Discover the Best Places to Live in Tennessee for Retirees

Uncovering the ideal spots to reside in Tennessee for seniors is a must-do for those wishing to spend their twilight years in the picturesque Volunteer State. With its mild climate, affordable living, and southern charm, Tennessee offers a variety of options for retirees seeking an enjoyable and fulfilling lifestyle, and we’re excited to share some of the best places to live in Tennessee for retirees.

In this blog post, we will explore five top retirement destinations within the state. From the bustling city life of Nashville to the picturesque small towns nestled among rolling hills, there’s something here for everyone who wishes to call Tennessee home during their retirement years.

We’ll delve into what makes each location unique – from recreational activities and scenic views in Pigeon Forge near Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to serene walking trails and low tax rates found in charming small towns throughout East Tennessee. Additionally, we’ll discuss some of the fantastic state parks that offer retirees ample opportunities to enjoy golf courses or immerse themselves in nature while still being close enough to big cities like Memphis or Knoxville.

Finally, we’ll take you on a journey through the breathtaking landscapes of Tennessee River Valley Region – a perfect destination where retirees can enjoy both stunning natural beauty and vibrant communities with excellent amenities tailored specifically towards seniors’ needs. 

Table of Contents:

1. Nashville

Explore the vibrant city of Nashville, Tennessee, and discover its cost of living, crime rate, and downtown area. Discover the numerous attractions and amenities that make Nashville, Tennessee an ideal retirement destination.

Downtown Area

Nashville’s bustling downtown area offers a lively atmosphere with plenty of entertainment options for retirees. Known as Music City, Nashville is home to iconic venues like the Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame. The city also boasts a thriving culinary scene with diverse restaurants ranging from Southern comfort food to international cuisine. With numerous art galleries, museums, theaters, parks, and shopping centers in close proximity – there’s always something exciting happening in this dynamic urban center.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Nashville is slightly higher than the national average but still affordable compared to other major cities across America. According to PayScale, housing costs are 22% above average while healthcare expenses are 7% below average – making it an attractive option for retirees looking for a balance between affordability and quality services.

  • Housing: +22%
  • Groceries: +4%
  • Utilities: -5%
  • Transportation: +6%
  • Miscellaneous (restaurants & entertainment): +3%

Crime Rate

Nashville’s crime rate is higher than the national average, but it’s important to note that this statistic can be misleading. Like any large city, certain neighborhoods have higher crime rates while others are very safe and secure. When considering a move to Nashville, retirees should research specific areas and communities to find the best fit for their lifestyle and safety needs. Websites like NeighborhoodScout offer detailed information on local crime statistics.

In summary, Nashville offers an exciting urban environment with plenty of entertainment options for retirees who enjoy staying active in their golden years. Tennessee’s affordability makes it an ideal destination for retirees seeking to enjoy the urban environment of Nashville.

Retirees seeking a combination of city life and outdoor activities can find their ideal home in Nashville. Pigeon Forge is another popular destination in Tennessee that boasts plenty of recreational opportunities for seniors.

Key Takeaway: 


Nashville offers retirees a vibrant downtown, plentiful entertainment options, and an eclectic food scene; however, the cost of living is slightly elevated compared to the national average. Despite being more expensive than the average, healthcare costs in Nashville are below-average while housing expenses exceed the norm. Retirees should research specific areas to find the best fit for their lifestyle and safety needs due to Nashville’s higher crime rate in certain neighborhoods.

2. Pigeon Forge

Discover the recreational activities, outdoor activities, and retirement communities in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Learn about the unique attractions that make this small town a great place to retire.

Recreational Activities

Pigeon Forge is an ideal destination for retirees who enjoy staying active and engaged with various recreational activities. The town offers a wide range of options such as golfing at the beautiful Gatlinburg Golf Course, taking leisurely strolls along picturesque walking trails, or even trying your hand at fishing in one of the many nearby rivers and streams. Additionally, Pigeon Forge is home to numerous entertainment venues like dinner theaters and amusement parks including the famous Dollywood Theme Park & Splash Country Water Park.

Outdoor Activities

For a truly unforgettable outdoor experience, why not take advantage of Pigeon Forge’s close proximity to the renowned Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Here you can explore over 800 miles of hiking trails that cater to all skill levels while admiring stunning waterfalls and diverse wildlife. Retirees can also take part in other popular outdoor pursuits such as horseback riding, birdwatching, or simply enjoying scenic drives through picturesque landscapes.

Tennessee River Valley Region:

  • Cades Cove: A must-visit location near the Great Smoky Mountains where visitors can immerse themselves in history by exploring preserved cabins from the 1800s.
  • Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail: A scenic drive that offers access to several popular hiking trails, including the trailhead for Rainbow Falls and Grotto Falls.

Retirement Communities

Pigeon Forge boasts a variety of retirement communities designed to cater to the needs and preferences of retirees. These communities offer an array of amenities such as fitness centers, swimming pools, clubhouses, and organized social events – all within close proximity to Pigeon Forge’s attractions. Additionally, these retirement communities provide residents with easy access to essential services like healthcare facilities and shopping centers. Some notable options include Del Webb at RiverLights, The Villas at Weatherstone, and Tellico Village.

In short, Pigeon Forge is a fantastic choice for retirees seeking a small-town atmosphere combined with endless recreational opportunities in one of Tennessee’s most picturesque regions.

Pigeon Forge offers retirees a great place to relax and enjoy their golden years with plenty of recreational activities, outdoor adventures, and retirement communities. For those looking for something more laid back, the small towns in Tennessee offer an excellent alternative with low tax rates and walking trails that provide peaceful scenery.

Key Takeaway: 


Pigeon Forge is a great place for retirees who love recreational and outdoor activities. The town offers various options such as golfing, hiking trails, fishing, horseback riding, birdwatching and scenic drives through picturesque landscapes. Pigeon Forge also has several retirement communities with amenities like fitness centers, swimming pools and organized social events.

3. Small Towns in Tennessee

Experience the small town feel of Tennessee’s many charming and picturesque towns, perfect for retirees seeking a more relaxed pace of life. With lower tax rates, scenic walking trails, and tight-knit communities, these hidden gems offer an attractive alternative to big city living.

Small Town Feel

Tennessee is home to numerous quaint small towns that boast a warm sense of community and charm. From historic downtown areas with local shops and restaurants to annual festivals celebrating the town’s heritage, there’s always something happening in these close-knit neighborhoods. Some popular options include Jonesborough, known as Tennessee’s oldest town; Franklin, just outside Nashville; or Collierville, located near Memphis.

Tax Rates

One significant advantage of retiring in one of Tennessee’s smaller towns is the generally lower cost of living compared to larger cities like Nashville or Memphis. This includes favorable tax rates – particularly when it comes to retirement income. In fact, Tennessee does not have a state income tax on Social Security benefits or most pension incomes (Note: The Hall Tax on certain dividend and interest income has been repealed as of January 1st, 2023). Additionally, property taxes tend to be much lower than national averages making homeownership more affordable for retirees looking for their dream home.

Walking Trails & Outdoor Activities

  • Natchez Trace Parkway: This 444-mile scenic parkway stretches from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi and offers beautiful walking trails, picnic areas, and historic sites.
  • Cumberland Plateau: Home to numerous state parks like the Fall Creek Falls State Park, this region boasts breathtaking waterfalls, hiking trails, and stunning vistas.
  • Tennessee Riverwalk: Located in Chattanooga’s downtown area is a 13-mile long riverfront walkway perfect for strolling or biking while taking in the picturesque views of the Tennessee River. More information can be found on their official website: Tennessee Riverpark.

In summary, small towns in Tennessee offer retirees an idyllic setting with lower tax rates and plenty of outdoor activities. The welcoming communities provide ample opportunities for socializing and enjoying local events throughout the year. So why not consider one of these charming destinations as your new home during retirement?

Small towns in Tennessee offer a unique and quaint lifestyle, with low tax rates and plenty of walking trails to explore. For those looking for outdoor activities, the state parks in Tennessee provide many opportunities to experience nature while still being close enough to major cities.

Key Takeaway: 


Retirees seeking a relaxed pace of life can find charming small towns in Tennessee with lower tax rates, scenic walking trails, and tight-knit communities. Popular options include Jonesborough, Franklin, or Collierville. Outdoor activities such as the Natchez Trace Parkway and Cumberland Plateau offer breathtaking views while the Tennessee Riverwalk provides picturesque strolling opportunities for retirees looking to settle down in an idyllic setting.

4. State Parks in Tennessee

Tennessee, also known as the Volunteer State, is home to numerous state parks that offer retirees a perfect blend of natural beauty and recreational activities. With stunning landscapes ranging from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River, these parks provide countless opportunities for retirees to enjoy their golden years while staying active and healthy.

Volunteer State

Tennessee earned its moniker of “Volunteer State” due to the willingness of its citizens to answer the call for help during times of need. This spirit continues today with many residents volunteering their time at local organizations or participating in community events. Retirees can take pride in living in a state that values giving back and making a difference.

Golf Courses

Tennessee’s state parks are not only about hiking trails and picnic areas; they also boast some excellent golf courses for those who love hitting the greens. For example, Montgomery Bell State Park Golf Course offers an 18-hole championship course surrounded by beautiful forests, while Fall Creek Falls Golf Course provides breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls along its challenging layout. These courses cater to all skill levels so that everyone can enjoy this popular pastime amidst picturesque settings.

Big Cities Nearby

  • Nashville: Known for its vibrant music scene and southern charm, Nashville is just a short drive away from several state parks like Radnor Lake State Park and Long Hunter State Park. These parks offer retirees the perfect escape from city life while still being close to urban amenities.
  • Knoxville: Surrounded by beautiful state parks such as Norris Dam State Park and Big Ridge State Park, retirees can partake in a range of outdoor pursuits, from trekking to angling and bird watching, without having to travel too far away from the city’s comforts.
  • Memphis: Situated along the Mississippi River, Memphis offers easy access to stunning natural landscapes at nearby state parks like Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park and Tuscumbia Wildlife Management Area & Natural Area. This proximity allows retirees to explore diverse ecosystems while staying connected with urban attractions.

Tennessee’s state parks offer retirees a chance to explore the natural beauty of the Volunteer State and take advantage of its many golf courses. The Tennessee River Valley Region offers more than just scenic views, with retirement communities and an affordable cost of living that make it an ideal place for retirees to call home.

Key Takeaway: 


Tennessee’s state parks are ideal for retirees, boasting a combination of breathtaking scenery from the Appalachian Mountains to the Mississippi River as well as recreational activities. The Volunteer State is home to numerous state parks that provide countless opportunities for retirees to enjoy their golden years while staying active and healthy, including excellent golf courses for those who love hitting the greens. Additionally, big cities like Nashville, Knoxville, and Memphis are just a short drive away from several state parks offering urban amenities amidst picturesque settings.

5. Tennessee River Valley Region

The picturesque Tennessee River Valley region offers retirees a perfect blend of natural beauty, affordable living, and vibrant communities. With its stunning landscapes, diverse recreational opportunities, and friendly atmosphere, it’s no wonder that many people choose to retire in this beautiful part of the Volunteer State.

Scenic Views

The picturesque Tennessee River Valley is renowned for its captivating scenery, comprising of verdant woods, undulating hills and tranquil lakes. Retirees can take advantage of the natural beauty and explore one of many parks or nature reserves in the Tennessee River Valley. For instance, take a leisurely stroll along the banks of the Cumberland Mountain State Park, where you’ll find an abundance of walking trails suitable for all fitness levels.

Cost of Living

A major draw for retirees considering settling down in this area is its relatively low cost of living compared to other parts of Tennessee and even across America as a whole. According to, housing costs are particularly affordable here while still offering quality homes with ample space and modern amenities.

  • Housing prices are significantly lower than national average rates.
  • Grocery expenses tend to be on par with nationwide averages.
  • No state income tax helps keep overall taxation rates reasonable for retirees.

Retirement Communities

In addition to being budget-friendly without sacrificing comfort or convenience, there are several retirement communities within close proximity that cater specifically to seniors’ needs. These communities offer various types of housing options, such as single-family homes, condos, and apartments. Additionally, they provide a range of amenities and services designed to make life easier for retirees.

Some popular retirement communities in the Tennessee River Valley region include:

  • Tellico Village: A lakeside community with golf courses, marinas, and various clubs for socializing.
  • Fairfield Glade: A sprawling resort-style community featuring multiple golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, and more.
  • Crossville: Known as the “Golf Capital of Tennessee,” this charming town offers an abundance of recreational activities along with affordable housing options.

With its captivating scenery, low cost of living coupled with high-quality lifestyle offerings and welcoming retirement communities – it’s easy to see why so many people choose to spend their golden years in the enchanting Tennessee River Valley region.

Key Takeaway: 


Retirees looking for a picturesque and affordable place to live in Tennessee should consider the Tennessee River Valley region. The area offers stunning scenery, diverse recreational opportunities, and welcoming retirement communities such as Tellico Village, Fairfield Glade, and Crossville – known as the “Golf Capital of Tennessee.” With its low cost of living and high-quality lifestyle offerings, it’s no wonder why many people choose to retire in this beautiful part of the Volunteer State.

Ready to discuss a move to TN?

Frequently Asked Questions Best Places to Live in Tennessee for Retirees

What is the best area in Tennessee to retire?

The best area for retirement in Tennessee depends on individual preferences. Nashville offers a vibrant downtown, excellent healthcare facilities, and numerous recreational activities. Pigeon Forge boasts beautiful scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities. For those seeking a small-town feel with lower costs of living, consider exploring smaller towns such as Franklin or Maryville.

Is Tennessee a good state for seniors to retire?

Tennessee is an attractive option for retirees due to its low cost of living, no state income tax on Social Security benefits or pensions, mild climate, and various recreational activities. Additionally, the state has several well-regarded healthcare facilities making it suitable for seniors’ needs.

Is Tennessee friendly to retirees?

Tennessee is known for its southern hospitality and welcoming atmosphere towards retirees. The Volunteer State offers many retirement communities, senior-friendly amenities like walking trails and golf courses, affordable housing options, as well as cultural events catering specifically to older adults.

Why are retirees moving to Tennessee?

Retirees are drawn to Tennessee because of its affordability (lower cost of living), favorable tax rates (no state income tax on Social Security benefits or pensions), diverse recreational opportunities including outdoor activities at state parks, scenic beauty across regions like the River Valley Region along with access to big cities nearby providing urban conveniences when desired.


After researching the best places to live in Tennessee for retirees, we’ve discovered several options that offer a great quality of life. For those who seek a vibrant urban atmosphere and cultural experiences, Nashville is an ideal destination for retirement. Pigeon Forge offers plenty of recreational and outdoor activities, as well as retirement communities. Small towns throughout the state provide a charming small-town feel with lower tax rates and walking trails.

If you’re looking for natural beauty, consider exploring Tennessee’s state parks or the scenic views in the Tennessee River Valley region. No matter which choice you make, there are a plethora of ways to relish your golden years in this picturesque state.

If you’re ready to start exploring your options for retiring in Tennessee, check out for more information on each location mentioned above and other resources to help make your move easier.