Downtown Hannibal, Missouri.Editorial credit: Sabrina Janelle Gordon /

8 Top-Ranked Towns In Missouri For Retirees

If you are a retiree searching for the perfect place to spend your golden years, you may want to consider the small towns located in the Show Me state of Missouri. These communities offer a charming Midwest vibe, with ideal recreational and historical activities to keep seniors engaged and entertained. Moreover, retirees will find these towns in Missouri have excellent healthcare access, affordable living costs, and safe neighborhoods, making for a high quality of life for older adults. Uncover the top eight towns to retire in Missouri for 2024. 


Downtown Sedalia, Missouri.
Downtown Sedalia, Missouri. Image credit: Jasperdo via

Sedalia sits in the state's central region, about thirty miles south of the Missouri River. As the county seat of Pettis County, the community is the home to the State Fair (August 8 - 18) and the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival (May 31 - June 1). The Bothwell Lodge Historic Site and the Katy Railroad Museum offer beautiful exhibits about the region's railroading days. The Katy Trail is the nation's longest "rails-to-trail" project, stretching 237 miles across the state and offering excellent hiking, biking, or walking options. 

The average price for a home in Sedalia is $189,500, and with low food and fuel costs, seniors will not find their budgets overly strained. Beginning in 2024, retirement pensions and Social Security benefits for individuals 62 and older are not considered taxable. Retirees make up about 17.1% of the population. Bothwell Regional Medical Center is the primary healthcare provider, with a 145-bed facility that can handle emergency and acute care. Should specialty care be needed, Columbia is about an hour away. 

The downtown district is a hub of activity, with many older brick buildings housing a variety of boutiques, shops, and dining options. Kehde's is a local barbeque restaurant that has been serving the local community for over 50 years. This interesting restaurant has seating in a 1920s railroad dining car, making for a beautiful dining experience. If you need a place to stay, the Hotel Bothwell in the central district is an upscale boutique hotel offering great value. 


Clay County Courthouse in Liberty, Missouri.
Clay County Courthouse in Liberty, Missouri. Image credit: Corey Seeman via

As a suburb of Kansas City, Liberty offers the best of both worlds: the tranquility of a smaller town and the amenities of a larger city. Retirees here enjoy a thriving arts scene, diverse dining options, and numerous parks and golf courses. The town's strong sense of community and well-maintained neighborhoods make it popular for those seeking a welcoming and safe environment.

The community is home to William Jewell University, which offers excellent performance recitals, stage productions, and informative seminars. The average price of a home is $400,000, and the average rent runs around $1,151. The community is home to many young families attracted to the area for its excellent school system. About 14% of the residents are retirees. The crime rate is significantly less than the national and state average. The Liberty Medical Center is a 143-bed full-service hospital, and with several other hospitals nearby, access to medical care is exceptional.

Due to its location near Kansas City, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy professional sports, whether baseball, football, or soccer. The community has a beautiful town square with a historic bank that Jesse James robbed in one of the first recorded daylight bank robberies in 1866. The museum is filled with artifacts and displays about the James gang (who made their homestead just north in Kearney). With several festivals and events happening throughout the year, there is always something happening in Liberty to keep residents engaged and interested. 

There is a vibrant arts scene in town, with several boutiques and galleries in the historic downtown district. If you want to sample some great food, Ginger Sue's is a cute downtown cafe open for breakfast and lunch using fresh ingredients. The Inn at Belvoir Winery is a quaint Bed and Breakfast in the converted 1923 Oddfellows home and hospital just south of town.


Hannibal Missouri, the historic hometown of Mark Twain.
Hannibal, Missouri, the historic hometown of Mark Twain. Editorial credit: Photos BrianScantlebury /

Nestled on the banks of the Mississippi River in the northeast part of the state, Hannibal is a town steeped in literary history as the boyhood home of Mark Twain. This charming town, with a population of around 18,000 residents, offers retirees a rich cultural experience with its Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum, providing insights into the life of the beloved author. Residents can enjoy a leisurely walk down Historic Main Street, visit the Rockcliffe Mansion, or take a scenic riverboat cruise. Hannibal's has a vibrant arts scene, and its proximity to wineries like the Cave Hollow Winery makes it an ideal spot for retirees seeking a relaxing lifestyle filled with history and culture.

The median price for a home is $163,000, with a $975 average rent, both of which are less than the national average. With consistently low fuel and food costs, everyday expenses are manageable for most retirees. Census records indicate that 19% of the population is over 65, so there is a strong network of senior adults to help transition to retirement. The Hannibal Regional Medical Center is a 99-bed facility that can handle any medical situation. There are several assisted living facilities in Hannibal should the need arise. 

If you visit, LaBinnah Bistro is a fine dining establishment that serves excellent dishes from around the globe, but be advised that they don't take reservations. For a casual experience, try the Brick Oven, which serves wood-fired pizza and Italian cuisine. The best place to spend the night is Garth Woodside Mansion, where guests step back in time to stay in a Victorian Mansion and eat a full-plated breakfast made from scratch each morning.


Bronze statue by Don Weigand in Fulton, Missouri.
Bronze statue by Don Weigand in Fulton, Missouri. Editorial credit: RozenskiP /

Fulton is a small town about 20 miles east of Columbia, filled with a rich history and charming atmosphere. The community is close-knit and welcoming, with a population of approximately 13,000, and 13% of residents are 65 and older. The median price for a home is around $180,000, which is less than the national average. The Callaway Community Hospital is a small 37-bed acute care facility, and with its proximity to Columbia, most medical care is handled by the University of Missouri Healthcare system. 

The National Churchill Museum, located on the Westminster College campus, is a must-visit attraction for history buffs. Retirees can explore the museum's exhibits dedicated to Winston Churchill's famous Iron Curtain speech, which he delivered on campus in 1946. Alternatively, you can check out the Auto World Car Museum if you are a car enthusiast. This museum has a vast collection of antique automobiles and car memorabilia, making it an excellent venue for car lovers. 

Fulton offers scenic parks, such as Veterans Park and Memorial Park, perfect for relaxing outings. With its historic downtown district featuring local shops and eateries, Fulton provides retirees plenty of options for dining. If you need a place to eat, try the Fulton Cafe for authentic Cuban food or the 1851 Underground Tap and Grill for a fine selection of craft beers, burgers, and a heaping plate of onion rings.


Historic Route 66 in Lebanon, Missouri.
Historic Route 66 in Lebanon, Missouri. StockPhotoAstur -

Lebanon offers retirees a blend of outdoor recreation and small-town charm in the heart of the Ozarks. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the nearby Bennett Spring State Park, known for its trout fishing and scenic trails. History buffs will appreciate the Lebanon-Laclede County Library's Genealogy & History Department, offering insights into the town's past. In addition, the library has a beautiful Route 66 Museum, highlighting the importance of America's "Mother Road."  

Lebanon's downtown district features local shops, cafes, and community events, providing retirees with a warm atmosphere during their golden years. The median price for a home is $222,500, and the average rent is $750, which is significantly less than the national and state average. Mercy Medical Center is a 58-bed acute care, general medical, and surgical facility catering to the needs of area residents. With a low cost of living and the natural beauty of the Ozarks all around, Lebanon is becoming a great place to retire. 

For an oversized cinnamon roll and great coffee, try the Elm Street Eatery. If you prefer excellent Southern home cooking, try Dowd's Catfish and BBQ, a staple on Route 66 for over two decades. Several hotel choices exist, but the Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express are two of the best offerings available. 


St. Francis Borgia Catholic Church Washington, Missouri
St. Francis Borgia Catholic Church in Washington, Missouri. Image credit: Vicnent Parsons via

This small town sits on the south side of the Missouri River, about 50 miles west of St. Louis. The community began as a Spanish log fort in the late 1790s, but when it became a part of the new American nation, its name was changed to honor General George Washington. The town grew over the next half century, attracting many anti-slavery-minded German immigrants who built homes, many of which remain. The average price for a home in Washington is $329,000, and with 18.2% of the residents age 65 or older, there is strong support in the retirement community. Medical care is handled by Mercy Hospital, a 187-bed facility offering all types of services for the area's residents. 

Today, this charming community is known for its historic architecture, including the iconic downtown area with its red-brick streets and Victorian-era buildings. Retirees can visit the historical John W. "Bud" Breeding Museum, showcasing the town's rich heritage, or take leisurely walks along the riverfront trails of the Riverfront Park. The Iron Spike Model Train Museum is a lovely venue to take the grandkids when they come for a visit. 

If you plan a visit, ensure you dine at the Old Dutch Hotel and Tavern for their bourbon-glazed pork chops and wings. The Tilted Skillet is another staple of the community under the direction of cuisine magician Executive Chef Tom Kent. With wineries and breweries dotting the countryside, Washington provides ample opportunities for cultural experiences and scenic beauty, making it a delightful choice for retirement living. If you are planning a visit, ensure that you eat at 

St. Ann

Entrance to St. Ann, Missouri, along East Bound St. Charles Rock Road
Entrance to St. Ann, Missouri, along East Bound St. Charles Rock Road.

St. Ann is an excellent retirement place because it offers convenience, affordability, and community warmth. It is located just outside St. Louis. St. Ann offers easy access to the amenities of a larger city while maintaining its unique charm. Affordable housing options (the average price is $150,000), a low cost of living, and various local activities make it an ideal location for retirees looking to spend their golden years in a friendly and peaceful environment.

The town's proximity to shopping centers, restaurants, and parks ensures that retirees have everything they need within reach. Tiemeyer Park is a 92-acre venue with walking trails and an excellent fishing lake. In addition, McDonnell County Park is a remote and secluded stretch of trails that offers enjoyable exercise options for seniors wanting to stay fit. 

Approximately 16.2% of the town's population is retired, and with 41 hospitals within 25 miles, the access to medical care is excellent. Charlie Gitto's is the perfect place for dinner in town. It is a fine-dining Italian restaurant named one of the most romantic restaurants in the country. If you're looking for accommodation, there are several hotel options in St. Ann since I-70 runs through the northern part of town. 


Nixa, Missouri, outdoors
Nixa, Missouri, offers plenty of outdoor recreational activities to seniors.

Nixa, Missouri, is an option for retirees who want a peaceful lifestyle with modern conveniences. This charming town is located south of Springfield, in the foothills of the Ozarks. It is known for its excellent schools and thriving families. Retirees can enjoy the small-town life while still being close to regional attractions in Branson and Springfield.

The median price for a home in Nixa is $355,000, and the rent is $1,495, which is lower than the national average. The cost of living is relatively low, especially regarding food and fuel prices, which allows retirees to save money. Additionally, the town has a range of amenities, including shopping centers, restaurants, and healthcare, making it easy for retirees to access essential services. The crime rate is average for a community this size, and medical services are accessible with six hospitals within 25 miles of the town. With 14.7% of the residents age 65 and older, it is easy to see what many retirees are attracted to the area. 

The best place to eat is Piccolo's, an Italian restaurant offering unique spins on traditional Italian fare. Every Wednesday, the restaurant offers its beautiful selection of wines by the glass for half price. For a more relaxed atmosphere, try Lambert's Cafe in Ozark, the home of the "throwed" rolls. Be prepared to wait for a table, because the place is very popular.

These eight small towns in Missouri offer retirees a blend of history, culture, natural beauty, and community spirit. Whether seeking a quiet retreat or an active lifestyle, these charming locales provide the perfect backdrop for the golden years. From scenic vineyards to historic downtowns, Missouri's small towns beckon retirees with open arms, promising a fulfilling and enriching retirement experience.

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