Virginia is an appealing state to retire to for several reasons. To start with, Virginia is a state that offers a bit of everything from big city life with 5-star fine dining to small towns that offer nature lovers an abundance of outdoor activities. There are also plenty of interesting places to retire in Virginia.
History buffs will love Virginia’s many museums and historic sites, including President Washington’s mother’s former home. Mary Washington’s house, found in Fredericksburg, has been fully restored and is open to the public. Other famous historic locations include Colonial Williamsburg, Historic Jamestown, and Yorktown’s American Revolution Museum.
If speed is more your thing, you have several options available, including horse racing, three NASCAR tracks, and Formula 1 and stock car racing tracks. And sports enthusiasts will love watching college games all over the state.
Plus, the horse country in this state is one of the top spots for horse lovers. There are many horse events such as polo, shows, and competitions found throughout the year.
Bristol, Virginia, is commonly thought of as the birthplace of country music. Because country music has such strong roots here, there is always a place to find great live country music from local groups at a small club to a major venue with the latest top artists.
Plus, all over Virginia, you will find festivals year-round. There are festivals for various holidays, food, and town celebrations every weekend of the year. And if you are looking for a quieter outing, Virginia is home to more than 230 vineyards, great to spend an afternoon exploring. Though many don’t think of Virginia as a wine and cheese country, this state has plenty of both, which rival what you can find on the west coast.
Finally, Virginia is appealing financially since it tends to be on the tax friendlier side. Virginia does not tax Social Security and allows for up to a $12,000 deductible on other retirement income such as pensions and 401Ks. Other tax friendly states include Georgia and Arkansas.
Also, property taxes average lower than 1%, making buying very attractive. And medications are tax exempt, including both prescription and over the counter medications.
Best of all Virginia has great medical facilities including multiple nationally ranked hospitals.
Where to Retire in Virginia
- Percent of Senior Population: 10.8%
- Overall Population: 159,428
Established in 1749, Alexandria is located along the Potomac River, less than 20 minutes from Washington DC. Alexandria is unique because it is a large city with a small-town feel, which makes the area all the more alluring.
Old Town Alexandria is one of the best parts of the city with its combination of modern and 18th- and 19th-century architecture. The King Street mile, in Old Town, is the heart of the area and is home to more than 200 independently-owned stores, boutiques, and restaurants.
And Old Town isn’t the only attraction; Alexandria’s waterfront area is equally impressive. The newly renovated area offers outdoor art exhibits, live performances, shopping, and dining along the river.
Besides the shopping and local eateries, there are several nearby parks and trails such as the Mount Vernon Trail, Dora Kelley Nature Park, and the Winkler Botanical Preserve. Also, along the waterfront, you will find eight different parks and a local marina to store your boat.
So, though Alexandria is a large city, there are still plenty of outdoor activities that allow you to get in touch with nature.
Alexandria is also home to multiple medical centers and hospitals, including Inova Alexandria Hospital, one of the top ranking hospitals in the state.
- Percent of Senior Population: 10.7%
- Overall Population: 47,266
Charlottesville is darn near perfect for most people; it will please the history buffs, nature lovers, sports fans, and wine enthusiasts.
Charlottesville is well known for being the home to Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s mountaintop home. The Jefferson home was designed by Jefferson and is an architectural masterpiece. The house is open to the public year-round, and estate grounds are open for tours during the warmer seasons of April to October.
But not all of the city’s historic charm comes from Monticello. Other well-known historic sites in the area include:
- Highland, the home of the 5th President James Monroe
- Court Square Park
- Clark’s Birthplace Historic Marker
- Edgar Allen Poe’s Room
- Battle of Trevilians Historic Marker
And historical sites are not the only interesting aspect of the city; Charlottesville is also home to one of the top schools, the University of Virginia. The University is the primary source for the area’s culture, art, medical care, and sporting events.
Charlottesville Historic Downtown Mall is a popular place for both residents and visitors. This picturesque pedestrian mall is lined with modern and historic architecture, adding the charm of the area. The mall features more than 30 restaurants and 120 shops.
The mall area also has several fine theaters where patrons enjoy live performances. And if you don’t feel like driving to, you can always take the free trolley from the University area along West Main Street.
And for when you want to relax with a nice glass of wine, you can visit one of the 30 plus wineries in town. Most of these wineries are open for tours and are a fantastic place to enjoy an afternoon exploring their grounds.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love the canoeing, kayaking, rafting, biking, and horseback riding in the area. Plus, there is amazing hiking in the area, such as on the Rivanna Trail, Appalachian Trail, or the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains.
- Percent of Senior Population: 10.6%
- Overall Population: 29,036
Fredericksburg is another historically influenced town. It is the home of Mary Jefferson’s house and a 40-block area recognized as a national historic district, right in downtown.
In addition to the historic district, Fredericksburg celebrates its rich history through various sites and museums such as:
- Fredericksburg Area Museum
- James Monroe Museum
- National Museum of Pacific War
- Pioneer Museum
- Vereins Kirche Museum
- Washington Heritage Museums
However, history is not all Fredericksburg has to offer. The city’s location is also a common reason residents move here. Fredericksburg is conveniently located less than an hour from D.C. and the state’s capital, Richmond, allowing residents access to the conveniences of urban life yet be able to live in a city of less than 30,000.
And when you feel like getting some shopping in Fredericksburg has the Spotsylvania Towne Center. This mall area hosts various shops, department stores, restaurants, and a movie theater.
Active retirees will enjoy taking advantage of the numerous local outdoor activities like kayaking down the river, golfing at one of the many clubs, or exploring the nature preserve. And when you want to combine history and the outdoors, check out the Virginia Civil War Trail, where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery as you learn about history through the many interpretive signs.
Plus, numerous medical centers are available. Fredericksburg averages 8 facilities per 1,000 residents, including several full-service hospitals.
- Percent of Senior Population: 15.6%
- Overall Population: 28,078
Last year, Reader’s Digest recognized Winchester as one of the top ten best small towns to retire to, but that was not the first time this town was recognized. In 2011, AARP listed Winchester in their top ten list for most affordable places to retire. Though much has changed since 2011, the one thing that hasn’t is Winchester’s appeal to retirees.
History enthusiasts will love exploring the 45-block historic district, the old courthouse, and the dozen or so historic sites listed on the National Register. Some of the favorite sites and museums in the town include:
- Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters
- Godfrey Miller Home & Fellowship Center
- Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
- Fort Loudoun Historic Site
- Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum
- Washington’s Office Museum
Active retirees will also love living in Winchester. Golfers can enjoy a day on the greens at the Appleland Sports Center or drop in at their driving range. Those looking for a good trail ride or a place to board your horse can hit up Bailey’s Walking After Midnight Farm.
And Clearbrook Park is perfect for those looking to spend time on the water boating, fishing, and paddleboarding. And if you are into hiking and biking adventures, the George Washington National Forest is where you will want to go.
And because of the town’s notoriety, Winchester’s 65+ community is continuing to grow. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that a town is an affordable place for retirees to settle down. Though it is a smaller town it still has 6 medical facilities per 1,000 residents, which is another positive aspect of this town.
- Percent of Senior Population: 14.8%
- Overall Population: 14,954
Williamsburg, the former state capital, is a charming historic town, with easy access to the ocean, Chesapeake Bay, Jamestown, and Yorktown. The town is home to William and Mary, the second oldest college in the nation. Best of all, retirees can audit classes at William and Mary’s for free.
This colonial-style town is rich in history, bringing history buffs from all over the world to experience the town’s many historical attractions such as:
- Colonial Williamsburg, full of costumed interpreters it is the largest living museum in the world
- Berkeley Plantation Virginia’s “most historic plantation” open daily for tours
- American Revolution Museum just 20 minutes away in Yorktown
- Jamestown Settlement explores the 17th century Virginia
In addition to history and the school, Williamsburg also has some very modern attractions, like Busch Gardens Amusement Park, DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Water Country USA, and many premium outlet stores.
Also, outdoor enthusiasts will love all that Williamsburg has to offer like their many local parks:
- Freedom Park
- Chickahominy Riverfront Park
- College Landing Park
- Little Creek Reservoir Park
Plus, several of the parks have a lake, great for those looking to get out on the water.
And for those looking for more than just a stroll, there is always Go Ape Tree Top Adventure, where you can zip line, cross net bridges, climb rope ladders, and more.
So, not only can retirees stay active, continue their education, learn about history, but they can also stay healthy while doing it. Williamsburg has been recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid for their premium healthcare.