10 Places to Retire if You Hate the Heat

Not everyone wants to retire in sweltering heat. So, why not consider more temperate retirement options?
Updated April 11, 2024
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One man sweating suffering summer heatwave at home

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Plenty of people plan to retire somewhere warm. But what if you hate hot weather? If that sounds like you, some traditional retirement meccas, such as Florida or Arizona, might be off the table.

The good news is that if you prefer cooler weather, you still have plenty of great options when selecting a place to retire. This is especially important to think through if you want to avoid throwing away money on a place that's not a match.

If you want to try a not-so-hot place for your retirement years, here are a few cool places to consider.

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Eugene, Oregon

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Eugene Oregon USA Skyline

Winters in Eugene can be cool but not too cold. And while summer temperatures might climb, the city doesn’t usually deal with the same humidity that can be found in many warmer climates.

Eugene is also home to the University of Oregon, which makes it a great place for retirees who want to be a part of an educational community. It also has plenty of activities like biking, hiking, and kayaking.

Denver, Colorado

creativefamily/Adobe Sunset over Denver cityscape

Sure, you don’t want to live somewhere hot, but how cold do you want to get?

Denver is known for its snow, but also its sunny days. And if you enjoy sports in the winter, you’re not far from mountain resorts for things like skiing, snowshoeing, or other fun winter activities.

The summers are pleasant, without the pesky humidity that affects other parts of the country.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Maridav/Adobe Honolulu city view from Diamond Head

The weather is always nice on the islands of Hawaii, including in the capital city of Honolulu. That could make it the perfect breezy, beachy place to retire.

One thing to consider, however, is the high cost of living in Hawaii. You may want to factor that into your budget so you can save up enough to lower your financial stress during your retirement years.

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Wilmington, North Carolina

Chansak Joe A./Adobe Johnnie Mercers Fishing Pier at sunrise

This North Carolina town benefits from its spot near the ocean, which helps it stay more moderate in temperature during the winter. Wilmington is still plenty humid in the summer, but it has beaches where you can cool off.

Be aware, however, that it may also be more prone to things like hurricanes, so factor any costs related to storm issues into your retirement plans.

Galveston, Texas

Natalia/Adobe Port city view from the cruise ship

Sure, living in Texas may sound hot, but one of the advantages to living in Galveston is its location on the Gulf Coast.

The water cools the area down compared to its Texas neighbors, and there is plenty of beach if you want to be by the water without the added inland heat.

Galveston’s proximity to Houston may also make it appealing for retirees who still want to be close to a major city.

Seattle, Washington

kenmc3/Adobe Seattle Sunset

Seattle’s spot on the West Coast gives it a temperate climate, which may be appealing if you enjoy outdoor activities like kayaking and biking.

And if you don’t want to get stuck at home on the type of gloomy, rainy day that Seattle is known for, there are also plenty of museums and other attractions to enjoy indoors in the city.

Seattle is also known for the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and modern, eye-catching architecture.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

pabrady63/Adobe Historic Michigan Theater

Located in southern Michigan, Ann Arbor is a major college town with plenty of culture.

The weather may be warm in the summer, but it’s quite cold in the winter. This is a place for those equally comfortable in winter boots and flip-flops.

The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is also home to a geriatric and palliative medicine program for those who decide to spend their older retirement years in the area.

San Francisco, California

Luciano Mortula-LGM/Adobe Golden Gate San Francisco California USA

When it comes to weather, San Francisco can be a pleasant option for retirement.

The temperatures don’t fluctuate too much, remaining moderate throughout the year. Its proximity to the bay can keep it cooler compared to other places more inland.

But like other major cities, you may have to factor in the cost of living, which can be pretty high in the Bay Area.

Anchorage, Alaska

jayyuan/Adobe Potter Marsh Wildlife

If you love the snow, consider cities in Alaska like Anchorage.

Alaska doesn’t tax retirement benefits, such as Social Security or your pension, and it also may pay out funds to citizens from its oil wealth trust fund (the Alaska Permanent Fund).

The city also has plenty of parks and ski resorts for year-round outdoor activities.

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Chicago, Illinois

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Lincoln Park Chicago Illinois Skyline

Sure, the summers can get muggy, but Chicago’s proximity to Lake Michigan keeps things a little cooler. Winters are full of brisk temperatures and, yes, even some wind and snow.

The city is also home to a lot of culture, including museums, sports teams, and theaters. Illinois doesn’t tax sources of retirement income, including money from Social Security, 401(k) plans, and pensions.

Bottom line

Krakenimages.com/Adobe Middle age woman with grey hair using handfan

It might be a good time to start looking into ways to earn extra cash and save for retirement now, especially if you plan to quit work soon. 

Deciding where you plan to spend your golden years can help you get a better sense of how much you will need to save.

Consider sitting down to create a budget for what you expect future expenses to look like every month. Then start dreaming of where you can spend your retirement years.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.

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