It is always a good sign when a State has multiple, widely accepted nicknames. Arizona’s status as the Grand Canyon State is well known to visitors. Historians know it as the Copper State. Residents who love their homes think of Arizona as the Valentine State. Meanwhile, more and more seniors recognize it as the land of their dreams, returning to live permanently often after only one vacation visit. The landscape alone is enough to steal one’s breath. Retire into a permanent vacation in one of the friendliest States in the Union.
Stroll by downtown Florence's late 1800s adobe buildings and try not to fall in love. The entire downtown area is a National Historic District. Florence established itself around the winding Gila River, which has fed civilizations in the region for over two millennia. The Dorothy Nolan Senior Center in Florence provides seniors meals, regular health screenings, and a steady roster of activities. Transportation in a wheelchair-accessible van is available 8-12; registration is required in advance. Find solace in the town’s prettiest attraction, St. Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery. The monastery and its pristine gardens are available to all modestly dressed visitors 10-4.
Chino Valley is a community lying between the Coconino and Prescott National Forests. The world’s second fastest land mammal, the pronghorn, can be found in the surrounding area. Feel the thrill of competition at Chino Valley’s Senior Center, where one will always find a willing opponent for horseshoe throwing, bridge, or pinochle. The center provides a meals-on-wheels program and an active line dancing class. Saunter on down to the 2.4-acre Memory Park on a hot day, where Chino Valley residents enjoy one of the town’s many green spaces. The staff of Western Heritage Health and Wellness proactively tackle their clients’ health challenges.
Litchfield Park is a nexus point of natural Arizona attractions. To the South, the 19,000-acre Estrella Mountain Regional Park has scenic hiking opportunities and an eighteen-hole golf course. Admire ancient petroglyphs within the 26,000-acre White Tanks National Park to the West of the town. Just four miles from the city is Wildlife World Zoo. The zoo is a haven for over 600 species and accepts animal-loving volunteers. Arizona’s Foundation for Senior Living (FSL) has ensured Valentine Staters live and eat well since 1974. FSL serves as Litchfield Park’s senior center. Senior One Source provides free legal and financial advice for Litchfield Park seniors.
The town where Hollywood’s most iconic Westerns were filmed is now Arizona’s most picturesque area to retire to. Sedona is unusually green for Arizona. Emory Oak trees line streets leading to over 80 art galleries. Surrealist painter Max Ernst was drawn to the Sedona landscape in the 1940’s. Artists continue to draw inspiration from the scenery daily. For those unable to manage Sedona’s hiking trails, jeep tours, and hot air balloon rides provide a safe and exciting way to enjoy the topography. The SedonaFit gym has free classes for residents over 50 who qualify for the SilverSneakers program. The Sedona Community Center has regular classes in T’ai Chi Chuan, Qi Gong, and watercolor painting.
Find respite from the Arizona summer in Prescott Valley, between the Mingus and Bradshaw Mountains. Prescott Valley sits over 5,000 feet, contributing to a more temperate climate than Phoenix. It is a relatively new town, established in the 1960’s. The town’s flexible public transit system features a minibus called YAV Connect that provides users with convenient options for pick-up and drop-off times and locations. Stay active with the help of Synergy Wellness Center’s massage therapists, chiropractors, and naturopathic medical specialists. Enjoy the view of Prescott Valley from above while navigating the 2000 acres of the Stoneridge Golf Club. The Club features a decadent menu for when hunger strikes.
Explore what the Sinagua civilization left of their presence in the Verde Valley at the Montezuma Castle National Monument. The Sinagua people lived in Arizona between 500 and 1425 CE. The Camp Verde Senior Center costs $25 for a yearly membership. Enjoy a communal lunch daily, Monday to Friday, with new friends. Shoot pool, check out a book or a game from the Center’s library, or score that perfect fabric find at the Center’s thrift store. Camp Verde’s climate is not much different from the rest of Arizona. The town compensates. Find a cool respite with one of four parks or the public Heritage Pool, open for the year’s hottest months. Feel the relief of dancing with less stress on the joints in an Aqua Zumba class held at the pool.
Sahuarita, Arizona, swims in history. Explore its more recent Cold War history at the Titan Missile Museum. Sahuarita’s Anamax Park won a spot in America’s Top 100 Parks. The park’s community gardens, fitness court, and collection of ramadas make it an ideal choice when the weather is agreeable. Sahuarita retains the feeling of a small town despite big city amenities being within arm’s reach. The town’s proximity to Tucson means top-notch medical care is never far away. For adventure, hop in a car and head South for 40 minutes to explore Mexico.
Nogales is a town that runs along the border of Mexico. Its name comes from the Spanish word for “walnut,” as walnut trees once grew in abundance in the area. The town holds the headquarters of the Santa Cruz Council on Aging (SCCOA). SCCOA has worked to improve the lives of Santa Cruz County Seniors since 1972. Escape to the nearby 5,000-acre Sonoita Creek State Natural Area to enjoy sighting a list of over 300 birds that visit the area. Get inspired by the shifting galleries and occasional performances at the Hilltop Gallery. Learn about the region’s history at the beautiful Pimeria Alta Museum. The Museum’s building was built in 1914 and once housed Old Nogales City Hall.
Shock rocker Alice Cooper has found his ideal retirement spot in the hills of Paradise Valley. His decision is fully explained at Paradise Valley’s Vista Living Senior Care. The facility’s architecture means there are 270 degrees of mountain views, with Camelback Mountain to the south, the Phoenix Mountains to the north, and the Mummy Mountain to the east. Hit the links at the Paradise Valley Golf Club. Outside of tournaments, the Club’s eighteen holes encompass 3789 yards and have a rating of 58.5. No less than three respected medical facilities are within reach. Not to mention, Phoenix is a mere twenty-minute drive away. The Paradise Valley Senior Center is located in Phoenix. It provides a flexible taxi service, enabling Paradise Valley residents access to the Center’s weekly activities, including line dancing, chair yoga, and Tai Chi.
Arizona's Rich Tapestry: A Haven for Retirees
Arizona was inhabited for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. Archeological sites continue to be found in the State, deepening the world’s understanding of the human story in the region. The history of human migration in Arizona includes stories of resilience, survival, and unfortunate strife. Please consider supporting Native American businesses in Arizona whenever possible. For more information, visit the website of the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of Arizona.