A low cost of living. Natural attractions at every turn. A pleasant combination of picturesque sandy shorelines, a prominent arts and culture scene, friendly people, and many tight-knit communities. We could go on and on about the benefits of retiring in the Great Lakes State of Michigan. But we’ll let the statistics speak for themselves: Almost 19 percent of the state’s population is 65 or older. That’s pretty impressive, especially if you consider that the population under 18 only makes up 21 percent of the population. But where do these retirees reside? What are the best places to retire in Michigan? Here are 12 of our favorites.
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Pros and Cons of Retiring in Michigan
Every retirement destination has its drawbacks; however, you’ll probably find that the advantages of living in Michigan are enough to override the disadvantages.
The major pros of retiring in Michigan include:
- Low cost of living: With a cost of living index estimated at 91.5, the cost of living in Michigan is lower than the national average.
- Natural attractions: It’s hard to live in Michigan and not be mesmerized by the beautiful waterside attractions, which include four of the Great Lakes that all border Michigan.
- Tax-friendly benefits: Michigan is considered tax-friendly toward its retired population, as all forms of retirement income other than Social Security are just partially taxed at a rate of 4.25 percent.
If you’re used to warm weather, though, be prepared for Michigan’s rough winters. The flip side? You’ll be able to enjoy lots of outdoor recreation during the summer months. In fact, Michigan is a popular tourist destination due to its beautiful beaches and lakeside activities. Unfortunately, that means the beaches can get quite crowded in the summertime and may be a disadvantage for local residents.
Places To Retire in Michigan — FAQs
Q: Is Michigan a good state for retirement?
A: Michigan provides perks for its younger population, such as a variety of job opportunities, but is Michigan a good state to retire in, as well? Yes! A low cost of living and tax benefits, combined with natural beauty, a prominent arts & culture scene, and many local attractions make the state of Michigan one of the best states to retire.
Q: Where is the best place to retire in Michigan on a budget?
A: Frankenmuth and Stevensville both have affordable rent and housing prices, compared to most other parts of the state.
Q: Where does Michigan rank in the best states to retire in?
A: Bankrate has ranked Michigan 13th on its list for “The Best and Worst States to Retire in 2023.”
Best Places To Retire in Michigan
With plenty to keep you busy during your golden years, including outdoor recreation, shopping, exploring, and mingling with the local community, here are our picks for the best places to retire in Michigan.
(Source: Frankenmuth via Facebook)
1. Frankenmuth, MI
Situated on the Cass River, Frankenmuth is the type of place where you can always get out and about and explore fun local offerings. In fact, a number of lively festivals and events are held in the town each year, including the AutoFest, Summer Music Fest, and the Bavarian Festival.
Downtown Frankenmuth offers a variety of unique shopping experiences, as well. You can find several quaint boutiques, such as the Covered Bridge Shop or the Bavarian Inn Castle Shops. The River Place Shops, a local shopping mall that features over 40 different stores, also offers a great shopping experience and hosts fun events throughout the year.
2. Greilickville, MI
Just north of Traverse City and located on the edge of Lake Michigan is where you can find the small town of Greilickville — ranked No. 9 on Niche’s list for “Best Places to Retire in Michigan.”
Fishing and boating on the lake are some of the most popular outdoor recreational activities, and residents have direct access to fabulous parks, like the Keith J. Charters Traverse City State Park and Greilickville Harbor Park.
Looking for some grub? Because of its close proximity to Traverse City, Greilickville residents are privy to some of the best dining experiences, including The Burrow TC, Apache Trout Grill, and West End Tavern.
3. Beverly Hills, MI
- Average rent (one-bedroom): $2,225
- Average home value: $495,600
- Great for: Outdoor recreation, exploring local nature
You may be surprised to learn that there’s more than one Beverly Hills, and this Beverly Hills just happens to be one of the best small towns in Michigan to retire. Situated near Detroit, it provides it all for retirees who enjoy spending time in nature.
The 34-acre Beverly Park, for example, features outdoor recreation areas, such as a skating rink, sand courts, basketball courts, a playground, tennis courts, and a disc golf course. It also has a wooded area with trails for hiking and biking.
There are numerous nature preserves in Beverly Hills, as well, that also provide valuable green space. One of these is the Douglas Evans Nature Preserve. This area is open to the public specifically for studying nature while you walk.
(Source: Pat Chasteen-Sine & Monaghan Realtors via Facebook)
4. Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Those looking for an upscale suburban community to spend their golden years should consider the community of Grosse Pointe Farms, a beautiful area that lies on the shores of Lake St. Clair in the southeastern part of the state.
The arts and entertainment scene in Grosse Pointe Farms is what makes the community so desirable for its retired residents. Grosse Pointe Theatre, in particular, is a can’t-miss spot to catch a live theater performance, whether you’re in the mood for musicals, comedies, or dramas.
Local residents can also head to Mack Avenue when they feel like doing some shopping or going out to eat. Local favorites include the Mack Avenue Grille and Da Edoardo Ristorante.
5. Stevensville, MI
- Average rent (one-bedroom): $825
- Average home value: $288,700
- Great for: Outdoor recreation, parks, playground for grandkids
Located in Michigan's southwest corner, Stevensville is a small town situated near Lake Michigan. It's known for its fruit trees and rural land to the east, with the northern part of town becoming more urban as it approaches the city of St. Joseph. And with some of the most affordable rent and home prices across the entire state, this small town is our pick for the cheapest place to retire in Michigan for those who are on a budget.
Unsurprisingly, one of the town's most popular attractions is Lake Michigan, which is a half-mile away. The nearby Grand Mere State Park features acres of sand dunes, as well as two inland lakes and a portion of the lakeshore. For a fun trip with the grandkids, head to North Lake Park for amenities like a playground and picnic area.
6. Pleasant Ridge, MI
- Average rent (one-bedroom): N/A
- Average home value: $431,300
- Great for: Outdoor recreation, parks, pets, dining
Regardless of your preferred lifestyle, there is likely something for you to enjoy in the small, close-knit community of Pleasant Ridge. For those looking to stay active, for instance, parks like Gainsboro Park and the Community Center Park offer amenities that include open recreation space, a dog park, and a variety of sports facilities.
Self-proclaimed foodie? Pleasant Ridge is also a hotspot when it comes to dining options. Residents have a variety of lovely restaurants, including Whistle Stop Diners and Pizzeria Da Romolo.
Charlevoix Township, Michigan
7. Charlevoix Township, MI
Ranked No. 1 on Niche’s list as the best city to retire in Michigan, Charlevoix Township is the perfect small town for those looking to get away from the larger crowds of the busier cities.
Outdoor recreation is one of the most popular pastimes among local residents, as Lake Charlevoix and the Jordan River are great spots to get a boat out on the water or go fishing. Nearby parks include the beautiful Depot Beach Park and East Park.
And for the golfing enthusiasts, there are several golf courses local to the area, which include the Charlevoix Country Club and the Belvedere Golf Club. Enjoy a winery visit every once in a while? You’ll find plenty local to Charlevoix Township, such as Blu Dot Farm and Vineyard and Lost Cellars.
8. Birmingham, MI
- Average rent (one-bedroom): $2,175
- Average home value: $599,100
- Great for: Shopping, restaurants, arts, culture, music
While maintaining its small-town feel, Birmingham offers a variety of cultural and recreational opportunities in a vibrant urban setting. For example, residents can enjoy the area's bustling downtown district, which features all kinds of eateries, art galleries, retailers, and movie theaters. It serves as a center of finance, insurance, real estate, and other services for the city, as well.
The city of Birmingham also boasts a strong arts scene, as it’s home to numerous cultural organizations. Both residents and tourists can enjoy the various institutions that are located in the area, such as the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, the Birmingham Museum and the Baldwin Public Library.
9. Peninsula Township, MI
- Average rent (one-bedroom): N/A
- Median home value: $466,900
- Great for: Shopping, outdoor attractions
Peninsula Township, or “Old Mission Peninsula,” is regarded as one of Michigan's most scenic and unique townships. Unlike other small townships throughout the state, it projects 16 miles into the Grand Traverse Bay. It also spans across 42 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, and its width can vary from one to three miles.
Those looking to shop and dine can head to a variety of local hotspots on Main Street, and some fun outdoor attractions to explore include the Mission Point Lighthouse, Chateau Chantal Winery & Inn, and 2 Lads Winery.
Ford River Township, Michigan
(Source: Rick Curtis-Associate Broker, Key Realty Delta County via Facebook)
10. Ford River Township, MI
- Average rent (one-bedroom): N/A
- Median home value: $135,000
- Great for: Outdoor recreation, restaurants, friendly community
Want to know where to retire in Michigan with top-notch outdoor activities? The Ford River Township, situated in the northwestern region of the state, is a friendly and peaceful community with direct access to Ford River. Nature lovers can enjoy kayaking — apparently the best kayaking experiences in Delta County — or canoeing down the Ford River. And lucky visitors might even catch a glimpse of bald eagles or whitetail deer roaming the area.
Looking for a bite to eat after a long day of outdoor activities? The Ford River Pub & Grill is a long-standing establishment located near the Ford River boat launch. It offers a wide variety of comfort food dishes, including its famous Friday Night Fish Fry. The Breezy Point Bar & Grill is another local favorite offering classic bar food alongside beautiful views.
11. Bloomfield Hills, MI
- Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,575
- Average home value: $566,300
- Great for: Outdoor recreation, arts, culture
Bloomfield Hills is a thriving community, home to museums, clubs, and lots of outdoor activities. One prominent local attraction is the Cranbrook Institute of Science which features a dome theater with science documentaries, a natural history section, and an anthropology gallery. The Cranbrook Art Museum also features rotating exhibits year-round of modern and contemporary art.
Want to maintain an active lifestyle during your golden years? Consider joining the Bloomfield Open Hunt Club for access to an equestrian facility and a variety of club sports in the local community.
12. Marion Township, MI
- Average rent (one-bedroom): N/A
- Median home sale price: $325,500
- Great for: Outdoor recreation, natural beauty, biking
Known for its picturesque local beauty and friendly community, the small town of Marion Township in Charlevoix County is one of the best places to retire in Michigan that offers both a peaceful and relaxing lifestyle.
Local residents enjoy access to a variety of outdoor recreation activities thanks to the lakes and local trails. A network of interconnected paths winds through miles of undisturbed natural beauty in Charlevoix County, making this area an ideal location for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking. And you can easily bike along Lake Michigan's shoreline or the Little Traverse Wheelway.
The area's surrounding countryside is also full of fruit stands and farms. You can pick or buy ready-to-eat fruit, as well as pastries and jams, at local establishments like King Orchards or Friske Orchards Farm Market.
Let PODS Help With Your Michigan Moving Journey
When you’ve found the ideal place to retire in Michigan, let the professionals at PODS help you move your belongings. They will deliver a portable storage container to your doorstep, where you can load everything at your own leisure. They will then take it to your new home when you’re ready. One month’s storage is included in every move, as well, so you can easily unload on your own time.
Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.
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