You’ve worked hard all your life, and now you just want to kick back, hang out with grandchildren, and enjoy life. Residing pretty much anywhere in Wisconsin is fantastic for retirement. But here are ten places that are best. We considered community, cost of living, and safety.
1. Eau Claire
Eau Claire might be one of the most unappreciated Wisconsin towns, but that's great news for retirees, because since many people haven't discovered it, you can move in for a good deal. In fact, the cost of living is nearly TEN percent below the national average. You will happily keep yourself in shape, as there is so much to explore in nature here. And you can keep your mind in shape, too, by auditing classes at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire or attending a free public lecture.
2. Lake Geneva
If you ever visit Lake Geneva, you might remark: this is where I want to retire. And a lot of people do. The architecture is beautiful, the scenery is gorgeous, and who doesn't love living on the lake? Housing prices are a little bit more here than the rest of the Wisconsin market, but still low considering this town's amenities. The downtown is quaint, and there are loads of restaurants and shops to peruse.
Madison has been on national lists of best places to retire, and it isn't hard to see why. You can get all of those amenities you would find in a much larger city, but without the traffic headaches, without as much crime, and without forking over as much cash. The town is progressive, friendly, and open-minded, welcoming of retirees of all shapes and sizes. And if you are a fan of culture, this is your city. Hang out at the Wisconsin Historical Museum, the Chazen Museum of Art, or attend a lecture over at the university. And if you just like to eat, you have 800 places to pick from.
If you ever dreamed of spending retirement on your boat, away from it all, Bayfield might be your place. Lake-living defines this town, as it is the gateway to the gorgeous Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. If you're more of fan of admiring the water from the shore, there are plenty of things for you to do, including driving around the winding county roads. Head over to a fruit farm and pick your own fruit and head back and make preserves. If you're the artistic type, you will love Bayfield, which has become something of a haven for artists.
In Northern Wisconsin, Rhinelander might get a little chilly in the winter, but the warmth of your fellow community members will make up for it. In addition to a nice community, housing prices and cost of living are low. It's gorgeous--like picture-perfect gorgeous--in the Nicolet National Forest. Jobs are a little scarce in town, but small businesses are the backbone, and you will find virtually everything you need in town. In addition to hiking and biking opportunities, there is a YMCA to stay in shape.
Not just for visitors, Baraboo is a town with just around 12,000 people. There are a lot of tourists during the summer, but not so much that it will affect your enjoyment. In fact, you are by some really cool stuff, like Devil's Lake State Park (beautiful!), The Al. Ringing Theatre, and Aldo Leopold's Shack and Farm. If you are interested in conservation, there are many organizations with like-minded people.
Loads of people love Waupaca, even though just around 6,000 people call it home. The cost of living is low, and so is the cost of buying or renting. That's definitely great news for people on a fixed budget. But you don't have to sacrifice living in a beautiful town. Waupaca is full of natural beauty, from forests to trails--plenty of places to go birding or just see the fall foliage. And the downtown area offers some nice restaurants and shops. If you're still kicking it on your snowmobile, you are in luck, as there are tons of trails to do that.
In Sheboygan, you have a great location between Green Bay and Milwaukee, and you also are right on the shores of Lake Michigan. The town is beautiful, with over 30 parks to explore. And you can stay in shape with three athletic complexes to choose from. It is affordable to get housing here, even housing that isn't too far from the lake. A warm community is eager to welcome newcomers in.
Beloit is a college town, but there is a lot for senior to enjoy, too. At 37,000 people, the city is sizable enough to have a quality downtown area. The downtown is right on the riverfront, and there are tons of historic buildings mixed in. The college (Beloit College) offers opportunities for community members to get involved and continue to learn. If you are a culture-lover, you will really love the town. There is the Wright Museum of Art, Beloit Janesville Symphony, Beloit Civic Theatre, as well as tons of festivals celebrating the arts.
Just outside of Milwaukee, you can get the amenities of the big city but be away from it all. A lot of people live in Waukesha, with a population of 70,000. Home prices are affordable, but definitely this city is moving up, with large employers heading to Waukesha and continuing to increase job opportunities. Very few people are below the poverty line, and the financial health of the community is reflected in some awesome recreation amenities.
What Wisconsin town have you retired in? Let us know in the comments.