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Pros and Cons of Living in AlabamaYou won’t just get to enjoy that sweet southern charm in Alabama. There are plenty of other reasons to move to the “Heart of Dixie.” For example, you can expect perks such as:
- An affordable cost of living: With a cost of living index of 84.1, it’s much more affordable to live in Alabama than it is to live in many other parts of the country, as the national cost of living index is 100.
- A warm climate: With warm summers and mild winters, residents in Alabama have plenty of time to enjoy the state’s various beaches, parks, and lakes.
- Favorable tax rates: Alabama is considered tax-friendly toward retirees, as there is no tax on Social Security income or public and private pension income.
Of course, every state has its not-so-fabulous aspects, and Alabama is no exception. For instance, although Alabama has that favorable climate, there are several natural disaster risks that are important to be mindful of. Severe storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods are the most common within the state. And in the summertime? The humidity in Alabama can be pretty tough to bear.
Places To Retire in Alabama – FAQs
Q: What is the best city in Alabama to retire in?
A: According to Niche, Orange Beach is the best place to retire in Alabama in 2023.
Q: Is retiring in Alabama a good idea?
A: With an affordable cost of living and ideal tax benefits for retirees, making the decision to retire in Alabama is a great idea!
Q: Is it cheaper to retire in Florida or Alabama?
A: While Florida may offer more benefits tax-wise for its retired residents, the cost of living index in Florida of 103.1 is significantly higher than Alabama’s.
Q: Which is better to retire in, Alabama or Georgia?
A: Both Alabama and Georgia offer fabulous amenities for their retired populations, from plenty of natural beauty to explore and rich history to charming southern hospitality. However, the cost of living and tax benefits for retirees in Alabama versus Georgia are much more ideal.
Best Places To Retire in Alabama
With plenty of outdoor beauty to explore and a variety of exciting attractions to entertain you, these are 12 of the best places to retire in Alabama.
Orange Beach, Alabama
1. Orange Beach, AL
- Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,825
- Average home value: $688,200
- Great for: Local events, shopping, entertainment, dining
The small community of Orange Beach is located near the Florida-Alabama border and is currently ranked #1 for the best places to retire in Alabama for retirees, according to Niche. It used to be a farming and fishing village but eventually incorporated in 1984. Today, it's a lovely beach resort that’s full of tourists during the summer season!
The Orange Beach Arts Center's annual Festival of Art is a fun way for retirees to celebrate the local performing and visual arts scene. The facility also hosts acoustic concerts. If you’d like a larger show, the Mobile Symphony Orchestra and other concert headliners sometimes visit the area, as well.
And for all of your dining, shopping, and entertainment needs, The Wharf provides a scenic adventure — along with everything you may want or need.
2. Alexandria, AL
- Average rent (one-bedroom): N/A
- Average home value: $190,100
- Great for: Agriculture, farming, outdoor recreation
Located in Calhoun County, the town of Alexandria is known for its agricultural community that’s mainly focused on producing soybeans, cotton, and corn.
The welcoming atmosphere in Alexandria is a major draw for those who like staying engaged with the community. And Alexandria is a great place to live if you want to stay active, as you can engage in various recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and camping at nearby parks like the Alexandria Community Center and Park.
3. Foley, AL
- Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,450
- Average home value: $292,700
- Great for: Outdoor recreation, dining, shopping
South Baldwin County's major hub of Foley is located on the Gulf Coast and is the seventh best place to retire in Alabama, according to Niche. It has plenty of outdoor activities available, from hiking the trails at Graham Creek Nature Preserve to perusing the Antique Rose Trail in downtown.
The OWA amusement park is a popular attraction in Foley, as well, as it offers a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. And when it comes to snagging deals, you can’t miss visiting the popular Tanger Outlet Center.
4. Fairhope, AL
- Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,700
- Average home value: $451,400
- Great for: Waterfront atmosphere, golfing, boating
Located on a bluff overlooking Mobile Bay, the community of Fairhope was established in 1894 by a group of reformers. Interestingly, it was initially an experimental colony.
The area's waterfront stays busy, and the Fairhope Pier, which was constructed in the 1920s, features a variety of facilities, like the duck pond and rose gardens. The sunsets over the Bay are also a must-see.
There are three main marinas in the area, so boaters can enjoy a variety of water-based activities. Charter boats are also available for fishing and sailing. And the area's mild climate allows for year-round golf. (We recommend checking out the Lakewood Club and Quail Creek Club House.)
5. Vestavia Hills, AL
- Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,300
- Average home value: $536,700
- Great for: Outdoor beauty, bowling leagues, outdoor recreation
The City of Vestavia Hills is one of the best cities to retire in Alabama, according to Niche. It’s located in the Appalachian Chain's foothills on top of Shades Mountain. The area offers a magnificent view of the Appalachian Mountains to the south and the Valley to the north.
The Vestavia Bowl (a local bowling league) is a great way to get involved in the community, but there are plenty of ways to stay active around town for both you and your grandkids, as well! Some great local parks include McCallum Park and Meadowlawn Park.
6. Helena, AL
- Average rent (one-bedroom): $975
- Average home value: $342,200
- Great for: Outdoor attractions, local festivals, small-town feel
North Shelby County's Helena maintains a small-town feel, even as its population is growing rapidly. As a result, it’s more of an urban area that offers a variety of conveniences, yet it still maintains its traditional family atmosphere.
Located about 30 minutes south of Birmingham, Helena has plenty of outdoor attractions to choose from, such as Buck Creek Trail and the Cahaba River Walk. Looking to stay active in the community? You can attend vibrant annual festivals like Helena’s Buck Creek Festival.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
(Source: Taylan Saydar via Facebook)
7. Gulf Shores, AL
- Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,450
- Average home value: $455,600
- Great for: Beaches, golfing, seafood restaurants
The upscale resort town of Gulf Shores is located on Alabama's barrier island, which is easily accessed by Mobile Bay. Its beaches are known for their beautiful turquoise waters and crystal clear white sand — perfect for relaxation!
But besides its beautiful beaches, Gulf Shores also has plenty of golf courses. In fact, there are eight courses within 20 miles of the city, and two of Alabama's top-rated resorts — Kiva Dunes and Craft Farms — are located here. With so many great golf clubs and courses to choose from, you'll have no problem finding something that suits your needs.
Top seafood and fish dishes in Gulf Shores are prepared with the same flavors that you would find in New Orleans, and they’re sure to make your taste buds tingle! Some of the must-visit restaurants? Those include LuLu's, Kitty's Kafe, and Bahama Bob's.
8. Muscle Shoals, AL
- Average rent (all sizes): $1,500
- Average home value: $236,900
- Great for: Civic groups, senior center amenities, interesting attractions
Located in the heart of “The Shoals,” Muscle Shoals is a thriving town that’s currently one of the best places to retire in the state, according to Niche. In addition to civic groups like the Kiwanis Club of Muscle Shoals and the Muscle Shoals Education Foundation, the city also offers fellowship and activities for senior adults through the Muscle Shoals Senior Living Center and Outreach Program.
The FAME Recording Studios is one of the most fascinating attractions that can be found in the city's center. Fun fact: During the 1970s, artists from different genres visited the facility to record their music. This made Muscle Shoals the "Hit Recording Capital Of The World.”
9. Pelham, AL
- Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,425
- Average home value: $294,300
- Great for: Outdoor recreation, scenic neighborhoods
Pelham is a great place to retire if you’re looking for a small-town feel with big-city amenities. The town’s population is just over 24,700, and it boasts over 5,500 businesses. You’ll also be in a great location with two exits just off of I-65, meaning easy access to state beaches and other attractions.
The Pelham Civic Complex, the Pelham Racquet Club, and the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, are just some of the many recreational opportunities that the city has to offer. So whether you want to go to big-name concerts, enjoy ice skating, or get a game of tennis in on the weekends, you’ll be able to do it all in Pelham.
10. Cullman, AL
- Average rent (one-bedroom): N/A
- Average home value: $231,300
- Great for: Lake activities, environmental enthusiasts
One of the fastest-growing cities in the state, Cullman is known for its natural beauty. In particular, it’s known for its access to one of the cleanest lakes in the state, Smith Lake, which is located between Birmingham and Huntsville. This lake features a variety of winding streams and bluffs and has numerous marinas and recreation areas.
Community and environmental preservation are especially important to the residents of Cullman. The local North Alabama Agriplex group, for example, states that their mission is to “cultivate a community passionate about preserving our agricultural heritage, educating and feeding our neighbors, and growing a sustainable future.” The facility offers seven programs per month and community outreach initiatives throughout the city for different age groups.
11. Cedar Bluff, AL
- Average rent (one-bedroom): N/A
- Average home value: $225,500
- Great for: Outdoor beauty, lake activities
Situated on the shore of Weiss Lake, Cedar Bluff is a small town in northeast Alabama surrounded by Civil War battlefield sites.
Over 30,000 acres are covered by the lake, which is fed by three rivers. So it’s no surprise that it’s known for its bass fishing, water skiing, and boating. You’ll be able to find ranch-style and plantation homes along the lake, or even condominiums, if you’re looking for something smaller. And if you're a fisherman or camper who enjoys spending time at Weiss Lake, you might want to consider a long-term campsite at The Cove At Riverside Campground. This facility allows you to set up camp once and spend the day fishing, boating, and relaxing.
12. Indian Springs Village, AL
- Average rent (one-bedroom): $1,325
- Average home value: $519,800
- Great for: Local amenities, shopping, close proximity to major cities
Indian Springs Village is best described as a friendly and tight-knit community, located in the northern portion of Shelby County. Just 12 miles south of the city of Birmingham, Indian Springs Village offers just about every amenity you could need, such as a post office, a bank, and plenty of local shops to choose from. Whether it’s Big Chief Country Store, The Indian Paintbrush, or Watkins Outfitters, you’ll be able to find just what you want.
And residents of Indian Springs Village can relish in the fact that they’re situated so close to Birmingham, but they’re able to enjoy the more laid-back lifestyle of a rural Alabama setting.
Get to Alabama With the Help of PODS
If you’re planning on retiring in Alabama, let PODS assist you with the move by delivering a portable storage container to your doorstep. This will allow you to pack and load your belongings at your own pace, and you can schedule its pickup whenever you’re ready. One month of storage is included in the price of every move, so you can easily unload your items without feeling rushed, as well.
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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