4 Unique Cities For Active Seniors
Article by Lisa Andree
When the kids have grown up and flown the coop and you’re finally looking into your retirement years, what’s keeping you from making a fresh start someplace new? If you’re the active type and have a sense of adventure, why not seek greener pastures in a new city? Chances are if you choose wisely, your kids and friends will share in your excitement and visit you often. With the entire Baby Boomer generation facing their retirement years, cities nationwide are catering to this historically active, and savvy population. If you’re like most boomers, you grew up in a time when alternative health practices moved to the forefront and yoga and running were the rage. When your professional job is done, the task at hand is to keep active and enjoy your freedom! Here are four excellent places where you can do just that.
-Eugene, OR – When you’ve finished basking in the natural beauty of this spectacular city, it’s time to hit the trail. Known for the past 40 years as the “Track and Field Capital of the World”, Eugene is a haven for active people of all ages. Miles of parks and trails for jogging, hiking, and cycling cover the city from one end to the other. Bicycle commuters appear to outnumber cars and Eugene is a safe place for cyclists. There are several excellent sports outfitters and cycling shops to help you get the gear you’ll need for Eugene’s climate and terrain. The Willamette and McKenzie Rivers are the perfect places for paddlers, picnickers, and nature lovers. During the winter months, there are several ski resorts nearby. Oregon wines are legendary and wine lovers may want to tour several local wineries or start their own backyard vineyard. Eugene’s atmosphere is a good mix of alternative and new age, with a little dab of environmental consciousness thrown in. The vibe is likely due to the presence of the University of Oregon and its student population, which helps keep Eugene forever young. With a slogan like, “A Great City for the Arts and Outdoors”, of course there is a lively arts and music scene. Throughout the year, thousands flock to local festivals like the Eugene Celebration, which is a three-day block party that’s been going on since 1983. Music lovers will enjoy the full spectrum of possibilities. From the blues to Zimbabwe rhythms, it’s all here.
Sioux Falls, SD – The energy that this city garners from its namesake, the mighty falls of the Big Sioux River is contagious. Sioux Falls is truly a diamond in the rough along the Great Plains of the SD prairie. Sioux Falls is home to over 150,000 residents and is the state’s largest city. If you have time to enjoy all that this upbeat city has to offer, lucky you! Over 50 parks and greenways are at your disposal for jogging, cycling, and walking. The Outdoor Campus of the SD Department of Game, Fish, and Parks hosts activities year round such as star gazing and snowshoeing. When winter rolls around you won’t have time to hibernate with plenty of great local spots to ski, snowboard, and tube. Since it has the lowest unemployment rate in the country, you may find yourself with an interesting part time job. Those longing to further their education or take an enrichment class like Digital Media will be pleased to learn that Sioux Falls is home to ten institutions for higher learning. The arts are another draw and the city hosts a number of well-known annual festivals and concerts. The three-day Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Festival has been a mainstay for over twenty years. The city has become a mecca for writers and poets due to its progressive literary scene. If you’d always planned to write that novel but never had the time, you may just find your muse in Sioux Falls!
Gainesville, FL – Think about places like Boca and Clearwater whenever anyone mentions retiring to The Sunshine State? Like the idea of moving to a warmer climate, but not to a typical retirement community? Gainesville, FL may be a place you’ll want to consider. Far from the crowds of south FL, and conveniently located just 5 hours away from Atlanta and Miami, Gainesville is becoming a popular spot for active seniors. It was ranked in 2007 by National Geographic Adventure magazine as one of the “Best Places to Live and Play”. Home to the University of FL since 1853, Gainesville has over 125,000 residents. Four mild seasons and an ample supply of recreational options in which to enjoy them all are getting Gainesville noticed. Senior leagues for golf, tennis, and softball provide the opportunity for good, clean fun for the 55+ set. Gainesville’s seven recreation centers offer classes from chess to Tai Chi and its three city pools provide activities for all ages. There are biking, hiking, and walking trails throughout the city and a brand new 5 million dollar, 17,000 square foot Senior Recreation Center that is due to open in the fall of 2011. After your work-out, be sure and take in a little local history. Gainesville boasts an impressive number of homes on the National Registry of Historic Places and there are walking tours available. Like any college town, there’s an active arts and music scene, and it’s a whole other world to explore. With any luck, you may discover some new tunes for your I-pod!
Auburn, AL – There’s a reason why Auburn, AL has made a name for itself amongst the golfing set, but there’s much more to “The Loveliest Village on the Plains” than golf. The reason so many outstanding golf course facilities have been created here are likely due to its lovely rolling terrain. Retirees who come to this part of the country are frequently subjected to southern hospitality and great weather. While there are many wonderful places to tee off, there’s also plenty to do for non-golfers. Auburn has 16 parks with a variety of multi-use trails, tennis courts, community pools, and equestrian facilities. Fishing and boating is possible year round on Lee County Lake and Lake Saugahatchee. The incredible beauty found in Auburn’s high hill pine forests will awe hiking enthusiasts and nature lovers. History buffs can enjoy over fifty examples of Greek Revival and Victorian architecture. The city’s charming downtown offers plenty of diversions in the way of unique shops and dining establishments. Thanks to the Telfair Peet Theatre and Auburn University, there’s always something going on. Retirees here also have access to the university’s educational and cultural opportunities in the way of enrichment classes, film festivals, art openings, and concerts. A move to Auburn could make it possible to earn that Master’s degree you put on the back-burner for the last 30 years…Of course, you could just kick back and enjoy the hot pink azaleas and fragrant magnolias!
The four active cities listed here all have access to excellent medical care and seniors only communities. Only you can decide which location is right for your active retirement.
About the Author
Lisa Andree is a marketing professional who helps mortgage companies promote their services and products such as 7/1 ARM loans and 5/1 ARM mortgages online.