Where do you want to live in retirement? Most folks age in place. But there are those who spend their golden years in dreamy locales. Where are those places?
Well, the 100 most popular retirement towns for 2010 are - no surprise - mostly located in the Sun Belt states, according to TopRetirements.com. In fact, 68 of the 100 top positions were occupied by warm-climate towns. Florida dominated the list, taking 23 of the spots, followed by North Carolina (11) and South Carolina (eight).
Beaufort made the top 10, noted as a charming old town near plenty of golf courses and subject to mild winters.
But there are 25 new towns on the list, according to John Brady, editor of the second edition of 100 Best Retirement Towns.
Some of the 25 new cities on the list include Boulder, Colo.; Eugene, Ore.; Santa Fe, N.M.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Cheyenne, Wyo.; Portland, Maine; Smyrna, Del.; and Cape Coral, Fla.
According to Brady, the 100 most popular retirement towns list is compiled by calculating the 100 towns with the most online visits of the 450 cities reviewed at Topretirements.com. The list is essentially a popularity contest; it reflects the towns that site visitors are the most interested in for retirement.
"One thing is clear," Brady said of the trends he's noticed in this year's list. "The Sun Belt is so dominant because people are interested in retiring to where it's warm."
In addition, he said, this year's list is dominated by college towns. Clemson ranked 59th. People are looking for a place to retire where they have access to intellectually challenging activities.
The biggest drawbacks in many of these top spots, including Beaufort, are tourists can overrun them and small-town lifestyles that might turn off big city veterans.