Alabama is a beautiful southern state that has played a large role in the history of our country. The lowered cost of living and housing in this state is attracting many retirees from other areas of the United States and especially from New York. Residents enjoy the best of urban amenities combined with fantastic outdoor recreational opportunities.
Keep reading for some insight into our top 10 picks for the best places to retire today in Alabama.
Hamilton is a charming, small, southern town that has an active retiree population. The already low taxes combine with this town's low property taxes and cost of living expenses to help seniors get more for their retirement pension or savings.
The town has a rural mixed with suburban vibe, and Hamilton has a rich history going back before the Revolutionary War. Everyone looks out for each other here in this friendly town that also has some fun artistic things to do like a paint and sip shop. Be sure to stop in at Whispering Hill Farm to get their seasonal produce for all your favorite gatherings.
- Watch a movie from your car at the Blue Moon Drive-In Theater
- Get fresh produce at Whispering Hill Farm – seasonal produce
- Take a cool dip at Guin Swimming Pool – water park
- Grab a tasty bite to eat at Fajita Grill
- Paint and sip at Christine's Pristine Painting
- Find handcrafted pottery at Brown Pottery & Sons
- Visit nearby Rock Bridge Canyon Equestrian Park – in Hodges, AL
- Head to Bear Creek Lake – in Hodges, AL
- Stop by Bear Creek Canoe Run – in Hackleburg, AL
The friendly city of Fairhope was founded in 1894 with the intent to give residents “fair hope” of having success living here, and the community still retains its cooperating nature today. Many artists and helpful folk who love to volunteer make their home here, and Fairhope has a warm and welcoming retirement population as well.
Fairhope has stunning water views of Mobile Bay, and there is usually something going on by way of community events. This waterside town has slightly higher than the national average in cost-of-living expenses, but the state is tax-friendly to seniors and does have affordable living options.
- Bike, hike, picnic and paddleboat on the lake at Bohemian Park
- Pick your own fresh blueberries at historic Weeks Bay Plantation
- See a live performance at Theater 98
- Choose from a unique collection of vintage items at Southern Antiques and Accents
- See the spectacular sunset view at Mullet Point Park – has popular fishing pier
- Swim in the Bay and soak up the sun at Mary Ann Nelson Beach
- Explore the famed and unique House of the Hermit of Monrose – former historic home of Henry Stuart
- See the historic treasures at the Museum of Bell Building – built in 1904
- Play a round of golf at the beautiful greens of Rock Creek Golf Club
- View stunning art pieces at the Eastern Shore Art Center
- Tour Fairhope Museum
3. Gulf Shores
The friendly and picturesque beachside town of Gulf Shores is a popular tourist spot that draws many to its clean and pristine, sandy beaches each year.
A large group of retirees describe this delightful place as the perfect seaside paradise that makes the slightly higher cost of living expenses well worth the money when compared to other beach cities in the country. It is possible to get affordable housing here unlike coastal town in states like Delaware, and the highly rated Foley Medical Center, located in Gulf Shores, is the perfect place to volunteer.
Along with the stunning beaches, residents can take advantage of the beautiful scenic views, hike or bike the trails, frequent the unique dining establishments, hunt for antiques, enjoy local art and fish, swim, boat or take part in other water adventures, like taking a dolphin tour, in the bay and on Lake Shelby.
Other seniors enjoy golfing, seeing local wildlife at one of the area's wildlife and nature refuges, visiting museums, seeing a movie or listening to local music among many other activities.
- Go on an exciting Gulf Shores Dolphin Tour
- Fish, swim, hike or bike around town and in nearby parks with nature trails
- Head to Gulf State Park or Gulf Shores Public Beach
- Take part in fun and family-friendly nightlife and other entertainment at The Wharf – dining, live music and more
- Visit Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge
- See the famed USS Alabama – located in the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
- Have fun at The Track and Waterville USA – local amusement parks
- Explore the animals at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo or view water creatures at Alligator Alley
The Alabama city of Dothan offers a lowered cost of living for everyone and is especially attractive to seniors on a budget. If this is your case, you should note that Minnesota is also an attractive state for retirees, see our top 10 places to retire there on this page.
There are lots of outdoor recreational pursuits, like hiking, biking, fishing and birdwatching, along the many nature trails and green areas such as Landmark Park. Dothan boasts several interesting historical landmarks, museums to explore, great dining venues and lots of fabulous upscale boutiques and stores.
Dothan is called “The Peanut Capital of the World,” and many outsiders come here each year for the annual Peanut Festival that the town hosts. There is a sizeable senior population, and this border town is just 30 minutes from the Florida border.
- Visit the colorful Dothan Area Botanical Gardens – Over 50 acres of land with walking trails
- Stroll around “Alabama's Mural City” to see the colorful murals painted by area artists
- Enjoy Fun Zone Skate Park, Water World and Dothan Lanes
- Folklore Brewery & Meadery
- View lovely artwork at the Wiregrass Museum of Art
- Find the Peanuts Around Town – fun and “nutty” original peanut statues made by local artists
- Tour the George Washington Carver Interpretive Museum – historical exhibits related to this well-known figure
- View the World's Smallest City Block
- Listen to live country music at Cowboys
Auburn is home to the University of Alabama and has an upbeat vibe like most college towns do. However, many seniors are finding out that Auburn makes a fantastic retirement spot that features outdoor recreation, good food establishments and cultural sites that include museums and theaters popular with the thriving art community.
The affordable cost of living, access to suitable senior housing and low taxes makes living in Auburn almost a must-do. In addition, retired residents can sit-in on a wide variety of university classes and take advantage of the services and activities found here due to its college town status.
- Take your furry dog to Kiesel Park – shady green space that is dog-friendly
- View area birds at the Southeastern Raptor Center
- Browse the artwork at the Julie Collins Smith Museum of Fine Arts
- Visit the Donald E. Davis Arboretum – beautiful botanical gardens
- Chewacla State Park – boasts campgrounds and picnic areas, a lake with swimming area, cabins, BBQs, nature trails and more
- Watch a baseball game at the Auburn Arena or stop by Hickory Dickory Park
- Tour Pebble Hill – historic part of the city
- Play a round of golf with friends at the Indian Pines Golf Course
Situated less than 25 miles from Birmingham, Alabama, the charming town of Alabaster is an excellent location to retire in. The affordable cost of living and senior friendly taxes draws many retirees looking for a friendly place with access to outdoor activities.
Seniors who enjoy fine wine will be delighted that this city is near to the looped and popular Alabama Wine Trail. There are opportunities to boat on the lake, fish, hike, ride bikes and enjoy cultural amenities and community related events.
- Relax and unwind by hitting the popular Buck Creek Trail complete with trails and a waterfall – connects two parks and is home to various community festivals
- Take the grandkids to the American Village – interactive historical educational site
- View rare birds at the Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve
- Walk the trails and enjoy fresh air and nature scenes at Veterans Park
- Visit Oak Mountain State Park – trails for hiking, mountain biking along with fishing and golfing
- Listen to live music outdoors at the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
- Tour the Karl C. Harrison Museum of George Washington in nearby Columbiana
Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama. Many retirees are drawn here for the city amenities that include several museums, theaters, fine restaurants, historic landmarks, thriving nightlife and a wide variety of available senior communities and housing.
This is where the civil rights movement began in the 1960s, and today's Birmingham is diverse and exciting. Plan to see a movie, concert or show at the Alabama Theatre dating back to 1927. See the Volcan Park and Museum to learn about area history and enjoy stunning views.
See historic planes at the Southern Museum of Flight for an interesting activity or view the exhibits at the McWane Science Center where visitors can see dinosaur exhibits and visit the IMAX Cinema after eating at the Cafe.
- Enjoy the Birmingham Railroad Park – outdoor and indoor sports, events and nature trails
- Birmingham Museum of Art
- Visit the Birmingham Zoo
- See the races at Barber Motorsports Park and tour the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
- Tour the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
- Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Anniston is located near the Georgia border and is often described as quirky or funky by residents and tourists. This city is ideal for more active seniors, but Anniston still boasts a wide variety of cultural attractions, great dining venues, topnotch healthcare facilities and affordable costs of living.
Many residents have fun tubing along Choccolocco Creek, and there are lots of green parks, nature trails and all the outdoor adventures that nearby state parks and wildlife preserves offer. As a metropolis, Anniston does have more crime as a potential downside to retiring here, but there are many safe neighborhoods established here too.
- Tour the Anniston Museum of Natural History
- Plan to mountain bike at the woodland Coldwater Mountain Bike Trail
- Visit Mountain Longleaf National Wildlife Preserve
- View vintage weapons at the Berman Museum
- Enjoy the fragrant blooms at Longleaf Botanical Gardens
- Head to John Nettles Park – boasts picnic shelters, lighted walking trails and outdoor basketball courts
- See vibrant sunsets at Cheaha State Park
The city of Huntsville is best known for its NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, but there are many excellent reasons to make this town your top retirement destination.
The lowered cost of living, senior friendly tax rates, affordable senior housing options, top rated healthcare options and safe neighborhoods that respect military veterans are just some of those reasons.
Since Huntsville attracts many tourists, the town offers residents lots of dining selections along with a variety of cultural sites and events to keep every personality happy. The decent sized senior population tends to be more active, and many retired area residents are military veterans.
- A visit to the US Space and Rocket Center is a must-do activity
- Head to scenic Monte Sano State Park – meaning “Mountain of Health” for its fresh air and outdoor vistas
- A stroll down Twickenham Historic District gives visitors the largest showing of antebellum era homes and other architecture in the state, and the Weeden House Musuem is located here
- Huntsville Museum of Art – gallery exhibits, art shows along with art classes and events
- Visit the Huntsville Botanical Garden
- Take advantage of the Harmony Park Safari
- Tour the Constriction Village and the U.S. Veterans Memorial Museum
- Bridge Street Town Centre with dining venues and walking trails
- Grab vintage treasures from the Railroad Station Antique Mall
- Listen to the musical strains from the Huntsville Symphony Orchestra
- Catch a live show at the Merrimac Hall Performing Arts Center
Home to the renowned Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Alabama's capital city of Montgomery is a popular retirement locale due to its phenomenal urban amenities and access to safe, close-knit neighborhoods along with nearby nature areas where outdoor adventures are almost limitless.
Retired residents will find lots of top-rated healthcare facilities, a wide variety of cultural events and attractions, tons of restaurants, museums, theater and performing art shows and outdoor recreation that can be enjoyed year-round.
- Browse the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
- Take a fun and relaxing Riverfront Park launched Cruise along the Alabama River
- A visit to the Legacy Museum and National Memorial to Peace and Justice offers an accounting of the dark U.S. black experience like no other
- Plan to tour the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church – historic site during Civil Rights Era
- See a baseball game at Riverwalk Stadium
- Home of the annual Taco Libre and Alabama Shakespeare Festivals
- Tour the Hank Williams Museum
- See the animals at the Montgomery Zoo
- Visit the Rosa Parks Library and Museum
- See the Scot and Zelda Fitzgerald Museum
FAQs about retiring in Alabama
1. Why should seniors consider retirement in Alabama?
Just like Florida, Alabama offers a warm, tropical environment with access to pristine, sandy beaches along the Gulf Coast. Individuals can find cooler weather and shady woodlands in the state's mountain towns too.
2. Is Alabama considered tax-friendly towards senior citizens?
Yes, many Alabama cities offer a lowered cost of living and affordable senior housing along with many other tax-friendly perks for seniors in particular.
3. Are there any cultural areas in Alabama that would attract seniors who enjoy this lifestyle?
Although Alabama boasts lots of stunning outdoor scenery and a wealth of outdoor recreational pursuits, there are many cultural draws in almost every city and region of this surprising state.