Finding the best beach to retire at is an overwhelming task if you don’t know where to start. But it can be a really fun and exciting experience as well—just think about all the new places you’ll be learning about and possibly even visiting. Here at RetireAtTheBeach.com, we have carefully selected and vetted the best beaches for retirement, but we’ve also put this guide together to help you find your next home at the beach.
Affordability of Beach Towns and Cities
The very first thing you need to consider when you’re looking for the best beach to retire at is the cost of living. Beach homes don’t come cheap, and while renting is generally cheaper, it usually costs more than the national median rent, which was $1078 in 2019.
Depending on multiple factors such as your retirement income and whether you’re selling your current home, you might find renting to be the more affordable option. However, keep in mind that it could be a lot cheaper to buy a new home in the long run, especially if you plan to retire at the beach for the rest of your life.
Another thing to think about is that eating out seems to generally cost more in beach towns, perhaps due to the booming tourism industry in these areas. If you like to eat out a lot, it might put a noticeable dent in your budget. Other than that, you’ll need to consider the price of groceries, utilities and healthcare. You can check how a town or city’s cost of living compares to the rest of the U.S. here.
When you go through your list of options, remember that the best beach to retire at is somewhere you can live comfortably and happily without exhausting your retirement income. If a town or city is too expensive for you, cross it out and move on to the next item.
The Quality of Life at Beach Retirement Destinations
A comfortable retirement is one that allows for as many conveniences as possible, and as few inconveniences as possible. And the ideal beach to retire at has these things and more.
If you’re going to retire at the beach (or anywhere else that’s unfamiliar to you), you have to make sure that:
- The weather there is exactly what you’d prefer. Some beach retirement locations have beautiful weather all year long, some have mild winters, and some have winters just as cold as the average winter in the country. USClimatedata.com is your friend when it comes to looking up a location’s climate.
- There’s easy and quick access to everything you need, whatever they are. This includes retail shops, specialty boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants, hardware stores and home improvement retail stores, and more.
- Equally important when finding the best beach to retire is the ease of getting to these places. Here are the things you’ll want to consider when it comes to getting around: a) How bad is the traffic? b) Is there public transportation? c) Is it pedestrian-friendly, and are places easily walkable?
Apart from that, other things that fall under this category are food, crime and healthcare.
Good food is one of the things that make up a happy retirement, so make sure to look up the restaurants in all of the places you’re considering for retirement. More variety is always good, but you need to have access to your go-to’s and your comfort food, whether it be classic American fare, mouthwatering Southern barbecue or comforting Chinese-American dishes.
Also, keep in mind that some of your favorites may not be a thing (or not as tasty) elsewhere, or may have a different name. For example, if you’re from the New York-New Jersey area and you love bagels, you might have a hard time finding bagels that are as good in other parts of the country.
No matter how retirement-ideal a place seems to be, if it’s riddled with crime, it’s not the best beach to retire at. This is probably the second factor you should do your research on. The good thing is that there are plenty of websites you can visit that offer detailed information on crime statistics by town/city, among which are NeighborhoodScout.com and SpotCrime.com.
The whole process isn’t very straightforward and you might not be able to find the data you want simply by going to the websites directly, so you’re going to have to look up the crime rates a different way. You do this by typing the location in Google search bar followed by either “neighborhoodscout” or “spotcrime”. Example: “Gig Harbor, WA neighborhoodscout” or “Corpus Christi, TX crimespot”.
Nothing is more important than your health—retirement or not. So it’s vital that you take healthcare facilities into consideration when looking for the best beach to retire at. You’ll want to be within close proximity to major hospitals as well as health centers and urgent care facilities.
On Google Maps, type a location (a town, city or county) in the search bar and once the area has loaded, type “hospitals” or “clinics” or “health centers” in the same search bar. Go through the results and take a look at the ratings and reviews for each one. You might also want to check their reviews on Facebook and other platforms.
Furthermore, check for the number of healthcare facilities as well as physicians per capita. It goes without saying, but the higher the number, the better.
Find the Best Beach According to Your Wants and Needs
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of best beaches to retire at, it’s time to compare and contrast these options according to your specific wants needs.
- Is there an airport close by with flights to major cities or major tourist destinations abroad?
- Do you want to retire at a beach that’s a reasonable drive away from a major city?
- Does the location offer all the activities you want to do in retirement? Like fishing or golfing, perhaps?
- Does it also offer enough opportunities to get fit?
- How easy is it to meet new people? How’s the nightlife?
- How are the culture, arts and entertainment departments? Will they be enough to keep you occupied all year round?
- Does it have a good amount of attractions and things to do for when your grandkids come to visit?
Above are just some of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself to find the best beach for retirement. It might be a good idea to write these questions down somewhere and make a table for the answers for an easy comparison of the options.
You might also want to add more questions depending on whether there are more things that weren’t addressed here. The beach you’ll retire at is going to be your home for possibly the rest of your life, so it’s best to be thorough about your research. It’s not going to be easy, but once you find it, it will be gratifying, and will be the start of a new exciting chapter in your life.