First Avenue, the main street through the downtown area of Sandpoint, Idaho. Editorial credit: Kirk Fisher /

6 Top-Ranked Towns in Idaho for Retirees

The state of Idaho sits within the Pacific Northwest, exploding with a blend of natural scenery and beauty alongside rich, welcoming communities that are ideal for senior living. Towering mountains and serene lakes fill the state with beautiful outdoor spaces, while local events and festivals promise a never-ending list of things to do and enjoy. Idaho is a lovely state for retirement, boasting low property taxes and sales taxes, with a relatively low cost of living. The state's small towns promise an escape from the bustle of city life while still maintaining a sense of community and warmth, ensuring a fulfilling and enriching retirement.

Island Park

Sunset at Big Springs, Island Park, Idaho. Credit: T Schofield
Sunset at Big Springs, Island Park, Idaho. Credit: T Schofield

Island Park is one of the coziest small towns in the Pacific Northwest, just thirty minutes from the West Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, which is one of the largest national parks in the United States. In terms of activities, seniors may enjoy exploring historical sites such as the Old Union Pacific Railroad or fly-fishing in Henry’s Fork of the Snake River. The town also houses the world's longest main street, running 36.8 miles, perfect for an afternoon stroll. Bird watching is another popular activity, especially in Harriman State Park, which is also a lovely place to snowshoe in the winter.

The median home price in Island Park is $790,000, while there are also opportunities for retirement living, such as Sienna Senior Living.


Windmills in wheat field outside of Burley.
Windmills in wheat fields outside of Burley.

Burley is the ideal destination for retirees with a love for the great outdoors, featuring the glimmering Snake River, one of the longest rivers in the United States, where locals enjoy boating and bass fishing. There is even the River’s Edge Golf Course, situated on the banks of the river and featuring a great game of 18 holes. For those with a keen interest in history, the Cassia County Historical Museum is a great place to spend an afternoon learning about the Oregon Trail and historic farm equipment. The King Fine Arts Center always has something going on, whether it is a show, gala, opera, or anything of the sort.

There are several destinations for retirement living, such as Highland Estates Assisted Living & Memory Care, Rosetta Assisted Living, and Pomerelle Place. The median home price in Burley is $370,600.


Town of Lewiston, Idaho. Credit: Jennifer Sharp
Town of Lewiston, Idaho. Image credit Jennifer Sharp via istock

Lewiston is one of the prettiest towns in Idaho and also one of the oldest-founded towns in the state, with a history dating back to 1861. The Nez Perce County Historical Society Museum is the ideal location to delve into the town's storied past, while a drive along the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway is the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Outdoor adventurists are sure to love Hells Gate State Park, where popular activities include picnicking and hiking, as well as boating, swimming, and fishing on the Snake River.

The median home price in Lewiston is $385,000, while retirement living opportunities include the Royal Plaza of Olympus Retirement Living, Brookdale Lewiston, and Wedgewood Terrace.


Snake River Canyon Jerome County, Idaho, USA.
Snake River Canyon Jerome County, Idaho, USA.

Jerome is an unforgettable small town in Idaho, surrounded by stunning scenery, such as the Snake River Canyon, and overflowing with quaint local shops like Backroom Bargains and Jerome Valley Wine Country Store. Retirees may enjoy days spent at the Snake River Canyons Parks, spanning the Perrine bridge to Shoshone Falls, with plenty of great views, hiking trails, and scenic drives. Every August is the annual Taco Fest, perfect for foodies, offering a chance to sample dozens of local goods. Minidoka National Historic Site is a great spot to learn all about the area's past, featuring historic buildings and details from WWII

The median home price sits around $385,000, with opportunities for senior living at DeSano Place Assisted Living & Memory Care Homes, Ashley Manor Memory Care, and Senior Citizens Center.


View of Lake Pend Oreille and the town of Sandpoint.
View of Lake Pend Oreille and the town of Sandpoint.

Sandpoint is a small town with fantastic recreation activities and a great destination for retirees. The town sits on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, which is Idaho's largest and most beautiful lake and is surrounded by three mountain ranges: the Selkirk, Cabinet, and Bitterroots. Silverwood Theme Park, the Northwest's largest theme park, opens in the warmer months and is a great place to visit with the grandchildren, as it is the nearby Boulder Beach Water Park. The town also houses Schweitzer, Idaho’s largest ski resort, where retirees may enjoy a day out in the snow. Annual events include the Festival at Sandpoint, the Winter Carnival, and the Lost in the 50s Event.

The average home price in Sandpoint is $790,000, and retirement living communities include The Bridge at Sandpoint, Luther Park at Sandpoint, and Lakeside Assisted Living.


Payette lake in McCall Idaho.
Payette Lake in McCall, Idaho.

McCall is one of the most welcoming towns in Idaho and also a popular vacation spot due to its appealing location on the shores of Payette Lake and easy access to gorgeous destinations such as Rotary Park, Ponderosa State Park, and North Beach. The McCall Golf Club and McCall RV Resort are popular destinations for retirees, offering plenty of fun in the sun and opportunities for summer relaxation. The area also boasts a rich arts and cultural scene, home to plenty of galleries and art shops, such as Gallery Fifty-Five, all of which are discoverable on the McCall Art Walk. Other popular events include the weekly Farmers Market from June through October, the Winter Carnival, and Fall Fest.

The median home price in McCall is 874,900, and retirement communities include McCall Rehabilitation and Care Center and McCall Senior Citizens Center.

A good location for retirement promises top-notch amenities and senior care alongside plenty of natural scenery and open outdoor spaces, local events and things to do, and safe, affordable living. Thankfully, Idaho's small towns promise all that and more! From the serene sunsets of Emmett to the beautiful Snake River Canyon of Jerome, there is always something to do outdoors, while places like the King Fine Arts Center of Burley ensure retirees will always have a community in which they belong.

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