Alabama’s history goes back over 10,000 years, long before the colonization of the Americas. Proof of early occupation of the area has been found at a Paleo-Indian site.
When explorers did arrive in Alabama, it was already home to three different Native American tribes, Chickasaw, Cherokee, and Choctaw. The first explorers to come to Alabama were the Spaniards, and they initially landed in Mobile Bay. Fast forward to 1819, and Alabama became the 22nd state.
Alabama has a vibrant history, and though they have struggled with racism, the state has become more blended over the years.
Today Alabama is a great place to retire for those looking for a state with excellent warm weather conditions. According to Bankrate, Alabama ranked #7 in the country for best weather. And #16 overall, in the country for best places to retire.
In addition to scoring well in the weather category, they also ranked #10 in for being an affordable place to retire. Affordability takes into account the cost of living, the number of people who were unable to afford medical care, and property and sales tax.
Plus, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is only $750, allowing you to save your money for more important things like travel, dining out, and entertainment.
Another significant benefit to retiring in Alabama is its numerous entertainment venue options, such as:
- College football
- Amazing live music options
- Incredible seafood and BBQ restaurants
- Broadway shows
Plus, for those who enjoy the outdoors, Alabama’s warm weather, numerous inland waterways, and miles of coastal beach make for a great place to stay active year-round. And you can always take advantage of one of their many beautiful state parks like:
- Lakepoint State Park located on Lake Eufaula, the bass capital of the world
- Gulf State Park enjoy trails, beaches, and nearby golf courses
- Palisades Park great for rock climbing, perfect for those looking to take advantage of the views from atop a mountain
- Sherling Lake Park ideal for campers, canoeing, and kayaking
The five cities below have been chosen as the best places to retire for various reasons, including population, entertainment, and medical care. The list starts with Huntsville, the largest city on the list, and goes down to Jasper, a small town for those looking to enjoy the quieter life.
Places to Retire in Alabama
- Percent of Senior Population: 15%
- Overall Population: 197,318
Huntsville gives residents a feel of living in an urban area, yet still provides enough elbow space from neighbors to not feel cramped. It is the fourth largest city in Alabama but can boast a low cost of living.
When compared to the national average, Huntsville’s rent prices are around $200 less per month, and buying a house will be about $20,000 less, making Huntsville a very affordable place to retire.
Plus Huntsville has a lot to offer in the way of entertainment, such as:
- The Rocket Center – This center provides learning programs for both kids and adults
- The U.S. Veteran Memorial Museum
- Von Braun Center – Hosts an array of entertainment like live music, sporting events, and cultural and social events
- Bridge Street Town Centre – Outdoor shopping mall
However, if you prefer to escape the city for some outdoor fun, Huntsville offers several parks:
- Harmony Safari Park
- Big Spring Park – A park located in the downtown area, featuring a human-made waterway stocked with fish and walking paths
- Madison County Nature trail
- Monte Sano State Park – Spend the day hiking or rent a cabin and enjoy a quiet weekend in the woods
Plus, if you are concerned about the quality of medical care, Huntsville has you covered.
They are home to the Huntsville Hospital, which is a teaching hospital, and also has a general medical and surgical center. Additionally, the hospital has a high-performance rating for multiple heart conditions, colon cancer, and COPD.
- Percent of Senior Population: 7%
- Overall Population: 65,738
The college town of Auburn is not a hotbed for seniors, but maybe it should be. Auburn has much to offer active seniors, especially those who love football.
Living in or near a college town has several benefits for the city’s residents. The three most significant benefits for retirees are:
- Sports – You will have easy access to go and watch a college sport’s event
- Entertainment – The Telfair B. Peet Theatre offers live theater and dance performances
- Medical – Auburn offers several medical facilities, including full-service hospitals
Additionally, Auburn is close enough to some marvelous parks providing a great outdoor outlet:
- Chewacla State Park – Hiking and biking trails for all different skill levels
- Kiesel Park – Auburn’s largest park and features a 2.25-mile walking trail, garden, and park
- Davis Arboretum – Paths winding through the grounds of the arboretum allow guests to view the beautiful plants and do some bird watching
Though Auburn is far from a small town, it has still retained some of the small-town culture and lifestyle. Traffic is minimal, the neighborhoods have a quiet suburban feel, and everything is within an easy drive.
Unfortunately, when compared to the rest of Alabama, Auburn has a slightly higher cost of living.
- Percent of Senior Population: 22%
- Overall Population: 22,085
Fairhope was founded in 1894 by a group of folks looking to build a Utopia. Over recent years, Fairhope has experienced significant growth; however, that has not affected its small-town charm. The residents of Fairhope prides themselves on being a friendly and welcoming community.
One of the best things about Fairhope, besides its residents, is that it’s located on Mobile Bay. The bay area offers:
- Paved walking and biking paths
- The Fairhope Municipal Pier excellent for a great walk as well as taking in the views
- Bird watching
- Rose gardens to stroll through
In addition to Mobile Bay, there are other nearby parks where people can enjoy the outdoors. Four of the best parks in the area are:
- Meaher State Park
- Village Point Park Preserve
- Gator Alley Boardwalk
- Weeks Bay Reserve
Plus, being on the coast gives residents access to plenty of beachfront too.
After you spend a day out and about and are ready to take in some of the other sites, Fairhope has a treasure trove of them. Whether it’s going to the museum of history, the Eastern Shore Art Center, or enjoying a craft beer at the Fairhope Brewing Company, you will never get bored in Fairhope.
In addition to Fairhope’s beauty and fun, they do have plenty of medical facilities to keep you healthy and active. They average four medical facilities per 1,000 residents.
- Percent of Senior Population: 18%
- Overall Population: 15,858
Cullman is a small town situated between Birmingham and Huntsville, just an hour to each city. Additionally, Cullman has multiple major freeways and interstates running through the city, giving its residents easy access to the rest of the state.
Outside of Cullman, residents will find green farmland, which has the most productive agricultural area in all of Alabama, making getting fresh vegetables and meat quite convenient.
Cullman is also home or at least the neighbor to several parks featuring trails for walking and biking and access to some great fishing and boating:
- Heritage Park
- Sportsman Lake Park
- Veterans Park
- Lake Catoma
- Lake Catoma Falls
And don’t worry, being a smaller town doesn’t mean you won’t have plenty of culinary options. Cullman is home to several restaurants with a variety of fares, like seafood, steak, BBQ, Mexican cuisine, and an Italian grill.
Plus, every fall they host Oktoberfest, a huge celebration that honors the founder of the town, Col. John G. Cullmann.
Though Cullman has a smaller population, they still have 5.5 medical facilities per 1000 residents, which is excellent by itself but even more surprising since it is a small town.
And the best thing is, Cullman’s overall cost of living is lower than both the state and national average. The housing prices in the area are exceptionally low when compared to the national average; the median cost for a house is $131,500.
If that’s not enough to convince you, Cullman is a great location to retire; it is also the safest city in all of Alabama.
- Percent of Senior Population: 18%
- Overall Population: 13,500
For those outdoor enthusiasts looking for a small town to retire, Jasper could be the place for you. It has all of the conveniences you need without all of the hustle and bustle of an urban area.
Just because Jasper is small doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a lot to offer. It is home to the Carl Elliott Museum, Bankhead House & Heritage Centre, and Children’s Hands-on Museum. The historic downtown area has boutiques all framed in unique architecture, giving the town its character.
For active retirees looking to explore the outdoors, there are plenty of nearby parks and lakes:
- Lewis-Smith Lake & Dam
- Walker County Lake
- Bankhead National Forest
- Natural Bridge Park
- Lake Tuscaloosa
And when you are ready to unwind after the day, you can grab a craft beer from Twisted Barley Brewing and a bite to eat at the Black Rock Bistro, which offers authentic southern cooking. To finish off the evening, stop by The Cigar Box Lounge and enjoy a smooth after-dinner cigar.
Plus, when you are looking for a night on the town, Birmingham is less than 40 minutes away. Birmingham offers top restaurants and broadway shows, two things to make for a beautiful evening in the city.