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10 best cities for retirement in America

Empty bench overlooking city view | Travis Price/Getty Images
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If you envision your retirement as a long-term vacation, you’ll probably head for a place that offers plenty of sunshine and recreation. But keep in mind that your post-career period might stretch into a few decades.

So, when choosing a city for your retirement, you need to know what it offers beyond the golf course. What’s the quality of health care? What about the tax rate and cost of living, factors that will figure mightily in making your money last throughout your retirement years?

To come up with our recommendations for the best retirement cities, we scored nearly 200 U.S. cities for crime, climate and financial factors, in addition to health care and the ease of getting around on foot. The best cities to retire tend to offer natural attractions, good weather, a wealth of cultural options and a host of other amenities retirees might look for.

No city is perfect for every retiree. You might love Civil War re-enactments and not care about other recreation. Maybe you’re an avid hiker who wants mild temperatures and scenic trails, or a boater who lives for surf and waterways.

While most people think of Florida and Arizona as top retirement spots, our list includes many cities in the Southeast and the Midwest. All offer unique advantages that can add to a rich and fulfilling retirement.

In several cases, we noticed that neighboring cities achieved nearly the same score since they were drawing from the same regional statistics. In those cases, we ranked them together as a combined area.

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Sources: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; HealthView Services; Gallup-Healthways; Council for Community and Economic Research; FBI; Tax Foundation; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration;; Western States Arts Federation