The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.
With relatively cheap land, low cost of living, a reduced tax rate (including no personal income tax), it’s no surprise why the state of Texas is considered one of the best places to retire.
A note on methodology: all cost of living (COL) estimates are compared with the national average, which is set at 100. For example, a COL index of 125/100 means that the place has a COL that is 25% higher than the median income in the U.S., which is $53,086. COL indices and population data come from bestplaces.net. Average high and low temperatures are obtained from US Climate Data.
Here are our top seven picks for the best places to retire in Texas:
1. Austin, Texas
- Average Winter High/Low: 62°/42°
- Average Summer High/Low: 96°/74°
- Population: 931,830
- Cost of living: 117.4/100
- Aerial Morning Austin Texas Colorado Sunrise above Riverside Pedestrian Walking Bridge
Forbes lists Austin as the third fastest growing city in the nation; Money rates it as the second best city to live in; US News and World Report lists it as the best city in the U.S to live. Austin is vibrant and lively with a diverse population, robust cultural institutions, nine universities and colleges, as well as a booming tech scene, Austin is a great choice for the retiree who may not be working anymore, but is far from being “old.”
2. San Antonio
- Average Winter High/Low: 62°/39°
- Average Summer High/Low: 95°/74°
- Population: 1,469,850
- COL: 93.2 /100
San Antonio is especially popular with active adults. City dwellers have plenty to do, including visiting theatres, art museums, festivals, cultural events, and theme parks. Over 20 million tourists visit San Antonio each year. San Antonio is particularly popular with former and current members of the military, partially because of the four military bases nearby (Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, and Brooks City-Base). It’s no wonder that Forbes listed it as the best place to retire in 2012.
3. Corpus Christi
- Average Winter High/Low: 67°/47°
- Average Summer High/Low: 93°/75°
- Population: 324,070
- COL: 84.5/100
Corpus Christi is another city that frequently tops the charts as one of the best places to retire. Forbes included it on its list of prime retirement destinations. The city is tucked away in a little bay in South Texas and offers plenty in the way of water sports, sand, and sun. It also has a vibrant cultural scene with many museums and restored homes. Perhaps best of all, Corpus Christi offers all of this with a remarkably low cost of living – the average home is only about $81,000.
- Average Winter High/Low: 57°/33°
- Average Summer High/Low: 94°/72°
- Population: 121,721
- COL: 87.8/100
Abilene was Forbes’s second choice nationwide for retirement locations in 2014, thanks to its robust economy and low cost of living. Its student population and local attractions give the city a youthful feel, but for those looking for something more traditional, the historic district has plenty to offer in the way of Southwestern charm. Other benefits of living in Abilene include a low crime rate and a higher than usual ratio of doctors per capita, making it a safe and healthy place to live out your later years.
5. The Woodlands
- Average Winter High/Low: 62°/44°
- Average Summer High/Low: 92°/74°
- Population: 102,911
- COL: 117.5/100
Located on thirty miles north of Houston, The Woodlands frequently makes top retirement lists. Instead of being one large city, The Woodlands is a master-planned community of eight smaller villages which have banded together to create an energetic and lively center.
The area offers a wide variety of dwellings, shopping, restaurants, golf courses, and other entertainment. The area tends to cater to those at the higher end of the economic spectrum, but if you have the means to retire in luxury, The Woodlands is an excellent choice.
- Average Winter High/Low: 60°/34°
- Average Summer High/Low: 92°/70°
- Population: 23,136
- COL: 92.5/100
Kerrville is a small but vibrant hamlet nestled on the banks of the Guadalupe River, roughly 65 miles from San Antonio. The town is named for James Kerr, a major in the army of the Texas Republic. Faith is an essential part of life here — there are over 60 churches. Kerrville is particularly popular among retirees, and over half of the population is over the age of 45.
- Average Winter High/Low: 60°/34°
- Average Summer High/Low: 93°/69°
- Population: 11,094
- COL: 107/100
Like Kerrville, Fredericksburg is a small town near San Antonio, but where Kerrville has a southwest ranch vibe, Fredericksburg’s cultural atmosphere comes from its German-American and pioneer heritage. The town has an entire complex of museums, an assortment of historical sites dating from pioneer days, and includes LBJ’s Ranch. With a low crime rate, low cost of living, plenty of places within walking distance, and 30% of the population aged 65 or over, Fredericksburg is an excellent choice for any retiree.
Whether you’re looking for big city adventure, or the quiet of a small town Texas has something for everyone. The low cost of living, diverse culture, arts, and history give Texas its own unique charm. After narrowing it down to one of the cities on this list, you can check out this list of certified retirement communities to find your new home.
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