Mississippi, also known as "The Magnolia State," is becoming increasingly popular among retirees who want to spend their golden years in a charming southern setting. With a population of 2.95 million, the state offers a low cost of living, plenty of outdoor activities, and relatively mild winters. Mississippi takes pride in its rich historical heritage and strongly emphasizes conservative values such as family and faith. Most residents enjoy the simpler way of life in the state's small towns, where life tends to be slower-paced than the hectic chaos of large metropolitan areas. These ten towns in Mississippi have strong retirement communities that celebrate and value the contributions that older adults can make. Therefore, these communities provide great places for retirement years.
Hattiesburg is home to two universities: the University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey. These universities offer a wide range of activities seniors can enjoy, such as stage productions, concerts, and sporting events. Retirees can also explore the downtown area, which has recently improved to make it more pedestrian-friendly. The downtown district is a vibrant mix of shops, restaurants, and historic sites, including the Main Street Books, which is an ideal spot for book lovers to find a spot to find a good read or take a pottery class. (The bookstore has a built-in pottery studio). Another must-visit place is the Loblolly Bakery, opened by James Beard winner Martha Foose, which serves classic pastries and specialty coffee. For a unique experience, check out the Lucky Rabbit, which offers a great collection of hard-to-find collectibles and curios every weekend.
Apart from the activities at the universities and downtown, there are also two parks providing plenty of healthy exercise opportunities. Kemper Park and Town Square Park are perfect for picnics and walks. Duncan Lake, located near the south end of Hattiesburg, is a 17-acre lake regularly stocked with bass and catfish. For a more peaceful retreat, the Paul B. Johnson State Park is just a few miles south of town and includes Geiger Lake, a picturesque spot to relax and unwind. Families will enjoy the Hattiesburg Zoo, while beach lovers can head to the Gulf Coast, which is only about two hours away.
Madison is a suburb just north of Jackson, Mississippi, with a reputation for its exceptional healthcare facilities, top-quality schools, and extensive recreational activities. It is also one of the fastest-growing regions in the state, with the majority of its residents being homeowners. While owning a home in Madison can be expensive, the community offers a lower overall cost of living compared to other areas in the state. The city is dedicated to promoting healthy living, with strict building codes designed to maintain its clean, upscale aesthetic. The Madison Healthplex is a prime example of a cutting-edge fitness center that provides gym memberships and exercise programs seniors can enjoy. For a unique dining experience, the Strawberry Cafe is a simple and casual restaurant that uses fresh ingredients to create daily entrees.
Retirees will love the numerous private golf courses, including Whispering Lake, Reunion, and Annandale. The community is near the Ross Barnett Reservoir, a 24,000-acre lake with ample boating and fishing opportunities. The Natchez Trace Parkway, which sits just two miles south of town, is one of the prettiest scenic drives through the rural Mississippi landscape and is a perfect way to spend a leisurely afternoon. The future looks bright for Madison, as a prominent Main Street complex is currently being built, providing even more dining and shopping options.
Oxford is another vibrant college town in the northern part of the state, home to the University of Mississippi. It offers a quaint, historic downtown square with various cute boutiques and excellent dining experiences. Residents will enjoy exploring Neilson's Department Store or Square Books, two of the oldest stores in the South. Food lovers can partake in a diverse culinary landscape, including eating at one of four restaurants owned by award-winning James Beard Chef John Currence. (He oversees City Grocery, Boure, Big Bad Breakfast, and Snackbar).
Oxford is also the home to Rowan Oak, where famous author William Faulker penned many of his classic works. Several community parks and nature areas, including Lamar Park, Bailey Woods Trail, and South Campus Rail Trail, offer the perfect spots for joggers and walkers looking for outdoor exercise. The Oxford Park Commission runs an excellent wellness program featuring various activities, trips, and experiences dedicated to improving the lives of local retirees. With excellent public education supported by a top-quality university, Oxford is one of the best places to live in the state.
This coastal community boasts a charming small-town vibe with its white sandy beaches and lively art scene. The town offers affordable housing, low food and fuel costs, and plenty of attractions and activities for retirees, with a cost of living of 16.5% less than the national average. Every November, Ocean Springs hosts the Peter Anderson Arts and Crafts Festival, which has become one of the largest arts festivals in the Southeast. You'll love exploring the iconic cottage main street, where historic buildings enjoy the shade of centuries-old oak trees. Stop by the Pink Rooster for art, the Coastal Magpie for antiques, or French Kiss Pastries for a sweet treat.
The Ocean Springs Senior Center and YMCA are two local organizations that offer programs to enhance retirees' welfare. The town's proximity to the beach provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy the refreshing coastal ocean breeze or even charter a boat for deep-sea fishing if you want a more adventurous experience. To see some local wildlife, including birds, reptiles, and other aquatic life, head to the Davis Bayou Area Gulf Islands National Seashore and stroll along the boardwalks. Don't be surprised if you spot gulls, pelicans, turtles, alligators, or even dolphins. One thing to remember is that the area can get busy during spring break weeks and special events, which may impact local traffic. Several casinos in the area, including the Golden Nugget Casino and Margaritaville Resort, both within three miles and offer a steady stream of performances and entertainment options.
Corinth is a small town located on the Tennessee state border, with over 21% of the residents aged 65 or older. With a median home price of $137,300, reasonable fuel and food costs, and the presence of the Magnolia Regional Medical Center, this serene community offers a great living experience for senior citizens. The Alcorn Senior Center organizes recreational and leisure activities for retirees, including pottery, dancing, yoga, exercise, and various day trips or group travel programs. For history enthusiasts, the Corinth Civil War Interpretative Center showcases interactive displays and films that provide a glimpse of the Civil War era. The Corinth Coke Museum houses an impressive collection of old Coca-Cola memorabilia worth exploring. The Tanglefoot Trail is an excellent rails-to-trails route spanning over 46 miles, meandering through rolling rural landscapes, and is perfect for biking or walking. If you are looking for an affordable retirement location with a close-knit faith-based community and a rich Civil War history, Corinth, Mississippi, is worth considering.
If you love older antebellum homes, this southern river town is where you need to be. With over 300 historic homes throughout the community, the town celebrates a rich Southern charm rooted in Civil War history. The town sits on the high river bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, and its location made it a strategic area for both sides during the Civil War. History buffs will want to visit Longwood, Monmouth Plantation, and Dunleith Plantation, which are all excellent examples of period-style homes. There are plenty of scenic views, native wildlife, and outdoor recreational activities. Whether you are bird-watching in The Saint Catherine Creek Natural Wildlife Refuge or taking a river cruise on one of the American Queen Voyages ships, there is plenty to see and do.
Natchez is a designated certified retirement community with a low cost of living, strong senior citizen support, and excellent medical care. There are five medical centers in the region surrounding Natchez, including Merit Health, which features several programs designed to enhance the quality of life for senior residents. Food lovers will love Roux 61 Seafood & Grill or the Carriage House Restaurant on the grounds of Stanton Hall for a delicious Sunday brunch.
Aberdeen is a lovely town in northeast Mississippi along the picturesque banks of the Tombigbee River. The community offers a wide range of recreational activities, including Aberdeen Lake, just six minutes north of the town. The reservoir extends twenty-two miles from Aberdeen to Amory and is home to many fish species, such as Largemouth Bass, Crappie, and Catfish. The Blue Bluff Recreation area offers a pretty little campground, perfect for an RV with many sites sitting right on the water. Hikers will appreciate the beautiful scenery of Blue Bluff Big Loop, which climbs the 80' bluffs above the lake for scenic views.
The downtown district boasts many historic buildings and antebellum homes, giving the area a rustic charm. The Main Street Association is located in the fully restored Kansas City Southern Railroad Depot and offers educational activities to enhance and preserve the local history. The local Parks and Recreation Department offers many senior activities, from exercise classes to movie nights. With a lower cost of living than most other towns in Mississippi, Aberdeen is becoming one of the more popular places for seniors to retire.
This small town in northwest Mississippi boasts an excellent school system and is a great place to raise a family. Many residents commute to jobs in Memphis, less than half an hour away. The close-knit community has a solid senior presence, with 19.2% of the residents being 65 years or older. While home prices are over the state average, other factors like food costs, safety, and health costs are lower than both Mississippi and national averages. Baptist Hospital is a level three trauma center less than fifteen minutes away and is considered one of the finest healthcare facilities in the country.
Outdoor activities include the Hernando Point Recreation Area on Arkabutla Lake. The region offers excellent fishing and hunting opportunities, as deer and duck hunters descend on the town during the fall and winter seasons. The Coldwater River Nature Trail and the Swinging Bridge Nature Trail are interactive walks winding their way around the reservoir. With the low crime, strong home ownership, and unwavering support for education, it is no wonder why Hernando consistently makes the lists of the best places in Mississippi to live.
Cleveland is a small college town in the Mississippi Delta region. The town has a low crime rate, few taxes, and a high quality of life. Delta State University is situated here, offering excellent educational and cultural experiences to residents, including tuition-free classes. The town celebrates its role as part of America's Blues Highway and is home to the Grammy Museum Mississippi. Downtown Cleveland features many historic buildings, boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. One of the most notable buildings is the Cotton House Hotel, located on "Cotton Row." The hotel is named after the city's brisk commerce, exporting regional cotton grown in the fertile Delta region. The Cotton House has an exquisite restaurant that food lovers should try. The Delta Meat Market is another popular dining spot, known for its farm-to-table cuisine and led by James Beard Award-nominated Chef Cole Ellis. Cleveland's median home price is $145,100, below the national average, making it an attractive option for seniors considering relocating.
Picayune is a town in southern Mississippi that is only a forty-five-minute drive from New Orleans, Hattiesburg, and Gulfport-Biloxi. The town boasts a low crime rate, reasonable cost of living, excellent schools, solid family homes, and faith-based churches, making it one of the best places for retirement in the South. The Crosby Arboretum is another highlight of this town, occupying 700 acres of protected native landscape, operated by the Mississippi State University extension program. It features numerous trails and interactive displays for visitors to enjoy. The Stennis Space Center is ten miles away, featuring NASA's largest jet propulsion laboratory in the country. The community has committed to revitalizing its main street with new pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, lighting, and historic preservation sites. With the average price of a home listed at a very reasonable $117,200, Picayune has everything retirees could hope for.
One of the most critical decisions senior adults will make is where to spend their golden years. These small towns in Mississippi offer many rewarding retirement experiences with their low expenses, reasonable housing costs, and higher educational opportunities. While life may slow down as senior adults age, a simpler lifestyle does not have to mean life should become boring or mundane. These faith-based communities have rich historical heritages built around the loving contributions that retirees can bring to the places they live.