Retirement is a time for new beginnings, and choosing a place to spend your golden years determines how well this late journey in life will pan out. Although Illinois is not renowned as a retirement destination, it has several small communities that will change your mind. They offer the perfect setting for retirement, featuring a slow pace of life, friendly locals with a strong sense of community, and gorgeous natural scenery. These beautiful locations allow seniors access to quality medical facilities, essential social amenities, and plenty of outdoor opportunities to keep them active and healthy. All these ingredients guarantee a soft landing after calling time on your career. Here are some of the best towns in Illinois for seniors.
Arcola's charm comes from its rural, small-town feel, and with a population of less than 3,000, there is enough room for incoming retirees to spend their sunset years comfortably. The town is encircled by serene natural beauty with numerous nature spots for the outdoorsy inclined. Seniors can join community members at the Kelly Moore Memorial Park to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere with lush greenery and fresh air. Alternatively, they can head to the Aikman Wildlife Adventure to show some animal TLC—the facility houses at least 200 animals, representing over 70 exotic species, including zebras and hyenas.
Known for being the "Broom Corn Capital of the World," the close-knit community celebrates this heritage by coming together annually during the Broom Corn Festival. This is an excellent opportunity for pensioners to meet peers and make lasting friendships. Arcola's crime rate is lower than the state and national averages, and the same applies to the cost of living. Furthermore, the median home cost is under $90,000, making it a safe and affordable bet for retirees.
Glenview strikes a charming balance between a small-town vibe and big-city amenities, featuring a vibrant downtown but relaxed living quarters. There are several open spaces for those with a penchant for outdoor pursuits. At The Grove, which spans over 150 acres of lush forests, gardens, lawns, and fountains, the setting is perfect for unwinding and meditating. The former homestead of Dr John Kennicott is designated a National Historic Landmark. Retirees will find more recreational opportunities at Gallery Park, which covers at least 140 acres. The park has ball fields, walking and biking paths, and a fish-stocked lake for angling enthusiasts.
Although Glenview's cost of living is a tad higher than the national average, the tradeoff is that you live in a safer community, over twice as secure as Illinois' and America's average. Its proximity to Chicago, about 40 minutes away, allows pensioners to access premium health facilities in the Windy City. Closer to home, they can depend on assisted living communities like Belmont Village for a comfortable life.
What is better than living in a relaxed village surrounded by scenic landscapes but still having access to all the urban conveniences of the state's largest city? This is precisely what the Chicago suburb offers, home to about 18,000. Thanks to delightful sites like Hinsdale Veeck Park and Katherine Legge Memorial Park, Hinsdale is a favorable destination for nature lovers. Both excite with surreal natural beauty and recreational facilities like playgrounds, walking paths, and picnic spots.
The lively downtown area hosts different businesses where community members meet and interact. It has a couple of wellness centers for seniors with physical challenges, including Energie Pilates & Spa and Inner Jasmine Yoga. The crime rate is over 20% lower than the national average. If you can not go to nearby Chicago, you can still access quality healthcare within the town at facilities like UChicago Medicine AdventHealth Hinsdale.
Oregon, which sits about 191 miles north of Springfield, is known for its vibrant arts and culture scene and year-round festivals, presenting the perfect destination for a retiree surrounded by happy community vibes. But there is more to this little location in Ogle County, including its natural delights. The air inside the 207-acre Lowden State Park is fresh and peaceful, offering pensioners an excellent way to commune with nature and make the most of camping, hiking, and boating opportunities. Elsewhere, the Oregon Park District addresses all your recreation needs with fitness centers, swimming pools, a gymnasium, and a racquet court.
The town's strong community bonds are evident during the many festivals and events held throughout the year. Senior citizens will feel a sense of belonging during the Autumn on Parade, Grand Detour Arts Festival, and Candlelight Walk. Also, the town's median house cost is under $200, 000 and the crime rate is lower than the state and national averages.
One of the best towns in Illinois for retirement, Geneva is a modest village with an alluring suburban vibe and historic downtown. It has beautiful open spaces for relaxing and unwinding, including Wheeler Park. It is situated near the downtown area and is a hub for various recreational activities, from picnicking and trekking to fishing and sports. Meanwhile, the Geneva History Museum provides a laidback indoor venue where pensioners can familiarize themselves with the town's past.
In the lively town center, retirees can find all their shopping needs at Geneva Commons, with a chance to meet and socialize with community members. The possibility of a crime occurring in Geneva is 1 in 156 people, much lower than the national average. However, the cost of living is slightly higher, with the median house price over $400,000. Lastly< the transport network is well developed, allowing retirees to move easily around the region including nearby towns like Naperville.
Freeport is a magnet for retirees, evidenced by the over 23% senior population calling it home. Considering the gorgeous natural scenery that encircles the town, it is easy to understand why this is so. One of the best places to commune with nature, Krape Park has meandering trails with green surroundings and a dramatic 44" waterfall. Elsewhere, seniors with a penchant for social courses will be fulfilled supporting the local baseball team at Little Cubs Field, a popular convergence point for the Freeport community.
If you are worried about burning through your pension and retirement income, Freeport is one of the cheapest places to settle in. The cost of living is over 12% lower than the state and national averages, and the median house cost is an affordable $70,000. Furthermore, crime is rare in the town, which records only 2 cases per 1,000 people. Older adults can also enjoy quality health care, with more than 100 health facilities within a mile of the town, such as the FHN Memorial Hospital.
Marion strikes a perfect balance between small-town charm and big-city amenities, providing retirees with the best of both worlds during their post-work life. This town of approximately 17,000 boasts wild natural experiences that you can find at the 17-minute away Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge. With over 40,000 acres of raw and pristine nature, senior citizens will love exploring the park's dense forests, hidden lakes, and scenic wetlands. Those who prefer a more laidback pursuit will love the environment at Mandala Gardens, featuring manicured gardens, gorgeous stone sculptures, and a maze of quiet walkways ideal for a lazy, solo stroll.
The town is also famous for its vibrant cultural scene. The Marion Cultural and Civic Center is a regional hub where pensioners can join community members to enjoy exciting live performances. Furthermore, Marion is among the fastest-growing towns in Southern Illinois, meaning retirees can access excellent healthcare facilities like Marion Healthcare and societal amenities like the HUB Recreation Center. Despite all this, the town remains an affordable destination, given the cost of living is at least 10% lower than the national average.
Besides being a famous holiday destination, Galena is a delightful haven for retirees, and you can tell this from its median age of about 53 years. This means newcomers will seamlessly fit into the large community of peers in the town. Conveniently, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep the senior population active, including walking around the lovely Grant Park. The venue offers a playground and basketball court for those looking to stay in touch with their youthful side. Alternatively, pensioners can volunteer at any local attraction, such as the Washburne House State Historic Site, to network with the community and establish new friendships.
One of the aspects making Galena a retiree-friendly destination is its overall affordability. With a median housing cost of about $350,000, Galena is less expensive than the national average. Meanwhile, the cost of living is lower than the Illinois and United States averages, so you should not worry about burning through your savings. Lastly, the crime rate is pretty low, with less than two violent crimes recorded per 1,000 persons.
There should be no compromises when looking for the perfect retirement home to spend your sunset years. Fortunately, these small towns in Illinois have all the ingredients to guarantee seniors a high quality of life after pulling the plug on their careers. From beautiful natural scenery and friendly, close-knit communities to plenty of outdoor activity, there isn't much more a senior citizen would wish for.