The best places to retire now

Retirement is different today. So are retirees. Here are 20 destinations to suit both.

A new generation
A new generation
As the country's 78 million baby boomers reach the official age of seniority, they're giving retirement an image makeover. An increasing number are working, traveling overseas, or going back to school. Their definition of "old" keeps climbing it's now 79 and 85% report they're in good health. Their life expectancy is some 20 years higher than what their parents could look forward to when they were born, and a few will spend more time retired than they did in the workforce. They're also insanely active: This is the first generation in which a large percentage of the population has stayed physically fit throughout middle age, says Dr. Nicholas A. DiNubile, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. "The boomers really know that you have some control over Father Time," he says.

But where to spend all those additional years? This group doesn't necessarily want the obvious locales, like Florida or Arizona. "Retirees today are looking at it with a sense of adventure as opposed to a sense of inevitability," says retirement consultant Maria Dwight. They may not weigh the pros and cons in terms of days of sunshine or number of golf courses, but rather the number of hiking and biking trails, the opportunity for educational enrichment, and the caliber of the art and restaurant scene. Since so many are still working or would like the option to, a strong job market is a plus too. Factoring in these new priorities, we put together a list of the best places to live out your next chapter in five kinds of destinations: big cities, small cities, foreign cities, mountain towns, and even some traditional sun and golf hubs, albeit of the slightly unexpected sort because today's retirement is anything but what used to be expected.

By Anne VanderMey, reporter @FortuneMagazine - Last updated June 20 2012: 10:44 AM ET
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