Senior Living
The 10 Best Places to Retire in Arizona, 2024

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Arizona, 2024

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Best Places to Retire in Arizona

If you want your golden years to take on a warm, Southwestern charm, Arizona is the place you are looking for! You can experience the vibrant city life of Scottsdale, or just seek a more relaxed lifestyle in one of the cozy small towns in the Copper State.

With 17.1% of its population aged 65+ and ranked as the 12th most popular state for retirement in the country, let’s look at why Arizona can be a retirement adventure.

Arizona and its incredible hiking trails

Arizona is one of the most scenic states where you can see cacti while hiking in the desert, explore the pines in the forests, or go to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

The state has over 160 miles of hiking trails that pass through diverse settings to explore on foot. So, taking just a weekend trip won’t be enough!

Here are the top 5 hiking trails in Arizona for you to visit:



Length (km) 

Devil’s Bridge Trail 



Camelback Mountain via Echo Canyon Trail – Paradise Valley 

Paradise Valley 


Cathedral Rock Trail 



Piestewa Peak Summit Trail 



Boynton Canyon Trail 



Apart from these famous hiking trails, below are some fun facts you should know about Arizona:

  1. 22 national and 35 state parks and monuments (the most out of any state)
  2. Has all four American deserts: Chihuahua, Great Basin, Mohave, and Sonoran
  3. 11.2 million acres of national forest
  4. 64,000 acres (about the area of Athens, Georgia) of parklands
  5. The Saguaro Desert at Tucson Mountain Park is the only place in this world where the saguaro cactus grows
  6. The Grand Canyon National Park is the only one located in the United States out of 7 natural wonders in the world

What is the cost to retire in Arizona, 2024?

In case you are looking for the best assisted living or independent living facility, Arizona is the best place to go, as it is considered a retiree-friendly retiree-friendly state.

What makes retirement in Arizona a good decision is that it has top-notch medical facilities located around the state with plenty of 55+ communities where seniors will be receiving assistance in ADLs and IADLs.

Arizona senior living communities may also have dedicated care facilities for dementia or Alzheimer’s patients, including respite, hospice care, or memory care.

Average cost of retirement communities?

It’s estimated that you should have around $70,390 annually to retire comfortably in Arizona. While you can certainly live in a smaller town with lesser amount, it’s nice to have a number so you know what to aim for.

  • Memory Care: $7,070
  • Assisted Living: $5,665
  • Independent Living: $2,738
  • Nursing Home (Semi-Private Room): $7,832

**These are the state average of monthly costs of the senior living options. Numbers may vary depending on the city or town.

Access to healthcare

Arizona has some of the best medical centers and hospitals in the USA. With 382 hospitals throughout the state, Arizona ranks #24 in healthcare, according to the US News & World Report. And located in the heart of Arizona, Maricopa County has a wealth of medical services options.

Top-ranked medical centers and hospitals in Arizona with the highest reviews include:

  1. Oro Valley Hospital – Oro Valley
  2. Banner Thunderbird Medical Center – Glendale
  3. Flagstaff Medical Center – Flagstaff
  4. Western Arizona Regional Medical Center – Bullhead City
  5. Chandler Regional Medical Center – Chandler

Social Security for seniors

Arizona is considered a moderately tax-friendly state. It taxes retirement income, including Social Security benefits and pensions, which could impact seniors on a fixed income.

But, you will have to pay taxes on personal retirement income, like 401(k) and IRA.

  • The tax rate is relatively low at 2.55% in Arizona.
  • 62 is the earliest age for receiving Social Security benefits.
  • Full retirement age (FRA) is between 66 and 67. Delaying benefits until after FRA can result in even higher monthly payments.

Alongside Social Security programs, understand financial safety nets by exploring the following articles.

How about property taxes?

Thanks to the law of capping the total tax rate on owner-occupied homes, Arizona has relatively low property tax rates.

The average property tax rate in the state is 0.51%, which is lower than the 0.99% national average.

For seniors dependent on Social Security, cost-effective and suitable housing options have been made available in Arizona.

Retiring in Arizona pros and cons?

Although Arizona is considered a good state for retirees, it has some drawbacks. Let’s learn more about the pros and cons of retiring in Arizona.

  • Beautiful outdoor climate and more days of sunshine each year than practically any other state in the US.
  • A base of natural beauty that includes mountains, lakes, or famous red rocks to explore.
  • Golfer’s paradise with over 370 premier golf courses across the state to choose from.
  • Tax-friendly place for retirees to stretch their retirement savings even further.
  • Crazy temperatures that often reach the triple digits in the summer months.
  • Public transportation readily unavailable outside of central downtown areas.
  • Prone to natural disasters like wildfires, dust storms, and flash floods.

How do small towns in Arizona compare to cities?

If you choose to live in a smaller city or town, you won’t miss the standard of life offered in the major cities, with the added bonus of stretching more cash into your pocket.

And if you do choose the city life, you’ll be experiencing some of the most vibrant in America, especially Scottsdale and Phoenix.

No matter where you settle down, you will have several opportunities to get outside and stay active, and you’ll find walking and hiking trails and recreational places that are perfect for 65+ people.

10 Best places to retire in Arizona

Where to live in Arizona? We compiled a list of places that should be at the top of your list.

7 Best cities in Arizona for retirees


  • Population: 10,000
  • Percentage of the population age 65+: 36.5%
  • Cost of living Index: 142
  • Livability: 67
  • Great for: Natural beauty, art scene, live music, outdoor recreation

Sedona is known for its red rock formations. Surrounded by canyons and hiking trails, it’s close to attractions like Red Rock State Park, Bear Mountain Trail, and Munds Mountain Wilderness. Also, it has a vibrant arts scene and diverse dining options.


  • Population: 240,537
  • Percentage of the population age 65+: 25%
  • Cost of living Index: 113
  • Livability: 77
  • Great for: Retirees, weather, outdoor activities, health and fitness

Scottsdale has been ranked as the #1 city to retire in the U.S. With top-rated golf courses like Grayhawk Golf Club and access to outdoor attractions like McDowell Mountain Regional Park, retirees have plenty of recreational options here. Chompies Restaurant, Deli and Bakery, and Butters Pancakes and Cafe falls in the local dining favorites.


  • Population: 5,360
  • Percentage of the population age 65+: 31%
  • Cost of Living Index: 84.8
  • Livability: 69
  • Great for: Outdoor activities, exciting attractions, wildlife

Benson serves as the gateway to Kartchner Caverns State Park with over two and a half miles of underground passageways. It combines a low cost of living with a high quality of life. The local San Pedro Golf Course for recreation, Holy Trinity Monastery and the Forever Home Donkey Rescue and Sanctuary for history and local attractions are a must-visit in Benson.


  • Population: 541,033
  • Percentage of the population age 65+: 15.2%
  • Cost of Living Index: 97
  • Livability: 74
  • Great for: Variety of housing options, local museums, outdoor activities

Tucson is Arizona’s second-largest city and a bustling desert destination. With warm weather, famous eateries like Vivace Restaurant and Wildflower and indoor attractions such as The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures and the Pima Air & Space Museum cater to seniors’ interests.


  • Population: 16,301
  • Percentage of the population age 65+: 13.5%
  • Cost of Living Index: 91
  • Livability: 69
  • Great for: Golfing, art scene, car exhibition, exquisite dining option

Nestled in Cochise County, Douglas ranks as Arizona’s second ideal retirement spot. This historic city boasts the first international airport in the U.S., Douglas Municipal Airport, and landmarks like Hotel Gadsden. Douglas offers charming family-owned restaurants with delicious homemade salsa and authentic Southwestern cuisine available all day.

Sun City:

  • Population: 37,748
  • Percentage of the population age 65+: 75.4%
  • Cost of Living Index: 102
  • Livability: 68
  • Great for: Outdoor activities, retirees, shopping, weather

Sun City, a suburb near Glendale, ranked #6 to retire in the US. Seniors enjoy exploring Maricopa Lake Park and Rio Vista Community Park. At the same time, golf enthusiasts can play at Lakes West Golf Course, Sun City Country Club, or Quail Run Golf Course. The place is near shopping options like Arrowhead Towne Center and dining choices like Sunset Bistro or Dominic’s Bistro Italiano.

Drexel Heights

  • Population: 30’254
  • Percentage of the population age 65+: 15.20%
  • Cost of Living Index: 101
  • Livability: 65
  • Great for: Outdoor activities, shopping, diverse dining options

Drexel Heights is just 15 minutes from Tucson International Airport with easy access to city amenities, a lower living cost, and median house price. Residents can enjoy shopping on palm-lined streets, dining on local cuisine, and exploring Tucson Mountain Park.

In case you are considering living in the state capital, you might want to have a peek into this article: Best Senior Living Communities in Phoenix

3 best cities to retire in Arizona on a budget

While retiring, chances are there that you would like to keep a close eye on your income and savings. This is definitely a smart move and can help your retirement money stretch further.

If you’re in search of affordable homes and want to retire in Arizona on a budget, do consider these beautiful cities:

  1. San Luis

  2. Bisbee

  3. Bullhead City

The best place in Arizona to retire to

Not only is Scottsdale referred to as the “Golf Capital of the World” but also the best city to retire in Arizona.

  • Located just northeast of Phoenix, the city is part of Maricopa County. The senior living community atmosphere of Scottsdale is great news for new boomers since it encourages an active social life even after retirement.
  • Reasons why you should live in Scottsdale:
  • Considered the #1 city to retire in the country
  • Stunning desert landscapes and luxe retreats
  • Ranked 30th in the overall ranking for healthiest cities in America out of over 200 destinations
  • Country’s highest concentration of spas per capita
  • Has all kinds of golf courses, from the GrayHawk Golf Club to Continental Golf Club and Talking Stick Golf Club
  • Easy access to all kinds of trails to walk or bike including the Mcdowell Mountain Regional Park and Hunting Area, Blue Wash Trailhead, and the Trails at Desert Mountain

The best place to retire in Arizona near water

Among all other places in Arizona near water, Lake Havasu City stands out to us.

Known as a base for trails and water sports, Lake Havasu City is at the isolated edge of the Sonoran Desert across the Colorado River from California. Living here offers you a mix of affordable lifestyle and beachside living with a touch of England.

Population: 59,274

Percentage of the population age 65+: 34.7%

Cost of Living Index: 100.1

Livability: 63

Great for: bird watching, fishing, boating, hiking

Seniors can enjoy any of the 28 working lighthouse replicas along the 400 miles of shoreline. You can have a relaxed and slow-paced lifestyle while experiencing birdwatching, mountain views and biking at Lake Havasu State Park.

With 300 days of sunshine and proximity to social clubs and outdoor activities including golfing at local courses, Lake Havasu City makes one of the best places to retire in Arizona.

However, beware of summer temperatures exceeding 100 degrees that might turn into a significant concern.

Compare the surrounding states

Arizona is bordered by New Mexico to the east, California to the west, Nevada to the northwest, Utah to the north, and the Mexican state of Sonora to the south. Let’s see what retiring in these states might look like:

  1. Arizona – Low state income tax, low cost of living, warm weather.
  2. Nevada – No income tax, lower cost of living, warm weather.
  3. New Mexico – Low state income tax, low cost of living, warm weather
  4. California – High income tax, moderate cost of living, warm weather

Ultimately, the “best” state for you to live depends on personal preferences, lifestyle, and circumstances. Just in case you want to get insights about the neighboring states, here are some articles for you:

Final thoughts

As we saw in this article, the state has a weather combination of hot summers and mild winters, natural landscapes, and diverse recreational activities. And for those who love golfing and hiking, Arizona turns out to be paradise.

With affordable cost of living and steady home prices, Arizona can be the place for you to start a new life!


What is the cheapest city to live in near Phoenix, Arizona?

Avondale is approximately 30 minutes from Phoenix. It ranks as the top affordable alternative near the capital city. With spending only 27.2 % of income on rent and the cost of living index being 95, it’s the cheapest option for budget-conscious retirees.

Is Arizona a good state for seniors to live in?

Yes, if you’re trying to escape winter, looking to stay active and stay involved in a friendly community the sunny Arizona is an excellent option to live in. You can consider retiring in Arizona for your golden years as it has:

  • Affordable cost of living
  • Several tax benefits
  • Near constant sunshine
  • Plenty of 55+ retirement communities

What is life like for retirees in Mesa, Arizona?

Located just east of Phoenix, Mesa offers:

  • Lower cost of living compared to the state capital
  • A range of senior housing options, from affordable 55+ apartments to independent living
  • Amenities such as proximity to parks, shopping centers, and cultural attractions
  • Banner Baywood Medical Center and Mountain Vista Medical Center are two of the best medical centers in the city

What city in Arizona has the best year-round weather?

Arizona’s warmest winter city, Yuma, is the sunniest city in the USA, with more than 320 sunny days. Residents of Flagstaff also enjoy all four seasons (summer, fall, winter, and spring) fully and completely.

Is it better to retire in Florida or Arizona?

Florida wins! Though both states have reasons to attract new retirees, Florida is more affordable than Arizona for retirement living. A comfortable retirement in Florida costs $68,100 annually, whereas it’s $73,400 in Arizona.

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