10 Cities for Retirees Who Want To Take it Easy

Judged as the most laid-back cities in the nation, these are excellent choices for those who want to kick back, relax, and enjoy the fruits of their labor in retirement.

senior couple on bench at park
Updated July 10, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

When it comes time to pick an area to retire to, many people have just a few simple goals for themselves: learn about the cost of living, don’t waste money, and make sure it’s somewhere you can enjoy.

If you’re looking for a laid-back place to retire, FinanceBuzz crunched some numbers to get data on the best cities for those who like to take it easy.

To do so, we created a scoring system and looked at data points in four areas: resident well-being, economic factors, livability, and the availability of leisurely activities. Below are the 10 most laid-back U.S. cities for retirees hoping to kick back for their third act.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive travel discounts and trip-planning resources

Over 50 and love traveling? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member, you could be missing out on huge travel perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on hotels and resorts, airfare, cruises, car rentals, and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

An AARP membership not only unlocks discounts that could save you hundreds on your next trip, but you’ll also have access to deals on vacation packages, guided tours, and exclusive content to help plan your next getaway.

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (do not skip this step!). Doing so will allow you to take up to 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now

10. Denver, Colorado

mgfotos.com/Adobe Union Station Denver Colorado

Colorado’s capital city scored extremely well in the resident well-being category, earning it the No. 10 spot on our most laid-back cities list.

Around 73% of Denver residents reported getting at least seven hours of sleep per night, a key on the health and wellness scale. It’s also home to many cannabis dispensaries, for those who wish to partake, making it a top location for retirees looking for rest and relaxation.

9. Washington, D.C.

Jbyard/Adobe The White House in Washington

The nation’s capital also has a solid wellness score — and was rated as one of the most walkable and bikeable cities in the country, which gave it a high “livability” score as well.

The area where D.C. scored the worst was access to leisure activities. However, it’s still very possible to get to many restaurants, art and performance centers, and farmers markets within the city. Plus, most of the museums and monuments are free.

8. Orlando, Florida

lunamarina/Adobe Orlando skyline fom lake Eola Florida

Orlando may not be top of mind when you think of a relaxing city, given the chaos that tends to surround Disney World and other major theme parks. But its “access to leisure activities” score skyrocketed it to the No. 8 spot on our most laid-back cities list.

Even with the crowds that descend on the city year-round, it has just about every relaxing attraction — from spas to golf courses and beyond — you could think of.

Earn a $250 travel bonus with this incredible card

There's a credit card that's making waves with its amazing bonus and benefits. The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card has no annual fee and you can earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.

You can earn additional points just by using this card for your everyday purchases — unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases. The 25,000 bonus points can be redeemed for a $250 statement credit toward travel or dining purchases.

If you want to travel and dine out more, the Travel Rewards card can help you get where you want to go.

The best part? There's no annual fee.

Click here to apply now.

7. Providence, Rhode Island

digidreamgrafix/Adobe Providence rhode island skyline

Providence ranked well in several areas for retirees looking to kick back, including livability and access to leisure activities, like coffee shops, golf courses, and art centers.

However, it ranked the lowest on this list for resident well-being, which took into account factors like self-reported mental health scores, hours of sleep per night, and how often residents searched “stress relief” online.

6. Atlanta, Georgia

rodphotography/Adobe suburban houses and downtown Atlanta buildings

Atlanta has two things really going for it that landed it the No. 6 spot on our list: pleasant weather and plenty to do. For instance, it has more farmers markets than almost every city in the country.

Georgia’s capital scored fairly well in all four categories, though it did leave a bit to be desired when it comes to livability, which factored in things like traffic and walkability.

5. Salt Lake City, Utah

Andrew/Adobe Downtown Salt Lake

Utah’s capital city ranked very high when it came to the availability of leisure activities, like yoga studios and spas. Plus it ranked high on economic factors.

Taking the fifth spot on the list, SLC also has a thriving dining scene, and Utah is home to some of the country’s most popular national parks, like Zion and Bryce Canyon.

4. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

checubus/Adobe pittsburgh pennsylvania

Pittsburgh was another one that scored high on both the availability of leisure activities and economic factors.

When it comes to the sort of leisure retirees often love, Pittsburgh is a gem. It has the highest number of golf courses per capita in the country plus many art and performing arts centers.

3. Portland, Oregon

f11photo/Adobe Downtown Portland Oregon at sunset

Portland landed in the top three due to high scores in both the resident well-being and livability categories. When it comes to resident health, Portlanders reported extremely good sleep habits

Of the top three cities, it scored the highest on economic factors as well and boasts one of the lowest poverty rates in the country.

2. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Scruggelgreen/Adobe Minneapolis Minnesota skyline

Capturing a perhaps surprising second place was Minneapolis. Making up one part of the Twin Cities, it scored high in the well-being category (Minneapolitans apparently get lots of sleep, too) and the economic category.

Plus, with its booming art, dining, and craft beer scenes, it beat out Portland when it comes to leisure activities.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!1

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

1. Seattle, Washington

Tommy/Adobe Seattle Skyline with Space needle

Apparently, no one is sleepless in Seattle, as how much rest residents get contributed to its high well-being score, ultimately nabbing it the No. 1 spot on our laid-back cities list.

Seattle also scored high in the livability and economic categories, as it has many parks and is extremely walkable and bikeable.

Bottom line

Rido/Adobe senior woman reading book at home

Before narrowing down your ideal retirement location, it’s important to answer a few questions. Do you have enough saved up to live in your favorite city? Can you retire early? What factors — a thriving downtown, access to parks and nature, affordability — matter the most to you?

The key takeaway here is that there are excellent, laid-back cities for retirees in every corner of the country. Your retirement destination just depends on what kicking back means to you.

Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards

Benefits

Card Details

  • Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
  • Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Apply Now
  • Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire as long as your account remains open.
  • 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
  • Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
  • Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 19.24% - 29.24% will apply. A 3% Intro balance transfer fee will apply for the first 60 days your account is open. After the Intro balance transfer fee offer ends, the fee for future balance transfers is 4%.
  • If you're a Bank of America Preferred Rewards® member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
  • Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
  • This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
Bank of <span class='whitespace-nowrap'>America<sup>®</sup></span> Travel Rewards credit card
4.1
Apply Now

on Bank of America’s secure website

Read Card Review

Intro Offer

Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases

Annual Fee

$0

+

Why we like it

Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.