Guthrie, Oklahoma. Editorial credit: Andreas Stroh /

7 Best Small Towns To Retire In Oklahoma In 2024

As retirement approaches, many older adults consider where they would like to spend their golden years. If you are considering Oklahoma as your retirement destination for 2024, several charming small towns could be the perfect place to settle down and enjoy well-deserved relaxation. The "Sooner State" is considered tax-friendly to seniors because it has no social security taxes, partial pension tax relief, and low sales taxes for daily living. While the seven communities listed below provide low crime rates, excellent medical care, and a low cost of living, they also provide ample opportunities for seniors to stay active and engaged while enjoying the tranquility of later life years.


Guthrie Historic District, Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Guthrie Historic District, Guthrie, Oklahoma. Image credit: Steven C. Price via Wikimedia Commons.

Guthrie sits about half an hour north of Oklahoma City and is known for its historic charm. As the first capital of the Oklahoma Territory, this town of just under 11,000 residents boasts a rich history filled with Victorian-era architecture lining the streets. Stroll down the brick-paved sidewalks of Historic Downtown Guthrie, where well-preserved buildings house art galleries, antique shops, and cozy cafes. History buffs will want to explore the Territorial Capitol Museum and the Oklahoma Frontier Drugstore Museum or take in a show at the landmark Pollard Theatre.

One of the highlights of living in Guthrie is the Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival, drawing music enthusiasts from across the nation. Additionally, visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture during the annual 89er Day Celebration, commemorating the town's Land Run of 1889. This event offers a glimpse into Guthrie's pioneer past with parades, rodeos, craft shows, and more, making it a delightful experience for all ages. If you need a breakfast place, try Katie's Diner, a local hangout serving the community since the mid-90s.

In 2024, the median price for a home is $317,800, with an average rent of $1,189. Guthrie is served by Mercy Hospital Logan County, a small 25-bed critical care facility that can handle most emergencies. Most patients travel to Oklahoma City for specialized care. With a crime rate typical of communities, its size, food, and fuel costs are reasonable, particularly with the state legislature recently eliminating the 4.5% state sales tax on groceries.


A nature preserve in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
A nature preserve in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Bartlesville is a part of Washington County in northeastern Oklahoma, just a few miles south of the Kansas border. While the town began as a small settlement in Indian Territory in the mid-1870s, its primary claim to fame lies in oil production as the original headquarters for Phillips 66. One of the town's standout landmarks is the Price Tower Arts Center, a stunning example of Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture. Visitors can tour this unique skyscraper, which houses a museum, art galleries, and a boutique hotel. Art enthusiasts will also appreciate the Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve, featuring an impressive collection of Western art, Native American artifacts, and acres of pristine wilderness for hiking and wildlife viewing.

Every year, the town hosts the Bartlesville Round-Up Club Rodeo in July, a thrilling rodeo event that showcases the skills of cowboys and cowgirls in action-packed competitions. With various other festivals and events held throughout the downtown area, there are plenty of activities to keep seniors engaged. The town is home to two universities, Rogers State and Oklahoma Wesleyan, which offer vibrant performing arts programs.

Throughout the year, visitors can also enjoy the Bartlesville Farmers Market, where local farmers and artisans gather to sell fresh produce, crafts, and homemade goodies. For a place to stay, try the BarDew Valley B&B located just north of town, or eat at the Painted Horse Bar and Grille, a rustic restaurant and bar that is a favorite local watering hole. 

The median price for a home in Bartlesville is $221,000, and with a low crime rate, the town has a lot to offer. The medical care is handled by Ascension St. John Jane Med Center, a level three trauma center with a 114-bed facility. 


A scene from Ada, Oklahoma.
A scene from Ada, Oklahoma.

Ada is an excellent choice for retirees seeking a close-knit community with a Southern charm. This town of approximately 17,000 residents is the birthplace of country music legend Blake Shelton and the national headquarters for the Chickasaw Nation. Ada is also known for its picturesque landscapes. Wintersmith Park is a local favorite with its outdoor amphitheater, pristine lake, and walking trail, and the Chickasaw National Recreation Area and Arbuckle Mountains are about 30 minutes away. 

The community boasts a vibrant Main Street District with an eclectic array of galleries, boutiques, and eateries. The Chokma'si Gallery is a highlight for tourists and is known for its interesting displays of Native American art. Be sure to stop by Vintage 22 in the heart of downtown for a drink or sample Pigskin BBQ for a taste of fine, slow-smoked ribs. If your sweet tooth needs indulging, stop at Amber's Sweet Shoppe, a local bakery with a fantastic reputation for excellent cakes and cookies. 

The percentage of residents over 65 years of age is 13.5%. The median price for a home in Ada is $227,000, with rent averaging $1,050. Mercy Hospital In Ada is a 159-bed facility along with Chickasaw Nation Medical Center, offering 72 beds and serving the Native American community. With a low crime rate and a very reasonable cost of living index, it is easy to see why Ada seems to be attracting more seniors every year. 


Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma.
Will Rogers Memorial Museum in Claremore, Oklahoma. Editorial credit: BD Images /

Home to the famous Will Rogers Memorial Museum, Claremore is a charming town in northeast Oklahoma, sitting about half an hour from Tulsa. Retirees can explore the area's rich history, including the Will Rogers Museum or the JM Davis Arms Museum, with its impressive collection of firearms. Claremore Lake offers an excellent trail for walking, along with a peaceful picnic area. If you prefer to ride, there is a fantastic mountain biking trail system that is relatively uncrowded and perfect for families and seniors wanting to stay fit with exercise. 

One of the best places to indulge your tastebuds is the Pink House, located on the first floor of the historic Belvedere Mansion. It is open for lunch with a beautiful variety of signature salads and sandwiches. You will want to make a reservation because it is pretty popular. In addition, the Hammett House has been a local landmark serving homecooked meals since 1969,

The cost of living is reasonable, and the crime rate is notably low, making Claremore an attractive retirement destination. The median price for a home is $282,000, with an average rent of $1595, which is higher than other areas but still less than the national average. Medical care is handled by Hillcrest Hospital, a 41-bed acute-care facility offering various general and surgical services.  


The Train Station in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
The Train Station in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Image credit: Ron Reiring via

With a population of around 30,000, Shawnee offers retirees a mix of small-town charm and modern amenities. The town is known for its vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries and theaters, including the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art or the iconic Ritz Theater, showcasing local talent. Retirees can enjoy five casinos or explore the nearby nationally recognized arboretum on the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University.

This community's living cost is affordable, with food and fuel costs less than the national average. The streets are safe, and the crime rate is relatively low. The median price of a home is $215,000, and the average rent is $995. You can also access medical care easily through staff affiliated with St. Anthony Hospital, a 57-bed facility handling all acute and general procedures.

If you're looking for a nostalgic burger joint, Hamburger King on Main St. is worth a visit. You can even order your meal by picking up the phone at your booth. For breakfast, the go-to place is Sunny Side Up, which has been serving the community for over 30 years. If you want to try a handcrafted brew, head to Bricktown Brewery, right off I-40. Although it's one of many franchised breweries throughout the heartland, it's definitely worth trying if you haven't already.

Ponca City

Sunny exterior view of the City Hall in Ponca City, Oklahoma.
Sunny exterior view of the City Hall in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Editorial credit: Andreas Stroh /

Ponca City is a picturesque town on the Arkansas River in northern central Oklahoma. The region has plenty of outdoor recreational activities at nearby Kaw Lake, just minutes away. The reservoir was completed in the mid-seventies with 17,000 surface acres of water and 168 miles of shoreline, making it perfect for boating, fishing, and camping. (Retirees over 65 can purchase a lifetime fishing license in the state for $15). 

The community is home to the Pioneer Woman Museum, filled with exciting displays and artifacts from the early pioneer days. In addition, the E.W. Marland Mansion is a cultural attraction with its fine works of art and history detailing the "oil boom" that put the town on the map. Retirees will enjoy strolling through the Cann Botanical Gardens. The ten acres of pristine gardens showcase a variety of perrenials, herbs and annuals surrounding an old 1908 Victorian home. For dining options, the Rusty Barrell Supper Club has excellent steaks. If Mexican is your thing, the locals will point you toward Enrique's near the airport. 

The median price for a home in Ponca City is $175,000. With a low crime rate and a cost of living below the national average, Ponca City offers retirees a peaceful and affordable retirement option. There is access to medical care through Integris Health Systems, which operate a 47 bed facility in the community. 


Durant Regional Airport in Durant, Oklahoma.
Durant Regional Airport in Durant, Oklahoma.

Even though the local Choctaw Casino & Resort draws most visitors to the community, Durant offers a peaceful and beautiful environment due to its proximity to Lake Texoma. This vast reservoir can be reached within 15 minutes and provides excellent opportunities for boating, fishing, and lakeside picnics. Nature lovers can take delight in exploring the scenic trails that surround the lake. Additionally, the area is home to a diverse range of wildlife, and bird watchers can observe various bird species that nest near the water. In addition, history buffs will want to explore Ft. Washita with its fascinating displays of historic buildings and ruins. 

The annual Magnolia Festival of Oklahoma is a beloved event celebrating the town's heritage with arts, crafts, live music, and mouthwatering local cuisine. For those who want to sample some of the best dining options in the area, Roadhouse Bar and Grill is a top rated place for steaks and Main Street BBQ is the place for smoked brisket.

The median price for a home in Durant is $285,000, but the food and fuel costs are very reasonable. Alliance Health supplies medical care with a 138 bed facility handing all types of medical conditions. With 15.9% of the residents living as retirees, there is strong community support to offer services to keep seniors engaged and entertained. 

Retiring in Oklahoma offers a unique blend of small-town charm, natural beauty, and affordability. These seven towns provide retirees with a safe and welcoming community, abundant recreational opportunities, and a rich cultural scene—all against the backdrop of Oklahoma's stunning landscapes. Whether you prefer the historic charm of Guthrie, the outdoor adventures of Durant, or the cultural amenities of Bartlesville, Oklahoma has a retirement destination to suit every taste.

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