15 Places To Retire That Are Just Like Florida (But Aren’t in Florida)

Soak up the sun in these affordable retirement destinations.
Updated May 8, 2024
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Florida is a favorite destination among retirees, and for some good reasons. The weather is just right if you love the heat, and there’s no income tax, so you can keep more money in your wallet.

But with real estate values soaring in recent years, Florida can also be expensive.

If you love the idea of spending retirement somewhere warm but aren’t sure if Florida is the right place, check out these 15 retirement destination alternatives to the Sunshine State.

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Biloxi, Mississippi

David/Adobe mississippi t-jones educational plaza during day

Even in the middle of winter, temperatures in Biloxi still hover around 60 degrees, making its white sand beaches a great alternative to Florida.

You’ll find casinos for entertainment if you like gambling. And, of course, you will also find that laid-back beach lifestyle. Plus, Biloxi has an affordable cost of living compared to many places in Florida.

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Phoenix, Arizona

tim/Adobe camelback mountain and downtown phoenix

Phoenix actually has a reasonable cost of living, especially for a big city. That fact and the weather help make it a favorite among retirees.

In the Grand Canyon State, you’ll find hot, dry weather, stunning natural scenery, and professional sports teams to keep you entertained.

Jackson, Mississippi

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Jackson Mississippi skyline

With a low cost of living and a tax-friendly climate, Jackson is a great place to escape during retirement.

You’ll find history and blues music. In addition, every four years, you can enjoy the USA International Ballet Competition. Jackson also gets high marks for health care.

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Las Cruces, New Mexico

Gina/Adobe A view of Las Cruces, New Mexico

Hate the rain? Plan your retirement in Las Cruces, where you'll see the sun almost every day of the year. It’s an affordable city with cultural events, thanks to New Mexico State University.

There are farmers and crafts markets every Wednesday and Saturday. These markets date back well over a century. While the city has struggled with poverty and limited health care, it is still a beautiful place to live.

Tucson, Arizona

Jacob/Adobe tucson cityscape with mountains during day

Tucson is an excellent place to retire if you’re searching for warm weather. You’ll find no shortage of events to keep you busy in retirement, with theaters, museums, and hiking in the impressive Arizona landscape.

Plus, there’s no state estate or inheritance tax, which is always a positive for retirees.

Fort Worth, Texas

Tom_Foolery_Life/Adobe rustic country design

In Fort Worth, you are close to Dallas but can still enjoy a relaxed way of life.

Texas gives you the Florida heat and no income tax. But you might find homes more affordable here than in some parts of the Sunshine State.

Grab your cowboy hat for the rodeo, or have a sophisticated evening out in Fort Worth at Bass Performance Hall.

Charleston, South Carolina

susanne2688/Adobe St. Michaels Church and Broad St. in Charleston SC

Charleston is a warm city full of Southern hospitality and a lot for retirees to do. There are restaurants, museums, and the Medical University of South Carolina for health care.

If you love history and antiques or dream of restoring an old home in retirement, you’ve come to the right place.

Lafayette, Louisiana

Stan Reese/Adobe Lafayette Square downtown

You’ll find a lower cost of living than the national average in Lafayette, a city that brings you many of the good times of New Orleans but in a more relaxed way.

There’s sunshine, warm weather, Cajun food, and a lot of music. This is where you get the heat of Florida but the fun of the bayou.

Athens, Georgia

Robert Hainer/Adobe downtown of athens georgia at dusk

College towns are great places to retire because of their hospital systems, cultural offerings, sporting events, and beautiful campuses. Athens is one of the best.

Here, you’ll find a charming small Southern town with warm weather, tree-lined neighborhoods, and a walkable downtown.

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Corpus Christi, Texas

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe texas skyline with boats at port

You’ll find a low cost of living and a relaxed coastal vibe in Corpus Christi. This is a great place to spend many sunny days on the water.

This Gulf of Mexico beach town is one that Texans have known about for years. Now, retirees in search of an affordable and warm place are discovering it, too.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

Christopher Boswell/Adobe sunrise at downtown chattanooga tennessee

You’ll get both warm weather and mountain views in Chattanooga, a town in Tennessee near the Great Smoky Mountains.

Located along the Tennessee River, this charming town offers restaurants, art, and cultural offerings that will keep retirees busy. There’s also an affordable cost of living.

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Rawpixel.com/Adobe senior couple riding a scooter

If you want heat but still enjoy having four distinct seasons, look to Hattiesburg.

There are also several colleges in the immediate Hattiesburg area, which gives you access to cultural events and opportunities.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

jayyuan/Adobe The King Neptune Statue at Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach might see the coolest temperatures of any place on this list. However, it is still a great place to retire if you want a Florida lifestyle outside the Sunshine State.

You’ll get a lot of sun here, access to the beach, and the amenities and health care that come with living in the biggest city in Virginia. Plus, there are no state estate taxes, and Virginia does not tax Social Security benefits.

Orange Beach, Alabama

Felix Mizioznikov/Adobe sunset over orange beach alabama

The best way to get Florida outside of Florida is to go right next door.

Orange Beach is a relatively quick drive from Pensacola, but you’ll get a lower cost of living and proximity to beautiful white sand beaches, year-round warm weather, and sparkling water.

Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

Noel/Adobe Nags Head - North Carolina

Get the island life in North Carolina.

Cape Hatteras is located on Hatteras Island, one of the barrier islands of North Carolina’s Outer Banks. You’ll get four seasons here, but it’s going to lean warm most of the year.

This is where you can live out a relaxing beachfront life in retirement.

Bottom line

WavebreakmediaMicro/Adobe happy senior friends dancing at beach

You don’t have to go to Florida to find sunny days, year-round warm weather, or tax advantages. If you look outside the Sunshine State, you might find a more affordable retirement home.

Your new home might be so affordable that you'll be able to retire early. A lower cost of living can help you focus on spending on the things that matter — like enjoying your new home.

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Heather Bien Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.

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