Everyone wants that final piece of the "American Dream." The moment when years of hard work pay off. When you can finally enjoy the rest of your days living off of the hard hours put in and the investments made. However, even with years to prepare, so many find it nearly impossible to decide where they should put down roots for the last time. Often, people think the obvious answer is to retreat to golden shores and warm sunny skies; however, if you have a love for the seasons, you'll want to see the leaves changing color, welcoming the first autumn breezes, or the first snow flurries announcing winter's arrival. Voyage through the northern United States and experience an abundance of scenic and serene retirement destinations.
Home to the International Wolf Center, Ely is a wildlife lover's dream. It also provides that close-knit community feel that will ensure that there is no sense of isolation that often comes with retirement. There is always something to do In Ely. During the spring and Summer, locals enjoy spending time at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, which offers plenty of choices to stay active without being too strenuous. Every Summer, there is also the Annual Blueberry/Art Festival. Bringing the community even closer together as they celebrate local handmade crafts and produce. There is also fun to be had when the weather grows cold during the Ely Winter Festival, which features snow sculpting and other winter activities. Ely makes retirement feel like a fresh start and new beginning, not an ending.
Traverse City, Michigan
In 2022, Realtor.com named Traverse City, Michigan, the number one, best, and most affordable place to retire to in America. It delivers nature beauty and peaceful space that will make retirement feel like the greatest extended vacation. One can really be at home with nature with several options to enjoy, such as the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and public beaches along Lake Michigan for relaxation. The relaxing beach life feel is not something you have to fly closer to the equator to find. There is also the Interlochen Center for the Arts, which offers concerts and events all year long.
There is something fishy about Decorah, but not in a bad way. The town is famous for its Trout. Anyone with a love of fishing will find a little piece of paradise here. It is home to the Decorah Fish Hatchery, a largely popular spot for trout fishing. There is also the Paved Trout Run Trail for biking and walking for daily exercise in a calm and peaceful environment. Locals recommend taking a walk through Dunning's Spring Park with its picturesque waterfall, a perfect location for meditation or even practicing art. Every year, the town hosts the Nordic Fest, celebrating its Scandinavian heritage. Decorah welcomes all, and people look out for one another, fostering a strong sense of community and togetherness. It is an option not to be missed.
Northfield is the gift that keeps on giving and is one of the greatest choices for retirement. There are many options to keep one healthy, be it either light or rigorous exercise. There is the Cannon River, which provides opportunities for kayaking and fishing. Also, there is the Cowling Arboretum for nature walks and bird watching. The Historical downtown, with local shops and eateries, delivers warm and inviting places to come together as a community.
Local farmers' markets offer fresh produce and artisanal products to the unique environment of Belfast. A town as mystical as the name implies, it is full of historical architecture in the downtown area. There are rail trails for biking and walking enthusiasts, and for a change of pace, it is close in proximity to Acadia National Park for day trips. Giving many amazing options to exercise and explore. Also, the town hosts the Annual Maine Celtic Celebration. Bringing food, family, sport, and music together in a joyous celebration.
A dream of life on the water is easy to accomplish in Houghton. Being the gateway to the Keweenaw Peninsula, there is always plenty to do, like going to the Houghton Waterfront Park for leisure and events. The Isle Royale National Park is accessible via seaplane or ferry for day trips or even a weekend away. Enjoying the Annual Winter Carnival showcasing snow statues and winter sports is the perfect reason to invite family and friends for a visit and show off all the unique experiences one can only find in Houghton.
Bar Harbor, Maine
Life on the sea that does not break the bank is exactly what one will find in Bar Harbor. The Shore Path offers ocean views and walking trails. You will never run out of quality and exciting options for getting out of the house and staying fit. One can find whale-watching tours available for reservation and a large variety of local seafood restaurants, like the C-Ray Lobster, which is family-owned and operated and perfect for when the lobster season rolls around. You can also visit Acadia National Park for hiking and camping activities or just to watch nature.
Lake Placid, New York
Between local artisan shops in the village center and an abundance of hiking trails in the Adirondack Mountains, you would be hard-pressed to find a dull moment in Lake Placid. It is an exercise enthusiast's dreamland. It hosted the 1980 Winter Olympics and lived up to its reputation in every way. As always, there is the renowned Mirror Lake for kayaking and paddleboarding, as well as the Olympic Museum and Olympic Sports Complex. When family comes to visit, you will have no problem finding them the perfect lodging with numerous resort options located nearby.
Stillwater is steeped in history and is known as the birthplace of Minnesota. With the historic Lift Bridge and St. Croix River for picturesque views and the Stillwater Trolley Tour for historical insights, you can quickly count yourself as one of the locals here. There are numerous wineries and breweries in the area to explore, and it is close to the Twin Cities for additional amenities and healthcare. For added fun, the town has the Annual Lumberjack Days Festival over several days of activities and music, which, of course, turns into a pancake lovers paradise.
Choosing the perfect retirement destination can be a challenging and stressful quest. However, you will find the northern United States offers just what the doctor ordered, and without losing all of one's savings in the process. There are plenty of opportunities to stay active and explore picturesque landscapes that the grandchildren and other family members will adore. Explore the northern reaches and find a new meaning for "winter wonderland."