot more going for it than potatoes! Try a livable four-season climate, a low cost of living and tons of outdoor pursuits, thanks to mountainous geography.

Bankrate notes that Idaho is the fourth-safest state in the nation, while Kiplinger says the cost of living is 5% lower than the U.S. average.

Some of the state's most affordable places are also the loveliest. In Idaho Falls, rent for a one-bedroom averages $560 a month. Twin Falls has comparable housing costs, and you can find as much peace and quiet or adventure as you want!

Retiree health care in Idaho is cheaper than average. And, as the cherry on top, Social Security benefits are nontaxable.

7. Virginia

Couple Enjoying The View From Their RV Campsite
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Virginia's mountains are magical.

Given Virginia's manageable four-season climate, the state's mountains and beaches are best enjoyed during the magical spring and autumn months.

If you’re into festivals, racing (horse or car, take your pick!), delicious down-home cooking and taste-testing wines from any of more than 230 local vineyards, then you might just enjoy settling here.

In 2014, Forbes named the mountain town of Blacksburg the top spot in the nation for retirees, thanks to its lower cost of living, reasonable housing costs and safety. You can rent a one-bedroom apartment in the city center for $1,033.

Tax benefits are a huge plus if you retire in Virginia. Kiplinger says retirees 65 or older are allowed to deduct up to $12,000 worth of income per person.

Need to save more for retirement? Find out how much you need to put away each month to reach your savings goal.

6. Utah

Seniors couple enjoying the beauty of Delicate Arch, Utah, USA
Ukrolenochka / Shutterstock
Utah is a state of stunning natural attractions.

Thanks to Utah's magnificent mountain ranges, endless natural activities, and amazing local produce and foods, it’s no wonder that the state has one of the nation’s fastest-growing populations of all ages.

The Beehive State is home to 17 national parks, monuments and forests to keep you active, plus it boasts high-quality health care.

Having the nationally ranked University of Utah Hospital in town is one of the major benefits of living in Salt Lake City. The state capital also has an affordable cost of living, a walkable downtown and a reliable light-rail system.

It’s important to note that Social Security and other kinds of retirement income are taxable in Utah. But seniors can claim a tax credit of up to $450 per person, and property and sales taxes are fairly low.

5. Florida

Senior Couple on a bike ride
Brocreative / Shutterstock
Its warm weather and beatiful beaches have been drawing retirees to Florida for decades.

The Sunshine State has been a popular port of call for North American retirees for decades. And it’s no wonder: With so much waterfront and beach action, fantastic seafood, and tons of history and culture, what’s not to love about Florida?

Orlando remains one of the most affordable destinations for transplants of all ages. Here, you can find condos selling for $70,000 to $170,000, or you can rent a one-bedroom apartment for under $1,000 a month.

If you'd rather not deal with all the tourists drawn to Orlando and its theme parks, other great places to settle include quiet and scenic Palm Coast on the Atlantic side, and the canal-filled fishing haven of Cape Coral near the Gulf Coast.

Florida also is essentially a tax haven for retirees: There's no state income tax, estate tax or inheritance tax, and there's no tax on Social Security and other retirement income either.

4. Iowa

Fishing Iowa summer 2017
Melissa L Oltman / Shutterstock
Iowa's rivers, lakes and woodlands beckon retirees.

Iowa is more than just cornfields: The state is home to hills, rivers, lakes and woodlands just waiting for you to explore them.

Iowa's eclectic towns welcome you to enjoy bountiful farmers markets (NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids), local theater culture (at Englert Theater in Iowa City), savory treats (the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival in Des Moines) and much more.

Cedar Rapids offers a vibrant arts scene and lots of outdoor activities, and you can rent a one-bedroom apartment for $470 to $625. The median home price is $171,000, according to Zillow.   Kiplinger says Iowa's cost of living is 12% below the U.S. average. The cost of health care for retirees is 5.6% below average, and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City is nationally ranked.

3. Colorado

Man hiking in the mountains
Paul Knowles / Shutterstock
Colorado's mountain terrain can help you stay fit in retirement.

Colorado really has it all. Mountains? Check. Breweries? Check. Big-city amenities and small-town charm? Check and check.

Add too this a fantastic quality of life, good health care and some of the highest senior citizen tax deductions in the country, and it’s no wonder so many retirees are settling here.

Although cities like Denver and Boulder can be expensive, there are many smaller towns that are far more affordable and provide the same access to the state’s natural wonders. In Greeley, a one-bedroom rents for around $1,000 a month.

WalletHub ranks Colorado as second in the country for health care quality and clinical care. The state has three nationally ranked hospitals, plus nine other high-performing medical centers.

2. South Dakota

2013-08-04 Mount Rushmore in South Dakota
Paul Quesnell / Flickr
South Dakota offers natural beauty and man-made wonders, like Mount Rushmore.

What South Dakota lacks in year-round tanning weather, it makes up for with some of the best hunting, fishing, hiking and camping around. The small-town life is relaxed and perfect for retirees looking to settle somewhere quiet but active.

You’ll definitely find a home in your price range in affordable South Dakota. In Sioux Falls, which has ubiquitous natural beauty and a vibrant downtown, a one-bedroom in the center of town goes for $750 a month, on average.

In smaller Rapid City (population: 74,000) and Aberdeen (population: 27,800), housing costs are even cheaper. You can find one-bedroom apartments renting for around $650 a month, says Numbeo.

Seniors will be happy to note that South Dakota doesn’t tax Social Security income or pensions, there’s no inheritance tax, and the state sales tax is 4%.

1. New Hampshire

Handsome middle aged man in woods
Johanna Veldstra / Shutterstock
New Hampshire provides a peaceful New England lifestyle at affordable prices.

New Hampshire takes the top spot as our best retirement state — and it really has the whole package.

U.S. News reports that If you retire here, you’ll enjoy low taxes, great health care, gorgeous natural surroundings, peace and quiet, and plenty of ways to get the most out of life.

New Hampshire might just be the place if you’re looking for a peaceful New England lifestyle at a fraction of Boston's prices. In pretty Portsmouth, on the Atlantic coast, a one-bedroom apartment rents for $1,100 to $1,300.

With no sales tax, New Hampshire has the best deal on clothing, alcohol and tobacco in the Northeast. Retirement income isn’t taxed, but there is a 5% tax on dividends and interest that might snag retirees with investment income.