Everything’s bigger in Texas except the cost of living.
The 30 million residents of Texas make the state second only to California in terms of population. However, just 14.8% of Texans are age 65 and up.
Second only to Alaska in land area as a U.S. state, Texas is famous for oil, ranching, space travel, warm climate, country music and plenty to do, often at a senior discount. You could retire to vibrant metropolitan areas, charming seaside communities, forested rolling hills or stunning desert landscapes.
Here’s a peek at some of the best places to retire in Texas, roughly from east to west.
Estimated population: 112,000 as of 2022
Share of the population age 65 and older: 15.9%
Set along the Neches River near the state’s border with Louisiana, Beaumont is a gateway to outdoor activities.
Nearby Sabine Lake, an ideal spot for saltwater fishing, connects to the Gulf of Mexico. Hike and paddle your way through longleaf pine forests and cypress-lined bayous at the naturally diverse Big Thicket National Preserve 30 miles away.
In and around Beaumont, you can: Tee up at 10 golf courses; see reenactments of the 1901 oil gusher that forever changed Texas at Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum; and go birdwatching for free at Cattail Marsh’s scenic wetlands. Texas beef, crawfish (in season) and Gulf shrimp are highlights in the city’s diverse restaurant scene.
The city offers seniors benefits and discounts from free garbage pickup to exercise classes. Three hospitals and numerous medical offices are available.
Estimated population: 53,000 as of 2022
Share of the population age 65 and older: 19.1%
Dive into a beach lifestyle in Galveston.
Relax along miles of beaches, play midway games or ride a roller coaster near the water at Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. You can also explore pyramids housing a rainforest, aquarium and discovery museum at Moody Gardens, nonprofit educational destination. You also can golf there, and three other courses are nearby.
Health care includes the 600-bed University of Texas Medical Branch hospital.
If you’re hankering for a metropolis, Houston’s less than an hour away.
Estimated population: 2.3 million as of 2022
Share of the population age 65 and older: 11.6%
You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to blast off into a vibrant retirement in “Space City.”
Tour Houston’s No. 1 attraction, Space Center Houston, official visitor center for NASA Johnson Space Center, which is used for astronaut training, research and flight control and can be visited on a tram tour.
Take a swing at more than 50 area golf courses. Take in the action at Astros, Rockets, Texans and other pro and college games. Pick a winner at Sam Houston Race Park. Go play or craft at dozens of rec centers, pools and other city rec facilities with senior programs.
Houston is renowned for health care and home to the prestigious Texas Medical Center, as well as other medical institutes.
Estimated population: 220,000 as of 2022
Share of the population age 65 and older: 9.6%
If you want to be near Dallas but not in it, this home of the Keurig Dr Pepper corporation should keep your retirement buzzing.
Swing your clubs at eight golf courses in Frisco or over 60 more nearby. Play club sports at city parks. Hike or bike across city trails. Catch a minor league RoughRiders baseball game from a lazy river, explore the public art collection, and enjoy events and festivals year-round.
More activities are coming. Universal will open a theme park aimed at kids. PGA of America headquarters moved to Frisco, and PGA Frisco is slated to host six major championships over the next 12 years.
Frisco Lakes is a 3,000-home 55-plus community with clubhouses and a golf course.
Hospital and outpatient medical centers are available in the city.
Estimated population: 1.3 million as of 2022
Share of the population age 65 and older: 11%
There’s always big doings for you in the Big D.
Play 80 golf courses in and around Dallas. Cheer the Cowboys, Rangers, Mavs, Stars, Wings and FC Dallas favorites. Say howdy to Big Tex at the annual Texas State Fair that includes a rodeo, rides, an auto show, pig races, food creations, farm features and more. Explore museums and see opera, ballet folklorico, symphony, Black dance theater, regional theater, Broadway shows, local live theater, ballet, or rock, country and hip hop shows.
Take in the 360-degree panoramic view at the Reunion Tower GeO-Deck. Wander through lush floral blooms at the Dallas Arboretum or explore the zoo and aquarium, Dallas neighborhoods and trails. Ride a roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas, a short ride away.
Dallas also has top-rated hospitals and medical centers.
Estimated population: 316,000 as of 2022
Share of the population age 65 and older: 14.5%
Tour the USS Lexington, a World War II aircraft carrier serving as a floating naval aviation museum, which is across the shipping channel from the Navy’s aviation training center. You can also explore museums about Queen of Tejano music Selena, art, science and history, Asian cultures and even surfing.
The area hospitals include Christus Spohn Hospital.
Estimated population: 189,000 as of 2022
Share of the population age 65 and older: 12.3%
View history and history-in-the-making along the Rio Grande and near Gulf of Mexico shores.
The former military post along the U.S. border can keep you active in town or visit South Padre Island beaches minutes away. There is also a larger sister city, Matamoros, on Mexico’s side of the river.
Enjoy a dozen area golf courses. Hike, bike or play at 40 city parks or swim at two city pools. Check out the birds and other animals at the Gladys Porter Zoo and botanical gardens. Go birding at the Sabal Palm Sanctuary.
Medical care includes Valley Regional Medical Center hospital.
Estimated population: 974,000 as of 2022
Share of the population age 65 and older: 9.8%
Retire to the Texas capital and help “Keep Austin Weird.” The city slogan refers to a way life that includes hula-hooping flow art, quirky bookstores and other creative small businesses preserving the city’s character. You can even visit the oddities-packed Museum of the Weird.
You’ll hear musicians playing everywhere from the airport to grocery stores and concert halls in the “Live Music Capital of the World.”
Tour the State Capitol after taking an early morning swim in Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Park, home of the annual Austin City Limits Music Festival featuring more than 100 performances. You can also take a peaceful respite at Zilker Botanical Garden. Hike, bike or jog at the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Admire gorgeous views of Austin while paddling across at the Lady Bird Lake.
The city’s health care options include top-notch hospitals like Ascension Seton Medical Center and St. David’s Medical Center.
Estimated population: 11,000 as of 2022
Share of the population age 65 and older: 31.9%
Main Street features an array of shops, restaurants and wine tasting rooms.
The town has only one golf course, Lady Bird Golf Course, named after the former first lady. You can play sports at adjacent Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park. Hike a pink granite dome and study nature at nearby Enchanted Rock State Natural Area.
Learn about Admiral Chester Nimitz, a Fredericksburg native, and World War II the at the National Museum of the Pacific War. Tour the LBJ ranch, a national historical park, in the nearby community of Stonewall.
There’s a small hospital in the town.
Estimated population: 1.5 million as of 2022
Share of the population age 65 and older: 12.8%
Metropolitan energy blends with small-town charm in this Hill Country city reflecting its Spanish founding, Mexican-American upbringing and German settler influence.
Start your retirement adventure exploring the San Antonio River Walk featuring entertainment, diverse cuisines, art and artisan markets, cultural experiences and outdoor recreation. Embark on a scenic boat tour gliding under centuries-old bridges and past lush greenery, La Villita artisan village, the Spanish Governor’s Palace and the majestic Tower of the Americas.
Remember the Alamo‘s rich history and heritage. Round up tickets to the San Antonio Stockshow & Rodeo that also features concerts and carnival fun. Visit the largest concentration of Spanish colonial missions in North America. Check out theaters, museums, festivals and cultural events.
San Antonio is popular with military retirees as Joint Base San Antonio is part of the scene.
Estimated population: 201,000 as of 2022
Share of the population age 65 and older: 14.5%
The Old West blends seamlessly with modern comforts in this Texas Panhandle city surrounded by working Western ranches.
Art, history and American road trip memories collide at Cadillac Ranch, featuring 10 graffiti-covered cars nose down in the desert dirt. Listen to Amarillo Symphony concerts and be amazed by arabesque at Lone Star Ballet and arias at Amarillo Opera performances.
Saddle up for adventures and chuckwagon meals. Celebrate the world’s most versatile horse at the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum. Admire the Amarillo Botanical Gardens that proves flowers can bloom in Texas’ high desert plains.
Amarillo is also known as the Panhandle’s medical hub.
Estimated population: 677,000 as of 2022
Share of the population age 65 and older: 13.5%
Out in the West Texas town of El Paso, you can get a Marty Robbins burger or burrito at Rosa’s Cantina, immortalized in the cowboy singer’s most famous song. But with the Chihuahuan Desert city’s hot summers and mild winters, you’ll want to spend lots of time outdoors too.
Golf at 11 courses in and around the city. Explore high desert mountains at Franklin Mountains State Park where you can could glimpse mule deer, coyotes and even mountain lions. Stroll Sun City’s vibrant downtown. Swim, work out and play sports at city pools and rec centers or water parks. You could also visit the zoo.
Keep your intellect stimulated with the University of Texas El Paso lifelong learning programs and activities. Learn about archeology, art and history at local museums. You might even see Blue Origin rockets launch from near Van Horn, about 150 miles to the east.
Nearby health care facilities include the University Medical Center of El Paso.
The El Paso and nearby Hudspeth Counties are in the Mountain Standard Time Zone instead of Central like the rest of Texas.
Go sightseeing across the Rio Grande in Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez (also called Juarez), known for its mystical charm, archaeological sites and powdery-white sand dunes.