#1. Santa Barbara
Retirees in Santa Barbara, Calif., pay a high price for beautiful scenery, beaches and spectacular weather, but boy, it’s worth it. Home prices are well above the national average, which is typical in California, but most other costs, such as health-related expenses and groceries, fall in line with the rest of the nation. What makes Santa Barbara one of the Best Places to Retire is the city’s large population of residents over age 60; a high concentration of parks and outdoor activities like golfing, swimming and fishing; and an assortment of entertainment options like restaurants, museums, art galleries and performance venues.
See where Santa Barbara ranks on our 2016 list of the 100 Best Places to Live
More than 10 retirement communities and assisted living centers in Santa Barbara provide older adults with a variety of housing accommodations and activities. The idea of waking up each day to views of rolling green hills, the high-reaching Santa Ynez Mountains and the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean appeal to many retirees, which make up a large and growing segment of Santa Barbara’s population. An abundance of Spanish Mission-style adobe architecture gives Santa Barbara a European feel, which is why it’s often called the American Riviera. Mostly sunny days and mild temperatures offer the perfect conditions for retirees to spend time outdoors.
The wide array of amenities found in Santa Barbara can help you save money when it comes to staying entertained. Trails connect neighborhoods to beaches, shopping centers and hiking destinations, making it easy to get around on foot or on a bike. Across the Santa Barbara Channel is the Channel Islands National Park, a chain of five uninhabited islands that provide a home to unique animals and plants. Rarely is there a day in Santa Barbara that isn’t perfect for kayaking, snorkeling or strolling the coastline while looking for sea lions, dolphins and whales.