The 10 Best U.S. Counties for Retirees in 2023

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Lido Key in Florida
Suncoast Aerials /

OK, Florida, we get it. You rock for retirees.

Nine of the top 10 best counties for retirees in America by school and neighborhood review website Niche are in Florida, the outlier being Carteret County in North Carolina at No. 10.

To achieve its latest annual rankings, Niche gathered local and federal government data and user opinions and ran them through its state-of-the-art analysis. Niche also provides rankings for schools, colleges and places to live in general.

Many retirees are flocking to the Sunshine State, so they must be doing something right. Let’s see which counties are best for those enjoying their post-work years.

10. Carteret County, North Carolina

Beaufort, North Carolina
Stephen B. Goodwin /

This county of 69,000 along the Atlantic Ocean includes scenic attractions such as Bogue Banks, a 21-mile barrier island that includes the resort beaches of Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach, and the historic Beaufort waterfront.

Niche reports that violent crime rates here are far lower than national averages. The median home value in Carteret County is $238,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, slightly below the national median value of $245,000.

9. Brevard County, Florida

Melbourne, Florida
Stephen Wood /

In addition to being a “nice place to visit for the sun, surf, and sand,” according to one reviewer, the median home value of $236,000 in Brevard County is slightly lower than the national average.

In addition, this county of just more than 600,000 residents contains attractions such as the Kennedy Space Center, the Eau Gallie Arts District and Cocoa Beach, where folks can enjoy surfing, parasailing and casino cruises.

8. Lee County, Florida

Cape Coral Florida
mginley /

In this county of more than 750,000 people, which is located on the Gulf of Mexico, water recreationists can enjoy a 190-mile Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail for canoes and kayaks and, of course, miles of beaches at Fort Myers and Cape Coral.

7. Sumter County, Florida

The Villages, Florida
Peter Titmuss /

Everything you could possibly want as a retiree exists in perhaps the most famous retirement community in the world — The Villages, which encompasses Sumter and Marion Counties and was the fastest-growing metro area in the U.S. as of 2020.

The more than 130,000 people in The Villages can enjoy literally any kind of entertainment and community gathering under the Florida sun, as this packed calendar attests.

6. Martin County, Florida

Stuart, Florida
Jacob Boomsma /

Cost of living in the county seat of Stuart is lower than the national average, according to the website Best Places. Meanwhile, Niche gives the county — population 158,000 — an overall “A” grade and also cites lower rates of many violent and property crimes compared with the national average.

5. Charlotte County, Florida

Punta Gorda, Florida
Feng Cheng /

According to the 2020 Census, this county of 187,000 in southwest Florida had a lower median home value ($227,000) than the national average of $245,000.

Niche notes that annual crime rates per 100,000 residents in the county are significantly lower than national averages, particularly in the cases of assault (57.3 per 100,000 residents per year, compared with 282.7) and robbery (26.1 per 100,000 residents per year, compared with 135.5).

4. Highlands County, Florida

Golf course in Sebring, Florida
Prestige863 /

There’s plenty to see in this region in central Florida — huge murals and a clown school in Lake Placid, Hotel Jacaranda in Avon Park, and a soda festival and auto racing in Sebring. Housing is much more affordable than the national average, according to Niche, whether buying or renting.

3. Pinellas County, Florida

St. Petersburg, Florida
Noah Densmore /

Niche gives an overall grade of “A” and a grade of “B+” for Diversity to this county of 958,000, which is basically a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. There’s a lot to do in the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater, including beaches, Major League Baseball, the Salvador Dali museum and sunset celebrations on Pier 60.

2. Indian River County, Florida

Vero Beach, Florida
Sergey and Marina Pyataev /

Violent crime in this county of 160,000 is much lower than the national average, according to Niche. The county’s municipalities offer a bevy of fun — Vero Beach is a gem on Florida’s Treasure Coast, Fellsmere has country charm and Sebastian is a water recreation paradise.

1. Sarasota County, Florida

Sarasota, Florida
Sean Pavone /

This county of 429,000 residents on the Gulf Coast gets high marks from Niche: an overall grade of “A,” “A+” for its public schools and “A” for both Nightlife and Good for Families. The county also has violent and property crime rates that are lower than the national averages. Retirees who want to spend their golden years under the sun will enjoy more than eight months per year of sunny days in Sarasota.

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.