Whether you prefer a cozy, coastal community or a hill country hideaway, the great state of Texas has it all. That, along with mild winters and no state income tax, might explain why so many people choose the second largest state in the U.S. as the place to spend their golden years. In fact, Dallas-Fort Worth was recently named to Travel + Leisure’s new list of 11 best places in the U.S. for retirees. But even though it’s billed as having a “small-town feel,” DFW is anything but small. And while that’s great for those retirees who crave the hustle and bustle of city life, those looking for something more peaceful might want to consider one of the following Texas towns. These cities are within close proximity and offer easy access to the culture and modern luxuries of a more metropolitan area while offering retirees a lifestyle that feels worlds away.
Steeped in German heritage, Boerne (pronounced Bur-nee) is Texas Hill Country living at its best. Located in central Texas, just 25 minutes north of San Antonio, this picturesque town is home to breathtaking vistas, plenty of parks and trails, a thriving arts community, and unique restaurants and shops tucked into beautiful historic buildings. Outdoor enthusiasts have plenty to choose from, including birdwatching and hiking at Cibolo Nature Center and Farm or a day of fun in the sun at Boerne Lake. In a nod to its heritage, Boerne is home to an impressive selection of breweries and beer gardens that offer regular tours and tastings. Community abounds here with special events all year long, including Boerne Market Days featuring local artisans, and Dickens on Main, a classic holiday celebration complete with costumes and carriages that takes place throughout December.
Antiquing along the Hill Country Mile with its shops and boutiques is another favorite local pastime. Refuel along the way with a pastry from Bear Moon Bakery, lunch at the Dodging Duck, or try Peggy’s on the Green located in the historic Ye Kendall Inn for something fancier. With so much to see and do packed into this small town, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the state’s most popular spots to call home.
Sandy beaches and sunny skies are what many retirees’ dreams are made of, and Port Aransas makes those dreams a reality. This coastal town, located on the Gulf of Mexico approximately 20 miles from Corpus Christi, is ideal for days spent fishing, bird watching, or simply taking long, leisurely strolls along the six miles of beautiful shore. Brightly colored houses dot the shoreline like Easter eggs, and newer communities like the popular Cinnamon Shore feel like a taste of Seaside, Florida in Texas. Bikes and golf carts are popular modes of transportation both on and off the beach, and when it comes to dining options, you can’t beat the selection of fresh seafood restaurants that serve up mouthwatering meals in a casual atmosphere. While the beaches draw crowds during peak months, the overall vibe here is relaxing and community-friendly.
If lake living floats your boat, head just outside of Austin to Horseshoe Bay, where more than half of the residents are over 65-years-old. Maybe that’s because the whole town has a retirement community feel with a range of amenities and activities that appeal to everyone. From bingo and bridge clubs to gardening and golfing, this small town has an extensive selection of ways to immerse yourself in the community.
Known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World,” Bandera lives up to its name with plenty of live music venues, dance halls, dude ranches, rodeos, and more. Situated on the Medina River, it’s got that small-town feel that harkens back to a time when people left their doors unlocked or gathered with neighbors on the front porch for a glass of ice-cold lemonade. Sweeping hill country views as far as the eye can see are a big draw to this community and afford opportunities for beautiful scenic drives. Unique antique shops exist side-by-side with trendy boutiques, and there is no shortage of good ol’ Texas barbecue and brews. Designed for both cowboys and cowboys at heart, Bandera is everything great about the Lone Star State.
In a state the size of Texas, there are hundreds of small towns and communities like these. So many, in fact, that deciding which one to call home can be overwhelming. And while they may seem similar, narrowing down the small Texas town options is simply a matter of personal preference. When exploring these Texas towns, consider your lifestyle. Are you outdoorsy? Do you need to be near a modern medical center or access top-notch medical care? Do you enjoy knowing your neighbors, or do you prefer to maintain some distance? Are you a foodie? Do you want to be close to a large metropolis?
You should also consider if you want to live in a town with a bustling main street or the availability of historic homes and historical landmarks. Cost can be an issue, so you’ll need to research if there’s affordable housing available and look for a place that offers a low cost of living. If your top priority is a low crime rate because you’ve seen too much in a major city, you’ll find that a small town can be the perfect place to find some peace and quiet. Activities are always important, and if you’re looking to stay active, you might consider areas with a lot of outdoor activities like numerous parks or the availability of 18-hole golf courses. You’ll find that most towns are a short drive to large cities and historical sites alike, giving you a wealth of opportunities for fun and adventures.
Once you begin to narrow down the things that matter to you, it becomes easier to fine-tune your options. In all the “miles and miles of Texas,” you’re certain to find a spot to kick off your boots and stay awhile.