Liberty Street, Franklin, Pennsylvania. Image credit woodsnorthphoto via Shutterstock

9 Top-Ranked Towns in Pennsylvania for Retirees

Making retirement plans involves deciding where to spend your golden years. While staying in their current home is an option for some, many retirees opt for a change of scenery by relocating to another state or region. For those considering Pennsylvania, several towns in the Keystone State are ideal for retirement, offering a high quality of life thanks to their unique amenities and attributes. Whether you're drawn to historic small towns, seeking access to top-notch healthcare, or interested in a lower cost of living, these municipalities consistently rank highly for retiree satisfaction.

Factors such as an engaged community, solid infrastructure, outdoor recreational opportunities, and a reasonable tax structure all contribute to their appeal. Explore the details of these top towns in Pennsylvania to find a starting point for your retirement search, potentially settling down and enjoying your next chapter of life in friendly, supportive surroundings.


A block of West Main Street in downtown Johnstown.
A block of West Main Street in downtown Johnstown. Image credit: Beyond My Ken, via Wikimedia Commons.

Johnstown’s appeal as a retirement destination lies in its relaxed rural setting, which offers an array of beautiful open spaces. This environment encourages residents to step out and enjoy nature’s bounty in areas like Greenhouse Park. Besides providing a tranquil setting ideal for relaxation, the park offers recreational opportunities such as whitewater rafting and kayaking on the Stoney Creek River. A notable event in Johnstown’s history is the 1889 dam catastrophe, an unfortunate event that had a profound impact on the town. Senior citizens interested in indoor activities can explore this dark time at the Johnstown Flood Museum.

When grandchildren visit, several attractions ensure an exciting family day out, including Escape Rooms Johnstown and Westwood Plaza Theater. With a population comprising over 20% senior citizens, incoming retirees will find it easy to integrate into their new community. Additionally, for those requiring assistance in their advanced age, Villa Personal Care Home provides support. Finally, the town's proximity to Pittsburgh, less than 60 miles away, allows for quick access to superior city amenities.


The annual Elizabethtown Fair, one of 19 in Pennsylvania, highlights Lancaster County agriculture with exhibits, entertainment, rides, and food
The annual Elizabethtown Fair, one of 19 in Pennsylvania, highlights Lancaster County agriculture with exhibits, entertainment, rides, and food, via George Sheldon /

Home to Elizabethtown College, retirees looking to further their education will find lifelong learning opportunities in this beautiful Susquehanna Valley community. Known as E-Town among residents, it offers an array of outdoor activities to keep retirees active and engaged. Along the scenic Conewago Recreation Trail, retirees can enjoy the outdoors through jogging, hiking, or biking. The small community of about 11,500 maintains close ties, evident during events like the Masonic Village Farm Market, which also provides a great opportunity to socialize and make new friends.

Elizabethtown offers retirees a secure place to settle, with a crime rate below the national average. The median home price is also below the national average, with more affordable housing options available at Masonic Village. Additionally, residents have access to quality medical care at Penn State Medical Group. For those seeking superior health amenities, Harrisburg is only 18 miles away.


A SEPTA tram is going through the historic downtown in Media, Pennsylvania
A SEPTA tram is going through the historic downtown in Media, Pennsylvania, via Bo Shen /

Media offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling streets of nearby urban areas, located just 13 miles from the heart of Pennsylvania, boasting a crime rate lower than the national average. This charming community, with a population of about 6,000, of which 20% are seniors, serves as a haven for retirees. Residents can enjoy the laid-back natural scenery, with endless recreational activities available across the over 2,600-acre Ridley Creek State Park. For those who prefer social interaction over solitude, the Media Farmers Market is an excellent venue. Here, shopping for fresh farm produce goes hand in hand with a family-friendly atmosphere, perfect for making new friends.

The Media community organizes multiple events throughout the year, bringing locals together to celebrate food, art, and culture. One of the highlights is the Dining Under the Stars festival. The likelihood of experiencing violent crime here is 1 in about 170, offering reassurance to pensioners concerned about safety. Additionally, with Philadelphia just 25 minutes away, access to superior social and health amenities is conveniently close.

New Castle

Hillview Manor in New Castle, Pennsylvania
Hillview Manor in New Castle, Pennsylvania, USA. Editorial credit: woodsnorthphoto /

Nestled along the Shenango River in Lawrence County, New Castle is a picturesque riverfront town characterized by its serene countryside environment and stunning river views, surrounded by lush greenery and multiple parks. For retirees seeking an active lifestyle, Cascade Park offers scenic trails, dense forests, and beautiful waterfalls. New Castle also celebrates a rich Greek heritage, thanks to migrants who settled in the town in the 1900s, with this cultural influence still visible in popular spots like Coney Island, renowned for its hot dogs.

The town provides several health centers catering to its senior population, which constitutes 17% of its residents. Among these, St. Francis Hospital of New Castle stands out, offering quality healthcare services to retirees.


Franklin, Pennsylvania: A large three story brick building that houses businesses and retail shops on the corner of West Park and Liberty streets
Franklin, Pennsylvania: A large three story brick building that houses businesses and retail shops on the corner of West Park and Liberty streets, via woodsnorthphoto /

In Venango County, Franklin is an inviting hamlet where more than 20% of the population is 65 or older, making it a favored retreat for retirees. Located at the confluence of French Creek and the Allegheny River and surrounded by forested landscapes, Franklin encourages outdoor activities. Its close-knit community fosters strong relationships through various events, such as the annual Applefest in October, where townspeople celebrate with great food, live music, and unique art. For those who love the outdoors, thrilling paddling excursions along the Allegheny River are made possible by local providers like Outdoor Allegheny River Services.

Franklin benefits from a well-developed transportation network, facilitating easy travel for retirees seeking adventures or access to enhanced health and social amenities. The presence of Venango Regional Airport offers a quick travel option.


Historic brick buildings in York, Pennsylvania.
Historic brick buildings in York, Pennsylvania. Image credit: Sabrina Janelle Gordon via Shutterstock.

York, one of Pennsylvania's oldest towns, is historically significant as the site where the Articles of Confederation were first introduced, making it a poetic choice for retirees to spend their later years. The town is home to several historical sites, such as the York County History Center and the Agricultural & Industrial Museum, allowing seniors to immerse themselves in nostalgia. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy Rocky Ridge Park, which features a 1.5-mile trail through a wooded forest ideal for hiking and jogging.

This peaceful town enjoys a crime rate lower than the national average and hosts multiple community-based attractions that facilitate friendly interactions, including the Appell Center for the Performing Arts. For seniors needing more support, assisted living communities like Glatfelter Center and The Village at Sprenkle Drive offer necessary care.


Old Theatre building on Frederick Street in Hanover, Pennsylvania
Old Theatre building on Frederick Street in Hanover, Pennsylvania. Image credit Pereze75 via Shutterstock

Hanover perfectly blends small-town charm with big-city amenities, offering retirees the best of both worlds. This locale in York County is an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts, thanks to countryside trails like the Hanover Trolley Trail, ideal for jogging, hiking, and biking. The town also prides itself on a vibrant arts scene, with family-friendly venues where seniors can enjoy relaxed live performances. A visit to the Eichelberger Performing Arts Center is a wonderful opportunity for community members to gather and enjoy a performance in a welcoming atmosphere.

Seniors will find a community of peers in Hanover, as retirees constitute more than 19% of the local population. Several independent living communities, such as You First Personal Care, provide support for pensioners in their later years.


The Historic Garfield Diner, and the First United Methodist Church on Garfield Square in Pottsville, Pennsylvania
The Historic Garfield Diner, and the First United Methodist Church on Garfield Square in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, via duckeesue / Shutterstock

Pottsville, a riverfront town in Schuylkill County, is home to about 13,500 people, 17% of whom are seniors. This demographic ensures that incoming retirees will find a welcoming community of peers. The town offers ample outdoor exploration opportunities, such as the picturesque Hope Hill Lavender Farm, which features bright colors and sweet scents for a relaxing experience. For those who prefer indoor activities, Jerry’s Classic Cars & Collectibles showcases an array of antique vehicles.

Pottsville enjoys a crime rate significantly lower than the national average, allowing pensioners to feel secure. However, they should be prepared for a cost of living that is higher than many places in the United States, which may be considered a reasonable trade-off for the quality of life offered.


Aerial view of Emporium, Pennsylvania
Aerial view of Emporium, Pennsylvania, By Nicholas T - Flickr: Courthouse View, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Emporium, nestled in Cameron County, is a haven for nature lovers looking to retire in Pennsylvania. Bordering the vast Elk State Forest, a drive through scenic Ridge Road offers breathtaking views of dense woodlands. The town's walkable downtown center ensures retirees have easy access to fresh food, healthcare services, and pharmacies. The Emporium Senior Center acts as a community hub where retirees gather for meals, fellowship, and volunteer opportunities.

An active and engaged lifestyle enhances life quality in retirement. With a cost of living lower than the national average, Emporium supports a comfortable lifestyle on a budget. The strong sense of community also ensures retirees feel supported, making Emporium an ideal environment for enjoying retirement outdoors.

Final Thoughts

Pennsylvania boasts a variety of towns and cities where retirees can find a supportive community to call home. Whether drawn to the historic allure of smaller locales or the cultural amenities of larger metropolitan areas, the Keystone State offers high-quality retirement options to suit diverse interests and lifestyles. Factors such as engaged communities, accessible healthcare and services, ample recreational activities, a reasonable cost of living, and safety contribute to making the highlighted towns among the top choices for retirees considering Pennsylvania.

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