Historic Court Square in Charlottesville, Virginia.

10 Best Small Towns In Mid-Atlantic For Retirees

Small towns in the Mid-Atlantic, surrounded by breathtaking sceneries, heartwarming community spirit, and peaceful tranquility, capture some of the best memories for those entering the next chapter of life: retirement. After years of working for the entire day and reaching home to sleep, seniors deserve a place to feel peace and be at ease with life. 

The USA’s mid-Atlantic region consists of the states on the East Coast: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington D.C. These states encompass parts of the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Coastal Plain, boasting rich cultural heritage like in Delaware and a mixture of urban areas and historical cities in Maryland. Rural regions of Pennsylvania and the vibrant city life in New York are also top spots for retirees. And Virginia and Washington D.C. comprise cities surrounded by welcoming locals and lush nature. Moreover, the Mid-Atlantic region is also a central transportation hub, offering well-established infrastructure like ports, highways, and airports. 

Retirees looking for places to live will love the community in these small towns in the Mid-Atlantic, with scenic landscapes, budget-friendly healthcare facilities, and friendly attractions like strolling in the park, picnicking with a view, and meeting new people. 

Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Historic Stroudsburg Main Street with shops, trees, cars, and lampposts.

Historic Stroudsburg Main Street.

Stroudsburg is a Northeastern Pennsylvania gem in the Poconos. With a population of about 6,000, Stroudsburg is known for its quintessential architectural designs in the 19th-century market. Retirees can visit the Monroe Farmers Market, watch seasonal shows at the Sherman Theater, or join self-guided Stroudsburg walking tours. Seniors can also get active and join the local community through AmeriCorps, an organization offering various programs, including the Foster Grandparent Program, Retired Senior Volunteer Project, and Senior Companion Program. Stroudsburg has become a prime spot for healthcare facilities like St. Luke’s University Health Network, Brightstar Care, and the nearby Geisinger.

Senior-assisted living communities in Stroudsburg include Grace Park, Gluco Lodge Personal Care Home, and Pleasant Valley Manor. The cost of living is lower than in other US towns, with a typical home costing around $300,000. Stroudsburg offers direct bus rides to New York and other destinations. The overall climate is humid, with retirees feeling warm during summer and cold during winter. 

Charlottesville, Virginia

The Academical Village at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

The Academical Village at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Charlottesville, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, offers vivid autumnal hues and refreshing greenies in the spring. The Rivanna River winds through the region, and scenic trails along the Rivanna allow seniors to take walks or hikes. The Center at Belvedere is an ideal social attraction for seniors, with game nights, art classes, financial wellness talks, and fitness activities. Tuesday nights are for a concert series at the University of Virginia to listen to classical music by Natasha Paremski. 

Medical centers in Charlottesville include the University of Virginia Health System, Sentara Jefferson Hospital, and the Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad. Morningside, RoseWood Village, and Riverdale Assisted Living are reputable communities. Public transportation is widely available, and the cost of living surpasses the national average by 3%. There are four seasons in Charlottesville, with humid summers and snowy winters. 

Morgantown, West Virginia

Woodburn Hall at West Virginia University (WVU) in Morgantown, WV, with a dramatic sunset behind the illuminated historic building.
Woodburn Hall at West Virginia University (WVU) in Morgantown, WV, with a dramatic sunset behind the illuminated historic building. Editorial credit: Steve Heap / Shutterstock.com

Morgantown in West Virginia boasts a captivating landscape with the natural beauty of the Monongahela River Valley. The Monongahela River gracefully traverses and offers scenic vistas and a serene ambiance. One reason why Morgantown is excellent for retirees is the West Virginia University. Senior residents aged 65 and up can enroll in various courses at a discount (conditions applied). And for retirees who are outdoor enthusiasts, Morgantown is home to West Virginia Botanic Gardens and Mon River Rail Trail. The Metropolitan Theater also holds famous classical musical performances and shows like The Lion King Jr., The Nutcracker, and Mama Mia. 

Healthcare services include WVU Ruby Memorial Hospital, Mon Health Preston Memorial, and Morgantown Healthcare Center. Morgantown’s cost of living is 9% lower than average, with housing expenses amounting to 21% less than other towns in the US. Senior living communities in Morgantown include Harmony, Sundale Nursing Home, Friendship Manor, and Unity Housing. The Mountain Line Transit Authority is the primary public transportation system, connecting different neighborhoods and the West Virginia University campus. The place also has changing seasons, from vibrant fall foliage to picturesque winter snowscapes. 

Easton, Maryland

Autumn foliage and houses lining Goldsborough Street in Easton, Maryland.

Autumn foliage and houses lining Goldsborough Street in Easton, Maryland.

Easton unfolds its surroundings against the backdrop of the Delaware River. With establishments featuring Victorian and Colonial designs, Easton is one of Maryland’s Arts and Entertainment Districts. Historic buildings like the Avalon Theatre and the Wye House offer a glimpse into the city's cultural heritage. The annual Waterfowl Festival is a unique activity for the seniors, which takes place for three days in November. The festival allows retirees to get to know Easton’s mixture of food, fashion, wildlife, art, and nature. 

Senior residents can join the Brookletts Place to meet new people and join cooking classes and movie nights. While the cost of living in Easton is high, it is justifiable with the town’s healthcare facilities, like the University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton. One of the town’s most promising senior-assisted living communities is HeartFields Assisted Living at Easton. MUST operates bus services in Easton to connect with neighboring communities. Retirees will have to scout hard to find cheaper houses than in other Maryland towns, with the cost of living lower than the average. Throughout Easton, the seasonal transitions paint the scenery with an ever-changing palette of spring blossoms, summer greens, autumnal hues, and winter's serene snow blankets. 

Ocean City, New Jersey

People walking and biking on the famous Ocean City, New Jersey boardwalk
People walk and bike on the famous Ocean City, New Jersey, boardwalk. Editorial credit: Vlad G / Shutterstock.com

Ocean City is an excellent small town for retirees who want to live alongside pristine beaches. The charming sandy shores, namely 12th Street Beach, Ocean City Beach, and Peck Beach, are the go-to beaches for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Do not forget the classic American boardwalk, which contributes to the town’s nostalgic atmosphere through Playland’s Castaway Cove and Gillian’s Wonderland Pier. The Ocean City Community Center offers fitness programs tailored for seniors, like yoga classes and aqua aerobics. The Howard Stainton Senior Center provides exercises, card games, and nutrition programs for seniors and retirees. The Ocean City Arts Center is also open for all ages, offering workshops, art classes, and an art gallery. 

Medical services in Ocean City include the nearby Shore Medical Center and Cape Regional Medical Center. The cost of living in Ocean City is more than average, and the crime rate is low. Senior-assisted living communities include Wesley by the Bay’s United Methodist Communities. Ocean City is designed to be pedestrian-friendly, especially in the central areas and along the famous boardwalk. Many residents prefer walking or biking to navigate the town, particularly during the pleasant weather months.

Milford, Delaware

The Lighthouse Church near Milford, Delaware, USA
The Lighthouse Church near Milford, Delaware, USA. Editorial credit: Khairil Azhar Junos / Shutterstock.com

Milford, Delaware, boasts well-preserved 19th-century buildings, lining streets with blooming flowers shaded by mature trees. The Mispillion Riverwalk, a picturesque pathway, invites strolls with serene Mispillion River views. Seniors can also become active while playing basketball or exercising in this spot. A community theater group, the Second Street Players, performs regularly in the Riverfront Theater and hosts movie nights. Retirees with pets can stroll along the Milford Dog Park, an open space for dogs and other furry companions to play. 

Healthcare facilities include Bayhealth Hospital’s Sussex Campus and a VA hospital. The Milford Senior Center is a place to play, be entertained, and engage in community activities like Breakfast with Santa to meet local retirees. Milford’s cost of living is relatively lower than neighboring towns, including Bethany Beach. Senior-assisted living communities include Milford Place, Addus Homecare Inc., and Silver Lakes Estates. Private vehicles are a standard mode of transportation, with the town accessible by major roadways like U.S. Route 113. It also has a pedestrian-friendly downtown area with sidewalks. Milford experiences a humid subtropical climate with hot summers, mild winters, and moderate precipitation.

Dunkirk, New York

The Dunkirk Lighthouse overlooking Lake Erie in Dunkirk, New York, USA. It serves as a veterans museum and offers haunted lighthouse ghost tours.

The Dunkirk Lighthouse overlooking Lake Erie in Dunkirk, New York, USA. It serves as a veterans museum and offers haunted lighthouse ghost tours.

Dunkirk is a small town on New York’s Lake Erie and offers an affordable lake-side living with a peaceful setting. The city's historical architecture, with charming brick buildings and tree-lined streets, reflects its industrial past. Point Gratiot Park is a favorite senior-friendly local park, which offers scenic views of Lake Erie and an iconic lighthouse. The Dunkirk Pier, extending into Lake Erie, provides a spot for waterfront walks and unobstructed Great Lake views. Retirees can also learn more about the town’s history by visiting the Dunkirk Historical Museum and the Public Library. The Dunkirk Senior Center features monthly events like bingo, Mon Jong, art classes, and daily exercises. 

Brooks-TLC Hospital System operates hospitals in Dunkirk and Irving, providing various medical services, including emergency care, surgery, and outpatient services. Senior-assisted living communities include Chautauqua County Home, St. Vincent’s, and Lincoln Arms Apt. The town's walkability to enhance pedestrian-friendly areas can contribute to the ease of movement for seniors. Road networks like Interstate 90 and New York State Route 60 facilitate connections to neighboring areas, while buses are the most common public transportation. Dunkirk experiences a humid climate with cold, snowy winters and warm summers.

Ithaca, New York

Cornell University campus, students watching sunset at Libe Slope.

On the Cornell University campus, students watch the sunset at Libe Slope. Editorial credit: Jay Yuan / Shutterstock.com

Ithaca in the Finger Lakes Region features gorges and is surrounded by Cayuga Lake, Buttermilk Falls, and Ithaca Falls. This town has two massive parks, Taughannock Falls State Park and Buttermilk Falls State Park, which allow seniors to hike, bike, stroll, and birdwatch. Seniors can explore the Cornell Botanic Gardens, with a diverse collection of plants, themed gardens, and natural areas. The Ithaca Farmers Market at Steamboat Landing offers a vibrant atmosphere where seniors can explore local produce, crafts, and artisanal goods.

Cayuga Medical Center is a central healthcare facility offering emergency care, surgery, and specialized medical care. The town’s low living cost compared to the state average makes it a budget-friendly location for retirees to find homes and live peacefully. Popular assisted living facilities include Atria Senior Living, Sunrise Senior Living, Brookdale, and Pacifica. Ithaca also features Kendall and Longview, two retirement communities with the best facilities for peaceful living. Public transportation is easily accessible, even for retirees. Ithaca, New York, has a humid continental climate with cold, snowy winters and warm summers.

Bethany Beach, Delaware

Aerial drone photo of Bethany Beach, Delaware.
Aerial drone photo of Bethany Beach, Delaware.

Bethany Beach screams peacefulness with its location along the Atlantic Ocean. This seaside village has long coastline stretches and a charming boardwalk, ideal for retirees. Bethany Beach’s proximity to Delaware Seashore State Park and Fenwick Island State Park, offering various activities like picnicking, birdwatching, hiking, and taking several photos, makes it quite a catch. Retirees can choose from beaches like Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, South Bethany Beach, and Fenwick Island. Retirees can also visit the Bethany Beach Nature Center, which offers educational programs to appreciate the local flora and fauna.

Bethany Beach might be a bit more expensive regarding its cost of living by surpassing the national average by approximately 3%. Still, the scenery and activities will make the stay worth it for retirees. Nearby healthcare facilities and centers include Bethany Primary Care and the nearby Beebe Healthcare South Coastal Health Campus. Senior-assisted communities include Cedar Bay, Sunset Harbour, Bay Forest, and Millville by the Sea. Bethany Beach is walkable and bike-friendly, with hot summers and mild winters.

Smyrna, Delaware

Northbound Main Street at Commerce Street Intersection, Smyrna, Delaware.
Northbound Main Street at Commerce Street Intersection, Smyrna, Delaware. Editorial Credit: By Dough4872 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79001197

Another peaceful town in Delaware is Smyrna, which is rich in well-preserved history and majestic architecture. Its proximity to the Smyrna River enhances its scenic appeal, providing opportunities for waterfront strolls. Retirees can explore the Smyrna Museum, showcasing the town's history through exhibits and artifacts for a cultural and educational experience. Lake Como Park also offers a peaceful setting with walking trails for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and picnicking. Smyrna also features Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, where retirees can appreciate nature and experience birdwatching. Among other great places to discover the town’s history and culture include the Henry Levin Center. 

Healthcare facilities and centers include Bayhealth Medical Group, providing primary care services and consultations. Pinnacle Rehabilitation and Health Center features among the top senior-assisted living communities. Living in Smyrna is only 2% more when equated with the average, with the median home cost at $400,000. The climate in Smyrna is humid subtropical with hot summers and relatively mild winters.

Retirement Bliss in the Mid-Atlantic

Towns in the Mid-Atlantic boast charm and peace, offering retirees an ideal blend of tranquility, community, and cultural richness. From historic gems with well-preserved architecture to coastal havens with scenic waterfronts, each town mentioned provides a unique retirement experience. Besides breathtaking landscapes, these towns offer a strong sense of community, allowing retirees to lead relaxed lifestyles. Whether it is the cultural allure of places like Stroudsburg or the coastal serenity of locales such as Bethany Beach, the Mid-Atlantic region is a haven for retirees seeking the perfect combination of beauty, history, and community in the golden years.

  1. Home
  2. Places
  3. Cities
  4. 10 Best Small Towns In Mid-Atlantic For Retirees

More in Places