What Are the Best Places to Retire in Arizona ?

More seniors are moving to the gorgeous state of Arizona after they retire. This state holds the distinction of being the first state to formerly open an active retirement community in the mid-1950s.

The affordable cost-of-living expenses, stunning scenery and warm but drier climate all help convince seniors that there are great opportunities for retirees in Arizona.

Read on to discover some interesting facts about our top 10 picks for retirement cities in Arizona.

1. Sun City

Sun City was created for active seniors who wish to lead a fun and upbeat lifestyle in a beautiful and affordable location. There are lots of retirement communities here, and the town offers many different activities too.

There are no fewer than 11 championship golf courses, and eight of them are open for the public to enjoy.

Costs of living expenses are over 11% lower here as an added incentive to move into your dream retirement haven. Head to Sundial Auditorium on Wednesdays for fun performances, see concerts or make crafts at Lakeview Recreation Center or take an art course.

Highlights

  • Sun City Players Community Theater
  • Tetrault Art Studio
  • Northern Lights Yoga AZ
  • Rent Smitty's E-Bikes
  • Take a Day Trip to Canyon Rio
  • Sun Valley Quilts – specialty shop for quilters and for gifts
  • Dell Web Sun Cities Museum
  • Bell Recreation Center
  • Sun Bowl Open-Air Amphitheater
  • Sun City AZ Bus Tours

2. Sedona

The natural “Red Rocks” of Sedona were often used in classic western movies and television shows over the years.

Today, Sedonia is fast becoming a retirement mecca with its beautiful scenery, outdoor adventures, warm climate and a delightful mix of many enjoyable amenities. There are lots of nice trails that are ideal for biking, hiking or riding.

This city loves its cultural attractions too, and residents can browse the art galleries, shop or dine out with friends or family at one of a multitude of restaurants in town or a short drive away.

Highlights

  • Red Rock State Park
  • Chapel of the Holy Cross
  • Pink Jeep Adventures
  • Bliss Wine Tours
  • Bell Rock Vortex
  • Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village

3. Scottsdale

Gorgeous Scottsdale is a wealthy retirement city that has much to offer by way of great dining, affordable healthcare, a variety of sensational retirement communities, lots of shopping options and outdoor recreational opportunities.

Golf courses and country clubs are a routine part of everyday life here. The views over the Sonoran Desert are spectacular, and the climate is warm all year long.

Take a stroll through Old Town Scottsdale consisting of nine walkable blocks. See how the town's history played out and take note of the beautiful works of art in the galleries during the weekly ArtWalk in the Art District or head to Fifth Avenue to do some shopping.

Highlights

  • Scottsdale's Museum of the West
  • Wonderspaces Arizona – interactive art displays
  • McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale –
  • Musical Instrument Museum – vast collections of different instruments
  • Desert Botanical Gardens
  • Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Butterfly Wonderland – see butterflies in an indoor rainforest setting
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West – unique desert architecture
  • Take Scottsdale Wine Tour – tours include 12 local wineries

4. Peoria

Peoria is a lovely town in the northern section of Phoenix's suburbs. The surrounding mountain ranges provide residents stunning views, and there are many different pastimes to pursue including golf, sports, hiking, biking, camping, fishing and water related activities on the many lakes, rivers and streams that run throughout this beautiful region.

Peoria attracts many retirees due to its affordable housing and retirement communities. Access to a major airport in Phoenix is just a short 11 miles away.

Highlights

  • Peoria Sports Complex – see baseball teams during spring training
  • Lake Pleasant
  • Peoria Center for the Performing Arts
  • Catch a show at Arizona Broadway Theatre
  • Pioneer Community Park
  • Park West Shopping Center
  • Play Golf at Quintero
  • Westbrook Village Golf Course
  • AMF Peoria Lanes – bowling alley
  • Polar Ice Peoria – ice-skating rink

5. Apache Junction

Apache Junction got its name from the intersection of the Old West Highway and the infamous Apache Trail.

Today, this town is becoming very popular as a retirement destination due to the town's affordable cost of living expenses and its scenic locale close to Superstition Mountain and the intriguing Superstitious Mountain Museum.

Along with being close to the great outdoors with all its fun and adventurous activities and recreational pursuits, Apache Junction is located just about 45 minutes from Phoenix.

Highlights

  • See the Goldfield Ghost Town
  • Tonto National Forest
  • Lost Dutchman State Park – nature area of 300 acres named for local legend
  • The Siphon Draw Trail – for experienced hikers
  • Big League Dreams in nearby Gilbert
  • Commemorative Air Force Museum in Mesa
  • Tour Lu Lu's Bordello Museum & Gift Shop – in a historic and renovated building
  • Saguaro Lake – water activities in Tonto National Park
  • Salt River – go tubing

6. Green Valley

Green Valley is situated in the beautiful Santa Cruz River Valley and roughly 2 hours north of Phoenix. The area lives up to its lush name, and there are many topnotch golf courses here in this upbeat and vibrant city close to the Mexican Border.

It comes as no surprise that the city has outstanding restaurants that serve some of the best authentic Mexican dishes around. This is a wonderful place to retire especially for health-conscious individuals that love golf just like in Falls Church Virginia, birdwatching and Mexican food.

Highlights

  • Haven Golf Course, San Ignacio Golf Club and Canoa Ranch Golf Club
  • Desert Meadows Park – stunning botanical garden park with pavilion
  • Tour Historic Hacienda de la Canoa – historic ranch with horses
  • Arid Garden – featuring local flora
  • Green Valley Farmers Market – fresh local produce
  • Quail Creek Country Club – full amenities with spa, fitness center, dining venues and golf
  • Community Performance & Art Center – music and dance studios, art gallery and performance theater
  • Posada Java – authentic coffee shop
  • Desert Harrier Guide Service Day Tours – birdwatching tours

7. Litchfield Park

Many retirees wish to live a suburban lifestyle but still want to be close to urban amenities like upscale shopping, fine dining options and access to top-of-the-line healthcare providers.

Litchfield Park is the perfect retirement spot solution. This city is smaller but is a suburb of nearby Phoenix and all that city's best features.

This city is considered safe, and this is partly due to the nearby air force base. Litchfield Park is close to many nature areas such as The Estrella Mountain Regional Park and White Tank Mountain Regional Park.

Highlights

  • Wildlife World Zoo & Aquarium
  • The Wigwam Golf Club – open since 1929
  • Turtle Park
  • Brass Armadillo Antique Mall
  • Arabians and More LLC. – horse riding stable
  • Wigwam Creek Shopping Center
  • Relax and unwind at La Bella Reflexology Spa
  • Arts in the Park live music concerts
  • Winter Trout Fishing Derby – fishing contest

8. Tucson

Tucson is a diverse larger city in Arizona that is most often described as laid-back. It is also known for its many great restaurants that serve a wealth of delicious foods from many different cultures.

There is a sizeable senior population, and the city has many terrific retirement communities as well as fantastic healthcare choices.

Tucson is well-known for its many annual community events held throughout the year. The city is also home to many fine and lush golf courses, boasts a wide variety of shopping destinations and has many outdoor related activities to enjoy helping residents stay healthy and fit.

Highlights

  • Arizona-Senora Desert Museum
  • Sabino Canyon Recreation Area – explore famed hiking trails and waterfalls
  • San Xavier del Bac Mission – 18th century architecture
  • Tucson Rodeo
  • Tucson Botanical Gardens – 16 gorgeous gardens
  • Saguaro National Park – walk through native saguaro cacti forests
  • Reid Park Zoo

9. Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu City lies on the east side of Lake Havasu which is a water reservoir located on the Colorado River. This city has many homes and retirement communities that feature stunning lake views.

The lake also provides residents with a wealth of interesting outdoor adventures like fishing, hiking, biking and kayaking among many other outdoor pursuits.

Recently, Lake Havasu City has become a popular retirement locale, and the peaceful nature scenery is well-worth consideration if planning to retire soon.

Highlights

  • Rotary Community Park and the Water Lantern Festival held here in November
  • Actual London Bridge – bricks brought here in 1960s and reassembled
  • Sunset Cruises by Sunset Charter and Tour Company
  • SARA Park (Special Activities and Recreation Area) race BMX, full-sized cars and try the shooting range
  • Rubba Duck Safari – to explore lake areas by inflatable boats
  • Lake Havasu State Park – swimming, boating and fishing
  • Find 27 community Miniature Lighthouses
  • Flying Boat Tours
  • Lake Havasu Museum of History
  • Cattail Cove State Park – tranquil riverfront beach for boating, hiking or camping

10. Prescott

Prescott is a picturesque town in central Arizona just about 2 hours away from Phoenix. This city was once the capital, and there are lots of historic buildings and landmarks that help reveal this important historical site through the years.

Housing and cost-of-living expenses are comparable to other locations of this size making it a perfect retirement destination.

Today, Prescott is best known for its historic downtown district named Whiskey Row. Many live music bands and artists perform regularly in the quaint bars and nightclubs scattered throughout the neighborhood.

Along with several intriguing museums, art galleries, specialty shops and delicious restaurants here, the town also includes lovely golfing greens, beautiful nature trails to hike, bike or ride horseback.

Highlights

  • Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary – zoo
  • Sharlot Hall Museum – features 7 historic homes and gardens
  • Mortimer Farms – working farm offers hayrides and other events
  • Experience Frontier Days – oldest rodeo, dance and parade
  • Whiskey Row – historic downtown district with live music bars
  • The Palace Restaurant and Saloon – great food and drinks in historic building
  • Access to Prescott National Forest with camping, fishing, rock-climbing, biking and hiking

The best places for retirement in Arizona – FAQs

Still undecided about where to spend your retirement? Make sure to read our selection of the top 15 states to retire in.

1. Why do so many seniors with lung related problems move to Arizona?

A: Seniors who have allergies, lung problems or other chronic health conditions often report feeling better when living in Arizona. The climate here is warm but does not include high humidity levels like other popular retirement destinations such as Florida.

Additionally, there is little pollen in the air making it easier for asthma and allergy sufferers to breathe.

2. What are some advantages of moving to Arizona upon retirement?

A: Arizona is a beautiful region that features many stunning nature scenes and provides residents with a vast array of outdoor recreation and other activities.

Most of the state has warmer temperatures, but there are a few places that may see some colder winter weather like Flagstaff. Just like the state of Nevada, Arizona is also relatively tax-friendly for retired individuals.

3. Does Arizona have decent retirement communities that are affordable to most seniors?

A: Yes, Arizona has long been a major retirement locale. In fact, the very first retirement community was established in 1954 in Youngtown, AZ.