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25 Best Cities for Wallet-Friendly Summer Travel

25 Best Cities for Wallet-Friendly Summer Travel

Have a sunnier summer with these affordable vacations


These destinations will result in a great summer and a happy wallet.

Travel is one of life’s greatest pleasures, yet it often comes at a steep price. However, we’re lucky to live during a time when travel is more accessible than ever, and cheap deals — even in the most expensive cities — can be easily acquired with just a little bit of determination, patience, and research. Here are the 25 best budget-friendly cities to travel to this summer.

Our research is based on the data provided by personal finance website WalletHub. By collecting data from multiple national and federal reports as well as other travel websites, WalletHub identified the most popular and budget-friendly summer destinations in the United States. Then, it analyzed prices of airfare from the six largest airport hubs in the U.S. to the 80 largest metro areas during the month of July. The statistics are based on six key categories: travel costs and hassles, local costs, attractions, weather, activities, and safety. For a more detailed explanation of the company’s methodology, visit the full study.

In layman’s terms, this means that these cities earned a place on this list not solely based on how much or little money you’ll spend getting there, but how much money you’ll spend while you’re there, what value you can extract from the city (based on its attractions), and the relative value of these places right now, as compared to their high tourist seasons. You’ll definitely find some pretty predictable spots on here, such as Chicago and San Diego, but other cities may surprise you, either because of their reputations as expensive destinations or because of their entire lack of a reputation as a destination. As WalletHub’s list largely named metropolitan areas, we took the principal city of each of these areas to bring you the 25 best cities for wallet-friendly summer travel.

Nikkitha Bakshani contributed to this story.

25 Travel Apps That'll Help You Save Money

Planning a vacation gives you something to look forward to in the coming year. Whether it's an official family holiday, road trip, solo wellness retreat, or a last-minute long-weekend getaway with the girls, there's so many great places to visit. There are also dozens of awesome travel apps that'll help you not only channel wanderlust into an experience you'll never forget, but also, save you money.

First, you'll need to figure out where to go. Will you stay within the 50 states, or head somewhere internationally? (Hint: Scrolling Instagram travel accounts is a fun way to research). Once you've picked a destination and stocked up on travel dresses, there's still plenty to organize before the fun begins. That road trip itinerary isn't going to map itself. And what times are your connecting flights, again? Then there's managing the hotel or AirBNB reservation, and figuring out how to stay on budget when you're taking your kids out to eat every night. That's where free travel apps like TripIt, Kayak, and Hopper come in handy. With the help of the best travel apps, you'll actually enjoy the buildup to your next adventure. Or, at the very least, you'll be able to find cheap flights to get you there.

One of the best travel apps for flights, Hopper analyzes billions of airfare and hotel prices a day&mdashas well as its vast archive of historical data&mdashto tell you whether to wait or book your trip.

Here&rsquos how it works: Type in your destination and a color-coded calendar will show you the cheapest (and most expensive) dates to fly. Hopper will then recommend whether you should go ahead and buy now, or hold off until the rates get better.

If it tells you to stay tuned, you can set up a price watch and put your phone away. When the fare has dropped to its lowest point and it&rsquos time for you to swipe, Hopper will send you a notification.

TripIt organizes all of your itineraries in one place. Available for both iPhone and Android, users simply forward confirmation emails to [email protected], and the app will create you a *free* master doc for each trip. You can access the itinerary anywhere, even without an internet connection.

Their premium service, TripIt Pro ($49/year) boosts your organizing power with additional features. These include real-time flight alerts, refund notifications, and the ability to track reward points and miles as well as a currency converter, a list of socket and plug requirements, and tipping advice for 180 countries.

You have a considerable amount of flexibility on a road trip, but planning them requires effort. Try Roadtrippers the next time you're inspired to grab a car and go. The app allows you to map your route with up to 7 waypoints free of charge. After that, there's an option to upgrade to Roadtrippers Plus.

Along your route, the app will recommend local food options, roadside attractions, scenic stops and more. They even have pre-made guides for popular road trips.

Skyscanner's "everywhere" feature allows you to look for surprising destinations simply by sorting by your budget and your travel timeframe. For example, you may think Europe will be out of your price-range, but this feature could make the trip possible.

Like Hopper and Kayak, it also helps you find the best airfare rates by alerting you when prices dip.

The last thing you want is to get caught in a nasty, vision-obscuring storm when you're on a long stretch of highway with your family or friends. DriveWeather was designed to help road travelers avoid the worst weather conditions. The app lets you track your best (read: sunniest) departure time, providing radar views and routes from one point to another&mdashwith rain, freezing rain, ice, and snow icons that let you know when there's slippery roads ahead.

The free version offers 2 days of forecasts, city-to-city routing, and a 900-mile trip limit the ad-free $9.99 a year version offers 7 days of forecasts, wind direction info, specific address-to-address routing, and no cap on trip length.

Booked that spontaneous flight, and now you're trying to figure out where you're going to sleep at night? In the middle of a road adventure and need to find lodging ASAP? Don't panic, there's an app for that. HotelTonight finds last-minute deals on hotels near your location, ranging from "basic" to "luxe" options, including unique boutique hotels.

The app allows you to filter for location, dates, the number of guests, pet-friendly options, and amenities like a gym.

Waze makes it easy for you to avoid congestion, blocked roads, police, accidents or other hazards that might increase your driving time&mdashbecause starting off vacation by sitting in traffic is a major mood killer.

The app has a speedometer to help you make sure you're staying within the speed limit, and it updates your arrival time based on live traffic data.

The beauty of KAYAK is that it aggregates the best fares from most airlines, allowing you to filter flight options based on your airline preference and departure times, while easily changing dates and destinations. You can also find deals on car rentals and hotels.

Once you've booked, the app, available on iOS and Google Play, keeps your plans organized and updates you on flight status, airport terminals, and security wait times.

Whether you're looking to rent a room, a house, or an entire hacienda, you can search for accommodations in your desired location. The app (free on Google Play and iTunes) lets you filter through photos and reviews, as well as sort by amenities&mdashlike a pool or washing machine. Plus, a local host can provide insight about great dining spots.

If you have an international trip in the works and you're hoping to fend off jet lag, give Timeshifter a try. The app was developed by scientists who used sleep and circadian neuroscience to help inform the personalized jet lag plans they craft for you. According to the app's website, even astronauts and elite athletes have used it to arrive at their destinations in tip-top shape.

The first "jet lag plan" is free, so try it out on your next adventure across the world.

One way to fully immerse yourself in your travel destination is to meet and talk with locals. Meetup can help you connect with people who are interested in the same things as you, even while on vacation. Whether it's cooking, tech, sports, music, or photography, the app will help you make new friends all over the world.

Free on iOS devices and Android, Hound from SoundHound is a voice assistant app that you can chat with like you would a travel agent. For instance, say, "Okay, Hound. Show me hotels in Chicago for this weekend that cost less than $300 and are pet-friendly.&rdquo

With data from over 160 countries, Rome2rio is one of the best international travel apps. Simply enter any address, landmark, or city as your destination and the app displays info about accommodations and things to do.

Free on iOs and Android, Rome2rio also shows you how to get around, and compares costs, if, for example, you're debating flying from Florence to Rome versus taking the train.

This one's been placed on Apple&rsquos coveted &ldquoBest App&rdquo list because it not only keeps track of itineraries, boarding passes, and frequent-flier programs, but it also tracks boarding and landing times, along with current waits for check-in, security and customs. Through augmented reality, it even helps you figure out if your carry-on is the right fit for your next flight.

For the best place to grab airport coffee, or where you can get a mimosa before 7 a.m. in a specific terminal, the app also pulls tips from fellow travelers. And, if you're the competitive type, you can keep "score" of all of the places you've been on the worldwide leaderboard.

The app is free on iOS and Google Play but also offers a paid upgraded version.

For the unacquainted, TripAdvisor has over 700 million reviews of 8 million destinations to peruse before booking your hotel, dinner reservation, or even planning a day at the museum. Free on both iOS and Google Play, the comprehensive app is available in 28 languages.

You can also follow friends and travel experts for advice that matches your interests, view travel videos, read articles for inspo&mdash and write your own reviews, if you're so inclined.

Perfect for the business traveler who needs to track spending and receipts&mdashor anyone who likes to stay on top of budgets&mdashthis app also boasts a helpful exchange rate calculator. It's free on iOS and Android with option to upgrade.

"Never Forget Your ______ Again!" is the slogan for PackPoint, which helps you build a packing list based on your trip. Input the dates, location, the type of travel, and the activities you plan on doing, and the app will conveniently generate a list of items you should bring. It even checks the weather to make sure you bring an umbrella or a heavier jacket depending on your destination.

Despite the cost-saving benefits of a road trip, gas money can really start to add up if you're driving for days. Enter GasBuddy, which helps you find the best gas prices near you. With at 4.7/5 rating and over 300,000 reviews on Apple, the app has helpful features like a gas price map, outage tracker during natural disasters, a trip cost calculator, and useful search filters like brand, price location, available restrooms, and more.

Bonus, you can save 5¢/gal on every gallon if you use the app's free "Pay with GasBuddy" card.

If you're like Oprah and think "hiking is so fun," you need to download this app. AllTrails is for nature lovers, hiking enthusiasts, and even those who just want to fit in a cardio workout while on vacation. The app has over 100,000 curated trails&mdashwhich all but guarantee you'll find one near you&mdashand lets you create and share custom maps with friends.

When you gotta go, you gotta go, but finding a public toilet when you're traveling can be quite the task. The Flush Toilet Finder saves you time and helps you avoid an accident with the over 190,000 public bathrooms in its database. Flush will tell you which ones are free, accessible for the disabled, or require a key&mdashand users can even rate and report a toilet.

The Flush app is available for free on iOS and Google Play.

Citymapper helps you find the fastest, easiest way to get around major cities in the U.S., Canada, Asia, Australia, Europe, and Latin America. Offering up-to-the-minute info on mass transit, commuter trains, ferries, bike share, and car services, you'll know the second there's a service disruption or traffic jam (and how long it'll take you to walk instead).

With its directions and maps, the free app will have you zipping around like a true native in no time.

Has an extreme fear of flying kept you from taking a plane ticket to your dream destination? Since 1982, therapist and former airline pilot Capt. Tom Bunn has offered his SOAR course to nervous fliers. The anxiety-soothing resource is now available on-the-go in this app, including fact-based plane info to start calming your brain down.

"The best feature for me is the Turbulence Tracker," raves O, the Oprah Magazine senior editor Molly Simms. "You hold it in your lap or put on the tray, and it shows you the g-force of the bumps you're experiencing in real time&mdashit proves that they're actually not all that powerful (and not even close to what it would take to like, break a wing off)."

Look, there's plenty of reasons why someone would want a hotel for just a few hours. The only thing Dayuse needs to know is what you're seeking from one of the 5,000 accommodations across 25 countries they can instantly connect you to, and when you need it (start times range from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.) You'll find rooms marked down by as much as 75 percent for your 1 to 10-hour stay.

Bonus: You can use the hotel's amenities during your abbreviated stay, so take advantage of that pool, gym, or sauna before you head back out.

In this app, folks who are all about that RV life will find 40,000 stop-offs anyone on the open road will want to know about: Public and private RV parks and campgrounds, as well as rest areas, gas station, and stores.

The parks are sorted by rating with their amenities listed, and your options include photos so you know what to expect ahead of time. Unlike other RV park apps with similar search capacity, RV Parks & Campgrounds is both ad-free and actually free.

No, Yelp isn't a travel app per se. But while you may think of it as something you use at home to pick a restaurant for date night, you're going to be the hero of the destination bachelorette party when you find the perfect salsa club spur-of-the-moment.

Search with Yelp's insanely detailed filters to find food, auto repair, and just about every service imaginable. They're all vetted with reviews from fellow users, and the photos of food can save you from a disappointing portion at a "$$" eatery.

30 Unique Family Vacation Ideas for a Trip the Kids Won't Forget

The phrase "family vacation" might sound like an oxymoron&mdashespecially after spending more than a year in very close quarters. (Thanks, 2020!) But there are plenty of well-rounded resorts that offers plenty of fun for the whole family, even as we still navigate travel restrictions and social distancing requirements associated with COVID-19.

In many cases, hotels and resorts are open at limited capacity (each and every property below is accepting reservations!). And, according to the CDC, when traveling domestically&mdashsay a Florida beach or the mountains of Maine&mdashany fully vaccinated individual does not have to get tested or quarantine. Non-vaccinated family members should get tested one to three days before travel and get tested three to five days after travel and self-quarantine for seven days&mdash10 days, if not tested. (International travel to places like Europe is a bit trickier, especially if you're not vaccinated, but the CDC does outline various guidelines should you decide to make the trip.) Of course, it's always a good idea to check to see if there are any travel requirements specific to your desired destination, since properties can make their own guidelines.

If your family is more than ready to&mdashsafely&mdashjourney to a new locale for some fun in the sun this summer, consider this as you peruse vacation ideas: All-inclusive resorts, like many of the options on this list, are often the best choice for families, says Beth O'Donnell, travel expert and general manager of Thomson Family Adventures. They not only make it easier to find age-appropriate activities for each person in your crew, but they also keep you contained in one place (a great bonus for your first foray into travel post-pandemic).

Make your great escape, and plenty of amazing memories, at one of these unique family destinations in the US and around the world.

Beloved by families for a reason, this iconic resort in the Bahamas is a hit for all-ages because of its jam-packed menu of activities, plus a Kids Concierge. Take advantage of the outdoor location with the 141-acre water park, which includes marine life encounters, slides, river rides, and snorkeling, plus 11 pools (three for kids!) spread across the property. Numerous kid-friendly restaurants, like Carmine&rsquos Italian and ice cream at Sun & Ice, round out the delights.Atlantis (Bahamas)

Located in the heart of Nashville, this sprawling resort complex has plenty for kids and adults to do. Your steps from iconic highlights like the Grand Ol&rsquo Opry and close to Ryman Auditorium and a quick ride away from the heart of downtown Nashville&mdashbut for families wanting to hunker down on property, that&rsquos possible, too. The resort features SoundWaves, an upscale four-acre indoor/outdoor water attraction including a lazy river, an activity pool complete with a rock wall and basketball hoops, kids splash pad, a multi-level water play structure for all ages, private cabanas, and numerous tubing paths and slides with lights and music for an over-the-top experience. There&rsquos also a spa, nine acres of gardens and waterfalls, and 18 dining options on property, with special menus and activities for kids.

An all-inclusive located directly on the beach in the heart of Cancun, kids can enjoy the Pirate splash park (complete with a life-sized pirate ship), the on-site turtle farm, and guacamole-making classes at the kids and teen clubs. For adults, there&rsquos the Aura Spa, 13 food and beverage options, and nightly activities like karaoke. Rooms are spacious&mdashfamily suites offer bunk and trundle beds&mdashand include balconies, many with ocean views.

At the only all-suite resort in the Adirondacks, families will delight at the bevy of amenities offered by beautiful Whiteface Lodge. Close to Lake Placid&mdasha former winter Olympics village&mdashthe Forbes Four-Star resort is equally spectacular year-round. In the summer, there&rsquos tennis, arts and crafts, s&rsquomores around the fire pit, rental boats, paddle boating, canoes, kayaks, and catch-and-release fishing at the lake. There&rsquos also a kids club, a bowling alley, a game room, ice cream parlor, and movie theater. Suites include jacuzzis, dining-areas, and full kitchens.

On South Carolina&rsquos tiny Kiawah Island&mdasha master-planned community of property owners 21 miles south of Charleston&mdashsits The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island, an oceanfront Forbes Five-Star Resort and one of the most sublimely family-friendly destinations. Offering Kamp Kiawah, with tailored programs for kids from three to 18, the days feel lazier and longer here. Opportunities abound to connect with nature&mdashboating Charleston Harbor, getting up close with dolphins in Kiawah River, going on alligator safaris, bird watching&mdashwhile there&rsquos also family golf and tennis clinics, drive-in movie nights at the pool, a popular oyster roast and BBQ with live music, s&rsquomores, face-painting, and arts and crafts.

An easy drive from Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Richmond, the Shenandoah Valley&rsquos Massanutten Resort&rsquos 6,000 mountain acres are heaven for active families. Highlights include an indoor/outdoor waterpark, a Family Adventure Park including rock climbing and zip lining, a petting zoo, an equestrian center, escape rooms, two 18-hole golf courses, a game room, a playground, and a putting green. There are also twelve restaurants, guaranteeing choice for picky eaters, plus a nightclub for after the littles go to sleep.

With more sun than any other Caribbean island, Aruba is an ideal choice for a family getaway, and this 12-acre waterfront resort provides plenty of beachy fun. While the Palm Beach location and 8,000 square-foot, three-level pool complex are unbeatable&mdashincluding a two-story waterslide and swim-up pool bar&mdashthere&rsquos also a Camp Hyatt for kids with a game room, a casino, and ZoiA Spa. For nature lovers, a visit to nearby Butterfly Farm, with tropical butterflies from around the planet, is a must, while the resort also offers adventures like horseback riding, kite surfing, and diving lessons through Red Sail Sports, plus ten dining options.

Just north of Jacksonville, this beachfront country club-style resort features 36 holes of golf, 15 tennis courts, several pools (including a family pool with an extensive zero-entry splash pad area), cycling, standup paddle boarding, and ocean kayaks. It also contains one of North Florida's largest spas and a fitness center with over 100 weekly classes.

A collection of massive indoor waterpark resorts with 16 locations around the country&mdashincluding Anaheim, Atlanta, Colorado Springs, Chicago, and Boston&mdashGreat Wolf Lodge is kid-friendly aquatic nirvana. Water is kept at 84 degrees, with slides, pools, body surfing, tube rides, a wave pool, and lazy river. There&rsquos also dry fun to be had, including character breakfasts, PJ parties, laser tag, bowling, and mini golf, while special family suites feature bunk beds. Picky eaters can relax: There&rsquos a nut-free kitchen and allergy-friendly menus at the multiple restaurants, including a pizza spot, wood-fired grill, and poolside grill.

Orlando&rsquos best-kept secret, the all-suite, 106-acre lakefront property is only three miles from Disney World, offering an incredible experience&mdashplus complimentary shuttles&mdashat a fraction of the price. (Some rooms even have views of the Disney fireworks.) For non-Disney days, start with the six acre Surfari water park&mdashcomplimentary and exclusive to guests&mdashoffering three swimming pools, two tube slides, a kids&rsquo activity pool, dual-ride surf zone, and a lazy river. The resort also has a 7,000-square-foot Flip Flop Family Fun Center, including glow-in-the-dark mini golf, virtual reality, and 65 arcade and video games. The Lake Austin Pier also provides kayaks, swan paddle boats, and fishing. There are six restaurants to choose from with picky eaters in mind, plus an onsite market, while the suites offer full kitchens, washers, and dryers. And for parents&rsquo downtime, there&rsquos a full-service spa.

Trust us: This spot offers one of the greatest kids' clubs in the history of kids' clubs. At 5,200 square feet, the activity-packed, complimentary Auntie's Beach House is open every day from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m., making it easy to ignore Aulani&rsquos prime 21-acre beachfront location in Oahu&rsquos Ko Olina. (But don&rsquot!) Here are some favorites: a quiet lagoon for paddle boarding, swimming, numerous waterslides, and a lu&rsquoau called Ka&rsquoWa&rsquoA. There&rsquos also a nearby golf course, spa, and all the character breakfasts, Moana meet and greets, and Disney magic your littles could dream of. It&rsquos Disney, aloha-style.

This 10,000-acre ranch just outside the Dutch village of Solvang offers a summer camp-like arrangement of activities, from horseback riding to archery, zip lining, fishing, and an obstacle course. Be sure to stop by the petting zoo and barnyard with daily egg gathering, an arts and crafts room, and corral for children under seven to enjoy pony rides. Bonus for parents: The resort is in the middle of Santa Barbara wine country, with numerous wineries and tasting rooms nearby.

Set on 18 lakefront acres in Michigan, this idyllic resort is located on charming, car-free Mackinac Island, which feels like stepping back in time where horse-and-buggies are regular modes of transportation. Families can explore more than 70 miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as ride horses, take a workshop with a kite master, try croquet and bocce ball, play 18-hole putt-putt, or compete at the video game arcade. Evenings are spent relaxing on the Adirondack chairs on the waterfront great lawn, picnic basket in tow.

This might finally be the place that gets everyone off their phone. Featuring a mile of private beach, five swimming pools, Moke beach cruisers, and a marine center with water activities (think: scuba diving and sunset cruises), the 24-acre resort is sprinkled with tiki huts, fire pits, hammocks, and a beachside grill. A perk? All rooms have views of the Atlantic.

Sitting atop 110 acres of a private peninsula, this locale offers families the choice of Ralph Lauren-designed rooms in the preppy main inn, or spacious private villas with staff. There are two kids' clubs for children of various ages, and adults can enjoy the spa, tennis courts, and an infinity pool where villa-owner Ralph Lauren is regularly spotted with his family. Bonus: Royal aficionados will be thrilled to know that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stayed here together before their wedding.

Located about an hour outside of San Diego, the adult and kids sleeping areas at this Lego-packed hotel and theme park are separated for comfort (and kid-friendly fun). By day, choose between pool time or early access to the connected Legoland park. At night, kids can burn off steam at DJ-fueled dance parties.

This supremely family-friendly 3,000-acre mountain resort is beloved by both parents and kids. The Forbes Five-Star property which was featured on the last season of the Bachelor, has just about everything you could ever want, including five pools, zip lining, animal safaris, off-roading, rock climbing, ropes courses (separate ones for kids and adults), disc golf, and quick-jumping. There&rsquos also a full gymnasium&mdashcomplete with trampolines, balance beams, uneven bars, and vault&mdashalong with an arcade, carnival, and two kids' clubs for both infants and those between four and 15.

Unlike many Miami hotels, this resort offers a bevy of amenities to entice families to stay. (Pets are welcome, too!) Located directly on the beach, its Loews Loves Families program features a spate of daily activities at the SoBe Kids Club, including an indoor lifeguard hut, craft area, video games, pizza-making classes, scavenger hunts, and evening programs on Friday and Saturday nights. There&rsquos a zero-entry pool, ideal for babies and toddlers, with nearby soda machines and special kids' menus, as well as youth programming for all ages and a partnership with nearby Jungle Island. The weekend Family Happy Hour offers cocktails for parents and lawn toys for kids, while there's also a Teen Scene Social Hour. Oh, and the hotel has a program called Leave It to Loews, which allows families to request everything from toys to baby bathtubs, night lights, and DVD players.

This undeniably pricey slice of paradise includes all the perks you&rsquod expect from a Four Seasons resort: five-star service, exquisite ocean views, and even a Nobu location. Still, it manages to be supremely family-friendly. You can hike, snorkel, try archery, and go horseback riding. There&rsquos also a complimentary Kids For All Seasons Program with everything from arts and crafts to tide pool exploration and lei-making. Little ones can expect complimentary smoothies and popsicles by the family pool, or request bags of fish food to feed the koi.

Located on 23 acres on Maui&rsquos Ma&rsquoanapali Beach, this sprawling destination recently completed a huge renovation. Families can expect treats, such as beachside s&rsquomores, complimentary ukulele lessons, shallow-wading pools for kids, and special kids' menus (plus, kids under 12 eat free). There&rsquos also the Shaka Shack children's area with free hula lessons, lei making, and a fire knife demo. Maui Ocean Center has opened its first off-site location here, and family rooms feature amenities like pull-down wall beds.

Turn to Disney for perfectly curated VIP-style trips across the globe, each led by "Adventure Guides" that know how to keep children engaged. Select from over 30 trips across six continents, with itineraries that explores major European cities like Rome, London, and Paris, or historic U.S. locations like the Grand Canyon.

Situated in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, the Broadmoor might be America&rsquos longest-running Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond resort, but manages to feel low-key and down to earth. Activities are plentiful: there's hiking, canoeing, zip-lining, paddle-boarding, horseback riding, three golf courses, a kids' tennis camp, and three pools (including an 11,000-square-foot infinity pool with waterslides). In addition to 10 restaurants, there&rsquos also a family dining and activity center, complete with bowling, a pool table, shuffle board, a virtual BEAM playground machine, and a variety of video games.

After getting their mini robes and slippers at check-in, children will love Monarch Beach Kids&mdasha games-, crafts-, and activity-packed kids' club for those between five and 12. There&rsquos also an Ocean Institute Program that allows youngsters to get up close with tide pool animals and create marine art. Meanwhile, parents will feel settled thanks to an 18-hole golf course, tennis, a Miraval Life in Balance Spa, Deborah Lippman nail salon, and a Drybar. Three pools and a splash pad complete the equation.

Getting to this eastern part of Maui is half the adventure: guests must either take a helicopter or traverse the infamously twisty 64-mile long Road to Hana, a scenic and legendary drive with numerous kid-friendly stops along the way. At the resort, which offers a summer camp feel with upscale cabins dotting the beachfront green, amenities include swimming, tennis, horseback riding, and standup paddling. Sign up for Hawaiian cultural activities such as lei-making, hula lessons, spear- and throw-net fishing, as well as a tour of Hana Bay on an outrigger canoe.

Known as the Del, this Victorian red-roofed resort has delighted families of all sizes since the 1880s. The main pool is kept at 70 degrees year-round and offers water toys for children, but the various beach-front recreational activities should not be missed, either.

Thanks to this resort's white beaches and the lush gardens surrounding the property, you'll forget you're only minutes from downtown Miami. The 12-acre resort has two swimming pools (including one just for families), a large tennis center, and a luxurious spa. Its Ritz Kids program&mdashwhich partners with Jean-Michel Cousteau&rsquos Ocean Futures Society&mdashgives pint-size travelers the opportunity to learn about the environment through fun, educational activities.

The indoor kids' club at this AAA Five Diamond all-inclusive resort offers Spanish lessons, baking, sand castle building, and a Alebrijes painting workshop inspired by Disney's Coco. The teens' club is set up for karaoke and video games, and family members of all ages can participate in spa treatments and family photo shoots.

Journey to the Caribbean for an all-inclusive experience that includes gourmet food and beverages, a sports club, an expansive water park, and interactions with all of your kids' favorite Nickelodeon characters. Of course, there's plenty of traditional Nick fun, too&mdashlike a daily "mass sliming" at the water park.

The family resort is known for its fine dining, evening dances, and of course, numerous outdoor activities. Try your hand at everything from kayaking on the lake, to hiking to a nearby waterfall, to skeet shooting at a hilltop range.

Nestled on the banks of Lake Champlain in Vermont sits a quaint camp-like resort that promises days of nostalgic family fun coupled with modern amenities. Jump from activity to activity&mdashtennis, boating, golfing, and more&mdashduring the day, then round out the afternoon with dinner at one of three restaurants and a night cap 'round the campfire (with s'mores, of course).

60 Charming American Towns You Haven't Heard of But Should Visit ASAP

When you plan a vacation, most people tend to go to more popular places, right? It's usually cities they've read about or towns and attractions that have been recommended by friends and family. But that's about to change, because there are plenty of small towns in America that are worth traveling to, even if you didn't even know they existed. These 60 unheard-of towns across the U.S. might not have made it onto your bucket list yet, but they absolutely deserve a spot.

This picturesque village is located right on the edge of Skaneateles Lake in Upstate New York. With beautiful and serene surroundings, you can spend the days of summer relaxing in a kayak or hiking the trails. Plus, there are premium shopping outlets not far from town.

Known as the "covered-bridge capital," the town offers a trail studded with seven covered bridges that connect the village across rolling hillside and a series of waterfalls and rivers. The delightful setting is home to plenty of great hiking and bicycling spots, as well as several cozy B&B retreats.

Right at the edge of Zion National Park sits a small village where visitors can soak up the breathtaking mountain-scape as they enjoy dining at the local brewery or shopping at one of the many crystal and geode shops.

The town of Hilo is nestled along the Big Island's largest harbor and boasts beautiful waterfalls with stellar views. Just south of the tropical retreat is Volcanoes National Park, home to some of the most active volcanoes in the world.

Not far from Lake Isabella is the perfect place for adventurers to escape. From kayaking and white water rafting, to mountain biking and rock climbing, there are plenty of activities to fulfill any adrenaline-seekers' list. Not to mention, the Downtown has an Old West aesthetic, full of quaint antique shops, boutiques, and restaurants.

Stuart is formally known as the Sailfish Capital of the World, thanks to its close proximity to the St. Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon. The small town's tropical climate is perfect for snowbirds who enjoy getting away during the bitter winter months, but are looking for a less popular destination.

From a legendary castle to mushroom houses to a stunning red lighthouse, the small town of Charlevoix has plenty to offer. And if you&rsquore a fan of all things lavender, this is the ideal destination for you&mdashCharlevoix is home to one of the largest Lavender Hill Farms, abundant with 25 varieties.

Black Mountain is nestled deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains with a population of 7,500 and is considered one of the prettiest small towns in the United States, according to Trip Advisor. Taking a stroll through the Town Square reveals stunning landscaping, the small town&rsquos famous rocking chairs, and of course, hiking trails, camping grounds, and waterfalls.

This town has a Bavarian village feel that makes it a must-visit during Oktoberfest and during the holiday season. Take in spectacular views of the Pacific Northwest on nearby hiking trails or just take it easy with some shopping and wine tasting.

This tiny town is located on the Shenandoah River and the ideal getaway for nature lovers. There are eight (yes, eight) national parks and heritage sites to visit in the area.

History buffs and beach lovers alike will love this small island town off the Georgia coast. There, you can golf, fish, and visit plenty of historical monuments, and you can't miss climbing to the top of the St. Simons lighthouse to see the view of the entire island.

Back in the day, Bisbee was a major silver and copper mining hub, but now it's a quaint small town home to artists and retirees. With houses on cliffs' edges and a mine cavern that you can still explore, it's pretty picturesque.

In this town, you can skip the touristy parts of the state and relax by the (much less crowded) beach. With fishing, boating, snorkeling, multiple golf courses, and more, there's a little something for everyone.

If you like whiskey, Bardstown is basically a can't-miss stop &mdash you might not be familiar with it, but it is the bourbon capital of the world, after all. It's home to several distilleries, including Jim Beam and Maker's Mark.

A visit to this charming, serene town might be just what you need. It's a great spot for biking and hiking as well as browsing the local shops. If you visit in July, be sure to check out their Bastille Day festival.

With a population of less than 400 people, calling this town small is an understatement. That said, Trinidad is home to some beautiful public beaches and picturesque offshore rocks, and it has a rich Native American historic heritage.

You'll need to take a ferry to make it to this quaint little island, but once you get there, you'll be instantly charmed. Relax at the beach, go sailing, or head to one of its many attractions, like the Antique Car Museum or Butterfly House.

Astoria is actually the oldest settlement west of the Rocky Mountains, so if you love history, you'll love exploring this interesting town and its many museums, like the Columbia River Maritime Museum.

For a peaceful visit, head to this quiet town and enjoy beautiful walking trails and an abundance of maple trees. Take a wildlife tour, head to a local music festival, or even check out a museum, like the American Museum of Fly Fishing.

In the heart of the Ozark Mountains is this charming Victorian village, known for both its Historic District and its natural springs. Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, which is home to big cats, is also in Eureka Springs.

This boating and fishing community located on the salty Damariscotta River will have you wondering why river towns aren't more popular. The shores are lined with oyster shells that historians say are from Native American gatherings 2,500 years ago. Cool, no?

The historic charm of this mining town's six-block Main Street will make you feel like you took a time machine to a different decade. After you conquer downtown, must-see attractions include the Old Market House and the Historical Society and Museum.

Even though this midwest town is quaint and quiet during the majority of the year, it totally transforms in May for the annual Tulip Time Festival. To honor their dutch culture, they transform the streets into the Netherlands and host an epic parade.

This town used to be all about coal mining, but today it's rich in history thanks to the Kimball War Memorial. We recommend grabbing a bite and sitting next to the Elkhorn Creek that flows through the town and into the Tug Fort.

This town's motto is "The Oldest Summer Resort in America," and its prime location on Lake Winnipesaukee proves why. People from all over New Hampshire, Boston and even Hollywood (Drew Barrymore once visited!) vacation here during warm summer months.

Wineries and breweries: check. Panoramic views of a gorgeous lake: check. Restaurants filled with top-notch food: check. This southern Finger Lakes community offers something for everyone and has become a favorite for destination weddings.

Even though downtown Keene is a must-visit destination, the countryside and lakes are the real treasures in this town. Make sure you take a tour of the covered bridges and hike up Mount Monadnock during your stay.

It makes sense why this city's population of 1,372 people all live within one square mile when you see how lovely it is downtown. It's known as the "Cream City" for its well-preserved Victorian storefronts and homes and will let you escape the daily grind.

About 21 miles south of Nashville is a much quieter downtown experience that still offers tons of culture. Wind your way through antique shops and restaurants, then catch a live show at one of their award-winning venues, like The Franklin Theatre.

The Best Places To Retire In 2020

B efore the Covid-19 pandemic, Timur and Pamela Lacey had flown from their Los Angeles-area home to Austin and Atlanta and were planning trips to Dallas, Savannah, Ga., Charleston, S.C., and the Florida Gulf Coast—all in search of a more affordable locale to enjoy an early retirement. “I’m still looking,’’ says Timur, a 57-year-old IT technician. Except instead of heading to the airport, he now pores over real estate listing websites and calls far-flung realtors to chat about their markets.

While he’s still looking, home sales have started to come back, thanks in part to record low mortgage rates and a stock market rebound. Daryl Fairweather, chief economist of Seattle-based Redfin, the big, cut-rate nationwide property brokerage, reports nearly half of its buyers are now making offers on a property without physically visiting it. She attributes that to a combination of coronavirus fear and enhanced online information, including interactive three-dimensional video scans produced for all homes listed by Redfin agents. In some states it’s even possible now to do a no-contact video closing.

What about retirees looking to buy? They “aren’t slowing down,” reports David Masterson, a real estate agent in Green Valley, Ariz., an area 25 miles from Tucson that is one of Forbes’ 25 picks for this year’s Best Places To Retire list.

Such upbeat talk may sound jarring given the millions of laid-off Americans now worrying about paying their rent or mortgage or even putting food on the table. But the reality is the Covid recession hasn’t been felt equally across generations in a survey released last week, 32% of Millennials (aged 24 to 39), but just 16% of Baby Boomers (56 to 74), said that the current crisis has had an “extreme” or “very negative” impact on their personal finances. In that poll, 22% of still working boomers said they planned to retire later, and 14% sooner, because of the pandemic. But with the spread of work-from-home, even those who are delaying may be able to move now, points out George Rativ, a senior economist at the National Association of Realtors.

The pandemic could influence retirement location decisions in other ways, too, which fortuitously, largely align with how we’ve traditionally approached our list. For example, some Boomers who haven’t financially suffered may need their savings to stretch further as they help out Millennial kids who have taken a hit—three fourths of retired parents and grandparents said they were ready to provide support to family even if it jeopardized their own finances.

Our list has always aimed first and foremost to identify retirement value—places that offer a high quality of life at an affordable price. While the current national median home price is $284,600 according to the Realtors, 13 of this year’s picks, including Savannah, Ga., Lewiston, Maine and Winston-Salem, N.C., have a median sales price below $200,000. Another timely metric we’ve long considered is the availability of medical care, using doctors per capita as a proxy. Plus, we look at whether a city encourages a healthy and active lifestyle with good air quality, convenience for walking and biking and low serious crime.

Then there’s the big issue of proximity to those kids and grandkids. In pre-Covid surveys, the number one reason retirees have given for moving to another state is a desire to be closer to family—a factor that likely looms even larger now. So while our focus on affordability (including low taxes) keeps us from recommending any place in high-cost, high-tax California or New York, we try to spread our picks across the U.S. (a factor that is particularly relevant as Covid-19 hot spots pop up in different locales). This year the best 25 are in 18 states and all the continental time zones. In a nod to retirees’ demonstrated preference for warmer locales, more than half our picks are in temperate climates. But cold weather alone isn’t disqualifying. Indeed. Fargo, N.D., is the only place that has made our Best Places list for all 10 years we’ve compiled it. (You can read more about what makes Fargo special here. )

We did make a few adjustments this year to reflect current concerns. In a nod to the continuing impact of Covid, this year’s list is lighter than its predecessors on smallish college towns. We worry that the educational and cultural opportunities that had made them so appealing, will be slow to return. And for the first time, we considered climate change risk, using data from the University of Notre Dame Urban Adaptation Assessment which assesses the impact of future flood, heat, cold, sea level rise and drought.

Our choices for the 25 best are listed alphabetically below. You can read more about our methodology below the list.

Wallet-Friendly Travel

Traveling, whether to a near or far destination, can rack up a lot of expenses. From the food to all the fun activities, your wallet may suffer a serious blow. It can be tough, though, to spot a great travel deal and you might not be sure when it’s worth the hassle. Some so-called “deals” may come with a catch or are accompanied with something you don’t really want or need.

To make the search a little easier, here are a few dollar saving tips you can use to make your next trip more wallet-friendly.

Airline Tickets:

Rewards Programs

The top rated rewards programs offered by JetBlue and Alaska Airlines let you earn and redeem points on multiple airlines, which can come in handy for frequent flyers.

Online alerts

Aside from going directly to an airline for savings, there are third-party websites that keep a look out for deals that match your needs and email you the information. and are just two sites that offer this service.


Daily deals

You’ve most likely used a discount site like Groupon or Living Social to find great deals in your area. However, many people forget they can be used to find deals around the world. Don’t exclude them in your search for fun tourist activities in your travel destination.

There’s an app for everything nowadays, and finding regular deals is no exception. Happy Hour Finder is a useful app that lists all the happy hour deals in the area and when they are available.

Grocery shopping

This is a simple way to save money on what would otherwise be spent on overpriced meals in expensive restaurants. Buy breakfast and lunch ingredients from a local marketplace and save the big spending for dinner, where you can have an even fancier meal.

Satisfy your appetite for culinary travel at Louisiana’s food festivals, cooking schools and culinary tours. Here are just a few of our attractions and events you’ll surely savor:

1. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival: Yes, it is a music festival, but for two spring weekends Jazz Fest is also known for bringing together some of Louisiana’s best eats—crawfish bread, cochon de lait po’boys, seafood mirliton casserole, boudin balls and more.

2. Avery Island: This is the home of Louisiana’s iconic hot sauce: TABASCO. See how it’s made during a factory tour, pick up a few souvenirs at the TABASCO Country Store and tour the island’s Jungle Gardens too.

3. Louisiana Culinary Trails: These trails segment the state into eight enticing culinary regions, each with their tempting flavors.

4. Cajun Food Tours: Lafayette locals knew they lived in a culinary hotbed, but recent press (Southern Living named Lafayette the “South’s Tastiest Town” in 2012) has introduced the area to the rest of the world. Climb aboard the Cajun Food Tours bus and visit a variety of locally owned eateries that helped earn them the title.

5. CORK Wine Festival: Oenophiles raise a glass to honor Shreveport’s spring CORK Wine Festival. The event includes a wine tasting event and live music, all held at the Eldorado Resort and Casino. Sample dishes from local restaurants are also featured.

6. Louisiana Farmers Markets: Farmers markets, such as Red Stick Farmers Market and Crescent City Farmers Market, are great places to learn about and sample local specialties. Many offer cooking demos, live music and more.

7. New Orleans Wine & Food Experience: A multiday experience, NOWFE features wine dinners, culinary seminars, grand tastings and the popular Royal Street Stroll, a wine tasting complete with live music and food.

8. Southwest Louisiana Boudin Trail: Drive this southwest Louisiana Trail around Lake Charles and find local boudin masters. Locals eat this delicious Cajun sausage for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks!

9. Buck & Johnny’s: You won’t find a better place to party at breakfast! Buck & Johnny’s in Breaux Bridge hosts a Saturday morning zydeco brunch. Fuel up on beignets, a Zydeco omelet or a Cajun boudin breakfast and then hit the dance floor.

10. Libations Tours: Craft breweries, distilleries and wineries are popping up across Louisiana, and many offer tours and tastings. Abita is the best known, but also check out Tin Roof Brewing Company, Bayou Teche Brewing and many more around the state. Get Louisiana crafted rum from Louisiana Spirits and head to one of Louisiana's beautiful wineries such as Landry Vineyards.

11. Southern Food and Beverage Museum: This incredible New Orleans museum is a food history mecca! Browse the exhibits that celebrate our Southern food culture. Don't miss the rotating events that will make your mouth water!

12. Pick Your Own Farms: Head to some of Louisiana's gorgeous farm country to pick berries fresh off the vine. These farms most often have strawberries, blueberries and blackberries to pick on your own. Growing seasons for these berries vary throughout the state, but April is typically prime time for strawberries, with blueberries and blackberries following from May through mid-July.

13. Fishing Charters: What a great way to bring home some of Louisiana’s best seafood! Catch a mess of redfish or speckled trout to take home with you. Some guide services will even cook your day’s catch on-site for you to enjoy.

14. Paddle up to the plate in the Northshore: Culinary and outdoor adventures meet in perfect harmony in the Northshore's cities of Covington, Slidell and more. Take a bike ride ending with sipping cold Louisiana micro-brews or paddle your kayak up to the dock at water front restaurants, you'll get to spend a day in nature culiminated with a vibrant culinary scene to satisfy any cravings.

15. Chef-guided Culinary Tours: Lafayette's chef Patrick Mould leads you on a multi-day culinary vacation that includes local restaurants, tours and cooking classes. Learn about even more culinary tour options in Lafayette.

16. Louisiana Culinary Institute, Baton Rouge: Take a leisure class from this accredited school and learn to cook your favorite Louisiana recipes.

17. New Orleans School of Cooking: Demonstrations and hands-on classes teach you about the folklore and secrets in cooking gumbo, jambalaya, shrimp Creole, pralines and bread pudding.

18. Mardi Gras in Eunice: Celebrate Mardi Gras in this small Prairie Cajun town, and experience multiple culinary traditions, from an old-time boucherie (hog butchering) to a cochon de lait (pig roast). On Mardi Gras day, a Courir De Mardi Gras features a traditional ride through the country on horseback (and sometimes on flatbed trucks) to collect the ingredients for a communal gumbo.

19. Confederacy of Cruisers New Orleans Culinary Bike Tour: Small groups pedal with their tour guide to eat and drink at New Orleans’ off-the-beaten-path restaurants.

20. Crawfish Festivals: Crawfish boils are a staple of spring in Louisiana. If you don’t know a local to join for a backyard boil, don’t worry. There are plenty of festivals that celebrate the crustacean: Mudbug Madness in Shreveport, Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival and Downtown Lake Charles Crawfish Fest.

21. Crawfish Farm Tours: Jeff Davis Parish offers crawfish farm tours for groups. The experience allows visitors to learn about crawfish harvesting and cleaning and may also include a crawfish cooking demonstration. Learn more about the history of crawfish in Louisiana.

22. Herby K's Shrimp Buster: This Shreveport gem has been around since 1945 and is famous for their Shrimp Buster—a sandwich loaded with fried shrimp covered in secret red sauce sitting atop french bread.

23. Sugar Baron’s Feast at Houmas House Plantation: Invite your friends and enjoy a special evening at this plantation home in Darrow. The Sugar Baron’s Feast includes a private tour of the mansion and a seven-course meal by chef Joseph Dicapo. Can’t do the feast? Dine at Latil’s Landing Restaurant on-site.

24. Jefferson Parish Oyster Trail: Oyster sculptures, painted by local artists, designate the Jefferson Parish restaurants serving up delicious Louisiana oyster creations, such as baked oysters Radosta at Andrea’s Restaurant.

25. Gumbo Festivals: Is gumbo the state’s most iconic dish? Maybe. It’s certainly celebrated in a variety of festivals. Visit one and discover that no two bowls are alike.

Learn more about culinary experiences and restaurants that you have to experience along Louisiana's Culinary Trails.

50 Best Places to Retire in the U.S.

Thinking about moving in retirement? You're not alone. About two-thirds of retirees plan to relocate or already have, according to a survey by Merrill Lynch and Age Wave , a research firm focused on the aging population. And while most pre-retirees expect to stay in the same state or region once they retire, 40% want to take the opportunity to try someplace completely different.

Luckily, no matter which state you land on for retirement, you can pinpoint a promising place within state lines to settle down. To help you narrow the choices, here we highlight one great retirement destination in each state that offers attractive advantages for retirees. We've taken into account living costs, safety, median incomes and poverty rates for seniors, as well as residents’ sense of well-being and the availability of recreational and health care facilities. Take a look at our 50 picks for top places to retire around the country and see which ones fit your dreams for retirement.

The list is ordered alphabetically by state. See "How We Picked the Best Places to Retire" at the end of the list for details on our data sources and methodology.

Huntsville, Ala.

Courtesy Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau

  • City population: 190,501
  • Share of population 65+: 15.2% (U.S.: 14.9%)
  • Cost of living for retirees: 6.1% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $51,853 (U.S.: $56,453)
  • Community score: 63.3 (U.S.: 61.9)
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Tax Friendly

As one of the 10 Cheapest States Where You'll Want to Retire, the Heart of Dixie boasts many great spots for affordable living. And Huntsville, in northern Alabama, is one of the best. It offers all the low-cost, low-tax advantages as the rest of the state, but adds more generous incomes among retirement-age residents. The average household income for 65+ households in Alabama is $46,318, according the Census Bureau.

Home to NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, the Redstone Arsenal and the Huntsville campus of the University of Alabama, the city offers a robust economy and a highly educated population. There are plenty of cultural attractions, from a sculpture trail to a symphony orchestra, as well as opportunities for outdoor recreation (think bass fishing). In fact, Alabama at-large offers many of Florida's popular retirement attractions—warm weather, nice beaches and plenty of golf—all at a typically lower price.

Anchorage, Alaska

  • City population: 298,225
  • Share of population 65+: 9.4%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 26.8% above the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $70,291
  • Community score: 62.1
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Most Tax Friendly

Older folks don't seem too interested in facing the Last Frontier in retirement. Only 10.1% of the entire state's population is age 65 and up compared with 14.9% of the whole U.S. But if you crave adventure—and don't mind long winters and vast swaths of wilderness—it pays to live in Alaska. Literally. A state fund fueled by oil wealth gives all permanent residents an annual dividend. In 2018, the payment was $1,600 per person.

And residents could certainly use the extra cash. Living costs throughout Alaska are significantly higher than is typical across the continental U.S. But Anchorage is the least expensive metro area in the state, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research. Plus, being the largest city in Alaska, it offers more amenities including numerous theaters, museums and shopping centers, on top of all the outdoor recreation youɽ expect. It also has an abundance of health care facilities, more than 41 establishments per 1,000 seniors in the metro area compared with just about 19 per 1,000 seniors in the U.S.


  • City population: 1.6 million
  • Share of population 65+: 10.0%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 1% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $54,681
  • Community score: 62.5
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Mixed

Undoubtedly, many of you have considered the Grand Canyon State for its retiree-friendly climate and beautiful natural scenery. Unfortunately, the financial setting is not quite as picturesque: Average living costs in Arizona are 12% above the national average, according to Sperling's BestPlaces , while median incomes for seniors with earnings are below average at $50,254. Phoenix, though, offers a pocket of affordability, plus typically higher incomes.

And being the capital city, you can find plenty of attractions to keep you busy—world-class restaurants, professional sports teams and an array of museums, theaters and other cultural attractions. Of course, outdoor enthusiasts have more than enough to enjoy, too, with many hiking and biking trails within the city limits and even more to explore in nearby Scottsdale, Glendale and Tempe.

Fayetteville, Ark.

  • City population: 81,889
  • Share of population 65+: 9.1%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 13.8% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $85,436
  • Community score: 66.3
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Not Tax Friendly

The metro area of Fayetteville, which includes Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville, offers low costs but plenty of attractions. The surrounding Ozark Mountains afford residents outdoor recreation and natural wonders to enjoy while the downtown area, home to the University of Arkansas, provides restaurants, shops and a lively music and arts scene, including the Walton Arts Center.

Locals seem happy with what they have at their fingertips. Fayetteville ranks 11th for community well-being on the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index with residents reporting high levels of liking where they live, feeling safe and having pride in their community.

Carlsbad, Calif.

  • City population: 113,147
  • Share of population 65+: 16.0%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 40.6% above the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $70,348
  • Community score: 64.3
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Mixed

Part of the San Diego metro area, Carlsbad offers a small-city feel with easy access to big-city amenities. It has a vibrant cultural community, ocean-side living and sunny climate. You can also find 40 parks, more than 50 miles of hiking trails and a full calendar of artsy offerings, including Foreign Film Fridays in the spring and free concerts in the summer. (Not that there are really seasons in Carlsbad: Throughout the year, average highs fall between 62 and 71 degrees Fahrenheit, and average lows only go down to between 45 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit, according to And rainy days are rare.) Plus, you can choose among a host of retirement communities with ocean views.

Of course, you have to be able to afford it. Like much of California—where living costs are 69% above the national average, making it the second-most expensive state in the country behind only Hawaii—Carlsbad and the whole metro area is a pricey place to live. For example, the median home value in the U.S. is $229,000, according to Zillow in California, it's $548,600 and in Carlsbad, it's (brace yourself) $860,700. And taxes throughout Cali also weigh heavily on your wallet.


  • City population: 678,467
  • Share of population 65+: 11.2%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 9.4% above the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $59,601
  • Community score: 63.4
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Mixed

Colorado ranks fifth in the United Health Foundation's senior health rankings , and Denver plays a healthy role in that rating. Indeed, the Milken Institute , a think tank, ranked the metro area the 12th best big city for successful aging in large part due to Denver’s healthy and active senior population.

Other strengths of the area include high employment and economic stability, as well as quality infrastructure, with well-funded transit for older adults, highly rated nursing homes and ample continuing care. Indeed, the Denver metro area is home to more than 24 health care facilities per 1,000 seniors, compared with just about 19 per 1,000 seniors in the U.S.

Middletown, Conn.

  • City population: 46,747
  • Share of population 65+: 14.4%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 19.2% above the national average*
  • Average income for population 65+: n/a
  • Community score: 59.8*
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Least Tax Friendly

Like much of the Northeast, Connecticut is known to be a high-cost area, and Middletown is no exception. But the Hartford metro area, of which Middletown is a part, is at least more affordable than other major metro areas in the state, including Stamford and New Haven, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research. And local residents tend to pull in high enough incomes to make it work. The city's average income for all households is $90,977 a year, and it's even better for the older population with incomes for residents age 60 and up averaging $92,851 a year.

Plus, being home to Wesleyan University, Middletown offers all the benefits of retiring to a college town , including numerous restaurants, shops and cultural attractions. You can also take advantage of the Wesleyan Institute for Lifelong Learning, which offers no-credit courses, lectures and other educational opportunities at minimal cost and is open to the entire community. And while the nearby city of Hartford has an alarmingly high crime rate—with 1,093.8 violent crimes per 100,000 residents reported, compared with the national rate of 473.2 for cities of similar size—Middletown is far safer with a mere 49 violent crimes total reported for the year.

*Data for the Hartford metropolitan statistical area, which includes Middletown.

Milford, Del.

  • City population: 10,654
  • Share of population 65+: 19.7%
  • Cost of living for retirees: n/a
  • Average income for population 65+: n/a
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Tax Friendly

If you're thinking about heading to one of Delaware's popular beach towns for retirement, brace yourself for sticker shock. Better yet, consider instead the more affordable Milford, where overall living costs are about the same as the national average, according so Sperling's BestPlaces. By comparison, the cost of living in popular Bethany Beach, about 40 miles south of Milford and right on the coast, is a whopping 83.2% above the national average. Indeed, median home values in Milford are far lower than in Bethany Beach at $224,500 and $436,100, respectively, according to Zillow.

The small inland city is about 10 miles from Slaughter Beach, so you can still hit the shore with a 15-minute drive. And if you do want to visit the more popular Delaware beaches, it takes about 40 minutes to drive to Rehoboth or Dewey and another 10 to 20 minutes to Bethany. You can also enjoy some waterfront views in town along the Mispillion River. Downtown, there are numerous restaurants and boutiques, as well as the Milford Museum and the Riverfront Theater, where the Second Street Players, a community theater group, produces and performs a variety of shows and hosts movie nights.

Cape Coral, Fla.

  • City population: 173,679
  • Share of population 65+: 21.9%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 2.4% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $42,123
  • Community score: 64.8
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Most Tax Friendly

With its desirable climate and favorable tax status, Florida is filled with popular retirement destinations. Many of our favorite retirement spots in the Sunshine State can be found along the Gulf Coast including St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Punta Gorda.

Cape Coral's metro area includes Fort Myers, yet another great place to consider for your retirement. But Cape Coral is unique in its waterway access, offering more than 400 miles of canals for all your boating, fishing and water sports dreams. And land lovers can enjoy the area's beaches, golfing, tennis, parks and other recreational offerings.

Augusta, Ga.

  • City population: 196,899
  • Share of population 65+: 12.8%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 9.5% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $44,141
  • Community score: 62.7
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Most Tax Friendly

With its low living costs and generous tax breaks for seniors, Georgia ranks third among our Best States for Retirement, behind only Hawaii and (surprisingly) South Dakota. And Augusta is ripening into a particularly peachy city. Revitalization efforts have been pushing especially hard over the past several years, looking to expand the area's appeal beyond the annual Masters golf tournament in April and its accompanying celebrations and tourism revenue. In a walkable downtown, retirees can enjoy new restaurants, museums, galleries and nightlife venues. And even more is on the way with a $94 million plan in the works to redevelop a historic train depot property on the riverfront into a modern mixed-use complex of offices, apartments, retailers and restaurants.

In the meantime, you can already enjoy running, walking and biking along the Augusta Canal and kayaking and cruising along the Savannah River. Augusta University, along with other area schools, adds some nice college-town amenities, including free classes for Georgia residents age 62 and up. The University also supplies the region with a top-notch health care network, including three hospitals and numerous specialists focused on oncology, geriatrics and senior health.

Hilo, Hawaii

  • City population: 45,703
  • Share of population 65+: 18.5%
  • Cost of living for retirees: n/a
  • Average income for population 65+: $54,503
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Tax Friendly

Hawaii is well known for its beautiful beaches, enviable climate and high prices. In Hilo, on the Big Island, the overall cost of living is 36.4% above the national average, according to Sperling's BestPlaces. But at least that's more affordable than capital city Honolulu, on Oahu, where living costs are a steep 101.1% above the national average. The median home value in Hilo is $339,800, according to Zillow—still pricey, to be sure, compared with the U.S. median of $229,000, but much more reasonable than the $676,100 median in Honolulu.

And the local lifestyle is still priceless. The colonial town's mood is quiet and calm, but its location on the eastern coast of the island and near active volcano Mauna Loa offers plenty of opportunities for adventure. You can explore rainforests and waterfalls, as well as Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In the downtown and waterfront areas, enjoy galleries, shops, restaurants and museums, including the 'Imiloa Astronomy Center.

Idaho Falls, Idaho

  • City population: 59,414
  • Share of population 65+: 12.9%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 8.3% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $42,795
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Mixed

If retirement for you means putting up your "gone fishin'" sign indefinitely, Idaho Falls may be your choice destination. The area is famous for its fly fishing opportunities, with the convergence of two popular trout rivers, Henry's Fork and the South Fork of the Snake River, which sees more than 300,000 anglers, campers, hikers, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts visiting each year.

And when you're done fishin', you can enjoy the downtown area, home to an eclectic collection of restaurants, shops and art installations—with more on the way. Revitalization projects are working on refurbishing old buildings and developing new ones to offer more retail, dining and housing options for everyone, including retirees. The Museum of Idaho, long among the city's most popular attractions, is also growing, opening a new 200,00-square-feet addition in September 2019 and modifying current space by the summer of 2020. Even the health care scene in Idaho Falls is on the rise: The new Idaho Falls Community Hospital is scheduled to open in November 2019, set to offer 88 private rooms, an emergency room, in-patient services and an intensive care unit. And that's on top of the offerings already available at the adjacent Mountain View Hospital and the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, as well as numerous specialists throughout the city.

Peoria, Ill.

  • City population: 115,424
  • Share of population 65+: 14.3%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 5.9% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $53,116
  • Community score: 58.6
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Mixed

A big draw for this relatively small city is its affordability. Housing costs for retirees are particularly low, 20.8% below the national average. Indeed, the median home value is a rock-bottom $89,000, compared with the $229,000 median for the U.S. And a private room in a nursing home costs just $6,798 a month the median across the U.S. is $8,365 a month.

And yet, plenty of money has been pumping through the city, in a bid to further to develop the downtown area. The Downtown Development Corporation of Peoria recently assisted a number of projects, including the issuance of 714 construction permits in downtown with an estimated value of $74 million. Already the Riverfront area offers a vibrant setting with a number of eateries, shops and attractions, including the Peoria Riverfront Museum complete with its Giant Screen Theater and Dome Planetarium. The museum hosts a senior program with a free bi-monthly morning lecture series and free admission to the museum every second Wednesday of the month to guests age 60 and up. Also, the Peoria Park District offers 64 park sites with miles of hiking trails, golf courses, nature center and more.

Fort Wayne, Ind.

  • City population: 262,450
  • Share of population 65+: 13.4%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 11.5% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $47,848
  • Community score: 59.7
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Least Tax Friendly

The Fort Wayne metro area's affordability will not cost you in amenities. Despite being home to a nice collection of quiet neighborhoods, it also houses a thriving arts scene and hosts a number of festivals and events throughout the year, including the family-friendly Three Rivers Festival in the summers. Indeed, the three local rivers—the St. Marys, the St. Joseph and the Maumee—are a main feature of the area, providing ample opportunities for canoeing, kayaking and cruising. More outdoor attractions: Fort Wayne is more than 80 parks and 100 miles of hiking and biking trails.

Fort Wayne is by no means a metropolis, but if you ever feel the need for a small-town escape head two hours south to Richmond, the cheapest small town in America. Its claim to fame (other than being budget-friendly): Some of the earliest jazz records were recorded in Richmond by such greats as Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.

Des Moines, Iowa

  • City population: 214,778
  • Share of population 65+: 11.7%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 9.4% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $48,740
  • Community score: 65.7
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Not Tax Friendly

For retirees looking to live in a big city on a small budget, Des Moines is a good choice. Affordability is just one reason the Milken Institute ranked the state capital fifth out of 100 large U.S. metro areas for successful aging. Des Moines also boasts a strong economy and plenty of health care facilities specializing in aging-related services.

Retirees won’t lack for things to do, either. There are numerous museums and arts venues, including an outdoor sculpture park, a zoo and botanical gardens. There’s even a casino and racetrack in nearby Altoona that hosts annual camel, ostrich and zebra races (sorry, no wagering on these exhibition races allowed).

Manhattan, Kan.

Courtesy Manhattan Convention & Visitors Bureau

  • City population: 55,427
  • Share of population 65+: 8.2%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 8.4% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: n/a
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Least Tax Friendly

The Little Apple may not have all the bright lights and major metropolitan allure of New York City, but it has plenty to recommend itself, as well as significantly lower costs. (The cost of living for retirees in New York's Manhattan is 123.5% above the national average with housing a ridiculous 406.2% above average.) Housing costs for retirees in this Manhattan are particularly affordable at 17.2% below the national average. And yet, the average income for all households with earnings is a comfortable $64,135 a year.

Home to Kansas State University, Manhattan affords residents attractive college-town amenities, including the privilege of calling the school's top-notch athletics program your home team. One particularly senior-friendly offering: The university, in collaboration with the local UFM Community Learning Center and the University of Kansas Osher Institute, offers courses year-round for $50 each, along with special events, aimed at encouraging lifelong learning, especially for locals age 50 and older. The city is also developing an expanded trail system—beyond the existing 40 miles of trails throughout the city—for walking and biking throughout the city.

Lexington, Ky.

  • City population: 315,109
  • Share of population 65+: 12.2%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 6.6% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $61,323
  • Community score: 62.9
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Most Tax Friendly

As youɽ expect, the Bluegrass State holds plenty of appeal for horse lovers and bourbon aficionados. But retirees can pursue other interests here as well. Lexington has more than 100 parks, five public golf courses and a 734-acre nature preserve with more than 10 miles of hiking trails. For indoor entertainment, check out the numerous galleries and theaters, including the Lexington Opera House and its schedule of ballets, Broadway musicals, comedy shows, operas (of course) and other performances. The University of Kentucky offers the Singletary Center for the Arts, too.

You can also satisfy your academic pursuits at the University of Kentucky. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers various courses, forums, interest groups, trips and events to people age 50 or older annual membership costs $35. The Donovan Fellowship allows Kentucky residents age 65 and older to take university classes free, space permitting.

Lafayette, La.

  • City population: 126,476
  • Share of population 65+: 13.1%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 8.3% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $64,729
  • Community score: 62.4
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Tax Friendly

Laissez les bons temps rouler. That's Cajun French for "let the good times roll" and a phrase you ought to learn—and live by—when retiring to Lafayette. Known as the "Cajun Capital City," it's rich in history, distinctive foods, two-stepping tunes and, of course, Cajun and Creole culture. Nature lovers have plenty to appreciate in the area, too. Located on the Mississippi Flyway and the Atchafalaya Loop of America's Wetland Birding Trail, Lafayette offers an abundance of wildlife to observe, as well as plenty of rivers, swamps and bayous for paddling, fishing and exploring.

Plus, it's more affordable than the more (in)famous Louisiana city of New Orleans, which is about 130 miles east of Lafayette and comes with living costs 1% above the national average for retirees. So if you're hoping for a retirement that's like one long Mardi Gras celebration, and you want help your budget to stretch as long as the party keeps rolling, Lafayette is the place for you.

Portland, Maine

  • City population: 66,715
  • Share of population 65+: 13.7%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 17.1% above the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $44,769
  • Community score: 65.8
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Mixed

The largest city in Maine, Portland offers a lively downtown and plenty of urban-esque amenities amidst the great outdoors of the Pine Tree State. You can enjoy museums, theaters and an array of eclectic dining. The flagship L.L. Bean store in nearby Freeport is a must-see for many visitors, but resident shoppers also flock to Portland’s unique boutiques and outlets.

All the while, you’re never too far from the area's many beaches. That means ample opportunity to lounge on the shore or dive into water-based activities including fishing, kayaking, sailing and even surfing. And of course, hiking and biking trails abound—perfect in the (much) colder months, too, for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Easton, Md.

  • City population: 16,606
  • Share of population 65+: 23.5%
  • Cost of living for retirees: n/a
  • Average income for population 65+: n/a
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Least Tax Friendly

On the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, this small town is packed with history, charm and senior residents. You can find a surprising number of eclectic dining options in town, as well as an array of boutique shops, art galleries and other cultural attractions. In fact, in July 2019, Easton was named one of two new Arts and Entertainment Districts in Maryland, joining the 26 existing Districts in the state in offering tax incentives to local artists and creative businesses. Qualifying developers and organizations will get a property tax abatement for artistic-related improvements to their buildings, and local artists can score a state income tax deduction for all art created and sold within the 110-acre district.

And you could use the extra opportunity to save. Maryland is, by and large, a wealthy area, home to a great number of millionaires, and the living costs reflect that. The cost of living for all residents in Easton are 13.8% above the national average, according to Sperling's BestPlaces, which makes it at least more affordable than Annapolis, on the opposite shore of the bay, where living costs are 41% above the national average. And water-loving retirees still have access to the same torrent of activities, such as kayaking, canoeing, boating and fishing, common on the Chesapeake Bay.

Pittsfield, Mass.

  • City population: 43,289
  • Share of population 65+: 19.0%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 7.9% above the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $58,231
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Not Tax Friendly

New England is notoriously expensive, but Pittsfield, located in the western part of Massachusetts, offers a small pocket of relative affordability—more reasonably priced than Boston and Cambridge, where living costs are, respectively, 48.1% and 38.1% above the U.S. average. Housing is notably affordable: The median home value in the city is $173,200, compared with $407,400 for all of Massachusetts and $592,300 for Boston proper, according to Zillow.

Leaf peeping in the fall may be enough to draw you to the Berkshires. But you have plenty to enjoy all year round, including excellent sites for camping, fishing, hiking and skiing. Nearby, enjoy musical performances at the Tanglewood Music Center, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. There’s also world-class art at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCa, for short) in North Adams.

Ann Arbor, Mich.

  • City population: 119,303
  • Share of population 65+: 11.3%
  • Cost of living for retirees: n/a
  • Average income for population 65+: $82,971
  • Community score: 66.3
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Not Tax Friendly

Another college town well suited to retirees, Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan with all its educational programs (including the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute), sporting events and cultural affairs. The university also runs the Geriatrics Center & Institute of Gerontology, which focuses on health care issues that come with aging. Along with its research facilities, medical facilities and staff, the Center offers programs and classes to help older adults maximize their good health and independence.

In fact, Ann Arbor's health care facilities are top-notch, helping to earn it a sixth-place ranking among small metro areas for successful aging, according to the Milken Institute. The area's public transportation options are another noted winning attribute for older residents. A downside, however, is affordability. Overall living costs are 27.1% above the national average, according to Sperling's BestPlaces, and the median home value is $378,600, versus just $153,000 for the rest of the state, according to Zillow.

Mankato, Minn.

  • City population: 41,241
  • Share of population 65+: 11.0%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 4.4% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: n/a
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Least Tax Friendly

If the cold winters and equally harsh tax situation don't put you off of the North Star State, consider retiring in Mankato, about 90 miles southwest of the Twin Cities. It's still a small city, but development is on the rise, and the local economy is growing fast. Revitalization projects have added a nice mix of restaurants, shops, entertainment venues and more to the downtown area in recent years, and the city's five-year strategic plan aims to spread that level of development throughout the Minnesota River Valley. Some goals of the plan include adding housing, specifically within walking distance of where jobs and shops are expanding Riverfront Park and other recreational land and possibly building a pedestrian bridge that crosses the Minnesota River to North Mankato.

So far, all that growth has yet to push up living costs. While other metro areas in Minnesota come with above-average expenses, Mankato's cost of living for retirees (and others) remains below the national average. By comparison, Minneapolis has living costs for retirees 5.7% above the national average. Unfortunately, typical incomes in Mankato are also lower, with the overall annual income for residents with earnings at $62,776, on average, compared with $64,626 in Minneapolis. Still, the poverty rate for residents 65 and older is lower at 7.8% in Mankato, compared with 12.6% in Minneapolis and 9.3% in the whole U.S.

Jackson, Miss.

  • City population: 170,393
  • Share of population 65+: 11.6%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 10% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $47,876
  • Community score: 57.8
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Most Tax Friendly

Low costs and friendly tax policies can make for a sweet retirement in the Magnolia State, and the capital is particularly alluring. Jackson is a surprisingly eclectic city that holds appeal for Civil War buffs, blues music aficionados and even ballet fans. Every four years, dancers from around the world flock to Jackson for the two-week USA International Ballet Competition to compete for medals, scholarships and spots in ballet companies. Similar competitions are held only in Russia, Bulgaria and Finland.

The Milken Institute ranks Jackson eighth among the best large cities for successful aging due to its affordability and an abundance of nurses, nurse practitioners and orthopedic surgeons, as well as caregiving options and geriatric facilities. Note, however, that the area's residents are prone to unhealthy habits that you don’t want to pick up in retirement, including low levels of activity and high levels of fast-food dining.

Kansas City, Mo.

  • City population: 476,974
  • Share of population 65+: 12.4%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 3.7% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $47,657
  • Community score: 62.1
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Mixed

The Kansas City metro area straddles two states and offers a wide range of attractions for people of all ages including retirees. The music and arts scene is particularly vibrant, being home to legendary jazz musician Charlie Parker as well as the American Jazz Museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Kansas City Art Institute. For foodies, authentic barbecue is big, too. And you can entertain visiting grandkids with Legoland, the Sea Life aquarium and the Kansas City Zoo.

Also, while the University of Missouri's main campus is about 125 miles east in Columbia, the school brings more than 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students, as well as all the amenities of college life, to its Kansas City campus. It even offers an all-volunteer education program called Communiversity, offering a wide variety of classes and seminars to the entire metro area. Class fees range from just $10 to $18, plus a $3 registration fee, but students age 65 and older can skip the registration fee and get a discount of $1 off the first class and $2 off all subsequent classes.

Bozeman, Mont.

  • City population: 43,132
  • Share of population 65+: 8.6%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 3.2% above the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: n/a
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Not Tax Friendly

If you've ever dreamed of retiring to the mountains, here's your chance. Bozeman is in southern Montana, nestled in the Gallatin Valley and surrounded by majestic ranges and national forests. Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks sit due south of Bozeman. The geography means you have to be comfortable hiking, mountain biking, skiing and backcountry exploring your way through retirement. Hunting and fishing are also popular local activities.

But don't expect total isolation. Montana State University's Bozeman campus is home to about nearly 17,000 students. Exuberant co-eds might not be the neighbors you pictured in your mountain-view retirement destination, but you may enjoy the dining, culture and entertainment options that come with a college town.

Lincoln, Neb.

  • City population: 277,315
  • Share of population 65+: 12.5%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 6.1% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $50,654
  • Community score: 64.2
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Least Tax Friendly

Lincoln may not be home to financial guru Warren Buffett like Omaha, which is about an hour north, but it has plenty of other notable points to recommend it. The capital city offers an abundance of attractions, including more than 130 parks, fine restaurants, an active nightlife and a number of museums and theaters. Highlights include the Sunken Gardens (for budding horticulturalists) and the Museum of American Speed (for car enthusiasts).

Being a college town, home to both the University of Nebraska's Lincoln campus and Union College, the population may skew young. But the city is also prepared to assist its aging residents with about 30 health-care and social service facilities per 1,000 seniors, compared with about 19 per 1,000 seniors in the U.S.

Reno, Nev.

  • City population: 239,732
  • Share of population 65+: 13.8%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 10.4% above the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $51,061
  • Community score: 61.2
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Most Tax Friendly

Whether or not you like to gamble, retiring to Reno can make you feel like you've hit the jackpot. Boasting a small-town feel with big-city amenities, the locale proclaims itself "The Biggest Little City in the World." And it backs up the claim, offering a downtown full of restaurants, nightclubs, art galleries and music venues, on top of its well-known casinos.

Outdoor enthusiasts also win. The nearby Sierra Nevada mountain range and Lake Tahoe provide ample opportunities for hiking, biking and boating in warm weather, and skiing in winter. The area's resorts and marinas are also popular among residents of Gardnerville Ranchos, a small Nevada town near Lake Tahoe that's home to a surprising number of millionaires.

Laconia, N.H.

  • City population: 16,237
  • Share of population 65+: 20.5%
  • Cost of living for retirees: n/a
  • Average income for population 65+: n/a
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Most Tax Friendly

Tiny Laconia offers a big bargain for your retirement destination. The overall cost of living is 1.2% below the national average, according to Sperling's BestPlaces, making it much more affordable than Manchester—about 50 miles south—where living costs are 13.2% above average. But local average incomes are still high, averaging $71,605 for residents across all ages. That adds up to favorable odds for a balanced budget. And the Granite State's tax situation for retirees is solid, too.

Tucked between Lake Winnipesaukee and Winnisquam Lake, Laconia has been dubbed "The City on the Lake," home city to New Hampshire's Lakes Region. That means plenty of beaches and water-related activities for you in the warmer months. Other outdoor recreation abounds nearby, too. Gunstock Mountain Resort in neighboring Gilford, for example, offers camping, ziplining and snow sports, as well as fairs, events and dining options. Local crime may be worth noting: While the state sports a low rate of 1.99 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, Laconia's rate is 4.68, even slightly higher than the national median of 4 violent crimes per 1,000 residents, according to On the bright side, between 2009 and 2018, there have been only two murders in town, according to the community's police department. The site lists Parade Road-Old North Main Street and Weirs Beach-Lakeport as the safest neighborhoods in Laconia.

Ocean City, N.J.

  • City population: 11,328
  • Share of population 65+: 29.3%
  • Cost of living for retirees: n/a
  • Average income for population 65+: n/a
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Mixed

The Garden State offers a number of appealing retirement destinations for those who can afford it. Ocean City is a particularly attractive spot, evidenced by the high share of seniors who have already chosen to reside there. Family-friendly beaches, a fun three-mile boardwalk and proximity to Atlantic City are notable draws.

But yes, it's going to cost you. Living costs and taxes are notoriously high all over Jersey. In Ocean City, the cost of living for all residents is a whopping 62.2% above the national average, according to Sperling's BestPlaces. And housing is particularly expensive with the median home value within city limits at a hefty $611,100, compared with $327,800 for the state and $229,000 for the U.S., according to Zillow. Plus, you have to budget extra for insurance to protect against possible storm and flood damage. Note, too, that Ocean City is a dry town, but you don't have to travel far to buy your booze.

Albuquerque, N.M.

  • City population: 556,718
  • Share of population 65+: 14.2%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 3.1% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $49,684
  • Community score: 57.5
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Least Tax Friendly

You can find a bright retirement in Albuquerque. The city tends to get 310 sunny days each year through all four seasons. That gives you plenty of opportunities to explore the many hiking and biking trails in and around the city, go hot air ballooning and plat the variety of golf courses in the area. And when the sun goes down, local casinos—complete with concert venues, restaurants and more, along with table games, slots and bingo—help energize the local nightlife.

All that comes with below-average costs, but also below-average incomes. And many people aren't able to strike a balance: The poverty rate in Albuquerque among residents age 65 and up is 9.9%, compared with 9.3% for the U.S., but better than the 11.9% rate for New Mexico.

Rochester, N.Y.

  • City population: 209,463
  • Share of population 65+: 10.3%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 0.7% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $47,912
  • Community score: 61.1
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Not Tax Friendly

While much of New York comes with above-average living costs, Rochester proves more affordable, slightly below average for retirees. Housing costs are notably cheap at about 10% below average for retired residents. Indeed, the median home value is a mere $79,000, according to Zillow, compared with $229,000 for the entire U.S. and $303,600 in New York state.

That can leave plenty of room in your budget for warm coats, snow shovels and other winter gear. The average snowfall is a heavy 99 inches a year. In January alone over the past two winters, nearly 33 inches of snow fell on Rochester, according to the National Weather Service. Luckily, you have plenty of local wine options to help keep you warm year-round. The surrounding Finger Lakes Region is home to more than 100 wineries, all within a 90-minute drive of Rochester, and Casa Larga Vineyards is located just 20 minutes from downtown.

Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.

  • Metro population: 550,281 (Durham: 257,170)
  • Share of population 65+: 13.6% (Durham: 10.8%)
  • Cost of living for retirees: 10.5% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $63,046 (Durham:$59,567)
  • Community score: 64.1
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Not Tax Friendly

Duke University and the University of North Carolina may be bitter sports rivals, but their hometowns of Durham and Chapel Hill, respectively, team up to form a powerhouse metro area, and a great place to retire. Indeed, the Milken Institute ranks Durham-Chapel Hill as the third best large metro area for successful aging—crediting the area's economic strength, as two-thirds of North Carolina's Research Triangle (the other third being Raleigh), and quality health care. The universities play a big role in those two advantages and also boost up the local cultural and recreational scenes, like in many college towns.

Though not a deal-breaker for every retiree, it’s worth noting that violent crimes are more prevalent in Durham than they are for the nation as a whole. The rate of violent crime is 8.6 per 1,000 residents, according to the Neighborhood Scout, compared with a national median of 4 violent crimes per 1,000 residents. Chapel Hill rates safer, with just 1.8 violent crimes per 1,000 residents. And the real estate values reflect it: The median home value is $382,900 in Chapel Hill and $229,900 in Durham, according to Zillow.

Fargo, N.D.

  • City population: 118,099
  • Share of population 65+: 11.1%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 0.5% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $57,580
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Tax Friendly

With its low costs and generous tax situation, North Dakota has consistently ranked highly among our best states for retirement. So we believe spending your golden years in the Peace Garden State to be a financially savvy choice for your retirement destination (albeit perhaps an unorthodox one). And Fargo fits the bill for affordability, with particularly low housing costs for retirees, 14.3% below the national average. Indeed, while the average cost for a private room in a North Dakota nursing home is $11,690 a month, it's just $9,644 a month in Fargo, according to Genworth.

North Dakota State University is based in Fargo and, along with a number of other area colleges, brings with it attractive amenities for retirees and co-eds alike. That includes sporting events and cultural attractions, such as numerous musical and theater performances. Just be sure to bundle up if you venture out in the winter months. The average low temperature in January is literally 0 degrees Fahrenheit, according to U.S. Climate Data, only goes up to an average low 6 degrees Fahrenheit in the surrounding months.

Columbus, Ohio

  • City population: 852,144
  • Share of population 65+: 9.8%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 7.8% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $46,941
  • Community score: 61.2
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Mixed

The biggest city in the Buckeye State comes with some of the smallest costs. Housing is particularly affordable: The median home value in Columbus, the state capital, is just $157,500, compared with the national median of $229,00, according to Zillow.

But low costs doesn't equate to a lack of activities. Home to Ohio State University, locals can enjoy the co-ed culture, including big sporting events, concerts and cultural diversions. It also offers Program 60, which invites Ohio residents age 60 and older to take university courses free. Off campus, the downtown area has a lively scene with an eclectic mix of shops, galleries and restaurants. The Short North and German Village neighborhoods, in particular, are worth exploring.

Oklahoma City

  • City population: 629,173
  • Share of population 65+: 11.9%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 13.8% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $57,615
  • Community score: 60.3
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Not Tax Friendly

The biggest city in the Sooner State charges residents little in living costs. Housing-related expenses are particularly affordable, at 28.1% below average for retirees. Indeed, the median home value across all ages is $131,700, well below the nation's median of $229,000, according to Zillow. And a private room in a nursing home costs a median $66,248 a year, compared with a median $100,375 a year for the U.S., according to Genworth.

Cowboys may feel particularly at home in Oklahoma City—it has one of the largest livestock markets in the world, after all—but given the area's downtown revitalization efforts over the past several years, everyone can find something to enjoy. The Bricktown Entertainment District has a variety of restaurants and nightlife options. And in neighboring Norman, the University of Oklahoma plays host to bigtime sporting and cultural events.

Corvallis, Ore.

  • City population: 56,224
  • Share of population 65+: 11.5%
  • Cost of living for retirees: n/a
  • Average income for population 65+: n/a
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Not Tax Friendly

The small city of Corvallis, located about 85 miles south of popular Portland, offers a similarly laidback lifestyle, but with smaller crowds and relatively lower costs. The overall cost of living is 19.8% above the national average—still pricey to be sure, but much more affordable than Portland's living costs at 47.8% above average. And average incomes are comparable at $68,589 a year in Corvallis and $68,125 in Portland for all residents.

Beyond financials, the area has plenty to recommend itself. You can enjoy the great outdoors, hiking or biking along the more than 60 miles of surrounding trails, observing the local wildlife, or taking advantage of nearby fishing, kayaking and swimming spots. You can also indulge in the more intoxicating offerings of the area. Coravllis is home to more than a dozen wineries—naturally, being in the heart of the Willamette Valley—as well as four craft distillers for whiskey, vodka and more and six breweries right in town.


  • City population: 305,012
  • Share of population 65+: 14.2%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 1.7% above the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $55,885
  • Community score: 62.5
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Most Tax Friendly

The Steel City is a good deal for retirees. While overall living costs for retirees are slightly above the national average, their local health care costs—a particularly big concern for the aging population—fall 4.3% below average. Indeed, the median monthly cost of an assisted living facility is $4,000 in the U.S., but just $3,750 in Pennsylvania and $3,150 in Pittsburgh, according Genworth. Plus, the Keystone State offers some nice tax breaks for retirees—Social Security benefits and most other retirement income are not subject to state taxes.

Despite being light on costs, Pittsburgh is still heavy on attractions. You can enjoy the Andy Warhol Museum, the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, a plethora of jazz joints and all the offerings of local universities, which include Duquesne, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh. And if watching all the collegiate and professional sports isn't enough activity for you, you have plenty of opportunities nearby to golf, hunt, fish, bike, hike and boat.

Providence, R.I.

  • City population: 179,509
  • Share of population 65+: 9.6%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 21.9% above the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $64,657
  • Community score: 59.3
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Not Tax Friendly

Home to Ivy League Brown University and the world-renowned Rhode Island School of Design, as well as a handful of other colleges, Providence can be a great fit for retired intellectuals and artists. They'll have no shortage of things to do, with the schools offering gallery nights, performing arts events, educational opportunities and more. And the schools' presence has helped draw a variety of restaurants and businesses to the area, too.

Unfortunately, living costs and an unfriendly tax environment can be prohibitive throughout the tiny state, and Providence is no exception.

Charleston, S.C.

  • City population: 120,903
  • Share of population 65+: 12.0%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 2.1% above the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $45,574
  • Community score: 64.5
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Tax Friendly

Southern charm, a rich history, city living and nearby beaches combine to make Charleston a uniquely attractive retirement destination. History buffs, in particular, can appreciate the city's Civil War sites, including Fort Sumter, and well-preserved antebellum architecture. The Preservation Society of Charleston is the oldest community-based historic preservation group in the country.

Foodies, too, can find plenty to enjoy along Charleston’s cobblestone streets, especially in the brunch and comfort food areas. And if you need to work off some of those calories, water sports, including surfing, paddle boarding and kayaking, are popular local activities—along with boating and fishing.

Sioux Falls, S.D.

  • City population: 170,401
  • Share of population 65+: 12.0%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 3.7% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $46,123
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Most Tax Friendly

If you've never considered moving to South Dakota in retirement, perhaps you should. We recently ranked it the best state for retirees. And Sioux Falls is a particularly great spot to settle. It is filled with advantages, including a booming economy, low unemployment and hospitals specializing in geriatric services. For all these reasons, plus the city's recreational activities (including regularly scheduled morning walks and pinochle for the senior program, run by the city's Parks and Recreation department), the Milken Institute dubbed Sioux Falls the fifth best small metro area for successful aging.

And all that comes pretty cheap for retirees. Along with low living costs in Sioux Falls, the median home value is $192,900, compared with $193,700 for the state and $229,000 for the U.S., according to Zillow. Plus, the state's tax picture is one of the best for retirees.

Knoxville, Tenn.

  • City population: 184,465
  • Share of population 65+: 13.2%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 17.1% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $46,685
  • Community score: 64.2
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Tax Friendly

The Volunteer State, which we rank as the fifth-best in the nation for retirement, is a good choice for retiree nest eggs of all sizes. On top of its friendly-tax status, most parts of Tennessee have below-average living costs across the board for retired residents.

Knoxville is particularly affordable for retirees, compared with, say, Nashville, where living costs among retired people are about the same as the national average. Housing costs for retirees in Knoxville are the biggest factor bringing down costs, at nearly 30% below the national average. The city's median home value is just $173,900 versus $262,900 in Nashville and $229,000 throughout the country. Indeed, Knoxville is one of the cheapest U.S. cities to live in. Still, being the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains and home to the University of Tennessee, the city is rich in activities and attractions to fill your retirement years.

Round Rock, Texas

  • City population: 116,369
  • Share of population 65+: 7.5%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 5.9% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $72,762
  • Community score: 64.2*
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Tax Friendly

Nothing weird about retiring to this suburb of Austin. After all, being part of the same metro area, Round Rock gives you easy access to all the same amenities as the capital city, but at a more affordable price. Austin is already relatively cheap, with living costs for retirees 1% below the national average, but its housing costs for retirees are actually 5.8% above the national average. In Round Rock, on the other hand, they're 4.6% below average. Indeed, the median home value in Austin is a pricey $371,900 while in Round Rock, it's just $277,500, according to Zillow. (Both are higher than the national median of $229,000.)

On top of the attractions of nearby Austin, Round Rock has a lot to offer right in town, too. (Good thing because traffic in this metro area can be pretty frustrating, to say the least.) The downtown area hosts a long list of dining options, many of which stay open to lend themselves and their bars to the local nightlife. And developing the local arts and culture scene has been a focus for the city with the introduction of a growing collection of public art and art-centric events such as the Chalk Walk, SculpFest and regular artist workshops.

*Data for the Austin-Round Rock metro area.

Provo, Utah

  • City population: 116,199
  • Share of population 65+: 6.0%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 1.7% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: n/a
  • Community score: 64.7
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Least Tax Friendly

The Beehive State, 10th in our 2018 rankings of the best states for retirement, is a sweet spot for active retirees. And Provo, with mountain peaks within the city limits and Utah Lake on its doorstep, is particularly buzz-worthy. Brigham Young University offers intellectual stimulation to complement the physical activity. Plus, living costs are low while incomes are high, at an average $97,958 a year for residents age 60 and up.

Another feather in its cap: The Milken Institute rates Provo as the best large city for successful aging, noting the area's vibrant economy and safety, as well as the population's healthy lifestyles and high levels of volunteering among older adults. The metro area also has an abundance of health care facilities, about 32 establishments per 1,000 seniors compared with about 19 per 1,000 seniors in the U.S.

Burlington, Vt.

  • City population: 42,453
  • Share of population 65+: 10.7%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 16.4% above the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: n/a
  • Community score: 64.2
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Least Tax Friendly

This small mountain city on the shores of Lake Champlain is a picturesque setting for tree-hugging retirees. Outdoor recreation is plentiful with miles of hiking and biking paths, nearby beaches where you can swim, kayak or paddleboard in the warmer months, and numerous skiing options in the area. An eco-friendly vibe permeates the town, from the businesses bolstering the city's economy, such as household-products maker Seventh Generation, to the local food movement feeding the neighborhood.

But being green isn't easy on your wallet. Taxes and living costs are high. While the median home value is a low $206,000 in the Green Mountain State, compared with the median $229,000 for the U.S., it climbs to $326,500 in Burlington. A private room in a metro area nursing home costs a median $11,498 a month, compared with $8,365 a month for the U.S. At least you can save money on academic pursuits. The University of Vermont will cover tuition costs for state residents age 65 and older who wish to take a class, even if it's for credit.

Charlottesville, Va.

  • City population: 46,487
  • Share of population 65+: 10.4%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 0.2% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: n/a
  • Community score: 66.0
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Tax Friendly

Renaissance man Thomas Jefferson laid the foundation for the well-rounded city his hometown has become. From his University of Virginia's hollering Hoos to the artists on the downtown promenade, the Charlottesville community is an unexpected blend of Southern charm and liberal edge, a nice choice for a range of retiree personalities. And beyond the college campus and city center, you can find plenty of options for outdoor recreation in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including more than 100 miles of of the Appalachian Trail in nearby Shenandoah National Park.

In August 2017, Charlottesville captured national attention when a gathering of white nationalists to protest the removal of a monument to Robert E. Lee turned into a violent rally, injuring dozens of counter-protesters and killing one, Heather Heyer. In general though, the city's violent crime rate is a low 175.4 reported incidents per 100,000 residents, compared with a 297.8 rate for all U.S. cities of similar size, according to the FBI. Charlottesville also ranks fifth for overall well-being, out of all 187 metro areas included in the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, with above-average scores in all categories, including physical health and resident satisfaction.

Richland, Wash.

  • City population: 53,991
  • Share of population 65+: 15.5%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 1.7% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $70,059
  • Community score: 65.1
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Tax Friendly

Richland's metro area includes Kennewick, both of which qualify as great retirement destinations. But the smaller of the two, Richland, has an older population with a higher average income (Kennewick's is $57,989) and lower poverty rate (7.6% compared with 8.3% in Kennwick—both lower than the national poverty rate of 9.3% for people age 65 and older).

Whether you're partial to exploring the great outdoors or focusing on wine country, you have plenty of options—you don't even have to choose one over the other. You can enjoy boating and fishing on the Columbia, Yakima and Snake Rivers, and hiking or biking on the 23-mile Sacagawea Trail. There are also more than 200 wineries within a 50-mile radius, offering beautiful views and many wines to sample.

Morgantown, W.V.

  • City population: 30,099
  • Share of population 65+: 9.4%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 7.2% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: n/a
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Not Tax Friendly

West Virginia University offers a number of benefits to older Morgantown residents. If you're age 65 and up, you can take WVU courses, for credit or not, at a discount. Or if you're 50 or older, you can join the local chapter of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. A $30 annual membership gets you access to interest groups, trips, social gatherings and program classes, including local and international history, music, computers and yoga.

The University also helps boost local health care services with its many medical facilities, including the Eye Institute, Heart Institute and Ruby Memorial Hospital. The Milken Institute actually credits the area's abundance medical services—including orthopedic surgeons, primary-care clinicians and home-health-care professionals—for contributing to Morgantown's high ranking (18th) among small metro areas.

Green Bay, Wis.

  • City population: 104,796
  • Share of population 65+: 12.3%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 10.2% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $35,380
  • Community score: 66.2
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Least Tax Friendly

The University of Wisconsin brings all the benefits of retiring in a college town to the industrial city of Green Bay. That includes a thriving cultural and arts scene, quality medical care, a walkable downtown with an array of dining and shopping options and of course sports.

And while the state's tax situation leaves something to be desired, low living costs are attractive. Green Bay is particularly affordable, with below-average costs for retirees across all spending categories. Housing expenses are notably low, with costs for retirees falling 20% below the national average. Indeed, the median home value in Green Bay is just $146,500, compared with $229,000 for the U.S., according to Zillow.

Cheyenne, Wyo.

  • City population: 62,986
  • Share of population 65+: 15.3%
  • Cost of living for retirees: 8.7% below the national average
  • Average income for population 65+: $44,323
  • Community score: n/a
  • State's tax rating for retirees:Most Tax Friendly

Loner types should love the Cowboy State. It has a population of 583,200—that's just about six people per square mile. (By comparison, the country's smallest state in size, Rhode Island, hosts more than a million people—about 871 people per square mile.) But while Cheyenne is hardly a bustling metropolis by headcount, the population density is much higher at about 2,200 people per square mile.

Upside of the relative crowds of the capital city: no lack of activities. Train aficionados can enjoy the area's railroad history and displays of locomotives, including the world's largest steam engine (also retired). Another big local attraction: Every summer since 1897, Cheyenne hosts the world's largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration, Frontier Days, now a 10-day event. You also have plenty of outdoor diversions, such as miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding fishing and boating and birding and other wildlife viewing.

How We Picked the 50 Best Places to Retire

To pinpoint one great retirement destination in each state, we weighed a number of factors:

Top 28 Places To Visit In South Korea

So, you have come here which means you really do wanna know about the places to visit in South Korea! Well, if you’re planning to visit South Korea soon, here is the perfectly curated list of places to visit in South Korea on your next trip. Keep scrolling down and read along the best South Korea tourist places to visit. Go on!

  • Seoul: The Dazzling Capital City
  • Jeju Island: A Stunning Island
  • The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ): Engage With Modern History
  • Busan: Something For Everyone
  • Gyeongju: A Treasure Trove Of Cultural Sites
  • Dadohaehaesang National Park: The Largest National Park In Korea
  • Pyeongchang County: Paradise For Hikers
  • Suwon: Home To A UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Seoraksan National Park: A Tentative World Heritage Site
  • Andong Hahoe Folk Village: Travel Back In Time
  • Upo Marsh: The Largest Inland Wetland In Korea
  • Juknokwon: The Slow City
  • Boseong Green Tea Field: A Stunning Scenery
  • Seongsan Sunrise Peak: For Gorgeous Sunset Views
  • Ggotji Beach: Something For Beach Lovers
  • Darangee Village: A Quaint And Photogenic Village
  • Jeungdo Salt Farm: A Treasure Island
  • Haeinsa Temple : World’s Oldest Intact Buddhist Canon
  • Chunwang Peak: The Second Highest Peak In South Korea
  • Naganeupseong Folk Village: An Appealing Little Village
  • Gwang-An-Bridge: The Famous Diamond Bridge
  • Kyeong-Wha Station: Capture The Essence Of Cherry Blossoms
  • Gongryong Ridge: Ideal For Taking A Hike
  • Bulguksa Temple: A UNESCO Listed Heritage Site
  • Uleung Island Seaside Road: The Mysterious Island
  • Chuncheon: Spectacular Lakes & Mighty Mountains
  • Jeonju: With A Rich And Fascinating History
  • Halla Mountain: Offers Spectacular Views

1. Seoul: The Dazzling Capital City

The dazzling capital city will impress you with its dizzying mix of modern architecture, party vibes, pop culture, beautiful parks & glittering promenades making it one of the most famous places in South Korea and the best cities to visit in South Korea. Vibrant Seoul is not just a buzzing urban hub but also rich in history and culture. With gorgeous palaces, chic restaurants and stylish boutiques, Seoul is charming all the way. The National Museum and War Memorial take you through the history of the country, while the cool shopping district of Gangnam gives you a taste of the city’s ritzy side on your reasons to visit South Korea.

Ideal for: Nightlife, Shopping, Culture, Architecture
Key attractions: Changdeokgung Palace (with an amazing Secret Garden), Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok village (for its pagodas and old world charm), Lotte World amusement park, Bukhansan National Park, N Seoul Tower for panoramic views.

2. Jeju Island: A Stunning Island

This stunning island just 85 Kilometers off the coast is one of the most beautiful places in South Korea and one of the most famous places in South Korea. Having been voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, the pristine beauty of Jeju-do will take your breath away. Surreal white sand beaches surrounded by pine forests, volcanic craters and lava caves, beautiful botanical gardens and a rich culture are some of the high-points of this natural paradise amongst places near Seoul that are a must-visit.

Ideal for: Nature, Photography
Key attractions: Seongsan Sunrise Peak, Halassang national park, Seopjikoji promontory, Hyeopjae & Hamdeok beach, Cheonjiyeon Waterfalls

3. The Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ): Engage With Modern History

Amongst famous South Korea attractions, The DMZ is one of the most famous places to visit in South Korea to get a better understanding of the conflict between North and South Korea & the current state of affairs. The DMZ is full of interesting sites that make for an engaging lesson in modern history. You can take a peek into North Korea at the Observation Post and feel the rush of adventure while walking through the Infiltration Tunnel. It is advisable to take a guided tour that includes a visit to the Joint Security Area (JSA).

Ideal for: Historical Sites
Key Attractions: Freedom Park, Dorasan Station & Observatory

4. Busan: Something For Everyone

If you’re visiting places in South Korea then not addisng this place to your list would be unfair. This second largest city of South Korea is known across the world for hosting Asia’s largest International film festival. Busan is an interesting amalgamation of skyscrapers, majestic mountains, beautiful beaches and magnificent Buddhist temples and amongst the best places to visit in South Korea. Amongst the popular places to visit in Korea Busan is the Haedong Yonggungsa temple along the coast and the interesting Jagalchi fish market. Foodies can relish the sea food spread at the numerous restaurants and enjoy local delicacies at the ubiquitous street food stalls.

Ideal for: Beaches, Culture, Food
Key attractions: Haeundae Beach (with the Sea Life Aquarium and Folk Square), Beomeosa Temple, Gwangalli Beach with beautiful views of the Diamond bridge, Hurshimchung Hot Springs

5. Gyeongju: A Treasure Trove Of Cultural Sites

One of the best places to go in South Korea, the coastal city of Gyeongju, often called an open-air museum, is one of the best things to do in South Korea to discover its traditional roots and rich heritage. The erstwhile capital of the ancient Silla kingdom, Gyeongju is a treasure trove of cultural and historical sites and ruins going back to a thousand years. With the UNESCO world heritage site, Bulguksa temple and the National Museum with its unparalleled collection of artefacts, this city gives you a glimpse into South Korea’s cultural roots.

Ideal for: Culture, History, Nature
Key attractions: Anapji pond, Tumuli Park (the giant burial mounds covered in grass), the majestic Seokguram Grotto

6. Dadohaehaesang National Park: The Largest National Park In Korea

One of the most besutiful tourist destinations in South Korea, it is the largest National Park in Korea, this slice of paradise covers 1700 large and small islands and some rock structures. One of the most scenic and islands is the Cheongsando island considered one of the best places to visit in South Korea for it surreal landscapes and the slow city movement. Hongdo and Heuksando are the other popular islands where you can take a boat trip to admire the overwhelming natural sites. This is one of the top famous places to visit in South Korea for your next vacation!

Ideal for: Nature, Tranquility, Photography

7. Pyeongchang County: Paradise For Hikers

This is one of the must visit places in South Korea to experience tranquillity and awe-inspiring scenic beauty of the best places to visit in Korea. Located in the Taebaek Mountains, this picturesque county 180 Kms away from Seoul hosted the prestigious Winter Olympics in February 2018. The Odaesan National Park is a hikers’ delight with trails going up the snow-peaked mountains, while the ski resorts Alpensia and Yongpyong are popular with skiers and snowboarders. The mountains are also home to many beautiful Buddhist shrines. This place is surely one of the best places to visit in South Korea during winters!

Ideal for: Nature, Photography, Spirituality
Key Attractions: Woljeongsa temple, Pyeongchang Hyanggyo

8. Suwon: Home To A UNESCO World Heritage Site

Capital of the Gyeonggi province bordering Seoul, Suwon is known for its unique Hwaseong Fortress with its imposing stone walls and impressive archways and this has made it one of the best places to visit in Korea. Built by the Joseon dynasty the fortresses wall is a UNESCO world heritage site with four pagoda-style gates, artillery towers and observation decks. Another magnificent structure at the site is the Hwaseong Haenggung Palace. With all that said, don’t forget to indulge in shopping in Suwon. With many more exciting things to do, Suwon is one of the top places to visit in South Korea.

Ideal for: History, Architecture
Key Attractions: Suwon Hwaseong Museum to understand the history of the majestic fortress, Gwanggyosan Mountain (for hiking trails), Samsung Innovation Museum

9. Seoraksan National Park: A Tentative World Heritage Site

The vivid strokes of nature will greet you every step of the way in the UNESCO protected Seoraksan National Park and is one of the most mesmerizing places to witness autumn in Korea. Being one of the best places to visit in South Korea, this is l iterally meaning the Snowy Crag Mountains, the Seoraksan range with its snow-covered peaks forms a majestic backdrop to the park temple. It is a great place to hike the myriad trails including the formidable Ulsan Rock or simply enjoy the gondola ride up the mountain for some spectacular views. As you stroll through the 400000 sq km biosphere protection site, prepare to be awestruck by the giant Buddha statue on your path.

Ideal for: Hiking, Adventure, Photography, Nature
Key Attractions: Baekdam sa Buddhist temple, Gyejo-am hermitage, Yukdam-Pokpo waterfall

10. Andong Hahoe Folk Village: Travel Back In Time

Literally meaning ‘the village enveloped by water’ this charming traditional Korean village located in Andong is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Entering the Hahoe village is like travelling back in time to the simple Korean village way of life displaying local traditions and culture. The beautiful setting alongside the Nakdong river is accentuated by the rural tile and thatched roof houses, sandy beaches and pine trees. The village is also a great place to try out traditional Korean delicacies and marvel at the mask dance performed by the locals, read through Korea travel tips to know more.

Ideal for: Culture, Tranquility, nature
Nearby attractions: Bongjeongsa temple, Buyongdae Cliff (take a boat for breathtaking views of the village)

11. Upo Marsh: The Largest Inland Wetland In Korea

Considered to be the largest inland wetland in Korea, Upo March is a must-visit site for all tourists and one of the best free tourist attractions in South Korea. It is said that this land was formed over almost 140 million years ago and it is home to about 1500 species of plants and animals too. Some of these animals are, however, currently endangered. You can also spot a few migratory birds here which are found to be flying low as you walk or bike through the land. This surely tops the list of good places to visit in South Korea!

Ideal for: Biking, nature walks, photography, bird-watching
Nearby attractions: NA

12. Juknokwon: The Slow City

Explore South Kore and enjoy the slow pace life. Also known as the ‘slow city’, Damyang offers a variety of tourist attractions, out of which, Juknokwon cannot be missed for sure. The thick bamboo land that has 8 different trails has 8 unique themes that you can walk through. If you look close enough, you can spot some green tea shoots growing from the dew that falls off the bamboo leaves, known as Jukro tea.

Ideal for: Nature walk, photography
Nearby attractions: Gwanbangjerim, May 18th National Cemetery and Gangcheonsan County Park

13. Boseong Green Tea Field: A Stunning Scenery

With a major 40 % of the total tea produced in Korea being produced at these famous fields, this place is nothing less than a scenic beauty in itself which is also used as a backdrop of many Korean movies and drama shows. If you’re planning to visit this place in May, make sure you don’t miss out on the grand Green-tea festival or click a picture of the stunning scenery as this place is well lit by light bulbs during winter season which is the best time to explore South Korea. This field is amongst the best places to visit in South Korea during summer!

Ideal for: Nature walk, photography
Nearby attractions: Songjeong Station Market, Darangee Village

14. Seongsan Sunrise Peak: For Gorgeous Sunset Views

If you are heading to Jeju Island anyway, then you should not miss watching the sunrise at Seongsan Peak. The best of South Korea tourist attractions, this spot has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was formed by the hydrovolcanic eruptions 5000 years ago. You will even find a variety of rare species of plants. The magnificent sunrise is the most spectacular thing on this volcanic mountain.

Ideal for:Hiking, Nature
Key attractions: Sunrise, Rare plant species, lush greenery,magnificent views of nature

15. Ggotji Beach: Something For Beach Lovers

For those who live for beautiful sunsets should not miss this place on Jeju Island, one of the best South Korea destinations. The white sandy beach is a delight to the beach babies. The sunset here is nothing like you have seen before. You will find two large rock formations on the beach that are known as Granny and Grandpa Rocks. There is an interesting story behind the names too. According to the legends, the wife of a commander from the Shilla Dynasty became a rock waiting faithfully for her husband. When the sun sinks between the two rocks, it looks so magnificent and the sky lights up in tangerine color.

Ideal for: Sunsets, diving
Key attractions: Granny Rock, Grandpa Rock

16. Darangee Village: A Quaint And Photogenic Village

If you want to explore the village life of South Korea, then you should visit Darangee which is a well-preserved village. The tiny step fields look so photogenic. This is your shot of experiencing a traditional Korean life while backpacking in South Korea. It is amazing to see how a country like such can have two opposite sides one completely modern and another so bucolic.

Ideal for: Backpacking
Key attractions: Countless tiny fields

17. Jeungdo Salt Farm: A Treasure Island

You have seen nothing like the soft beach and salt farms in Jeungdo. This is a treasure island not only because of all the salt produced but also the artifacts from the Song Dynasty found at the bottom of the ocean. The marine life that you will find in the mudflat town will amaze you. It is one of the best places to see in South Korea.

Ideal for: Sightseeing
Key attractions: Salt farms, Mudflat town, marine life of the mud flat

18. Haeinsa Temple: World’s Oldest Intact Buddhist Canon

Did you know that the world’s oldest intact Buddhist canon is restored inside Haeinsa Temple that itself is 1200 years old? The curiosity alone should make you visit this temple and if you are an avid Buddhist practitioner, then you should definitely visit this place on your vacation in South Korea and several other popular castles in Korea to get a glance into the history of Korea.

Ideal for: Sightseeing, Religious
Key attractions:Janggyeong Panjeon, the oldest wooden Buddha Statue in Korea.

19. Chunwang Peak: The Second Highest Peak In South Korea

The second highest peak in the country should definitely be one of your South Korea points of interest. Standing tall at 1,915 meters, this peak is a beloved for many Korean mountain climbers. If climbing mountains give you the thrill, then we see no reason why you should sit this one out. There is even a national park on the mountain that stretches over three provinces. The clean air and freshwater from the spring will be a delight to your internal organs.

Ideal for: Nature, hiking
Key attractions: Chunwang Spring, sunrise, dazzling flora and fauna

20. Naganeupseong Folk Village: An Appealing Little Village

To enjoy South Korea sightseeing, plan a trip to Naganeupseong Folk Village where you will observe the lifestyle from the ear of the Chosun Dynasty. The straw-roofed houses, government offices, castles, guesthouse, all look so pretty and photogenic. You would really enjoy your time here even if you are not a history buff.

Ideal for: Sightseeing
Key attractions: Overnight homestay

21. Gwang-An-Bridge: The Famous Diamond Bridge

Famously known as the Diamond Bridge, it is a suspension bridge located in Busan, South Korea that connectes Haeundae-gu to Suyeong-gu. The road surface is about 6,500 m long and although it is not a pedestrian bridge, you can still enjoy the stunning views of bridge and the surrounding region from afar.

Ideal for: Views, Photography
Key attractions: The lighting system

22. Kyeong-Wha Station: Capture The Essence Of Cherry Blossoms

This place is a favourite haunt for photographers who can capture the true essence of the Cherry blossoms falling down on the track and making a picture perfect moment. The visual delight of the train is approaching the station under the cherry blossom tunnel is absolutely unmissable and surreal.

Ideal for: Photography
Key attractions: Cherry blossom tunnel

23. Gongryong Ridge: Ideal For Taking A Hike

Wondering where to visit in South Korea? Well, why not give Gongryong Ridge a try? Shaped like the spine of a dinosaur, this place is ideal for trekkers and hiking enthusiasts who would love a great climb along with sublime views of the surrounding mountain range. This ricky ridge offers spectacular views of Gongryong Ridge.

Ideal for: Sighseeing, hiking, nature enthusiasts
Key attractions: Seorak mountain range

24. Bulguksa Temple: A UNESCO Listed Heritage Site

This temple is a UNESCO listed heritage site that is considered to be amongst the most famous historic places to visit in South Korea and one of the most popular South Korea tourist places. It features two granite pagodas on either sides of the temple that add to the grandeur beauty of this place.

Ideal for: historic sightseeing
Key attractions: Dabotap and Seokgatap

25. Uleung Island Seaside Road: The Mysterious Island

Also known as “Mysterious Island’, Uleung Island Seaside Road is one of the most interesting places to go in South Korea. It is a famous weekend getaway spot for the people of Seoul and will serve as a calming site for you. With its interesting rock formations, many waterfalls, and shore cliffs, the Uleung Island Seaside Road is magical and something you shouldn’t miss!

Ideal for: Sightseeing, weekend getaways
Key attractions: Haengnam Coastal Walking Path and Dokdo Observatory

26. Chuncheon: Spectacular Lakes & Mighty Mountains

With its spectacular lakes and mighty mountains, Chuncheon happens to be one of the most well known South Korea tourist places. It is also the capital city of the Gangwon Province and is the location where many popular Korean soap operas are filmed. Many visit the destination for this reason too! The city is also known as a foodies’ paradise and you can try many Korean delicacies here.

Ideal for: sightseeing
Key attractions: Namiseom Island and Cheongpyeong Lake

27. Jeonju: With A Rich And Fascinating History

If you are wondering about where to go in South Korea, then Jeonju is the answer! During the reign of the Joseon Dynasty the place happened to be the spiritual capital. It still has many temples and museums and is one of the best places to know about the rich and fascinating history of the country. If you are a history buff and wish to see traditional homes dating back to the early 20th century then make sure you stop at Jeonju and have a good time.

Ideal for: historic sightseeing
Key attractions: Jeonju National Museum and Jeondong Cathedral

28. Halla Mountain: Offers Spectacular Views

If you are looking for tourist places in South Korea then Halla Mountain is one and you can’t miss this one! The snowflakes make for a gorgeous view and the icicles that cover the tea branches inspired the Halla Snow Festival which used to be held annually in late January or early February. Due to some reason it does not happen anymore but the snowflakes are still there and the mountain makes for a great sight and must not be missed!

Ideal for: hiking

Looking at the above places to visit in South Korea, it sure looks like an awesome destination for a holiday. From nature to the best of lifestyle and modern experiences – do what you love here and tell us about it in the comments section below. So, pack your bags and book your trip to South Korea right away!

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25. Yosemite National Park

Spending Labor Day weekend in one of the most famous national parks in the United States is the perfect way to get some R&R, spend some time with loved ones, or just relax and enjoy the surrounding nature. Yosemite National Park in California is located in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, and its landscapes feature massive rock formations, wooded hills, and of course, the giant redwood sequoia trees that are native to the area. Visitors can hike or climb within the park to see its wonders, which include El Capitan and Half Dome, two famous cliff formations, and the beautiful and iconic Bridalveil Falls.

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