Cruisin' The Heartland car show in downtown Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Image credit Brian Koellish via Shutterstock

8 Most Affordable Towns to Retire in Kentucky

Bordered by rivers across all but its southern border, Kentucky is an eastern south-central US state. There are five major regions in Kentucky, each with different terrain, socio-cultural histories, and dominant industries. The state is full of rich waterways, including the Mississippi, Ohio, and Big Sandy Rivers. With two National Forests, 45 State Parks, and 82 Wildlife Management Areas, Kentucky is an outdoor state with considerable natural beauty to explore. Kentucky is known for its coal, bourbon, and the Kentucky Derby, but it is also a major agricultural state.

Kentucky is the 26th most populated state in the US, and is home to many affordable towns, making its communities excellent choices for retirement.


The Iconic Goebel Park Clock Tower in the Foreground of Downtown Cincinnati
The iconic Goebel Park Clock Tower in Covington, Kentucky.

The fifth largest city in Kentucky with just under 41,000 residents, Covington is a larger Kentucky town. The cost of living in Covington is 10% below the national average, with median house prices around $120,000 (according to Economic Research Institute). Covington has the Saint Elizabeth Covington Hospital, along with a number of friendly neighborhoods. Roebling Point sits along the riverfront and is full of eclectic shops and restaurants.

Mainstrasse Village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the city's artistic center with institutions such as the Creative House of Art and Design. Downtown Covington, also known as the Madison District, has the Braxton Brewing Company, several hotels, and restaurants. Covington is a vibrant community easily accessible to Cincinnati, making it an ideal locale for retirement.


Main Street in Georgetown, Kentucky, on a beautiful fall sunny day.
Main Street in Georgetown, Kentucky, on a beautiful fall sunny day. Image credit Alexey Stiop via

Georgetown's cost of living sits at 13% below the national average, with houses costing $176,000 on average, meaning it is an affordable option for retirees. The population is 37,500, and it also conveniently has the Georgetown Community Hospital. Known as Kentucky's "Horse Headquarters," Georgetown is an eclectic Kentucky city that prides itself on being the birthplace of bourbon.

Georgetown is home to the Georgetown Scott County Museum and Old Friends Thoroughbred Farm. The historic downtown is walkable and lined with art galleries, restaurants, and boutique shops, such as the Georgetown Gallery and the Central Purrk Cat Cafe, making it an accessible and exciting destination for retirement.


Florence Hotel, Florence Kentucky
Florence Hotel, Florence, Kentucky. Image credit RhymesWithAlbatross, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Home to the World of Golf, Vent Haven Museum, and Florence Y'all's baseball diamond, there is ample recreation available in this small community. This city of 32,000 residents has an average cost of living 11% less expensive than the national average with the median house costing $155,000. Florence has the St. Elizabeth Florence Hospital, offering easy access to healthcare.

The Deanna and Hugh Skees Senior Activity Center provides recreational, educational, and practical support to Florence's senior community. The center offers a full calendar of social, creative, and active activities, including art classes, chair volleyball, and bridge classes.


The historic buildings in the townscape of Elizabethtown
The historic buildings in the townscape of Elizabethtown, Kentucky. Image credit Sabrina Janelle Gordon via Shutterstock

Elizabethtown's cost of living is 17% lower than the national average, with houses costing $175,000 on average, meaning it's an affordable retirement option. The town of nearly 32,000 residents has the Baptist Health Hardin Hospital. Elizabethtown sits on Freeman Lake and is lined with trails and parks, including the Elizabethtown Nature Park and the Boy Scout Trail, ideal for retirees wanting to stay active.

Elizabethtown also has the Hardin County History and the Swope's Cars of Yesteryear Museums. The Aging and Disability Resource Center offers education and resources for gaining members to access in-home, short-/long-term care, and meal support and care while living in the community.


Veteran Memorial Park monuments in Jeffersontown, Kentucky.
Veteran Memorial Park monuments in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. Image credit Mark Key via

This community, of just under 30,000 residents, has an average cost of living that is 3% below the national average, with houses costing around $187,000 on average. Jeffersontown is a beautifully green town with several nature parks and waterways including the Floyds Fork, Charlie Vettiner Park, and Papa Johns Park Waterfall.

Although Jeffersontown does not have a hospital, its senior citizen center offers 15,000 square feet of recreational and community space. The center also organizes day trips to nearby attractions, as well as longer overseas trips, allowing retirees to stay connected around the globe. UofL Health Hospital is only a short drive away in nearby Lousiville for healthcare access.


Madison Pike, Independence, Kentucky
Madison Pike, Independence, Kentucky.

Although Independence is small, it is the 99th fastest-growing community in the US. Only 18 miles from Cincinnati, Independence is well-connected to the services of the big city, with the tranquility and comfort that accompanies living in a smaller town. With a population of nearly 29,000 residents, Independence's cost of living is 13% lower than the national average, with houses costing $180,000 on average.

Open to residents 50 and over, the Independence Senior and Community Center hosts weekly events, monthly reduced-rate massages, and a robust gathering space. Independence is near Doe Run Lake and is full of parks and golf courses, including The Golf Courses of Kenton County and Richardson Road Park.

Mount Washington

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest
Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, near Mount Washington, Kentucky

Mount Washington's population sits at just under 18,000 residents. The cost of living is 4% lower than the national average, with houses costing $182,000 on average. Mount Washington has several independent and assisted senior living communities, as well as the Mt. Washington Senior Center.

Mount Washington is a sporty city, with recreational spaces such as the Mt. Washington Sports Complex, City Park, and the Frank Cornell Flying Field, among several other indoor and outdoor facilities to keep retirement exciting while close to home, including the nearby Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. Although Mount Washington does not have its own hospital, there are several hospitals and specialist healthcare facilities within a half-hour drive in Louisville.


The Old Talbott Tavern was built in 1779 in Bardstown, Kentucky.
The Old Talbott Tavern was built in 1779 in Bardstown, Kentucky. Image credit Ryan_hoel via Shutterstock

Despite its small size, Bardstown is rich in history and culture. A bourbon town, Bardstown has a lot of pride in its distilling craft and has seven distilleries. With just under 14,000 residents, the cost of living in Bardstown is 14% lower than the national average, with an average home costing $134,000, making it an affordable option for retirees. For healthcare, Bardstown has the Flaglet Memorial Hospital.

Top attractions include the My Old Kentucky Home Museum, Oscar Getz Museum of Bourbon History, Women's Civil War Museum, and the Old Bardstown Village to explore. The Bardstown Senior Center hosts meals and events and offers space to the town's senior community.

Whether you are looking to settle close to a major city or looking for a quiet town embedded in nature, Kentucky has a variety of affordable communities to consider. Its prime geographic location provides warm and humid summers with cool winters. Most towns in Kentucky experience a true, four-season climate without the extensive winters states further north experience. With its robust senior communities and supports, diverse cultural centers, and rich living history, Kentucky is an excellent state to call home in retirement.

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