Utah’s history spans back before ancient times when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Based on archeological findings, Utah was once home to several dinosaurs. And today, it has the two most massive dinosaur graveyards in the U.S. There are also many good places to retire in Utah.
Fast forward hundreds of millions of years, and it became the sanctuary for Brigham Young and his people, who were seeking refuge from religious persecution from those in the midwest. When the early settlers found Utah, it was a vast empty desert, which was precisely what they were looking for at the time.
Over the following centuries, Utah’s population has grown significantly, with the majority of the residents living in the Salt Lake City area. Though Utah is an incredibly beautiful state, it remains untouched by much of modern civilization due to the impossibility of building on the harsh Utah terrain.
Today, Utah’s population continues to grow with the city of St. George being one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Though Utah isn’t a hot spot for retirement, maybe it should be for active retirees. Though it won’t compete with the bright lights of NYC, the larger cities, like Salt Lake, have a lot to offer in the way of entertainment venues.
Plus, for outdoor enthusiasts, especially those who love to hike and downhill ski, Utah is the perfect place for retirement. Utah offers dry heat in the summer and dry powdery snow that attracts skiers from all over the world.
Though Utah doesn’t have a pro football team for sports fans, they do have NBA team, Utah Jazz. And, Utah is a soccer state, with Major League Soccer team, Real Salt Lake, who are also soccer cup champions. Utah also has several mid-level teams such as:
- ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies
- Orem Owlz
- Ogden Raptors
Utah’s tax burden is relatively average, coming in at 9.6%. Utah does tax retirement and social security. But the amount of tax is minor and there are deductions available for military pensions. Plus, Utah does not have an estate or inheritance tax.
The majority of Utah’s medical care is centralized around more substantial cities, but there are several of the smaller towns that still have a significant amount of medical facilities. Some of the best hospitals you will find in Utah include:
- University of Utah Hospital
- Utah Valley Hospital
- Intermountain Medical Center
Places to Retire in Utah
- Salt Lake City
- St. George
- Cedar City
- Park City
Salt Lake City
- Percent of Senior Population: 10.8%
- Overall Population: 200,567
Salt Lake City, the capital of the beehive state, is the largest city in Utah and is home to more than 80% of the state’s residents. Salt Lake City is perfect for retirees looking to enjoy the vibrant urban culture while at the same time being close enough to nature to enjoy hiking, biking, and skiing in the nearby mountains.
Some of the top things to check out while in Salt Lake include:
- Natural History Museum of Utah
- Temple Square
- Clark Planetarium
- City Creek Center
And for outdoor activities, many will enjoy:
- Red Butte Garden
- Big Cottonwood Canyon
- Tracy Aviary
- Brycce Canyon National Park
Plus, guided tour options are abundant for those looking for a more interactive experience in getting to know the city.
And though it was the Mormons who established this city, Salt Lake City is not a dry city. It has several bars, breweries, and distilleries so you can enjoy your favorite adult beverage after a day of hiking.
Salt Lake City and the nearby area is also home to several senior centers. The local senior centers host a variety of activities and events, such as:
- Online and telephone classes including Living Well With Chronic Conditions and Tai Chi for Arthritis.
- Fitness classes including Yoga and Zumba
- Breakfast and lunch service
Plus, being the largest city in the state, it has a fair number of medical centers, 4.58 per 1,000 residents, including multiple full-service hospitals.
- Percent of Senior Population: 22.1%
- Overall Population: 89,587
St. George is one of the larger cities in Utah. St. George is not only one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation, but also has a rapidly growing retirement community. This should be no surprise since it has warm winters, fantastic hiking in the nearby Zion National Park, several golf courses, and has the beautifully scenic red rock bluffs set in the background.
As a booming city, St. George has several new restaurants, stores, and new construction. Plus, St. George Regional Airport was built within the last ten years. St. George also has several museums, including:
- Coyote Gulch Art Village
- Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum
- St. George Art Museum
When the grandkids are in town, both the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site and the St. George Children’s Museum are fun to check out.
And for retirees who love the outdoors and looking to stay active, St. George offers an abundance of opportunities for hiking, biking, and golfing. Plus there are several nearby parks:
- Red Hills Desert Garden
- Pioneer Park
- Red Cliffs National Conservation Area
- Candy Cliffs
- Virgin River
- Sand Hollow State Park
St. George also has several medical facilities available, including Dixie Regional Medical Center, a full-service hospital. And best of all, St. George has a low crime rate.
- Percent of Senior Population: 10.7%
- Overall Population: 34,764
Cedar City isn’t the biggest city, but it is far from quiet. Cedar City is also known as Festival City, because it hosts at least 17 festivals every year, including:
- Summer Games
- Shakespeare Festival
- Frontier Homestead Folk Festival
- Simon Fest
- Fire Road 100K
- Utah UFO Festival
But Cedar City has a lot more than its many festivals to offer. It is also the ideal place for retirees looking to stay active with outdoor fun. The local area has multiple national and state parks, perfect for hiking and camping.
And bicycle enthusiasts will love Cedar City because the city:
- Hosts the Tour of Utah, “America’s Toughest Stage Race”
- Is a stopping point along the Western Express Bicycle Route
- Has designated multiple miles of bike lanes within city limits
- Is close to the Canyon Trail, a short three-mile trail into Cedar Canyon
Plus, because Cedar City is home to Southern Utah University, the city enjoys several cultural benefits, such as the ballet, orchestra, and a fine arts gallery. The town also offers fun boutiques and restaurants in the downtown area.
When you are ready to go on vacation or have guests come visits, the nearby airport, Cedar City Regional Airport, makes doing so easy and convenient.
Even though Cedar City is on the smaller side, it still has a considerable number of medical centers, including Valley View Medical Center, which has been listed in the top 100 hospitals in the country.
And, much like the rest of the state, Cedar City’s crime rate is just a bit over half of the national average.
- Percent of Senior Population: 26.5%
- Overall Population: 9,192
Ivins, located in the southwestern corner near St. George and the Arizona border, is a smaller town for those looking for a quieter place to settle down. It is the perfect place for retirement for those who enjoy the dry heat and prefer to avoid cold winters.
Plus, Ivins is located near the Zion National Park, where the hiking and beauty of the red rocks will impress even the worldliest of hikers. Zion is best known for its sweeping canyon and overwhelming beauty. But Zion is not the only nearby park, Snow Canyon State Park, Sand Hollow, and Red Cliffs Desert Reserve are also just a short drive from Ivins.
And when you are looking for things to do in town, Ivins has the Tuacahn Amphitheatre, which hosts multiple live performances like broadway musicals and live concerts. If you enjoy the arts, you will also love stopping in at both the Coyote Gulch Art Village and the Kayenta Art Village, which have fun shops and galleries just waiting to be explored.
The drawback of Ivins is that they come up a wee bit short on medical centers with only 0.41 per 1,000 residents. However, being less than 20 minutes from downtown St. George, you will never have too hard a time finding a doctor.
- Percent of Senior Population: 13.2%
- Overall Population: 8,526
Park City may have a smaller population, but it is far from a sleepy little town. This former mining town is a real gem and likely one of the very best cities for retirees looking to stay active both outdoors and socially.
Park City is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts as it offers year-round fun. Especially with the Wasatch Mountain State Park and Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest nearby both excellent for hiking, biking, and camping.
And in the winter months, residents and visitors alike take advantage of the conveniently located chairlift in the downtown area, ready to take skiers up the mountain for incredible skiing. And downhill skiing isn’t the only option; Park City also has beautiful cross-country ski trails too.
Plus, Park City is also home to the Sundance Film Festival, hosted every year, bringing in tons of visitors to view the latest in indy cinema. When the film festival isn’t overtaking the town, Park City is perfect for enjoying high-end restaurants, boutiques, and galleries all within an easy walk in the downtown area.
And if all of that is not enough for you to consider Park City for retirement, they also have 10.93 medical centers and 6.78 rec centers per 1,000 residents.
That’s not all; the crime rate is lower than Utah’s average, which is already significantly lower than the national average, making Park City a top pick for retirement.