Best Places To Retire Without A Car
January 10, 2022General Retirement
If you are reaching the end of your career, then retirement is probably just around the corner for you, but where can you do it without owning a car?
The best places to retire without owning a car are areas that have a good public transport system, are nice for walking, and are well organized for cycling such as Portland Oregon, Fort Lauderdale Florida, Boston Massachusetts, and Seattle Washington.
If you are like the rest of us, retirement is that dream on the horizon of a long career of hard work. Having the opportunity to finally kick back, relax, and enjoy your later years in life without the hustle and bustle of constantly being at work is something we all deserve, which is why you want to pick the right place to do it. However, if you do not drive a car and don’t plan on learning during your retirement, you are going to want to carefully consider your options, as not every destination is ideal for people who do not drive. Luckily, there are some amazing places around the United States that are perfect for retirees who do not drive. Keep reading to learn more about the best places to retire without a car.
As a retiree who does not drive and has lived in a lot of different places in the United States, I have had a lot of experience dealing with cities that are inconvenient for people without cars. My experience has taught me that the best places to retire without a car are those that are nice for walking through, have great transportation systems, and/or have the infrastructure in place for alternative means of transport such as cycling.
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Places To Retire Without A Car
Picking the right place to retire can be tough. There are so many great places out there to consider and there are a lot of pros and cons attached to each one. With that being said, if you want to retire without a car, you want to be even more thorough and mindful with your options, as some places are simply lacking convenience for people who do not drive.
Before we dive into your options, you should first reflect on a location that ticks all of your boxes. If you want to retire without a car, believe me - you have got options to choose from, but what you should think about are some of the qualities that you want your retirement destination to have. Many retirees dream of enjoying a nice beachy location that is warm. Some like the solitude of living somewhere that is peaceful and immersed in nature. Whereas others need to make a decision based on a tight budget.
If you have got some of the qualities that you desire in mind, you should next consider what kind of transportation options you would like your retirement location to have. Chances are that if you have made it this far without driving, you probably are used to getting around via public transport, which is something that you will definitely want your new home to have. If that is the case, then you are definitely going to want to prioritize areas that have a good public transport system, as this is something that can be a hit or a miss in the United States.
Alternatively, you may be a walker or maybe even someone that enjoys getting around by bicycle. There are some fantastic retirement destinations around the country that are great for walking and cycling. However, my personal preference is to try to find a place that has the best of both worlds, as it is great to walk and cycle, but undeniably, sometimes it is nice to have the option to take public transit when needed. To help you understand more about the best places to retire without a car, we are going to take a closer look at some destinations in more detail.
If you have never paid a visit to Oregon, this is one state that really covers all bases for retirees who do not own a car.
Oregon is a gorgeous state, as it is covered in beautiful evergreen trees that make it feel like a natural wonderland. There are amazing parks and trails scattered throughout the entire state for you to visit and you can do it relatively easily without a car.
However, Oregon also has some amazing cities. One of the most retirement-friendly places to consider for people who do not drive is Portland. This hip town is full of culture, artsy tastes, and amazing people. ‘Keep Portland Weird’ seems to be the slogan of the city and although it does hold up to this reputation, you will find that it comes with genuine and positive intention.
Portland is all about being progressive and laidback. So many of the people here are easy-going and the pace of life is very tame for what many consider to be a big city. With that being said, these qualities all make it great for any retiree, but why you should put it high on your list for places to retire in without a car is that it has a lot of great infrastructure in place for people who do not like to drive.
This Oregonian city has a very European-like layout - the public transport is efficient, practical, and extremely easy to navigate, so you know that you can get around the city without wasting too much of your day hopping on and off buses. The trams that run through Portland are very intuitive and they enable you to get around town very easily.
Furthermore, if you are living in the central part of the city, you will be delighted by how nice Portland is to walk through. If you are still not convinced, Portland is one of the cycling capitals of the United States. You will find that there are cyclists everywhere! There are fantastic bike lanes that intricately go through the entire city and there is even a bridge that is specifically designed solely for cyclists and pedestrians. If you want a retirement destination without driving, you really cannot beat Portland.
It is important to note that Portland does have a slightly higher cost of living than the national average. If you happen to be on a tight budget but are sold on the idea of Portland, not all hope is lost. The neighboring town of Beaverton is just a stone’s throw away and is practically a suburb of Portland. Rent and housing prices in Beaverton are considerably lower and you have got the amazing qualities of Portland just a short bus ride away.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
For decades Florida has been one of the retirement hotspots around the United States - and for good reason! This is a state that is as beautiful as it is warm and sunny, which is what so many of us crave for our retirement plans - especially if you have spent most of your life working in colder parts of the country.
However, Florida’s popularity amongst retirees has taken a bit of a toll, as some parts of the state such as Miami have been used and abused, which has resulted in extremely high costs of living and a level of busyness that is just too much for most retirees to handle.
With that being said, there are still some incredible hotspots that are perfect for retirees, in particular those that do not drive a car. One of our top picks for you is Fort Lauderdale which is located on the southeastern coast of the state. Fort Lauderdale has got all of the amazing Florida qualities that you want without the chaos of other areas of the state.
If you want a warm and beachy place without driving, you really can’t go wrong with Fort Lauderdale. The public transport of this Florida city is amazing and what most retirees and visitors have trouble grasping is that it is actually free! The LauderGo! Is a community shuttle that runs through the city of Fort Lauderdale and it is completely free to residents and visitors.
This is not only incredibly convenient for those of us who do not drive but it also makes getting around very affordable. While not owning a car does come with its financial perks, public transport does take a toll on your budget, which is something that you are going to want to be careful with during your retirement. The free LauderGo! shuttle in Fort Lauderdale will help save you thousands of dollars over the years, which is great for retirees that want to cut some unnecessary costs.
In addition, if you want to venture out of Fort Lauderdale for a getaway, you can always take the commuter railway to get out of the city and explore your surroundings. There is a fantastic railway system which is called the T-Rail, which you can take along its 70 miles of track to reach any number of destinations on its 18 stops. What is great about the T-Rail is that it enables you to easily travel to other Florida hotspots such as Miami and West Palm Beach in a breeze - all without a car!
Furthermore, Fort Lauderdale also has amazing beaches that are all within the vicinity. You can get a beach cruiser and explore the area at a leisurely pace or simply go for casual strolls along the ocean. The bottom line is that you will have all of the Florida that you want without worrying about owning a car. You will also find that the cost of living in Fort Lauderdale is relatively balanced, as it has a score that hovers just above the national average.
If you do not mind some seasonally chilled weather, Boston is a fantastic place for you to retire in without a car.
The city itself is not huge for a ‘big city’ in the United States, which is why so many of the locals and visitors actually spend a lot of their time walking around instead of driving. This is a great city for walking through as you can feel the history of America in so many parts of Boston - with beautiful monuments and architecture practically on every corner.
Boston is a place that you should consider for your retirement if you enjoy the lively pace of a bigger city. This is great for retirees that like to stay active and keep an upbeat rhythm in their daily lives. Walking through Boston and feeling the energy of the city is a good way to stay fit in your later years and it is also one of the best ways to experience the city authentically.
However, if you get tired of walking, you can always utilize Boston’s public transport system. What many retirees love about Boston is that this east coast city has one the best public transport systems in the entire country. Boston currently has a ranking of being the fifth-best city in the United States for public transit. The system is well organized and you can get around the city relatively easily.
The most iconic way that you can navigate the city is by using Boston’s subway, which all of the locals commonly refer to as ‘the T’. This subway is the best way to get around just about all parts of the city and it is one of the reasons that Boston has such a good reputation for its transit system.
Once you are already central, you can get to where you need to go by using Boston’s trolleys, buses, and even water transport. In addition, there is a walking trail that can get you to the outer suburbs of the metropolitan area.
Aside from the great public transit system, Boston has got some great food and a culture that can only be described as its own. This is great for retirees that want to experience life that may have been in contrast to their roots. The only thing that may be tough for many retirees that are considering Boston is that the cost of living is well above average.
The median price for a home is currently 2 and half times the national average, which can make this city a bit too pricey for some. A great alternative to Boston would be to consider some of the surrounding suburbs that are away from the central part of the city, as they will be much more affordable. This way, you can cut some of the housing costs at the expense of having to do some light traveling when you want to hit downtown Boston.
The Pacific Northwest is littered with amazing towns and cities for retirees to consider but those of us who do not drive should highly consider Seattle, Washington as one of the most friendly places in the region for people without cars.
Seattle is beautiful in more ways than one. The city itself has fantastic infrastructure, modern architecture, and natural views that surround it. What is really great about Seattle is that it is a very welcoming big city, as the locals are kind and forthcoming, which is really just part of Seattle’s culture. There are great places to go out to for food and the coffee is world-class.
However, the city also has a very nice layout, which makes it perfect for walking through. The streets are incredibly well organized, so you can casually stroll to different parts of Seattle without worrying about getting lost too easily. In addition, it is quite clean for a city of its size, which only makes Seattle an even nicer city to navigate through on foot.
Much like its competitive city, Portland, which is located just a few hours away, Seattle also is great for cycling through. There are great bike lines that are all over, which makes getting around by bicycle very convenient. You will find that cycling is even better than driving in Seattle in many ways.
Seattle does not get overly busy but you can expect traffic to build up during parts of the day, which makes driving rather impractical. Having a bike at your disposal enables you to get to where you need to go without dealing with as many red lights and traffic jams. This is enhanced even further with Seattle’s bike-only streets, which amount to miles of inner-city trails that are specifically designed for cyclists only.
With that being said, not every retiree is a cyclist, which is completely understandable for those of us in our later years. If that is the case, you will be happy to hear that Seattle has an amazing public transport system. In fact, this Washington city actually scored number one as being the best city for public transit in the entire nation.
Seattle is considered to be one of the most congested cities in the United States but when you move around it, you will hardly even notice. It does get busy during parts of the day but it is so well organized that you can hardly tell that it is as big as it is. One of the main reasons for this is that the well-designed public transit system enables people to get around Seattle so freely.
The public transport system in Seattle is something that is a major focus of expansion for the city. It continues to grow and become more efficient and there are major projects to make it even bigger and better in the years to come. This means that moving around Seattle is only going to get easier if you decide to live here as a retiree. Seattle is one city that really ticks all the boxes for retirees without cars.
About THE AUTHOR
With multiple family members currently in senior living facilities, David is in the trenches every week, learning the ins and outs of nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, and general senior living.Read more about David Bolton
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We love planning for retirement. It's somewhat of a hobby, and we want to share what we've learned with you. Over the years we've found the best ways to live, how to travel, take on new hobbies and give back. Happiness in retirement is the main goal, and having the right information allows us (and you) to achieve that.