A bustling street in Manchester, New Hampshire. Editorial credit: Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

7 Top-Ranked Towns in New Hampshire for Retirees

New Hampshire, a state in the Northeastern United States, is loved by tourists and retirees alike. Most people are drawn by its proximity to the upper Atlantic Ocean, vast forests, and towering mountains that boast abundant outdoor opportunities. Beyond its natural beauty, New Hampshire features terrific small towns, ideal for retirees who want to settle down. If world-class hospitals, ample housing, delicious food, many businesses, and well-maintained parks sound like your retirement plan, these towns fit the bill. Moreover, they offer an escape from the hustle and bustle of the big cities on America's East Coast while remaining well-connected. Let’s take a look at the seven top-ranked towns for retirees in the ‘Granite State.’


Dartmouth College campus in Hanover, New Hampshire.
The campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Editorial credit: Jay Yuan / Shutterstock.com

Hanover is an idyllic town in the far western center of New Hampshire, ideal for retirees looking for a small to medium-sized town. It lies along the Connecticut River, providing access to the wilds of the interior, while also having easy access to many useful amenities such as a robust downtown core and hospitals. For example, the nearby Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center is a top-notch facility catering to various medical requirements. Hanover also boasts an efficient water supply, with state-of-the-art facilities to keep essential services intact.

Being a bit of a college town, with Dartmouth College taking up much of the city center, you may be pleased with the exciting and educational things to do here. Visit the Hood Museum of Art one day and grab a beer at Molly’s Restaurant & Bar another.

If you are looking to stay fit in your golden years, Hanover has you covered. Beautiful parks like Mink Brook Nature Preserve and Grasse Road Trailhead - Balch Hill Natural Area are nearby to help you stretch your legs while soaking in some great views.


Riverside view of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Riverside view of buildings in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Portsmouth is perhaps a bit more developed than other towns on this list, being first settled in 1630, and has easy access to the Atlantic Ocean. But, it is nowhere near as busy as many other towns or cities on the Atlantic Coast. Because of this, retirees have the opportunity to live somewhere with lots of amenities, yet still relatively quiet and affordable, let alone beautiful to look at.

With easy access to the Portsmouth International Airport, getting in and out of town easily has never been more convenient. Enjoy Portsmouth's downtown while you're there; with its robust selection of shops, restaurants, and museums like the Strawberry Banke Museum (a historical park of sorts) and the USS Albacore Museum, you may want to retire here! 

The town boasts a relatively large senior population, with about 20% of its citizens over 65, so finding a familiar community of fellow retirees is no trouble. Access to quality healthcare is also easy with the nearby Portsmouth Hospital.


Odd Fellows Hall in the historic area of Exeter, New Hampshire.
Odd Fellows Hall in the historic area of Exeter, New Hampshire. Editorial credit: Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

Known for its academic institutions, like the Philips Exeter Academy, the lively (but not too lively) town of Exeter is a safe and secure place to settle down in your later years. Retirees love the town’s upbeat vibe, palpable through the friendly demeanor of its 16,000 residents. Even a short stroll through town is a fun outing full of bubbly conversations.

Many great parks are at hand just outside town, like the pleasurable Henderson-Swasey Town Forest, an idyllic spot for many afternoon walks. Golf more you swing? The Exeter Country Club is among the best and most affordable courses of its kind in the state. 

Work out your mind too at places like the Exeter Historical Society or the American Independence Museum right in the heart of downtown Exeter. With everything a retiree may want, such as easy access to golf clubs, parks, hospitals, and more, you should definitely add this town to your list of retirement spots. The best part is that Exeter has an affordable average housing price of $317,000, so retirees can buy their dream home without breaking the bank. 


Aerial view of Wolfeboro's town center.
An aerial view of the town center in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.

Ever wanted to retire on a lake? If so, Wolfeboro, a town of about 6,500 residents, a huge 34.3% above the age of 65, is a dream come true. The town is a reprieve of waterside charm, resting on the forested shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, the largest lake in New Hampshire.

Home to a lake this large and beautiful to look at, there are many resorts to lounge at, like the Windrifter Resort with its resort-adjacent businesses. Because of this, water-based activities like boating, swimming, and fantastic restaurants are plentiful. Add on activities like sunbathing on Brewster Beach or hiking to Wolfeboro Falls, and the options for outdoor activities are endless here.

Thanks to the large population of seniors, there are a couple of retirement living options, most within walking distance of downtown Wolfeboro. The Taylor Retirement Community and the Wolfeboro Bay Center nursing home offer round-the-clock care and great living spaces. Or, for a calmer environment, the Sugar Hill Retirement Community is located further from the town center.


A scenic park in Keene, New Hampshire.
A scenic park in Keene, New Hampshire. Editorial credit: Andy Sutherland / Shutterstock.com

Located in the Monadnock Region, Keene provides retirees with a blend of cultural richness and natural beauty. With a sizable population of 23,000 people, the downtown area boasts a vibrant atmosphere with many shops, eateries, and cultural venues. Seniors can enjoy a Belgian meal at the Fritz Restaurant, shop for books at The Toadstool Bookshop, or spend the day strolling through the picturesque Railroad Square. Beyond the crowded streets, natural areas offer reprieve through various recreational activities, including walking and biking along the Cheshire Rail Trail. Moreover, the historic sites in Keene, like the Horatio Colony House Museum, preserve the region's heritage. 

Low crime rates and quality healthcare facilities like the Apine Health Care Center make Keene a secure retirement destination. The average housing price here is also very reasonable, at $221,400 per home, much less than the national average of $337,100. Thus, whether exploring the town's cultural offerings or immersing oneself in its scenic surroundings, Keene offers a fulfilling retirement experience in southwestern New Hampshire.


The Peterborough Town Hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
The Peterborough Town Hall in Peterborough, New Hampshire.

Also situated in the picturesque Monadnock Region, Peterborough offers a serene environment rich in cultural and natural assets. This town of 6,400 residents at the far southern end of New Hampshire features a vibrant arts scene, with local galleries and theaters showcasing community talent.

Whether exploring downtown shops or enjoying scenic vistas from Pack Monadnock Mountain, Peterborough offers a fulfilling retirement experience in New Hampshire. Learn more about the town and its surrounding area at The Monadnock Center for History & Culture and get a taste of the local culture at the Mariposa Museum & World Culture Center. Its historic streets and homes lend a calming atmosphere, complemented by ample outdoor recreation opportunities in nearby parks like the Monadnock State Park, where one can embark on trails of varying difficulties.

Peterborough contains an assortment of senior-oriented living communities. These include but are not limited to Summerhill Assisted Living, RiverMead Full Service Lifecare Community, and Scott-Farrar Retirement Community. Most boast eccentric environments full of people, as 28% of the town comprises senior citizens.


Historic buildings along Main Street in Concord, New Hampshire.
Historic buildings along Main Street in Concord, New Hampshire. Editorial credit: Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

The biggest city on this list in terms of population, with nearly 44,000 residents, Concord gives retirees a taste of New Hampshire's central wilderness while not sacrificing any of the benefits of living in a highly populated area. Excellent connectivity, a reasonable cost of living, and easy access to healthcare make this a great town for anybody to retire in. Even with these benefits, the town boasts affordable housing, with an average house costing $288,000, $50,000 less than the state average.

Concord is also home to various retirement communities, assisted living homes, and senior-oriented services. Some of the many available include Comfort Keepers assisted living home living service, White Rock Senior Living Community, Havenwood assisted living, and more. 

Once you’ve decided to retire here, the town has plenty of ways to keep you entertained. Outdoor lovers can take daily walks along the Merrimack River running through downtown Concord. Or, visit any of the numerous parks just outside of town, like Bear Brook State Park or a little further north at Mount Kearsarge State Forest Park. If staying indoors is more your stride, there is lots for you to do too. Explore some of the historic homes that have been wonderfully preserved. The Mary Baker Eddy Historic House is a great example with tales of old that history lovers adore.

Wrapping Up

Between hiking, sightseeing, exploring fun local businesses, and simply enjoying the beauty of New England, New Hampshire is a great place to visit, regardless of how long. Its easy access to world-class healthcare, abundant resources for seniors, and relatively low cost of living make this state an ideal place to retire. Hopefully, this list has given you some direction about where you want to live in your golden years; make them special in 'The Granite State.'

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