What can possibly compare to retiring in a state with zero income tax, where the food is phenomenal, the roads wide and spacious, and the residents infectiously friendly? If you have not figured it out yet, we are talking about Texas, the second-largest state in America. While it can get hot, many regions, particularly in Central Texas, do not witness the extremes of weather — and even so — it is nothing that an A/C cannot handle. There is no need to mention the delicious coastline, the miles of white-sand beaches, and the heart-melting seaside vistas. If this feels like a dream worth living, the following Texas small towns are the best to consider for retirement.
Part of what makes Katy an incredible retirement destination is that if the number of residents is held constant, Katy boasts some of the highest concentrations of both medical facilities and recreation centers of any town in Texas. About 27,100 residents call this little gem home — and enjoy the many attractions within its precincts. Once known for rice farming, as can be seen by the many silos that dot the railroad tracks, today, Katy has attractions that will be of interest to those in their golden years. Historic Old Katy plays host to Mary Jo Peckham Park, where, as a senior, you can spend early mornings strolling the beautiful paths and filling your lungs with some fresh, crisp air. Once in a while, you will go browsing at LaCenterra, an upscale shopping complex that will easily steal a day from your hands. If you want to relive the early days of the town, the well-preserved Katy Heritage Park will be of much interest.
Less than 70 years ago, Woodway was a sleepy town of less than 300 residents just recently incorporated after being founded by a Civil War veteran about a century earlier. Today, Woodway is a gorgeous master-planned community that hosts nearly 10,000 residents. Because of its small size, Woodway is the place where your interaction with neighbors — or business owners down the street — will be anything but superficial. Then again, since Woodway is only about 10 minutes from Waco by car, which in turn hosts Baylor University, the proximity to a youthful crowd will ensure your heart and mind are kept forever young. Besides, the town's tree-lined streets will be a pleasure to stroll through. Waco Lake is not far away, and the community is known to be inviting and friendly.
Part of what earns Fredericksburg a spot on this list is the fact senior citizens make up about 30% of its population. And you know what that means. You will have peers with whom you can sit down and talk about ABBA, the Beatles, or Elton John. Then again, secreted in the Texas Hill Country, a region of the state famous for its natural beauty, Fredericksburg will ensure your sunset years are filled with lovely, heart-warming landscapes and scenery. Both San Antonio and Austin are within easy reach — so you can dash for a much-needed service or amenity. Besides, the more than 100 wineries around the town will offer amazing exploration opportunities, while the Enchanted Rock State Park, and its numerous outdoor pleasures, is less than 20 minutes away by car.
With about 13,800 residents, Tomball is everything you will want in a small town, including a slow pace, intimate experiences, authentic appeal, and elbow room. Also, located only about half an hour's drive from Houston, seniors are always within easy reach of big-city cultural attractions. Once named in Ripley's Believe It or Not as the only city with free gas, water, and no cemetery, Tomball has long been a getaway for those who want to wind down and change gears. Beautiful parks and nature preserves abound in the area, complete with picturesque biking and hiking trails. Tomball's Museum Centre preserves pieces of the town's past and hosts interesting exhibits of the town's bygone era, including a one-room schoolhouse, jail, and sawmill. Finally, Tomball's Railroad Depot contains train memorabilia that will be a pleasure to discover, besides model railroads and thoughtfully curated artworks.
Considering its name, it is ironic that Humble once boasted the largest producing oilfield in Texas. Plus, the Humble Oil and Refining Company, which owes its creation to the discovery of oil in the area and the subsequent oil rush, was once the largest oil producer in the United States. Humble is just about 20 miles north of Houston. This means in approximately 20 minutes, you can access the services of numerous top-rated hospitals, some of which are on the Best Hospitals Honor Roll. These include the Houston Methodist Hospital, which has been ranked fourth in the nation for diabetes and endocrinology — among other impressive rankings. Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens offers breathtaking views you will want to drink every evening, while the beautifully renovated Charles Bender Performing Arts Center is a great place to enjoy a live performance.
Among Burnet's claims to fame is the fact it is the Bluebonnet Capital of Texas. To put this in perspective, it has been mentioned that the bluebonnet is to Texas — what the tulip is to Holland — or the rose to England. If there is one flower that defines Texas and that Texans also adore in equal measure, it is the enchanting purplish blooms that fill the state's backroads, open fields, and highways every spring. Burnet is about an hour's drive north of Austin in the picturesque Texas Hill Country. It boasts a relatively low tax burden yet provides access to multiple award-winning wineries, including the Wedding Oak Winery, whose back patio is a cool place to enjoy a glass — amid an atmosphere that could beat any anti-aging supplement. Besides, the Burnet Farmers and Crafts Market will ensure your kitchen gets a constant supply of farm-fresh produce, not to mention its delightful variety.
Just about 12,800 call Granbury, a charming town that lies along US Route 377, home. Granbury is about 30 miles from Fortworth, Texas, and is often ranked among the best places to retire in the United States. And with seniors comprising nearly 30% of the population, it is not difficult to notice Granbury's appeal to American pensioners. They vote with their feet. Because of these numbers, expect to be in good company, as you will be part of a closely-knit community with whom you can share what makes life sweet and worth living. What's more? You can spend your golden years traipsing through more than 40 historic landmarks, including the Hood County Courthouse, the centerpiece of the town's vibrant historic downtown. Besides, the glittering lake that lends the town its name sits smack in the middle of the town and is a spot suitable for all kinds of floating adventures.
Located about 30 miles southwest of Houston, and hence a driving distance of just about 40 minutes, retirement in Richmond ensures you are not far away from cultural attractions and big-city services. Dotted with pioneer ranches, Richmond is reputed to be among the oldest cities in Texas and the oldest in the county. A stay here is a call-back to the good old days when life was simpler, slower — and more authentic. Richmond's Farmers Market will ensure you are healthy and happy — while Wessendorff Park is an awesome place to curl down with a good book, take a power walk, or walk your furry friend. Besides, a visit to the Fort Bend Museum is a delicious journey back in time. You can churn out your own tasty butter at the Fort Bend Museum or stroll through the well-kept grounds. For history enthusiasts, George Ranch Historical Park demonstrates life from frontier Texas to Japan's surrender in World War II.
If you would like to spend your golden years boating or fishing, Livingston could just be what your doctor will recommend. This stunner of just about 6,000 residents sits close to the Trinity River, a favorite spot for rock hounding, fishing, and watching wildlife. Then again, many will swear that Lake Livingston State Park, which is at the town's doorstep, plays host to the best boardwalk hikes in the entire state. You can make it a weekend routine by hitting the Pineywoods Boardwalk — and walking through massive shades of evergreens — and dabbling in several other outdoor activities, including birding. There is a castle at Lake Livingston where you can repose once in a while amid heart-melting sceneries that will warm your heart. Better still, you can enjoy a full day on Lake Livingston's Pine Island while surrounded by nothing but beautiful views on every side and, of course, water.
Once named Gardentown, Webster is another Texas jewel that offers seniors a life of their dreams. For starters, Webster is a Houston suburb and is noted for its impressive number of medical facilities. Except for Katy, Webster arguably boasts more doctors per capita than any other suburb in the region. The Webster area is home to more than 20 senior living communities, including Brookdale Clear Lake, an independent living community steps away from some of the most amazing dining and shopping attractions around. Webster also hosts the Space Centre Houston — a fine place to study the footprints of Neil Armstrong — and is the only place in the world where one can tour Space Shuttle Independence. Besides, amazing craft breweries abound in the Webster area, including Nobi Public House, which could be serving the best Bahn Mi in the entire state.
The county seat of north-central Texas' Somervell County lies on the photogenic Paluxy River at the junction of US Highway 67 and State Highway 144. Home to about 3,000 residents, Glen Rose is small and boasts a closely-knit community ideal for those who want a beyond-surname friendship. Outdoor adventure opportunities abound in the area, including at the Dinosaur Valley State Park, which is less than 10 minutes by car from downtown Glen Rose. This park straddles the scenic Paluxy River, features hundreds of incredible dinosaur footprints, and is quite the place to walk in the footsteps of the prehistoric giants. The beautiful county courthouse often plants a smile on the faces of onlookers, while the tree-line landscapes are a pleasure to drive through. Finally, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center provides the chance to be within a hair's breadth of giraffes, the tallest mammals on Earth.
Brenham is an East Texas treasure known as the home of Blue Bell Creameries. While the distinctively rich and creamy texture of Blue Bell ice creams can alone make one set base around Brenham — if just to enjoy one of the South's most sought-after flavors — Brenham has much more to offer. Encircled by grassy fields and peaceful farmlands, Brenham offers enough legroom for seniors tired of being squeezed into crowded streets or tiny apartments. Washington-on-the-Brazos, reputed to be the birthplace of the state, is less than 20 miles from downtown Brenham and offers a history-lover an experience of a lifetime. Besides, Brenham Heritage Museum covers thousands of years of the area's rich history and culture, while the Antique Rose Emporium displays nearly every rose bush imaginable in addition to a few good native Texas plants and shrubs.
From the desert beauty of West Texas to the blooming greenery of the Texas Hill Country to the state's spectacular coastline and pretty beaches, retiring in the Lone Star State comes with several experiences — besides just the enchanting sunny weather. Texas offers a world of options for those who believe their golden years should feature golden sunsets — and in beautiful, slow-paced towns that brim with social amenities. Among the best Texas small towns to retire include Granbury, Katy, Fredericksburg, and Webster.