If you have ever hoped to retire to a state that enjoys breaking world records, finding one of the best places to retire in North Dakota may be the perfect decision for you. Or if you are seeking a peaceful state to retire with plenty of summer and winter outdoor activities, little traffic, and friendly people, then North Dakota is perfect.
North Dakota is home to 39.1 million acres, and 90% of that is open land used primarily for ranching and farming. North Dakota is a significant producer of:
- Spring wheat
- Durum wheat
- Dry edible peas
- Dry edible beans
- Honey – (North Dakota is the number one honey producer in the country)
And as mentioned earlier this state loves setting records such as:
- World’s largest french fry feed – 5,220 pounds of french fries served
- Little Missouri National Grasslands is the biggest grassland in the nation
- The state Lewis and Clark spent the most amount of time in
- The highest number of wildlife refuges in the country
- More shoreline on Lake Sakakawea than the California coast
- Guinness World Record for the largest number of snow angels made simultaneously in one place
- World’s largest hamburger weighing in at 3,591 pounds
- World’s largest buffalo statue standing 26 feet tall
- World’s largest Holstein cow statue standing 38 feet high
- World’s largest pancake feast serving 34,818 pancakes
And if that is not impressive enough for you to consider North Dakota for your retirement spot, maybe their lower tax burden will pique your interest. They come in 34th place for overall tax burden, 8.06%, which puts them at the bottom half in the country. And retirees particularly like this state because though retirement is taxed, the highest rate is only 2.9%. Plus, some pension income may be eligible for a $5,000 deduction.
In 2018, North Dakota was ranked number one for the best quality of life. They are the top-ranked state for multiple factors, but the number one reason is the community.
When residents have a strong tie to their community, they are more likely to volunteer, feel they have a greater purpose outside of work, and have a higher level of courtesy, kindness, and consideration towards others; all significant factors in one’s quality of life.
The strong community ties come from two main factors small towns and winter. It is no surprise, small-town living positively impacts a sense of community, but winter brings people together. In warm summer months, many people are out enjoying and taking advantage of warm weather activities. But in the winter, when the days are shorter and colder, people have a greater tendency to bond together.
Though it is unlikely North Dakota will ever become a hotbed for retirees, like Florida has, it does warrant serious consideration for being both a tax-friendly state and number one in the nation for quality of life.
Places to Retire in North Dakota
- Grand Forks
- Devils Lake
- Percent of Senior Population: 124,662
- Overall Population: 11.3%
Fargo is the biggest city in North Dakota, but compared to major metropolitan areas, it is on the small side, making it all that more appealing. With a smaller population, you can also expect less traffic, less pollution, and friendlier people. But don’t worry, Fargo does not lack in culture or other fun activities.
Being home to multiple colleges, including the University of North Dakota, Fargo, offers several cultural venues, from restored movie houses to live music performances at a variety of locations in the downtown area. And if you are looking to see a play, The Fargo Theater downtown, the Fargo Moorhead Community Theater, and The Stage at Island Park will not let you down.
Plus, Fargo has five different senior centers scattered throughout the city. The centers all offer a fun and friendly atmosphere to play games, chat with friends over coffee, play Bingo, join exercise classes, quilting groups, and more.
Fargo is also great for active seniors who enjoy getting outdoors, especially if you enjoy bicycling. Fargo is a bicycle-friendly city (much like Madison in Wisconsin) and even has designated areas downtown for cyclists.
Runners will love participating in the Fargo Marathon held every August. And it isn’t your typical race either; there is usually a whole week’s worth of activities leading up to the main event.
Though Fargo is not synonymous with golfing, there are several courses and clubs in the area that will keep any golfer happy and out on the course.
And remember the pancake feast mentioned earlier? That happened in Fargo too!
- Percent of Senior Population: 73,529
- Overall Population: 16.7%
Bismarck is not only the second-largest city in North Dakota, but it is also the state capital. The capital building is one of the cities greatest attractions with its beautiful campus and unique art-deco architectural style. Plus, it is the tallest building in Bismarck and is visible for several miles outside of the city.
Bismarck is ideal for those who love the outdoors, yet don’t want to be too far from the conveniences found in the city. Plus, since Bismarck has several parks and trails within city limits, you don’t even need to leave town to get out and be active.
If you have a horse, you can take advantage of the Walt Neuens Memorial Horse Arena, where other horse enthusiasts gather for various events and competitions.
However, if you are looking to get away, Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park is less than a half-hour away. The park is the oldest state park in North Dakota and has been around since 1907. It offers a variety of activities such as hiking, biking, camping, and horseback riding.
Also, Bismarck is home to the Burleigh County Senior Center. In addition to the traditional services and events found at most senior centers like classes, games, and outings, they also offer meals at the center or delivered to your home. The Senior Center Bismarck also has an extensive library that hosts various programs and volunteer opportunities.
- Percent of Senior Population: 55,839
- Overall Population: 11.6%
Grand Forks is a fantastic city with a multitude of activities to keep any retiree happy and busy. This city proves you don’t need to be in a major metropolitan area to enjoy a rich culture. Grand Forks has everything you could want from an urban area, plus numerous outdoor activities retirees will love.
Grand Forks is home to some wondrous art galleries, including the Empire Arts Center Gallery, Browning Arts Gallery, and the North Dakota Museum of Art, which is where you go if you would like to see a Picasso.
And if you are looking for a live performance, Grand Forks hosts The Empire Arts Center & Empire Theatre Company. The theatre first opened in 1919 and has been restored to keep its charm. It offers an array of plays, musicals, and events.
After you get done taking in the arts, you can go shopping at some of the larger department stores or check out the local boutiques on either side of the river—Grand Forks neighbors East Grand Forks in Minnesota.
Plus, for those who enjoy the outdoors, Grand Forks has several parks and paths lined with beautiful gardens or along the river as you travel along the Greenway trail. The Greenway offers 21 miles of biking, walking, or jogging adventure. Or you could always head over to Turtle River State Park and check out the ten-mile loop on the North Star trail.
Grand Forks also has a full-service hospital, Altru Hospital, which ranks 6th in the state.
- Percent of Senior Population: 15,084
- Overall Population: 18.4%
Jamestown is not only home to the world’s largest buffalo monument but is also the 9th largest city in the state. Grand Forks might have had a lot to offer those who love art, but Jamestown is perfect for those who love history.
Jamestown offers several museums and historical sites and centers such as:
- The National Buffalo Museum – Learn the story of the American Bison
- Frontier Village
- Fort Seward Military Post and interpretive center – Features the pioneer and military history of the area
- Stutsman County Memorial Museum – Collection of historical memorabilia from the Jamestown area
- Follow Louis L’Amour walking trail – Follow the western author’s route to various local sites
- Sports Hall of Fame – Hosts a variety of sports Hall of Fame guests and events
And Jamestown even has an Arts Center that features various exhibits like:
- Walk in the woods
- Downtown Arts Market
- JFAA Annual Art Show
- Mini Art Hunt
Jamestown is also home to the Jamestown Reservoir, which is ideal for boating, fishing, and swimming. Plus, the reservoir area also features paths for walking and biking, and even a disc golf course, and many picnic areas.
Though Jamestown is on the smaller side, it is still home to several medical facilities, including a full-service hospital, the Jamestown Regional Medical Center.
- Percent of Senior Population: 7,320
- Overall Population: 21.4%
Devils Lake City is the ideal place for the outdoor enthusiast. If you have ever wanted to retire to an area that has a bit of every type of outdoor activity, then Devils Lake is perfect. In addition to the obvious lake activities, Devils Lake also offers:
- Horseback riding
- Wildlife viewing
Devils Lake City is less than a twenty-minute drive from Graham’s Island state park where you can find beaches, camping, and take in the wildlife. And though this is a small town, they do have the Creel Bay Golf Course, an 18-hole golf course set along the lake, complete with clubhouse.
But on the days when it is not so appealing to head outdoors, Devils Lake also has plenty of indoor activities available too, such as:
- Fort Totten State Historic Site
- Lake Region Heritage Center
- Fort Totten Little Theater
- Spirit Lake Casino
- The Sheriff’s House
And when you want to do a bit of shopping, head over to the charming downtown area to check out local boutiques on Main street or stop by a cafe for a quick bite to eat.
Best of all, Devils Lake is home to a full-service hospital, Devils Lake Hospital, which is part of CHI St. Alexius Health.