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Planning out your retirement path? Where to spend your golden years is a question many faces as they get older. With so many places to choose from, it can be hard to decide. Do you go south? Do you go out west? Do you stay put? You need a place with tons to do now that you have the time and money, plus a good sense of community.  If you’re planning out your future now, and aren’t sure where to start looking, check out our list of the best states to retire in the U.S.

By Shutterstock | simona pilolla 2

1. South Dakota

It may be a surprising addition to the list, but it turns out, South Dakota is ranked the number one state in the US to retire in. The Midwestern state is a popular choice for the older members of society for many reasons, but the biggest are the cost of living, no state income tax, and a higher level of overall well-being. For retirees with a fixed income, the guarantee of no income taxes and low cost of living make it affordable. Plus, the state has small cities, rural communities, and many groups for retirees to join and make new friends in their new home. In South Dakota, top retirement communities include towns like Mobridge, Hot Springs, and Madison. Madison in particular has a welcoming hometown hospitality and historic charm. Home to five lakes, two state parks, ten city parks, two scenic golf courses, and an active city council, Madison is a beautiful spot with a tight-knit community that’s perfect for retirement. Especially if you can handle the cold weather, South Dakota is perfect.

By South Dakota Housing Development Authority

2. Florida

The Sunshine State is a classic retirement destination, and for good reason. The state’s biggest draw, of course, is the always sunny weather, making it a top place to retire for those living up north looking for relief from the cold and snow. Aside from the sun and warmth, Florida is great for many other reasons, including having no income tax, a lower cost of living, great healthcare systems, tons of activities and places to visit, and a great sense of community. As a top retirement destination for decades, Florida has fostered a great retirement community, meaning you won’t be hard-pressed to make like-minded friends. Plus, the state is full of great towns and cities to visit or settle.

By Visit Florida

Read more: Best Places to Live in Florida

3. New Hampshire

If you can brave the cold, New Hampshire is a great, and popular, place to retire. The small, mountainous state in New England is one of the most tax-friendly states in the US, with no taxes on social security, income, or sales. The state’s low crime rate, friendly communities, plenty of older citizens, and quality health care services make it a popular place to live out one’s golden years. The top town for retirement in New Hampshire is Gilford, due its great community and tons of activities for residents.

By Yankee Magazine

4. North Carolina

Head down into the charming Deep South for your golden years. North Carolina is far enough south that you won’t have the harsh winters of New England, while still not being so far south that you’ll get the heat and humidity of some other places. With mountain getaways, growing cities, rural communities, and beachside villages, there is a little something for everyone in North Carolina. Plus, with a lower cost of living when compared to many other states in the US, tons of history, and great benefits for seniors, moving to North Carolina should be a no-brainer. The state is also home to great communities of fellow retirees, meaning you can rest assured you’re in a suitable place.

By Explore Asheville

5. Utah

Utah isn’t just popular for outdoorsmen and the Mormon Church. The state is also a great place to spend your retirement. For starters, there’s the life expectancy — two years older than the national average, giving you more time to enjoy the state’s luxuries. Utah also features one of the lowest crime rates in the US, as well as high-quality and affordable health care, small town vibes, great skiing, and some of the best national parks in the country. Some of the most popular towns to settle in in Utah include Kanab, Ivins, Washington Terrace, and St. George.

By Natural Family Values

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