Many of us long for a retirement that will feel like going on a permanent vacation. But before we buy that beach bungalow, box up our stuff and break out the Costco-sized wine spritzers, a reality check may be in order.

Bankrate’s latest ranking of the best and worst states to retire finds the fun-in-the-sun places often associated with retirement may have drawbacks as we face aging issues and our savings dwindle. Retiree meccas like Florida and Arizona don’t come close to cracking our top 10.

Our top pick, New Hampshire, probably won’t be the best place to work on your tan, but it will provide many of the necessities for a comfortable and sustainable retirement.

Rank State Cost of living Weather Health care quality Crime Tax Culture Senior Well-being
1 New Hampshire 40 45 4 3 7 6 14 2
2 Colorado 33 20 7 26 16 9 46 3
3 Maine 38 44 1 2 35 19 2 11
4 Iowa 14 36 9 15 20 35 9 10
5 Minnesota 30 47 3 14 43 7 34 4
6 Virginia 31 16 16 5 23 14 42 29
7 Massachusetts 45 29 5 17 40 3 24 9
8 South Dakota 26 40 18 20 3 34 20 15
9 Wisconsin 24 42 2 16 46 29 22 6
10 Idaho 5 31 20 4 22 42 37 19
11 Utah 16 19 8 24 30 20 49 7
12 Arizona 28 2 26 38 15 39 12 12
13 Nebraska 12 28 17 18 21 31 32 20
14 Vermont 43 49 15 1 39 4 4 22
15 Pennsylvania 35 35 14 12 36 22 5 21
16 North Dakota 25 48 22 11 18 25 30 5
17 Florida 27 18 30 39 17 24 1 16
18 Delaware 34 24 6 40 37 28 7 25
19 Rhode Island 42 26 10 9 42 21 11 17
20 North Carolina 19 11 12 29 33 40 29 26
21 Wyoming 15 41 44 8 2 23 41 35
22 Michigan 18 43 19 22 26 36 18 27
23 Texas 11 5 35 34 5 30 48 36
24 Kansas 8 14 24 32 29 41 33 33
25 South Carolina 29 7 11 44 9 45 15 30
26 Oregon 39 22 27 27 41 12 10 13
27 Tennessee 6 15 38 46 4 8 25 45
28 Missouri 9 23 23 41 25 27 19 41
29 Montana 32 46 34 28 12 26 6 24
30 Alabama 7 13 25 42 13 47 21 44
31 Washington 37 32 31 36 24 15 39 18
32 Connecticut 47 30 21 7 49 10 17 14
33 Ohio 17 38 32 23 32 32 16 43
34 Illinois 21 33 33 21 47 17 40 37
35 Georgia 13 8 36 35 19 37 47 40
36 Hawaii 50 17 13 43 38 5 8 1
37 New York 46 37 39 13 50 1 28 32
38 New Jersey 41 27 29 6 48 18 27 31
39 Indiana 4 34 37 30 28 44 35 39
40 Maryland 44 21 28 31 44 13 43 23
41 Mississippi 1 9 49 25 10 50 36 42
42 California 49 1 42 33 45 2 45 28
43 Oklahoma 3 6 43 37 11 38 31 48
44 Nevada 36 4 50 47 8 11 38 38
45 Kentucky 10 25 41 10 27 46 26 49
46 Louisiana 20 12 40 48 6 43 44 46
47 New Mexico 23 3 47 50 14 33 23 34
48 Arkansas 2 10 45 45 34 48 13 47
49 West Virginia 22 39 48 19 31 49 3 50
50 Alaska 48 50 46 49 1 16 50 8

Many do want to retire somewhere else

It’s no myth that many people dream of moving in retirement. A new Bankrate survey shows that just under half of Americans — 47 percent — would consider relocating when they retire. Higher-earning households and younger people are more likely to say so than everyone else.

According to our poll, Americans’ priorities for a retirement haven suggest they’re giving a lot of thought to practical considerations like cost of living and health care.

Factors when choosing where to retire

Find your retirement sweet spot

“There’s absolutely no doubt that warmer climates do attract” seniors, says Karen Holden, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin’s La Follette School of Public Affairs. But there’s much more to sound retirement decision-making, she says.

Most retirees depend on some kind of fixed income, such as Social Security. The key is finding a place where they can maximize that money, says Nari Rhee, director of the Retirement Security Program at the University of California-Berkley’s Labor Center.

“They think, the state has low taxes, ergo I can stretch my dollars further,” Rhee says. “but if that also means they’re going to be paying more for out-of-pocket costs for their health care or long-term care, then that’s going to make a difference.”

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Best and worst states for retirement

How we rate the states

To rank the states according to what people say they want in retirement, we pull together data on these eight criteria:

  • Cost of living
  • Healthcare quality
  • Crime
  • Cultural vitality
  • Weather
  • Taxes
  • Senior citizens’ overall well-being
  • The prevalence of other seniors

Two of our categories are new: cultural vitality (whether residents can find fun stuff to do) and the prevalence of other seniors (whether it would be easy to find other retirees to hang out with).

We weight the factors based on the importance they were given in our survey.

Data sources: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, American Public Health Association, Council for Community and Economic Research, Creative Vitality Index, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Gallup-Healthways, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Partnership for Prevention, Tax Foundation, Princeton Survey Research Associates

International, United Health Foundation, United States Census Bureau