25 Best Places to Retire

Thinking about your post-work home? You'll get huge bang for your buck -- plus lots of other perks -- in these towns.

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Surprise, Ariz.
Surprise, Ariz.
Great for desert fans
Population: 91,000
% over 50: 43%
Typical 3-bedroom home: 150,000
Housing prices down: 48%
State income tax: 4.54%*

This fast-growing community outside Phoenix is named after the hometown of the man who founded it in 1938, but Surprise could just as easily describe what people feel when they look at the real estate listings. "You can scoop up a great house for less than $100,000," says local agent Meredith Andrews.

Locals can watch baseball at Surprise Stadium (the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers both do spring training here), cool off at the town's 10,500-square-foot aquatics center, and check out ancient petroglyphs at a nearby 30,000-acre park. Nearly 20% of residents live in Sun City Grand, a resort-like retirement community that offers reams of activities--tennis, golf, wine tasting, and more. (The original Sun City is a few miles down the road.)

"It's hard to think of this as retirement," says Ron Ransom, 68, a former restaurant owner from Columbus, who moved here with his wife, Kay, 67, in 2005. "There's always something going on." --S.M.

See complete data, including tax rates, for Surprise

NEXT: Boulder City, Nev.

Last updated September 24 2009: 1:21 PM ET
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