Historic homes in the Amana Colonies, Iowa.

8 Towns in Iowa that Are Ideal for Seniors

Iowa is affectionately known as the Hawkeye State by people around the globe. The nickname has been around since 1859, and the state itself has been established since 1846. One of the reasons for Iowa’s nickname might be the different hawks that residents see soaring through the sky at any given moment. Admiring elegant birds isn't the only reason this state is so attractive to seniors, though. Folks on the older side have much to enjoy and respect about Iowa, including its idyllic small towns full of beautiful landscapes, tight-knit communities, stunning lakes, widespread prairies, outdoor parks, and lush gardens. The overall vibe of Iowa is the best part of all since the residents tend to be unpretentious and focused on positively shaping their community.

Spirit Lake

Aerial view of Spirit Lake, the largest town in the Okoboji Great Lakes tourism area in Iowa, USA.
Aerial view of Spirit Lake, the largest town in the Okoboji Great Lakes tourism area in Iowa, USA.

Seniors who prioritize decent weather, booming business opportunities, and physical health can pursue their chosen priorities in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Spirit Lake experiences all four seasons throughout the year, with spring, summer, and fall maintaining reasonable temperatures for residents and visitors to enjoy. As far as business opportunities go, the mix of service-oriented businesses, restaurants, and retail centers is apparent and impressive. The Bedell Family YMCA, Sweet Lou's Restaurant & Tap House, and Fashion Formula Boutique are just a few examples. Back in 2015, Governor Terry Branstad recognized Spirit Lake as the healthiest city in the state. There are more than 100 walking and hiking trails through Dickinson County where seniors can safely spend time outside, which is likely one of the reasons for its healthy reputation. 

Plenty of retirees will consider Spirit Lake reasonably priced, with average homes costing around $681,084. As far as monthly rent expenses go, the average cost of rent in Spirit Lake comes out to $1,503.

One home for sale in Spirit Lake is going for $245,500. It's a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house with an estimated monthly payment of $1,481.

Amana Colonies

Exterior of the Amana General Store at the Amana Colonies in Amana, Iowa, USA.
The Amana General Store at the Amana Colonies in Amana, Iowa, USA. Editorial credit: Dan and Ruth Photography / Shutterstock.com

There are plenty of cities and towns throughout Iowa that reflect Gekrman culture. Amana Colonies happens to be one of them. Seniors who can appreciate the bulk of what Germany has to offer while spending time in the United States will naturally have a bit of respect for the Amana Colonies. Millstream Brau Haus and Ronneburg Restaurant are two eateries in the Amana Colonies where German food is easily accessible. This city was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965, which is enough of a reason for tourists and locals to become attracted to the area. Some of the galleries seniors can visit when they’re ready to tap into their artsy side include The Creative Colony, 225 Artisan’s Gallery, and Troy Thomas Art Gallery. A handful of festivals that take place annually in Amana Colonies include Winterfest, Wurst Festival, and Oktoberfest.

There are hospitals and medical centers located in the Amana Colonies for retirees to rely on. These include the Colonies Family Medical Clinic, Amana Family Practice Clinic, and Compass Memorial Hospital.

Fort Madison

View of downtown Fort Madison, Iowa, along Avenue G in the Fort Madison Downtown Commercial Historic District, with historic buildings lining the street.
View of downtown Fort Madison, Iowa, along Avenue G in the Fort Madison Downtown Commercial Historic District.

There are plenty of pleasant activities for seniors to enjoy in Fort Madison, Iowa. At first, Fort Madison was known for being the first-ever military garrison to be established in the Upper Mississippi region. Times have certainly changed. Fort Madison is now recognized as a lush oasis full of stunning walking paths, gorgeous picnic areas, and scenic views. Two of the most blissful walking paths include Rodeo Park Trail Way and Bluff Road Trail. Riverview Park, Central Park, and Old Settlers Park are a handful of places where seniors can set up delicious picnics with their loved ones. It’s impossible to miss out on the most scenic views ever, including Appleberry Orchard, where seniors can host birthday parties and other events for their loved ones.

The average daily temperature high in Fort Madison falls at 76°F. July tends to be the hottest month of the year in Fort Madison, with highs of 86°F. During colder seasons, temperatures are liable to drop below 45°F between November and February. 


Aerial View of the Downtown Center of Waukee, Iowa during Summer.
Aerial View of the Downtown Center of Waukee, Iowa, during Summer.

Seniors should consider giving Waukee, Iowa, their attention and admiration based on its laid-back suburban feel and incredible natural environment. There are a handful of reasons why this place is so attractive to seniors. For starters, the picturesque parks, seasonal ice rink, and annual festivities are beyond enticing. As far as parks go, seniors are free to visit Fox Creek Park, Sugar Creek Park, and Glynn Village Park if they want to spend time outside. Grant Park Skating Rink offers a place for free skating and ice hockey games based on the weather changes of the season. Annual festivities that seniors can partake in include the Independence Day Celebration, yearly Easter Egg Hunt, Winterfest, and Family Fest.

As of now, the median home price in Waukee is $459,014. Retirees looking to settle down in this city are looking at spending about $1,396 in rent each month. 

A lovely townhouse in Waukee with two bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms is being sold for $205,000. It has an estimated monthly payment of $1,696. 


View of downtown Winterset, Iowa from the courthouse square.

View of downtown Winterset, Iowa from the courthouse square. Editorial credit: dustin77a / Shutterstock.com

Winterset, Iowa, is certainly worth exploring if you’re a senior who is drawn in by romantic settings, quaint ambiances, and recreational activities that will keep your mind as sharp as a tack. Some of the noteworthy recreational programs offered in Winterset include cardboard boat races, adult coed softball leagues, aqua fit exercise classes, American Red Cross swimming lessons, father-daughter dances, and mother-son Nerf wars. Family connections and tight-knit friendships are prioritized in a town like Winterset. Winterset is the type of place people can rely on for pleasant interactions full of warmth and positivity. Seniors who care about socializing will thrive there. 

Homeownership for retirees in Winterset is achievable. The median home price in Winterset falls at $345,661. Retirees should expect to spend about $1,051 on their monthly rent payments.

In Winterset, a gorgeous two-bedroom, one-bathroom home is being sold for $235,000. The monthly payment is estimated to fall around $1,591.

Orange City

Cars parked in front of shops along Central Avenue in downtown Orange City, Iowa.
Central Avenue in downtown Orange City, Iowa. By Tony Webster, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Orange City, Iowa, is a beautiful place for seniors who love staying busy with top-notch activities frequently. Some of the eye-catching activities offered in Orange City include walking tours, quality time spent at the Prairie Winds Events Center, and shopping options at the Orange City Farmers Market. Seniors are welcome to utilize Veterans Park, Dunlop Wildlife Trail, and Jaycee Park if they’re interested in outdoor exercise. If you thought the name of this place revolved around oranges, that would be incorrect. Seniors thinking of Orange City should know that the name comes from the Royal House of Orange. Fresh fruit that healthfully grows in Iowa for seniors to enjoy beyond oranges include strawberries, red raspberries, currants, and gooseberries.

The typical home for sale in Orange City goes for $231,800. This is great news for retirees looking to save money while settling down somewhere pleasant. Orange City is 31.4% less expensive than other homes across the state of Iowa.

Orange City has a stunning two-bedroom, one-bathroom home for sale at a price point of $209,000. The estimated monthly payment would be $1,358.


Shops and stores on W Water Street in Decorah, Iowa.
Shops and stores on W Water Street in Decorah, Iowa. Editorial Credit: Steve Heap / Shutterstock.

Seniors who don’t already have Decorah, Iowa, on their radar are potentially missing out on its true excitement and bliss. The charming downtown area, craft beer options, and water recreational activities are undeniably riveting. The downtown area is full of shopping and dining options, including Decorah Hatchery, Double Windsor, and Dragonfly Bookstore. Some of the breweries and wineries worth visiting are Pulpit Rock Brewing Company, Toppling Goliath, and Winneshiek Wildberry Winery. As far as water recreation goes, seniors are welcome to visit Cardinal Marsh, Turkey River, and Trout Streams for fishing, kayaking, birdwatching, and swimming.

Retirees are in luck if they're hoping to save money on living expenses in Decorah. The typical home goes for $244,800. Two-bedroom options across Decorah will cost retirees about $810 per month.

A splendid home in Decorah with four bedrooms with one and a half bathrooms is on sale for $229,900. The estimated monthly payment is $1,548.

Clear Lake

Clear Lake, Iowa: A street view of Clear Lake, a popular recreational destination in Iowa.
Clear Lake, Iowa: A street view of Clear Lake, a popular recreational destination in Iowa. By Billwhittaker, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Clear Lake, Iowa, is an incredible place for seniors to spend time if they’re aiming to track down a vibrant atmosphere full of indoor and outdoor activities. As far as indoor activities go, Clear Lake Art Center, Clear Lake Fire Museum, and Kinney Pioneer Museum are a few places where seniors can gain a bit of knowledge at their own leisurely pace. When it comes to the great outdoors, seniors in Clear Lake are in luck as well. Central Gardens of North Iowa, Clear Lake State Park, and Clear Lake Pond are just a few places where seniors can go picnicking, camping, or hiking. Oak Hills Golf Course is thought of as one of the most fabulous courses in Clear Lake due to its rolling hills of green grass and top-tier drainage system for rainy days.

The median home price in Clear Lake will cost retirees $315,188. At that rate, retirees choosing to settle down in Clear Lake can expect monthly rental payments of about $958.33. 

In Clear Lake, a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home is being sold for $254,900. The estimated monthly payment is $1,667.

Discover Your Ideal Retirement in Iowa's Welcoming Communities

Seniors have much to love about Iowa, whether they’re thinking about relocating permanently or simply visiting for a weekend. Some seniors love the idea of traveling solo, while others prefer traveling with a romantic partner or other family members. When it comes to spending time in Iowa, seniors will find precisely what they are looking for in astounding cities like Fort Madison, Spirit Lake, and Amana Colonies. Waukee’s annual festivities are fun for people of all ages, and the overall charm of Decorah can draw just about anyone in. The romantic settings of Winterset, the bustling activities of Orange City, and the indoor-outdoor duality of Clear Lake make Iowa a worthwhile place to go.

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