15 Sunny Cities for Retirees That Aren’t in Arizona

These radiant retiree paradises prove there's more sunshine outside Arizona.

mature couple enjoying beach vacation
Updated May 28, 2024
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Arizona is a dream destination for many retirees. With its warm weather, great golf, incredible hiking destinations, and retiree-friendly taxes, the state is an ideal place to spend your golden years.

But for the person who dreads hot weather and finds themselves melting in the dry heat, there are other places to check out where you can enjoy sunny, warm days without the disadvantages of desert living.

Want to start planning your great retirement getaway or dreaming about retiring early? Here are 15 sunny spots to consider that aren’t in Arizona.

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Sarasota, Florida

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Sarasota Florida USA

You’ll find 255 days of sun a year, white sand, and crystal blue water on the Gulf Coast beaches in and around Sarasota, which makes it an alluring destination for those who want to spend their retirement by the water.

There are also museums, like the Ringling Museum of Art, galleries, and eclectic neighborhoods. For the traditional retirees, you’ll also find ample birdwatching here.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Kit Leong/Adobe residence house at Lake Las Vegas

You can get 292 days of sun per year in the city, where you can choose between culture, shows, and hiking in the incredible landscape.

Las Vegas may not be top of mind when you contemplate retirement, but it has everything you could ask for, including sun, outdoors, and arts and culture. It also doesn’t get as hot as some other sunny cities, which is a plus if you’re not a warm-weather person.

Fresno, California

Jacob/Adobe Fresno, California

Fresno sees sun just over three-quarters of the year, making it a happy place to retire. 

This affordable town in California gives you access to all the bigger cities, perfect if you have family in the surrounding areas. It’s also affordable, letting you stretch your retirement dollars further.

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Key West, Florida

napa74/Adobe wooden bridge at the cruise port and marina of Key West

If you’re in relatively good health and early in your retirement, then consider Key West. The Conch Republic boasts 260 sunny days a year and is a relaxed and casual place to retire.

This island, all the way at the nation’s southernmost point, offers you restaurants and culture and access to fishing. Its greatest drawback is that you'll have to make a trek anytime you need to go to a doctor.

San Diego, California

Gloria Moeller/Adobe san diego skyline from coronado island

For consistent year-round temperatures, ranging from the 60s in the winter to the 70s in the summer, look at San Diego for a retirement spot. The weather can’t be beat, and the city's attitude is generally more casual and laid-back than the rest of California.

There are beaches, restaurants, a Major League baseball team, and a world-famous zoo. But most importantly for retirees, there are great healthcare options.

Grand Junction, Colorado

rondakimbrow/Adobe grand junction colorado

Whether you’re counting down the days to retirement because you can’t wait to hit the trails or looking for the most charming town in the mountains to spend your golden years, Grand Junction has it.

Grand Junction also has incredible weather, with 245 days of sunshine per year. If you’re looking to escape a bigger city, this city of almost 67,000 still has a small-town feel.

San Luis Obispo, California

MichaelVi/Adobe san luis obispo urban area

Right between the much more expensive cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles is San Luis Obispo, a hidden gem that’s on California retirees’ radar.

The city has been named one of the world’s happiest, and it boasts state parks like Morro Bay State Park and Montana de Oro State Park, perfect for exploring on one of your many sunny days.

Sante Fe, New Mexico

Aerial Stock Footage/Adobe sante fe new mexico

Spend your retirement soaking up the culture, from the impressive Spanish influences in Sante Fe to the modern-day symphony, chorale performances, and theater. You can stroll through the markets on the weekend, appreciating the goods made by local artisans.

When you need some fresh air on one of the 300 days of sunshine per year, you can stay active on one of the many hiking trails nearby.

St. George, Utah

Andrew/Adobe Saint George Utah Historic Downtown 13

You’ll get the same dry air as Arizona but in a different setting in St. George, which is nestled among the red rocks near Zion and Bryce National Parks and close to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. 

There's art and culture, along with several golf courses for those golden years golfers.

Las Vegas is the closest major health system, but the regional medical center is growing along with the town of St. George.

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Miami, Florida

PixieMe/Adobe waterfront in miami city

Miami has long been a sunny favorite of those in their later years, with its warm turquoise waters and lack of state income tax drawing in retirees nationwide.

Because it’s a major metropolitan area, there's a great health care system readily available, making it an appealing place to settle in for retirement.

Denver, Colorado

Andy/Adobe Denver Colorado downtown with City Park

Denver may be expensive, but those sunny days in the Mile High City make it a great place to live, even with its high prices. 

Thanks to the beautiful weather, you’ll be able to spend more time outdoors, staying healthy and enjoying the gorgeous climate. This is your chance to take up hiking and skiing in retirement.

Tampa, Florida

lunamarina/Adobe florida tampa skyline at sunset

With 244 days of sunshine, a cost of living just below the national average, and no income tax, Tampa has the recipe for an ideal retirement.

Tampa offers culture, restaurants, beaches, and a great health care system to retirees looking for a Florida retirement that doesn’t care about the glitz and glamor of some of the other Florida destinations. Here, you’ll find a laid-back, easy way of life.

Sacramento, California

belyay/Adobe Sacramento Walks, California shots

You’ll get sunshine over three-quarters of the year in the city of Sacramento. There’s the same dry heat as Arizona, but you have two rivers right nearby.

Whether you like whitewater rafting, hiking, or mountain biking, there’s plenty of opportunity in the Sacramento area. Plus, you’ll enjoy day trips to the more expensive cost-of-living cities along the West Coast.

Reno, Nevada

AIGen/Adobe panoramic view of reno skyline nevada

Reno gets sunny days nearly 80% of the time, though it also has a definite summer and winter, which isn’t always the case in sun-loving areas.

Living in Reno gives you all the convenience of a major city, but with access to the outdoor activities of Lake Tahoe, you can stay active and healthy throughout your golden years.

El Paso, Texas

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe el paso texas usa

A low cost of living and sun 84% of the time? El Paso is a great place to spend your retirement, particularly if you have family in the area and want to enjoy Texas's warm weather and culture.

It’s also ranked as a safe city with a high life expectancy and an impressively large urban park, perfect for walking your dog or yourself.

Bottom Line

Day Of Victory Stu./Adobe senior couple walking on the beach

While Arizona is a popular place to retire, it’s not for everyone. You have to find the place that most aligns with your desired lifestyle. 

And if you're on a fixed income, you'll need to find a place that works with your budget to avoid wasting money

When you have those straightened out, you can turn to this list of sunny places and choose one that works for you. Why wouldn’t you have more sunny days than not when you can live wherever you want?

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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.