The Cost To Retire in America’s Sunniest Cities

·9 min read
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monkeybusinessimages / iStock.com

Retirement can feel like a permanent vacation, especially if you retire someplace warm.

To help you choose the best place to retire, GOBankingRates identified the 25 cities across the U.S. that get the highest percentage of sunshine each year and calculated the average cost of living in each place for people ages 65 and older.

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These cities feature good weather year-round -- and some might fall within your budget. In some locations, it's possible to retire well below the national average of $48,106 needed to live each year.

Last updated: July 23, 2021

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Shutterstock.com

Honolulu, Hawaii — $84,907 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 71%

  • Annual average high temperature: 84 degrees

The cost of living in Honolulu is nearly $37,000 more than the national average, so be sure you have a large nest egg before deciding to retire to this island paradise. Although it's an expensive place to live overall, it's one of the U.S. cities you could consider for retirement thanks to its variety of inexpensive activities and attractions.

Keep Reading: Jaw-Dropping Stats About the State of Retirement in America

Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock.com
Andrew Zarivny / Shutterstock.com

Los Angeles, California — $83,368 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 73%

  • Annual average high temperature: 76 degrees

The cost of living in L.A. is $35,000 higher than the national average, but there's plenty to do in this sunny city if you can swing the high annual expenses. Los Angeles has diverse culture and art, and it's a good place to live if you want to focus on maintaining a healthy lifestyle in your golden years, with lots of health-conscious food options and plenty of ways to stay active.

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Shutterstock.com

Key West, Florida — $74,468 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 76%

  • Annual average high temperature: 83 degrees

There are way more sunny days than cloudy days in Key West, located off the coast of mainland Florida. Living the island life here will cost you, but it could be worth it if you love beach time and days spent fishing.

Related: 50 Best (and Worst) Cities for an Early Retirement

thierryt / Shutterstock.com
thierryt / Shutterstock.com

Miami, Florida — $59,218 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 70%

  • Annual average high temperature: 85 degrees

Although the cost to live in Miami is high compared to the national average, you'll save by not having to pay state income, estate or inheritance taxes. Plus, you'll be surrounded by sun, sand and sea, and there are many active adult communities there if you'd like the option to live among other retirees.

Read: 12 People Who Retired Young (and How They Did It)

RiverNorthPhotography / iStock.com
RiverNorthPhotography / iStock.com

Sacramento, California — $56,861 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 78%

  • Annual average high temperature: 75 degrees

California's capital city is known for its abundance of museums and for the Old Sacramento Waterfront District, which is filled with historically restored buildings that house shops and restaurants.

Learn: How To Protect Your Retirement Savings During the Coronavirus Pandemic

4kodiak / iStock.com
4kodiak / iStock.com

Reno, Nevada — $55,899 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 79%

  • Annual average high temperature: 67 degrees

Reno, known as the "Biggest Little City in the World," offers plenty of things for active retirees to do. Hiking and biking on the city's trails are favorite activities, as is tubing on the Truckee River.

franckreporter / Getty Images
franckreporter / Getty Images

Las Vegas — $53,686 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 85%

  • Annual average high temperature: 80 degrees

As in Miami, you won't have to pay income taxes if you retire in Las Vegas, which could make up for its above-average living costs. And, you'll never get bored if you retire in Sin City, with its plethora of entertainment options, from casinos and shopping to live shows and top restaurants.

jmoor17 / iStock.com
jmoor17 / iStock.com

Redding, California — $51,906 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 88%

  • Annual average high temperature: 75 degrees

Located about 160 miles north of Sacramento, Redding has something no other city on this list has: one of the world’s largest working sundials. That's the Sundial Bridge, which spans 710 feet across the Sacramento River. The glass-surfaced pedestrian bridge provides access to the area's trail system.

Mark Skalny / Shutterstock.com
Mark Skalny / Shutterstock.com

Phoenix, Arizona — $49,886 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 85%

  • Annual average high temperature: 88 degrees

Phoenix is one of the sunniest cities on this list, with 85 percent sunny days on average. That gives you plenty of days to take advantage of all the activities you can do outdoors, including hiking, biking and fishing.

Davel5957 / iStock.com
Davel5957 / iStock.com

Fresno, California — $49,357 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 79%

  • Annual average high temperature: 79 degrees

Fresno is one of the sunniest cities on this list, with a 79% chance of sun every day on average. The Central California city is home to unique cultural attractions, including a classic car show and a marching band festival, so you won't get bored there. The cost of living in Fresno is just slightly above the national average.

See: Most Tax-Friendly States To Retire

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Shutterstock.com

Midland-Odessa, Texas — $47,433 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 74%

  • Annual average high temperature: 80 degrees

If you're looking for a small-town feel, Midland-Odessa could be the sunny spot for you. Whether you want to spend your free time volunteering, reading a book from the local library or going for peaceful sunset walks, you can do that in this city, which has a cost of living that's on par with the national average.

Paul Gana / Shutterstock.com
Paul Gana / Shutterstock.com

Grand Junction, Colorado — $46,134 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 71%

  • Annual average high temperature: 65 degrees

In Grand Junction, you'll find the spectacular red rocks of the Colorado National Monument, plus recreation aplenty, including whitewater rafting on the Colorado River. Prefer a less bumpy ride? Take the golf cart out on one of the area's courses.

Davel5957 / iStock.com
Davel5957 / iStock.com

Tucson, Arizona — $44,065 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 85%

  • Annual average high temperature: 85 degrees

Lots of sun and below-average living costs are both good reasons to retire to Tucson, but the city has even more to offer. It's a hub for the performing arts, and it also has dozens of retirement communities, a Western flair and beautiful surroundings.

DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com

Albuquerque, New Mexico — $43,825 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 76%

  • Annual average high temperature: 71 degrees

The city is known for hot air ballooning, and each October, it hosts the famed Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. But if you prefer staying on the ground, spend a day at the city's Turquoise Museum.

ianmcdonnell / Getty Images/iStockphoto
ianmcdonnell / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Yuma, Arizona — $42,429 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 90%

  • Annual average high temperature: 89 degrees

Yuma is the sunniest and warmest city on this list, and it also boasts a below-average cost of living. It's a great place to call home if you love tacos and spicy food.

Learn more: The Complete Guide to the Best Retirement Age

J. Michael Jones / Shutterstock.com
J. Michael Jones / Shutterstock.com

Pueblo, Colorado — $40,986 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 76%

  • Annual average high temperature: 70 degrees

If you like it warm, but not too warm, Pueblo could be calling your name with its annual average high temperature of 70 degrees. The locals are partial to stopping by the Hopscotch Bakery to order some of the menu favorites, which include White Chocolate-Lavender Scones, Orange Beast rolls and Kitchen Sink Cookies.

DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com

Milford, Utah — $40,169 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 70%

  • Annual average high temperature: 66 degrees

Milford, about 200 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, is known for its past as a mining town. It's reminiscent of the Old West, with ghost towns nearby. While the year-round average high temperatures are the second lowest on the list, Milford is in a desert, so the highs in the summer average in the 90s.

Pictured: Salt Lake City, the closest large city to Milford, Utah.

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Shutterstock.com

Lake Charles, Louisiana — $40,120 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 72%

  • Annual average high temperature: 78 degrees

Lake Charles is one of the most affordable cities on this list with living costs that are below the national average. If you enjoy food, festivals and spending time outdoors, you can have a happy retirement in this Southern city.

Davel5957 / Getty Images
Davel5957 / Getty Images

El Paso, Texas — $39,158 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 84%

  • Annual average high temperature: 80 degrees

El Paso is one of the best cities to retire based on housing prices, a separate GOBankingRates study found. Not only is it affordable, but it's also close to the top of the list in terms of sunshine, so you'll definitely have a warm retirement there.

Charles Henry / Flickr.com
Charles Henry / Flickr.com

Amarillo, Texas — $38,533 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 73%

  • Annual average high temperature: 71 degrees

Amarillo, in the Texas panhandle, is at an elevation of 3,672 feet, leading to average high temperatures of 71 degrees — the lowest of the five Texas cities on the list. The altitude and a breeze lead to clean air and low humidity.

Learn more: 10 Myths About Early Retirement

DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com
DenisTangneyJr / iStock.com

Lubbock, Texas — $38,437 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 72%

  • Annual average high temperature: 74 degrees

Lubbock is called "Hub City" because it's surrounded by five major highways, but it's also the hub of activity. Lubbock is known for Texas Tech sports — locals love the Red Raiders — as well as for its food, arts and music festivals. It is, after all, the hometown of rocker Buddy Holly.

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Shutterstock.com

Roswell, New Mexico — $37,811 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 74%

  • Annual average high temperature: 75 degrees

Roswell is one of the least expensive places on the list to retire, and it could provide an out-of-this-world experience. Tourists flock to Roswell to learn more about the reported 1947 crash of an extraterrestrial flying saucer. The International UFO Museum & Research Center serves to make the public aware of what is called "The Roswell Incident."

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto
DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Abilene, Texas — $37,571 per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 71%

  • Annual average high temperature: 76 degrees

Low living costs and great weather make Abilene a good choice for retirement. The Texas city also has lots of amenities and local events to keep you busy in your post-work days, such as the West Texas Fair and Rodeo in the summer and the Winter Lightfest later in the year.

VMPICS / Shutterstock.com
VMPICS / Shutterstock.com

North Little Rock, Arkansas — $36,464 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 72%

  • Annual average high temperature: 74 degrees

At nearly $12,000 below the national average expenditures for retirees, North Little Rock could offer just what you — and your pampered pooch — need. The city is dog friendly, with a new dog park, walking trails with a view of the Arkansas River and restaurants that will welcome your pup.

Michael Rosebrock / Shutterstock.com
Michael Rosebrock / Shutterstock.com

Dodge City, Kansas — $36,464 Per Year

  • Annual average possible sunshine: 70%

  • Annual average high temperature: 68 degrees

Dodge City is tied with North Little Rock as the place on the list with the lowest annual expenditures for retirees. The setting for the old television show "Gunsmoke," Dodge City embraces its Old West and agricultural roots while adding modern recreational and entertainment amenities.

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Gabrielle Olya contributed to the reporting for this article.

Methodology: GOBankingRates determined the cost to retire in America's warmest cities by using data from the National Climate Data Center to identify cities with the most sunshine year-round. Then, we calculated the average temperature in these cities for each month, sourced from AreaVibes. Cities with an average temperature of 65 degrees or more were included in this study. Once the warmest cities were identified, we found the cost-of-living index for each city using Sperling's Best Places. We determined the estimated cost of living for retirees in each city by multiplying the index numbers by the average annual expenditures for people ages 65 and older in the U.S., sourced from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. All data was collected and is up to date as of June 22, 2021.

Photo disclaimer: Images are for representational purposes only and may depict the nearest metropolitan areas.

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: The Cost To Retire in America’s Sunniest Cities

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