Retire in Texas: Retirement Rankings For Popular Texas Cities

Where Should You Retire in Texas?

Life in the Lone Star State is perfect for retirement! There are many things to consider when choosing a city for retirement. Cost of living, healthcare options, climate, and access to amenities are just a few factors that come into play. Whether you're a lifelong Texan or considering moving to Texas for retirement, you'll need expert input to help guide your decision.

In order to provide the best resource for choosing a Texas retirement city, we're creating a nearly comprehensive list of the best Texas cities to retire in. To ensure objectivity, the list is organized by values generated using an original scoring methodology known as the Lone Star Index™ that blends accurate data regarding cost of living, access to doctors, and retirement lifestyle factors. 

Raw data alone can't tell you which Texas city is right for you. Ultimately, the decision will come down to you and your preferences. That said, this article will be helpful for you if you need to:

  • Kick-off your search for Texas retirement cities
  • Break a tie between two or more cities that match your personal preferences
  • Provide easy access to data you need to inform your search

If you're ready to spend your golden years living it up in the Lone Star State, keep reading to discover the best cities to retire in Texas!

Best of the Big Five: Retirement Scores for Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Dallas-Fort Worth & El Paso

It wouldn't be a Texas article without talking about the five biggest cities from the panhandle to the southern plains. These locations are the biggest and most popular cities in Texas for people of all ages, and all of them are great choices for people searching for their own retirement paradise.

The following list ranks the five biggest cities in Texas using a methodology that assigns weighted scores (on a scale of 1 to 5) to the three factors listed above. Tiebreakers are determined by whichever city/town has a larger percentage of population ages 65+. The scale is weighted as follows:

  • Cost of living: 40%
  • Access to healthcare: 35%
  • Lifestyle: 25%

The most desirable retirement destinations in Texas are listed below.

#1 Houston

Should You Retire in Houston?

  • Cost of living: 4
  • Healthcare: 5
  • Lifestyle: 3
  • Lone Star Index™: 94

Houston secures first place in our list of the best retirement destinations in Texas. Houston's cost of living is surprisingly low for a city of its size, making it an excellent destination for retirees with fixed incomes. Retirees in the largest city in Texas can expect a median home sale price lower than in several other prominent cities across the country. Homestead exemption rules in Harris County also favor people 65 or older in Houston. The exemption states that people who qualify can exclude up to $20,000 from their taxed property value.

Houston
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
97.9 88 10.90%

The city of Houston is a world leader when it comes to healthcare. Texas Medical Center is a 2.1-square-mile facility that includes more than 20 top-ranked hospitals, providing unparalleled access to doctors. TMC boasts more than 9,000 beds and treats upwards of 10 million patients every year. The on-site academic programs and research institutions ensure that those retiring in Houston always have access to plenty of options for advanced treatment. The Houston area has about 85 hospitals, making it a stand-out choice for healthcare in Texas.

The Houston lifestyle has several perks for retirees. People who prefer a warm climate will be pleased to know Houston only averages 18 days below freezing per year. Conversely, although hot weather is expected in Texas, Houston temperatures only go above 100 degrees seven days out of the year. Houston boasts iconic museums, access to restaurants, and easy drives to beaches in the city of Galveston and charming towns in Washington County.

#2 El Paso

Should You Retire in El Paso?

  • Cost of living: 5
  • Healthcare: 3
  • Lifestyle: 3
  • Lone Star Index™: 88

On an index in which 100 represents the national average, the cost of living in El Paso receives an 81.4, significantly lower than San Antonio's 89.7. El Paso has some of the most affordable housing costs for retirees in Texas. Homes for sale in El Paso usually start at about $160,000 and range upwards of $800,000.

El Paso
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
81.2 54.9 12.50%

Additionally, the healthcare system in El Paso is well-established and growing with the population. E Paso County has 151 doctors per 100,000 people, placing it in the top 50% of Texas counties for doctors per capita. The physician rate in El Paso County has increased by 34 points since 2010.

Finally, El Paso has a wealth of cultural and recreational amenities for its retiring community members. The comfortable climate in El Paso is perfect for retirees. Thanks to the desert-like environment, the winters are mild, and the summers are hot but not too humid. This makes it comfortable to live year-round. Additionally, El Paso is located near the mountains, so retirees can enjoy the beautiful scenery and fresh air any time they want. El Paso boasts 11 golf courses and convenient access to top attractions in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Ciudad Juárez, just over the border.

#3 Austin

Should You Retire in Austin?

  • Cost of living: 2
  • Healthcare: 5
  • Lifestyle: 5
  • Lone Star Index™: 88

Austin is a fantastic city for retirees who want to get out and have fun in the "weirdest" city in Texas! The Texas capital might be most famous for live music, vibrant festivals, and eclectic eateries, but the city also scores favorably for retirement indicators.

Austin
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
119.3 100.9 10.20%

People are flocking to the city of Austin from all across the country to reap the benefits of life in Texas. While the cost of living in Austin is higher than almost any other Texas city, retirees can still find more affordable housing in and around Austin than they would in any major city on the coasts. Many financial planners in the city can work with retirees to establish a thoughtful budget to make their Austin retirement secure for years to come.

Like the rest of the city, Austin's healthcare system is growing fast. There are 50 hospitals in the area and over 5,000 physicians practicing in the area, making access to doctors a breeze.

Lifestyle and amenities are where Austin excels. As the crown jewel of Texas Hill Country, Austin boasts gorgeous rolling terrain. There are plenty of outdoor activities in the area, including world-class golf courses. Austin is also an arts capital with plenty of galleries to peruse, concerts to attend, and museums to explore.

#4 San Antonio

Should You Retire in San Antonio?

  • Cost of living: 5
  • Healthcare: 2.5
  • Lifestyle: 3
  • Lone Star Index™: 84.5

When it comes to the cost of living, San Antonio is an affordable and tax-friendly city. It's no wonder that retirees are flocking to San Antonio. In fact, in 2021, Forbes ranked San Antonio as one of the best cities in America to retire in. The magazine cited healthy air quality, the robust economy, and housing prices that were 37% lower than the national median as reasons the city is well-suited for retirees.

San Antonio
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
91 82.6 12.40%

San Antonio doesn't rank as favorably as some other cities on this list for healthcare indicators, but that doesn't mean there’s inadequate access to doctors in the area. Bexar County has approximately 1,700 primary care physicians. As the second-most populous county in Texas, the ratio of primary doctors per 100,000 people is 82.6. Retirees in San Antonio can rest assured that there are ample healthcare opportunities in the city.

Finally, the San Antonio lifestyle provides many activities here for retirees to enjoy. For starters, Texas history comes to life in San Antonio. The Alamo, one of the most storied battlegrounds in Texas history, is located in the heart of downtown. There are also many historic neighborhoods, such as King William Historic District and The Monte Vista Historic District, where retirees can spend a day shopping in antique shops and exploring vintage houses. The northern part of the city overlaps with the Texas Hill Country, so there are many scenic resorts near town. for example, La Cantera Resort & Spa boasts Hill Country views and a world-class golf course.

#5 Dallas

Should You Retire in Dallas?

  • Cost of living: 3
  • Healthcare: 3
  • Lifestyle: 2
  • Lone Star Index™: 67

Last but certainly not least, is the city of Dallas. While Dallas doesn't rank quite as well as its fellow metroplexes with our metrics, that certainly doesn't make it a bad place to retire. Dallas is known for its luxury real estate market, featuring stunning mansions in cosmopolitan areas like the University Park community and nearby suburbs, including the city of McKinney, the city of Frisco, and the Plano community. Across the entire metroplex, the cost of living in DFW is 103.9, which is nearly 11 points higher than the Texas average. Although property taxes in DFW can be higher than in other Texas cities, residents of this sprawling metropolis love the extensive amenities and many things to do.

Dallas
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
101.21 88.3 11.10%

Healthcare in Dallas is also quite good. Dallas County has an 88.3 ratio of physicians per 100,000 people. While this is still a solid ratio, it's fallen from its ratio of 91.9 in 2018. So e experts have suggested that the population in Dallas is growing faster than the number of doctors. That said, Dallas has some of the largest, most advanced hospitals in the state within its city limits. Texas Health Resources and Baylor Health Care System, the two most extensive system affiliations in Texas, are located in Dallas.

Finally, the culture in Dallas is unlike anywhere else in Texas. With so many large corporate headquarters moving to the DFW area, retirees can live a small-town lifestyle in one of the outer suburbs while still enjoying the everyday conveniences of the nearby city. Golf courses and country clubs abound, while professional football, basketball, baseball, and soccer offer excitement in all seasons. Fine-art enthusiasts enjoy the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Opera, the Dallas Museum of Art, and many other cultural institutions.

Best Small Towns in Texas For Retirement

While the big cities in Texas are fantastic with their sprawling layouts and impressive cultural amenities, many retirees come to Texas in search of a laid-back small-town lifestyle.

Using the same methodology above, we've selected the five best small towns in Texas for retirees.

#1 Kerrville

Should You Retire in Kerrville TX?

  • Cost of living: 5
  • Healthcare: 4
  • Lifestyle: 4
  • Lone Star Index™: 100

The town of Kerrville is hidden away in the Texas Hill Country, providing a scenic respite for retired folks. With a population of just over 23,000, Kerrville residents enjoy a close-knit community. The cost of living in Kerrville is lower than most places in Hill Country, which is surprising due to the number of Kerrville waterfront homes on the Guadalupe River. Homes for sale in Kerrville often start at around $215,000 and range as high as $1.2 million. These prices are much lower than other Hill Country towns.

Kerrville
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
88 111.6 28%

Healthcare in Kerrville exceeds the needs of most retirees in the area. With 111.6 doctors per 100,000 people, Kerrville has the 10th most doctors per capita in the state. The town also features favorable numbers for hospitals per square mile and per capita.

Kerrville is located just outside of Fredericksburg, meaning residents can enjoy all of the perks without paying as much for housing. Kerrville has plenty to offer in its own right regarding amenities, though. The Guadalupe River flows through Kerrville, creating Kerrville Lake just south of downtown. The Riverside Nature Center Association has a relaxing garden and walking trails.

#2 Burnet

Should You Retire in Burnet TX?

  • Cost of living: 5
  • Healthcare: 4
  • Lifestyle: 3
  • Lone Star Index™: 95

Burnet, Texas, is a small town located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, about 60 miles northwest of the Downtown Austin area. The cost of living in Burnet is 89.5, which is comfortably lower than the Texas average of 93.7. When retirees consider all that this beautiful town has to offer, the affordable cost of living is just the cherry on top.

Burnet
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
91.8 86.1 22.80%

For a less populous county, Burnet County has a strong ratio of physicians per 100,000 people, scoring an 86.1. Burnet County is also ranked 37th out of all 254 counties in Texas for physicians per county.

Burnet is a city in the Texas Hill Country, located near Austin and Marble Falls. It has rolling hills, lakes, historical monuments and is recognized as The Bluebonnet Capital of Texas.

#3 Crockett

Should You Retire in Crockett TX?

  • Cost of living: 5
  • Healthcare: 2
  • Lifestyle: 4
  • Lone Star Index™: 86

Crockett, Texas, is a great place for retirees. The city is small and quaint, with just under 7,000 people. It's located in the heart of Houston County, making it easy to enjoy small-town charm while not being too far from the Houston metro area. The cost of living in Crockett is highly affordable at 73.7. Homes for sale in Crockett typically start at about $150,000 and rarely go higher than $700,000, although some luxury options are available.

Crockett
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
73.7 13.2 22.50%

Healthcare in Houston County has all of the essentials that retirees will need. The number of physicians per 100,000 people is relatively low, but this metric is not the most accurate assessment when dealing with such a small population. Convenient access to Lufkin, Huntsville, and even Houston makes it easy to travel for treatment if needed.

Crockett offers residents a variety of amenities, including golf courses, swimming pools, and social events. One of the biggest draws to life in Crockett is the nearby Davy Crockett National Forest.

#4 Childress

Should You Retire in Childress TX?

  • Cost of living: 5
  • Healthcare: 3
  • Lifestyle: 2
  • Lone Star Index™: 83

With highly affordable housing costs and a convenient West Texas location between Amarillo and Wichita Falls, Childress is perfect for any retirees that love small-town living. The cost of living is 73.5, making it one of the least expensive towns in Texas.

Childress
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
73.5 141.5 15.90%

For a town of its size, Childress has impressive access to doctors. The doctors per 100,000 people ratio is 141.5, establishing it as the second-highest ratio out of all 254 counties. The only county with more access to doctors per capita rating is Baylor County, which includes the town of Seymour and is located a 90-minute drive east.

Life in Childress is slow-paced, which is precisely what many retirees are looking for. Top attractions include Fair Park, a brand-new complex with an event center, a rodeo arena, a public pool, a fishing pond, and a hiking trail.

#5 Horseshoe Bay

Should You Retire in Horseshoe Bay?

  • Cost of living: 3
  • Healthcare: 3
  • Lifestyle: 5
  • Lone Star Index™: 82

Retirees looking to live every day like a vacation don't need to look any further than Horseshoe Bay! Nestled on the banks of Lake LBJ, Horseshoe Bay Resort is an upscale vacation destination with luxury condos for sale. Units in the resort usually start at around $800,000 and span upwards of $1.3 million. The luxury lifestyle here comes with top-of-the-line amenities.

Horseshoe Bay
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
106.4 66.9 37.30%

Located in both Llano County and Burnet County, Horseshoe Bay residents have access to doctors and an excellent selection of healthcare options in the area. Furthermore, the world-class healthcare institutions of Austin are just 53 miles away.

Access to amenities amenities at Horseshoe Bay Resort is second to none. Celebrated as one of GOLF Magazine's Top 100 Golf Resorts in America, Horseshoe Bay has three courses designed by Robert Trent Jones. Other perks include a full-service marina, luxe pools, a fitness center with instructional classes, and tennis courts.

#6 Granbury

Should You Retire in Granbury TX?
  • Cost of living: 3
  • Healthcare: 3
  • Lifestyle: 5
  • Lone Star Index™: 82

Granbury is a historic town located in Hood County, Texas. The cost of living in Granbury is slightly more expensive than the average in the U.S., though only just, with a score of 104.9 on the cost of living index. Housing prices are very reasonable, with Granbury homes for sale generally starting at around $280,000 and rarely going higher than $600,000. However, Granbury luxury homes have prices that range from $1 million to $1.8 million. The Brazos River winds through town, making it possible to find many waterfront homes for sale.

Granbury
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
104.9 67.4 30%

Hood County has all of the essential healthcare facilities that retirees will need. There are over 67.4 physicians per 100,000 people. Lake Granbury Medical Center is the most prominent hospital in town.

Life in Granbury is perfect for retirees who want a small-town atmosphere with plenty of amenities. Historic Granbury Square presents a vision of what life in Texas would've been like in the early days. The Brazos River also makes recreation easy to find. Retirees love golfing at Harbor Lakes Golf Club, lounging at Granbury City Beach Park, and launching boats from one of the several boat ramps and marinas in town.

#7 Boerne

Should You Retire in Boerne TX?

  • Cost of living: 1
  • Healthcare: 5
  • Lifestyle: 4
  • Lone Star Index™: 75

Deep in the heart of Hill Country, Boerne is one of the most charming small towns in Texas. Boasting some of the best Hill Country views, real estate here comes at a steeper price. The cost of living index is 121.3, and luxury homes dominate the market.

Boerne
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
120.1 107.4 19.30%

Boerne is located in Kendall County, which has a physician per 100,000 people ratio of 107.4, ranking it 13th out of the 254 counties in Texas. The city is also a short drive from San Antonio, presenting even easier access to doctors.

The lifestyle in Boerne is one of luxury and convenience. This historic town is surrounded by picturesque views, and Boerne offers residents an impressive selection of amenities. Hill Country Mile is a charming downtown area offering unique local shops and antique stores. Cibolo Nature Center is famous for birdwatching, hiking, and easy-to-trek walking trails. Boerne City Lake Park features tubing, paddleboard rentals, and 200 acres of space.

Best Mid-Sized Cities For Retirement in Texas

Big cities offer world-class amenities and an exciting lifestyle, while small towns are perfect for anyone looking for a tight-knit community and a slower pace of life. But what about something in between? These mid-sized communities in Texas boast big-city amenities without sacrificing small-town charm. 

#1 Tyler

Should You Retire in Tyler TX?

  • Cost of living: 5
  • Healthcare: 4
  • Lifestyle: 4
  • Lone Star Index™: 100

With an affordable cost of living, top-tier health services, and a rosy lifestyle, the city of Tyler is perhaps the best mid-sized city in Texas for retirement. Tyler scores 82.8 on the cost of living index, which is lower than some of the most affordable mid-sized cities in America. Homes for sale in Tyler typically cost anywhere between $190,000 and $800,000. Luxury homes in Tyler start at $1 million and can go above $3 million.

Tyler
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
82.8 123.3 15.70%

Tyler is well-known for its fantastic healthcare. UT Health East Texas is the town's leading hospital, featuring an extensive network of partners, lots of specialty care centers, and regional home health coverage. Smith County ranks 5th out of all 254 Texas counties for doctors per capita.

Famous for its focus on rose cultivation, the city of Tyler celebrates the flower every year with the Texas Rose Festival. Furthermore, the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden features thousands of pristine rose bushes, and the Tyler Rose museum dives into the city's history with the flower. Just outside of town, Lake Palestine presents marinas, waterside golf courses, and more. 

#2 Corpus Christi

Should You Retire in Corpus Christi?

  • Cost of living: 5
  • Healthcare: 3
  • Lifestyle: 4
  • Lone Star Index™: 93

When it comes to affordable housing on the coast, there aren't many better options than Corpus Christi. The cost of living index in this beach town is 83.1, and homes for sale in Corpus Christi often start at around $150,000 and go upwards of $800,000. The most luxurious homes in Corpus Christi are usually found on the island, near Mustang Island and Padre Island. 

Corpus Christi
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
83.1 97.1 13.80%

The healthcare industry is strong in Corpus Christi, with major hospitals like CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital South and Corpus Christi Medical Center. With 97.1 physicians per 100,000 people, Corpus is in the top 10% of physicians per capita.

Corpus Christi is home to a thriving cultural scene. The Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, the Texas State Aquarium, and the USS Lexington join forces to create enriching experiences for locals and visitors alike. McGee Beach invites people to sunbathe near the heart of town, while nearby beaches of the Gulf offer year-round beauty. 

#3 Georgetown

Should You Retire in Georgetown TX?

  • Cost of living: 3
  • Healthcare: 4
  • Lifestyle: 4
  • Lone Star Index™: 84

Georgetown is a charming town and the seat of Williamson County. In Georgetown, the cost of living is 108.3, making it a more affordable alternative to nearby Austin. Homes for sale in Georgetown typically start at around $270,000 and go over $3.3 million for Georgetown luxury homes. When it comes to retirement living, Sun City is an amazing option just outside of town. The 4,700-acre 55+ community is part of a national Del Webb chain that offers the best in active retirement amenities.

Georgetown
Cost of Living Index Physicians Per 100k Population % of Population Age 65+
108.3 84.1 29.10%

Georgetown also offers its residents excellent healthcare. The Baylor Scott & White Hospital is the most extensive healthcare system in central Texas, and it has been named one of the nation's Top 100 Hospitals by Thomson Reuters. There are also numerous other hospitals and clinics in the area. 

The Georgetown lifestyle is one of the main attractions for retirees. With a population of just over 70,000 people, Georgetown has a small-town feel with big-city amenities. The city is home to art galleries, restaurants, and plenty of shopping. There are also several parks and green spaces in town. Jim Hogg Park is nestled against Lake Georgetown with a boat ramp, hiking trails, and fishing spots. Downtown Georgetown was named The Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas for its charming boutiques and regular festivals. 

How to Choose a City for Retirement: Experts Weigh In on Important Factors For Retirees

Retirement is a huge accomplishment that requires hard work, careful budgeting, and steadfast commitment to long-term goals. Congratulations! It makes sense that you want to choose a city that will allow you to get the most out of your efforts.

But what factors need to be considered to get the best possible retirement? Across the board, experts agree that the most desirable retirement destinations feature a healthy blend of three things:

  • Cost of living
  • Access to health care
  • Lifestyle and access to amenities

Texas Cost of Living: The Lone Star State Doesn't Tax Income Or Estates

When it comes to the cost of living, Texas is one of the most affordable states in the country. On an index in which 100 represents the national average, the cost of living in Texas is rated 93.9.

The low cost of living in Texas is established by its ample space for development, more affordable energy and gasoline, and relaxed building permit regulations.

"Cost of living is a big deciding factor in choosing a city to retire to," says Brian Donovan, CEO of TimeShatter. "Texas is a great option for retirees because of the lack of a state income tax and affordable housing options."

Texas is one of the most tax-friendly states for retirees. Texas has no income tax at the state level. This rule also applies to pension payouts, so a 401k in Texas will stretch farther than in other states.

Other tax benefits in Texas include an absence of estate taxes, no inheritance taxes, and property tax exemptions for homeowners older than 65.

Texas is one of only eight states in the country to withhold both state income taxes and state-level estate taxes. 

Texas Healthcare: Top Hospitals Are All Across Texas

Access to doctors is a top factor to consider when choosing a place to live. The cost of medical services and the number of hospitals in an area can impact a city's overall livability.

"Wherever someone retires to should have high livability indicators," says Andre Kazimierski, CEO, Improovy. "Most retirees seek out areas with high-quality hospitals and wellness opportunities."

Retirees considering moving to Texas are pleased to find 798 hospitals in Texas. Considering that there are 254 counties in Texas, there are three hospitals per county on average. One of the best hospitals in Texas is Houston Methodist Hospital, although Dallas, Austin, the Sugar Land suburb, and the Temple community all have high-rated facilities. Furthermore, each of these institutions is easily accessed from plenty of towns in the hospital's respective region, making access to doctors a big draw for retirees considering Texas.

Texas Lifestyle: Find Retirees' Favorite Lifestyle Amenities in Every Texas City

In addition to the factors mentioned above, many retirees consider lifestyle and amenities when choosing a city to retire in. This may include access to golf courses, gorgeous parks, cultural events, and more.

"Most retirees want to travel and go on vacations during their retirement, and they want their homes to feel like a vacation as well," says David Angotti, CEO of HawaiianIslands.com

The thriving Texas real estate market makes it easy to find a property with top-notch amenities. From sprawling ranches with ample acreage to luxury condos set in active lifestyle resorts, retirees in Texas can live every day like it's a vacation.

Enjoy Your Retirement in The Great State of Texas

If you're looking for a great place to retire, Texas should be at the top of your list. The state offers retirement-friendly taxes, along with plenty of sunny weather and access to top-notch healthcare. In addition, retirees will enjoy all that Texas offers in terms of lifestyle amenities. So why wait? Start planning your retirement in the Lone Star State today so you can soak in the sun during your sunset years and enjoy all the perks Texas has to offer!

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