Best rural counties for retirees in America

Stacker compiled a list of the best rural counties for retirees in America based on Niche's best counties for retirees list from 2022.   

Meagan Drillinger
Posted

Senior couple walking by a red truck on a farm.

Halfpoint // Shutterstock

The retirement years are meant to be the golden years—a period in life when your time is truly your own to enjoy. For many retirees in the United States, that means finding the perfect location that meets at the intersection of low cost of living with a high quality of life.

By the time people reach 65 years, they've started to consider where they want to live out the best years of their lives. Many factors come into consideration in addition to cost of living: health care facilities, weather, outdoor activities, cultural and entertainment opportunities, dining, and much more. While some retirees opt for a cosmopolitan setting, there are others who prefer to get back to nature, find a bit of space to call their own, and unplug.

Stacker compiled a list of the best rural counties for retirees in America based on Niche's best counties for retirees list from 2022. Rural areas are generally difficult to define. While the Census Bureau considers all non-urban areas to be rural, other government organizations define rural differently. To maintain consistency, in this analysis, counties are considered rural if their population is less than 50,000.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 20% of older Americans live in rural areas, and 19% of the rural population in America is 65 years and older. The perks of retiring to a rural community usually include small-town charm, historic architecture, local restaurants, farmers' markets, state parks, and towns that emphasize community engagement. Retirees have the option to keep to themselves, if they so choose. In fact, several of the counties on this list have fewer than 10,000 residents.

Whether it's a region defined by lakes and rivers, nestled in rolling mountains, or paved with historic cobblestone streets, retirees looking to find their slice of happily ever after should look no further than these 100 counties recommended by Niche.

Read on to discover the best 100 counties in the U.S. for retirees.

You may also like: Oldest cities in America

#100. Chowan County, North Carolina

Chowan County Courthouse.

Jeffrey M. Frank // Shutterstock

- Population: 13,995
- Median home value: $139,500 (65% own)
- Median rent: $773 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $44,050

The smallest county in North Carolina by size, Chowan County was named after the Native American tribe that once called the area home. These days, it's better known for its abundance of historical architecture & landmarks, community events (like the Tea Party Celebration and the Peanut Festival), and a plethora of protected outdoor spaces that provide residents with plenty of ways to enjoy the state's natural topography.

#99. Clay County, Kansas

Clay County Courthouse.

Clay County Commissioners // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 8,030
- Median home value: $105,500 (72% own)
- Median rent: $608 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $47,880

Large and rural, Clay County offers residents plenty of space to spread out and find some peace. With roughly 8,000 residents, the area is perfect for retirees who are looking for a slower pace of life and plenty of land to cultivate—or just to enjoy freedom from neighbors' prying eyes.

#98. Cerro Gordo County, Iowa

George Stockman Residence, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, in Mason City, Iowa.

Jim Packett // Shutterstock

- Population: 42,672
- Median home value: $130,400 (70% own)
- Median rent: $711 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $56,082

Cerro Gordo County is an outdoor lover's dream. The northern Iowa area is home to 30 protected and maintained wildlife areas which cover around 3,025 acres. Residents can enjoy camping, hiking, cross-country skiing, hunting, and horseback riding without ever having to leave their home base.

#97. Ohio County, West Virginia

A barge going under the famous suspension bridge in Wheeling, West Virginia.

David Byron Keener // Shutterstock

- Population: 41,875
- Median home value: $127,600 (68% own)
- Median rent: $664 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $48,056

Located in the northern part of the state, West Virginia's Ohio County is home to one of its biggest cities, Wheeling. There's a little bit of everything here—great shopping at The Highlands, a cute downtown hub called Centre Market that's home to dozens of unique restaurants and boutiques, a casino, live theater, and plenty of parks and protected outdoor areas. So whether you're looking for a more social retirement or a quiet one filled with plenty of solo outdoor adventures, you're sure to find your needs met here.

#96. Hamilton County, Texas

A beautiful country sky just before dusk near Hico, Texas.

Bigdaddytrouble // Shutterstock

- Population: 8,434
- Median home value: $123,600 (84% own)
- Median rent: $621 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $46,893

Hamilton County ranks among the state's most rural counties, but according to its mayor, is one of the warmest and most welcoming areas in all of Texas. It has a top 100 rural medical facility, a low crime rate, and plenty of things to do, including multiple wineries, a golf course, and a rodeo venue that sees plenty of action throughout the year.

You may also like: 50 best beach towns to live in

#95. Lincoln County, New Mexico

Gestalt Imagery // Shutterstock

- Population: 19,640
- Median home value: $172,800 (76% own)
- Median rent: $709 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $44,939

Located in central New Mexico, Lincoln County is steeped in Wild West History, with roots that trace back to Billy the Kid. Today the county is known for its national protected areas, which offer ample opportunity for outdoor exploration and high quality of life. The protected areas include Cibola National ForestLincoln National Forest, and Fort Stanton-Snowy River Cave National Conservation Area.

#94. Carroll County, Tennessee

Templeton Park in Bruceton, Tennessee.

Brian Stansberry // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 27,841
- Median home value: $97,200 (74% own)
- Median rent: $637 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $42,877

Equal distance from both Memphis and Nashville, Carroll County perfectly blends the rural day-to-day with the opportunity for occasional big-city adventures. The area is also an antiquer's paradise, as there are dozens of high-quality antique stores located within its boundaries.

#93. La Paz County, Arizona

The confluence of the Bill Williams River and the Colorado River in La Paz County, Arizona.

Kathryn Snyder // Shutterstock

- Population: 21,035
- Median home value: $84,600 (72% own)
- Median rent: $657 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $34,956

La Paz has a reputation of being one of Arizona's most rural and remote counties. Its primary draws are its abundance of outdoor recreational activities along the Colorado River, at the Emerald Canyon Golf Course, on top of the Parker Dam, or through Buckskin Mountain State Park.

#92. Pulaski County, Virginia

DwayneP // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 34,113
- Median home value: $156,600 (69% own)
- Median rent: $749 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $53,689

Pulaski County, Virginia spans a total of 319 square miles in the southwestern corner of the state. It's a county surrounded by majestic natural beauty, from the Blue Ridge mountains to Claytor Lake State Park. The park features nearly 500 acres for camping, swimming, and picnicking. The lake has a popular marina, as well.

#91. Knox County, Nebraska

Niobrara State Park in spring.

Menno van der Haven // Shutterstock

- Population: 8,400
- Median home value: $92,300 (74% own)
- Median rent: $500 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $53,653

Folks looking to connect more with the country's history or with nature would do well to check out Knox County, Nebraska. The area has several museums and historical sites dedicated to the Ponca Tribe, the Wild West, and pioneers, as well as several state parks and recreation areas.

You may also like: Best places to live in the Midwest

#90. Choctaw County, Alabama

RuralSWAlabama // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 12,755
- Median home value: $75,900 (82% own)
- Median rent: $560 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $36,634

Southwestern Alabama is home to Choctaw County, a rural county that dates back to the days of the Choctaw Tribe of Native Americans. The county is praised for its recreational options, from Bladon Springs State Park to the Black Belt Birding Trail, a popular route for bird watchers.

#89. Little River County, Arkansas

Michael Barera // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 12,345
- Median home value: $77,400 (78% own)
- Median rent: $579 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $48,966

Historic Little River County, Arkansas, is less than three hours from the state capital, Little Rock. The rural county is known for its wonderful outdoor opportunities, like Millwood Lake and Millwood State Park. The historic county is also known for its architecture, like the Little River County Courthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

#88. Montgomery County, Arkansas

Gunnar Rathbun // Shutterstock

- Population: 8,964
- Median home value: $111,600 (84% own)
- Median rent: $551 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $41,165

Montgomery County, Arkansas has less than 9,000 residents in an area of about 800 square miles. Known for its natural beauty, the county is attractive to retirees because of Lake Ouachita, the largest lake in the state. The county is less than two hours from Little Rock's shopping, dining, and culture.

#87. Morris County, Texas

Photolitherland // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 12,357
- Median home value: $92,100 (73% own)
- Median rent: $692 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $43,995

Morris County, Texas, is a great place for retirees, as it is one of the most affordable counties in the country. According to Best Places, the cost of living is nearly 20% lower than the national average.

#86. Burnet County, Texas

B Norris // Shutterstock

- Population: 47,548
- Median home value: $203,300 (79% own)
- Median rent: $939 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $59,919

Central Texas' Burnet County spans nearly 1,000 square miles of beautiful Texan nature. It's right in the heart of Hill Country, home to beautiful lakes and vast walking and nature trails. Within the county is the Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge. It's a haven for bird watchers and is lush with Hill Country vegetation.

You may also like: What the 50 biggest cities in America looked like 50 years ago

#85. Stephens County, Georgia

Gestalt Imagery // Shutterstock

- Population: 25,934
- Median home value: $123,800 (73% own)
- Median rent: $758 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $46,766

Tucked in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Stephens County, Georgia is wonderful for retirees, thanks to its opportunities for adventure, as well as relaxation. From Lake Hartwell to the Tugaloo River and Henderson Falls Park, residents have many outdoor recreational facilities available. Culture aficionados will love the historic Ritz Theatre or the Currahee Vineyards.

#84. Sac County, Iowa

Downtown Auburn, Iowa

Jared Winkler // WIkimedia Commons

- Population: 9,711
- Median home value: $101,200 (79% own)
- Median rent: $606 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $57,446

Named after the Sauk people, a Native American tribe, Sac County, Iowa, is chock-full of history. It's the area's famous landmarks and museums, coupled with the winter sports destinations (the Mississippi River and Storm Lake for ice fishing, and Sundown Mountain Resort for skiing and snowboarding) and nearly untouched forests—perfect for camping, hiking, and birdwatching—that make this Midwestern locale so popular with retirees.

#83. Patrick County, Virginia

Joe Ravi // Shutterstock

- Population: 17,660
- Median home value: $123,700 (77% own)
- Median rent: $614 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $46,941

Patrick County is a county in southern Virginia—a region known for its rolling mountains and beautiful valleys. The 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway slices through the county, offering ample views of the stunning Appalachian Mountains. The parkway is peppered with pullouts for beautiful hiking trails, farmers' markets, historic sites, and campgrounds.

#82. Cheboygan County, Michigan

The Cheboygan County Courthouse and it is war memorial.

Roberto Galan // Shutterstock

- Population: 25,435
- Median home value: $141,800 (84% own)
- Median rent: $732 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $49,624

The Census Bureau reports that nearly 29% of residents in Cheboygan County, Michigan, are 65 or older. While that may not be as big of a percentage as in other counties on our list (see Haskell County, Texas) it's enough to ensure that retirees will have plenty of other similarly aged folks with whom to enjoy all the outdoor activities this northern county has to offer.

#81. Benzie County, Michigan

Christopher Aquino // Shutterstock

- Population: 17,703
- Median home value: $195,400 (91% own)
- Median rent: $803 (9% rent)
- Median household income: $64,257

Located in the northwest of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, Benzie County is known for its gorgeous natural scenery, from the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, to Crystal Lake, the Platte River, and Lake Ann. The county is also home to portions of the Pere Marquette State Forest.

You may also like: Best lake towns to live in

#80. Gilmer County, Georgia

Unknown // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 30,986
- Median home value: $205,800 (73% own)
- Median rent: $785 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $57,376

North-central Georgia's Gilmer County covers 431 square miles in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. Most of the county is located near the Coosawattee River. Residents are drawn to the potential for outdoor living, from the temperate climate to the hiking trails within the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest.

#79. Montague County, Texas

Renelibrary // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 19,640
- Median home value: $120,100 (77% own)
- Median rent: $873 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $57,511

Located in north Texas, Montague County was founded in 1857. Today it makes a great spot for retirement thanks to its low cost of living. The county shares a portion of the Lyndon B. Johnson National Grasslands, which is a protected area located in the Great Plains. It's a beautiful spot for camping, fishing, hiking, and hunting.

#78. Jasper County, Texas

Fotoluminate LLC // Shutterstock

- Population: 35,562
- Median home value: $105,200 (76% own)
- Median rent: $749 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $42,756

Jasper County, Texas, is an east Texas county known for its culture and nature. The county seat, Jasper, is 85% forest. The historic town of Jasper is known for its local art galleries, outdoor art, antiques, and calendar of annual events that bring the community together.

#77. Wabash County, Indiana

Old Covered Bridge in North Manchester, Indiana.

Joseph P. Brennan // Shutterstock

- Population: 31,198
- Median home value: $109,600 (76% own)
- Median rent: $710 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $56,573

Wabash County is awash with historic homes, plenty of live entertainment venues, and enough unique dining options to keep your palate entertained for months. Situated between two reservoirs, the area also has a plethora of water sports opportunities and miles of walking pathways lining the Wabash and Eel rivers.

#76. Dallas County, Arkansas

The Historic Dallas County Courthouse in Fordyce, Arkansas, at dusk

Roberto Galan // Shutterstock

- Population: 7,114
- Median home value: $78,200 (71% own)
- Median rent: $689 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $35,134

Tourism prompted by hunting season is one of the primary economic drivers in Dallas County, Arkansas. For residents, this means for a large portion of the year, life moves at a slower pace but picks up substantially during the fall and early winter months. The county would be ideal for retirees who either love hunting and the outdoors or who are not yet ready to fully retire and scale back to seasonal work.

You may also like: Iconic buildings from every state

#75. Pickens County, Georgia

Thomson200 // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 32,002
- Median home value: $196,400 (79% own)
- Median rent: $874 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $68,365

Nestled in the North Georgia Mountains, Pickens County consists of 232 square miles of land. The highest point in the county is Mount Oglethorpe, which is the southernmost peak of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In addition to fantastic outdoor options, Pickens County is known for its lovely boutiques and wineries.

#74. Beaufort County, North Carolina

digidreamgrafix // Shutterstock

- Population: 47,160
- Median home value: $138,000 (72% own)
- Median rent: $742 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $48,051

Coastal North Carolina's Beaufort County is steeped in Southern charm and hospitality, making it a great place for retirees. Residents are drawn to the historic town of Bath or the restored waterfront in the town of Washington. There is also the Goose Creek State Park, and various waterways, from the Pamlico River to Blounts Creek.

#73. Van Buren County, Arkansas

Gunnar Rathbun // Shutterstock

- Population: 16,578
- Median home value: $105,500 (77% own)
- Median rent: $600 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $40,442

Central Arkansas' Van Buren County spans an area of 709 square miles. Not only is it an affordable place to retire, with median home values below the national median, but it places a big emphasis on the great outdoors. Home to the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests, the park offers 1.2 million acres of nature to explore.

#72. Hancock County, West Virginia

An aerial view of Chester, West Virginia.

Derek Jensen (Tysto) // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 29,118
- Median home value: $94,600 (73% own)
- Median rent: $679 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $48,140

Named after Declaration of Independence signer John Hancock, Hancock County is both the smallest and most northern county in West Virginia. A low cost of living plus an abundance of activities—like boutique dining and nightlife spots and the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort—make this an attractive place to live for retirees.

#71. Glades County, Florida

jaimie tuchman // Shutterstock

- Population: 13,777
- Median home value: $72,100 (80% own)
- Median rent: $713 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $39,709

Glades County, Florida, embraces life on the water. The county has more than 30 miles of coast on Lake Okeechobee, and 60 miles of riverfront along the Caloosahatchee River. Residents love the county for its bass fishing and biking along the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail. The county is also home to the Seminole Casino Brighton, which is a popular attraction for locals and visitors.

You may also like: Best places to retire in America

#70. Covington County, Alabama

Chris Pruitt // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 37,096
- Median home value: $99,600 (74% own)
- Median rent: $611 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $42,566

Covington County is located in south-central Alabama in the Gulf Coastal Plain region. Andalusia is the county seat. The county has a stretch of coast that touches the Gulf of Mexico, and is known for its balmy temperatures, white sand, and beautiful views. The beach area is known for its fresh Gulf Coast dining, water sports, and music and art festivals.

#69. Gladwin County, Michigan

Melissa L White // Shutterstock

- Population: 25,312
- Median home value: $111,000 (86% own)
- Median rent: $593 (14% rent)
- Median household income: $45,957

Gladwin County is located in the north-central part of the state of Michigan, where the county seat is the town of Gladwin. It was named in 1831, but remained largely unsettled until the 1880s. Today it's a thriving community, rooted in the automotive industry and agriculture. Tourism is significant here as well, especially on its many rivers from the Tittabawassee to the Tobacco and Cedar. The Tittabawassee River State Forest is a popular spot for hiking and hunting.

#68. Suwannee County, Florida

Stacey Lynn Payne // Shutterstock

- Population: 44,290
- Median home value: $107,100 (77% own)
- Median rent: $713 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $46,280

Suwannee County in northern Florida is all about Southern charm and hospitality, as well as beautiful outdoor opportunities. The Suwannee River, which flows through the county, features natural springs, underground caves, and several campgrounds. The county is also known for its live music venues and delicious barbecue restaurants.

#67. Fulton County, Arkansas

Brandonrush // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 12,301
- Median home value: $84,400 (83% own)
- Median rent: $532 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $35,274

Arkansas' Fulton County is truly a land of natural beauty. Home to at least 20 lakes and reservoirs, life for locals is all about being on the water. One of the most beloved aquatic playgrounds is Mammoth Spring State Park. The 10-acre lake flows into the Spring River and has created an exciting environment for retirees and their families, from hiking and picnic areas to a baseball field.

#66. Morgan County, Missouri

LanaG // Shutterstock

- Population: 20,438
- Median home value: $150,100 (81% own)
- Median rent: $529 (19% rent)
- Median household income: $41,477

Morgan County, Missouri's southern portion touches the Lake of the Ozarks, the state's most popular attraction. The Lake of the Ozarks has more than 1,000 miles of coastline, is surrounded by mountains, and is teeming with recreation for retirees, from golf and horseback riding to wineries, spas, and fine dining.

You may also like: How much the typical home cost in your state in 1950

#65. Gillespie County, Texas

Moab Republic // Shutterstock

- Population: 26,668
- Median home value: $311,300 (71% own)
- Median rent: $993 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $61,445

Gillespie County, Texas, is located right in the heart of Texas Hill Country. The county seat is Fredericksburg, a thriving community known for its dining, wineries, local shopping, parks, and nature trails. Fredericksburg has a vibrant nightlife, with live music venues, bars, and breweries.

#64. Rains County, Texas

Jiujiuer // Shutterstock

- Population: 12,001
- Median home value: $131,100 (78% own)
- Median rent: $713 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $52,612

Rains County, Texas, is one of the smallest in the state, anchored by the county seat, Emory. Emory sits between two of the county's most popular fishing areas: Lake Fork and Lake Tawakoni. Parks and gardens abound, from the Rubye McKeown City Park to Scarbrough Haven, a nature preserve known for its beautiful flora and manicured gardens.

#63. Marshall County, Kentucky

ehrlif // Shutterstock

- Population: 16,688
- Median home value: $107,900 (77% own)
- Median rent: $681 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $48,573

One of the main draws to Marshall County, Kentucky, is the stunning Kentucky Lake, affectionately referred to as the South's Great Lake. Much of local life revolves around the lake, providing a high quality of living to its residents, from boating and fishing to nearby hiking, biking, golf, shopping, and nightlife.

#62. Knox County, Maine

An aerial view of Owls Head Light located at the entrance of Rockland Harbor on western Penobscot Bay in the town of Owls Head, Knox County, Maine.

Frederick Millett // Shutterstock

- Population: 39,809
- Median home value: $209,900 (79% own)
- Median rent: $855 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $57,794

Some of the highlights of Knox County, Maine, include Acadia National Park, Camden Hills State Park, and its dozens of historical lighthouses. A low cost of living, high health score, and low crime rate also work to make this location ideal for retirees.

#61. Trinity County, Texas

BJ Ray // Shutterstock

- Population: 14,689
- Median home value: $87,500 (76% own)
- Median rent: $650 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $44,052

Groveton, a community established in 1881, is the county seat of Trinity County, Texas. Today, Groveton and the surrounding county is known for outdoor activities, especially in the Davy Crockett National Forest. There is also the 45-acre Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area, as well as Lake Livingston and the Trinity River.

You may also like: States with the lowest property taxes

#60. Monroe County, Arkansas

Brandonrush // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 6,879
- Median home value: $73,500 (62% own)
- Median rent: $508 (38% rent)
- Median household income: $38,438

Monroe County in eastern Arkansas spans 607 square miles in the Arkansas Delta. Known for its thick forests and bayous, outdoor living is vitally important to the community in Monroe County, which takes advantage of the three large protected areas that preserve bald cypress forests. These include the Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, the Dagmar State Wildlife Management Area, and White River National Wildlife Refuge.

#59. Montour County, Pennsylvania

Unknown // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 18,178
- Median home value: $186,100 (69% own)
- Median rent: $744 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $59,915

Montour County is the smallest county by area in the state of Pennsylvania, with nearly half of the county being forested. Montour County is perched on the Susquehanna River watershed and is full of things to do for retirees and their families. Montour County has Ricketts Glen State Park, home to 22 waterfalls and miles of hiking trails. There is also the Montour Preserve, which has year-round activities from a fishing pier and visitors' center to pavilions and playgrounds.

#58. Bristol County, Rhode Island

A house in Bristol, Rhode Island flying the stars and stripes on Independence Day.

James Kirkikis // Shutterstock

- Population: 48,645
- Median home value: $364,500 (70% own)
- Median rent: $1,076 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $85,413

Quintessential New England, Bristol County is home to the country's oldest continual Fourth of July celebration. Whether you're more interested in its rich history, beautiful coastlines, or the abundance of dining and antiquing options, you're sure to be blown away by all that this coastal Rhode Island county has to offer.

#57. San Juan County, Washington

OleSeattle // Shutterstock

- Population: 16,953
- Median home value: $535,200 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,087 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $64,753

A county of islands in the Salish Sea off the coast of Washington, San Juan County is among the most beautiful in the country. It is made up of the world-famous San Juan Islands, including San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island, and Shaw Island. The idyllic temperatures peak around 70 degrees in the summer and only go as low as 40 degrees in the winter. Retirees are drawn to the outdoorsy way of life, beautiful views, organic dining, and adventure.

#56. Fayette County, Texas

michelmond // Shutterstock

- Population: 25,247
- Median home value: $193,200 (83% own)
- Median rent: $804 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $62,872

Southeastern Texas' Fayette County covers 950 square miles. Its communities are known for performing arts and live entertainment, from classical music to country. There is a vibrant dining scene, as well as green spaces like golf courses and parks.

You may also like: The richest town in every state

#55. Brown County, Texas

Rick S // Shutterstock

- Population: 37,805
- Median home value: $109,500 (71% own)
- Median rent: $778 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $49,180

Right in the heart of Texas, Brown County spans 944 square miles and is home to the cities of Brownwood (the county seat), Early, and Bangs. One of the most popular draws for residents in Brown County is the beautiful Lake Brownwood. This 7,300-acre reservoir has nearly 100 miles of shoreline and is a popular place for locals and visitors to swim, fish, boat, and even ski.

#54. Vilas County, Wisconsin

Jason Patrick Ross // Shutterstock

- Population: 21,923
- Median home value: $212,700 (79% own)
- Median rent: $685 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $50,039

Perched at the top of the state of Wisconsin, Vilas County is steeped in Chippewa Native American history. Its first European settlers were primarily from New England. Today, it is a haven for outdoor adventure, making it a beautiful place to retire. There are more than 1,300 lakes and 73 rivers and streams throughout the county. It's a paradise for fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, tubing, and so much more.

#53. Benton County, Missouri

An aerial view of Benton County, Missouri

Cconnor1 // Shutterstock

- Population: 19,305
- Median home value: $122,600 (83% own)
- Median rent: $679 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $41,751

Benton County, Missouri, is described by residents as "the ultimate retreat." Each of its three main cities—Warsaw, Lincoln, and Cole Camp—has something different to offer, be it rich history, outdoor activities and hunting, or life on the water. The area also boasts a very active senior community headquartered at the Benton County Senior Center.

#52. Comanche County, Texas

Larry D. Moore // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 13,597
- Median home value: $110,900 (82% own)
- Median rent: $525 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $54,889

Perched on the Edwards Plateau in Central Texas, Comanche County is one of the more beautiful counties in the nation. Its main feature is Proctor Lake, which affords residents endless opportunities for boating, fishing, camping, and swimming. The county has a golf course, historical landmarks, and parks.

#51. Kingman County, Kansas

Kingman State Fishing Lake in Kingman County, Kansas.

Melisa A Skinner // Shutterstock

- Population: 7,173
- Median home value: $92,500 (74% own)
- Median rent: $766 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $57,304

Kingman County, Kansas, is among the smallest counties on our list, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. According to U.S. News & World Report, it scores above average in affordability, safety, and community vitality. It's also full of retirees, according to the Census Bureau, with 21% of the population aged 65 or up.

You may also like: Here are the best places to live on the East Coast, from New England to the Florida Keys

#50. Oconee County, Georgia

LHolmes Photography // Shutterstock

- Population: 39,194
- Median home value: $304,400 (83% own)
- Median rent: $1,098 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $95,064

Oconee County is an affluent county in northeastern Georgia with low crime rates and a higher-than-average median household income. The agricultural community is known for its pick-your-own produce farms, hiking and biking trails, art galleries, and many parks like the Hardigree Wildlife Sanctuary and the Harris Shoals Park.

#49. Towns County, Georgia

Thomson200 // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 11,815
- Median home value: $241,900 (80% own)
- Median rent: $776 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $51,257

Spanning the North Georgia Mountains, Towns County is packed with unspoiled natural beauty. The county borders South Carolina and its county seat is Hiawassee. It sits amid the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Brasstown Bald, the highest mountain in Georgia, is located in the southwestern corner of the county.

#48. Transylvania County, North Carolina

Travis K. Witt // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 34,039
- Median home value: $231,300 (76% own)
- Median rent: $731 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $51,509

Located in the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina, Transylvania County is called the "Land of Waterfalls." That's because 250 waterfalls can be discovered throughout the county, including Whitewater Falls, which is one of the highest in the U.S. Retirees love Transylvania County for its natural splendor, as well as its rich culture, from the Brevard Philharmonic to the Brevard Community Band and Transylvania Choral Society.

#47. Lincoln County, Maine

Gestalt Imagery // Shutterstock

- Population: 34,415
- Median home value: $220,000 (79% own)
- Median rent: $817 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $58,125

Lincoln County sits on Maine's mid-coast, just north of the city of Portland. Residents are avid sailors, with Boothbay Harbor being one of the main attractions. The county is also home to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and the Maine State Aquarium.

#46. Prairie County, Arkansas

Brandonrush // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 8,138
- Median home value: $71,800 (75% own)
- Median rent: $646 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $42,754

Prairie County in Central Arkansas is heralded for its low cost of living and high quality of life. The county seat is DeValls Bluff. Within the county are two wildlife centers, Wattensaw Wildlife Management Area and Cache River National Wildlife Refuge, making the county a paradise for anglers, hunters, boaters, and lovers of the great outdoors.

You may also like: Best small towns to live in across America

#45. Charlevoix County, Michigan

Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 26,197
- Median home value: $171,100 (82% own)
- Median rent: $782 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $60,433

Northern Michigan's Charlevoix County is mostly made up of water. In fact, it is the fourth-smallest county in Michigan by land. As such, the waterfront is one of the main draws to the county. Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix are just a few of the prime waterfronts, with access to beautiful beaches, boat launches, trails, and parks.

#44. Stone County, Missouri

LanaG // Shutterstock

- Population: 31,875
- Median home value: $185,900 (83% own)
- Median rent: $707 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $51,476

Southwestern Missouri's Stone County spans 464 square miles and is home to the Mark Twain National Forest. The forest is one of the most spectacular draws to the region for retirees, thanks to its 750 miles of hiking and biking trails. Sections of the Ozark Trail run through the forest as well.

#43. Washington County, Kansas

max voran // Shutterstock

- Population: 5,474
- Median home value: $84,100 (77% own)
- Median rent: $450 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $52,172

Composed of 12 cities in northern Kansas, Washington County is a small, rural community with a low cost of living and high quality of life. The community is primarily agricultural, and visually pleasing thanks to its many acres of beautiful sunflower fields. The community prides itself on mom-and-pop shops, museums, and community events like the Lighted Horse Parade.

#42. Eastland County, Texas

Renelibrary // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 18,289
- Median home value: $82,600 (77% own)
- Median rent: $653 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $41,559

Smack in the heart of central Texas, Eastland County is known for its cultural, natural, and historic attractions. There are several museums in the county, from the Conrad N. Hilton Center to the Outdoor Art Museum. Golf enthusiasts have four golf clubs to choose from, and the many lakes in the area, like Lake Cisco, offer acres of hiking, boating, fishing, and swimming.

#41. Thayer County, Nebraska

marekuliasz // Shutterstock

- Population: 5,000
- Median home value: $69,900 (76% own)
- Median rent: $611 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $53,234

Thayer County sits in southern Nebraska on the border with Kansas. The historic county was once a stop along the Oregon Trail, as well as the Pony Express. Today it's one of the top places to retire in the nation, thanks to its natural attractions like Alexandria State Recreation Area. The county seat, Hebron, has the Arrowhead Garden arboretum, a nine-hole golf course, and three parks.

You may also like: Best big cities to live in America

#40. Gulf County, Florida

Jacob Boomsma // Shutterstock

- Population: 15,073
- Median home value: $170,700 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,074 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $50,640

Tucked in the Florida Panhandle and hugging the Gulf of Mexico is Gulf County. The county features more than 244 miles of tranquil shoreline, and a tropical climate makes it attractive for retirees. With so many miles of coastline, there is ample opportunity for kayaking, fishing, boating, snorkeling, or simply relaxing on the sand.

#39. Tyler County, Texas

Brent Coulter // Shutterstock

- Population: 21,524
- Median home value: $91,000 (83% own)
- Median rent: $765 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $47,865

East Texas' Tyler County spans 924 square miles. The county seat, Woodville, is known for its culture, heritage, and wildlife preservation. Tyler County is a haven for artists, as well, and even has its own Tyler County Art League. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy Lake Tejas, the Martin Dies Jr. State Park, and the Big Thicket National Preserve.

#38. Greene County, Georgia

Darryl Brooks // Shutterstock

- Population: 17,808
- Median home value: $241,300 (77% own)
- Median rent: $743 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $57,880

Greene County in Central Georgia is known as the state's Lake Country. That's because it's perched right on the beautiful Lake Oconee and bordered by the Oconee National Forest. The town of Greensboro has 10 golf resorts. The community has its own performing arts society, with a calendar of cultural events throughout the year.

#37. Henry County, Alabama

The Starving Wannabe // Shutterstock

- Population: 32,251
- Median home value: $104,500 (75% own)
- Median rent: $666 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $41,037

Henry County sits in the southeastern corner of Alabama. The county seat is Abbeville, known as the City of Dogwoods for its many beautiful Dogwood trees. The town is a historic community where the vibe swings vintage, from old-fashioned soda shops to buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's also great for retirees because of its low cost of living.

#36. Cleburne County, Arkansas

Gunnar Rathbun // Shutterstock

- Population: 25,063
- Median home value: $126,400 (78% own)
- Median rent: $709 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $45,563

Cleburne County is a county in northern Arkansas, where the Ozark Mountains meet the Delta region. Anchored by the county seat, Heber Springs, the county is known for its natural attractions, like Magness Lake, where beautiful Trumpeter swans migrate every year. Heber Springs is also known for its seven natural springs, for which the town was named. Some springs still receive travelers looking to soak in the medicinal elements of the water.

You may also like: 30 things to look for when deciding where to retire

#35. Delaware County, Oklahoma

Bob Pool // Shutterstock

- Population: 42,741
- Median home value: $124,000 (76% own)
- Median rent: $720 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $44,268

Historic Delaware County, located in northeastern Oklahoma, sits perched on the Ozark Plateau, which is an area known for its forests and prairies. Two rivers flow through the county, as well—the Grand River and Elk River. Several lakes, like Lake Eucha and Grand Lake O' the Cherokees, provide ample recreational opportunities for residents.

#34. Mathews County, Virginia

Andriy Blokhin // Shutterstock

- Population: 8,760
- Median home value: $265,600 (84% own)
- Median rent: $931 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $74,489

Coastal Mathews County, Virginia, is one of the loveliest beach counties on the East Coast. It is home to major beach destinations like Norfolk and Newport News. Local favorite beaches include Haven Beach, known for its lagoon and shorebirds, and Bethel Beach Natural Area Preserve, a wind-swept 83 acres of low dunes and salt marshes.

#33. Northumberland County, Virginia

Andriy Blokhin // Shutterstock

- Population: 12,151
- Median home value: $270,900 (89% own)
- Median rent: $1,014 (11% rent)
- Median household income: $59,437

Located on the Northern Neck of Virginia, Northumberland County is bordered by the Chesapeake Bay, Rappahannock River, and Potomac River. It's one of the most historic places in the nation and is packed with historical sites. The county is also known for its winemaking tradition, as well as its parks and nature trails.

#32. Mitchell County, Kansas

Dan Brown // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 6,053
- Median home value: $92,100 (69% own)
- Median rent: $563 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $47,375

Nestled in Kansas' Solomon Valley, Mitchell County, Kansas, offers an affordable way of life in a community teeming with nature. Mitchell County is home to Waconda Lake, one of Kansas' most popular outdoor attractions. Waconda Lake and nearby Glen Elder State Park are primed for swimming, camping, boating, hunting, and fishing. The Glen Elder Wildlife Area features 13,000 acres of land and 12,586 acres of water.

#31. Leon County, Texas

Renelibrary // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 17,325
- Median home value: $120,300 (78% own)
- Median rent: $772 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $43,392

Leon County, Texas, is an east Texas county anchored by the seat of Centerville. Located halfway between Houston and Dallas, Leon County is close enough to major city facilities, but far enough away to retain that feeling of small-town living. The historic county is steeped in tradition, from local community festivals to antique shops, and holiday celebrations that bring the community together.

You may also like: 10 hacks to make any room in your home look bigger

#30. Haskell County, Texas

Larry D. Moore // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 5,711
- Median home value: $60,500 (72% own)
- Median rent: $686 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $48,955

Haskell County in north-central Texas is a great option for retirees, thanks to its low cost of living and low crime, according to Niche. The majority of residents are older than 65.

#29. Middlesex County, Virginia

EchoFree // Shutterstock

- Population: 10,642
- Median home value: $265,500 (79% own)
- Median rent: $888 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $57,060

Water-bound Middlesex County is a beautiful slice of Virginia. The county is surrounded by the Rappahannock River, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Piankatank River. Water is a way of life for residents, whether it's kayaking or paddle boarding, feasting on local oysters, or docking in Deltaville, which is a boating capital for the Chesapeake Bay.

#28. Hutchinson County, South Dakota

Menno van der Haven // Shutterstock

- Population: 7,308
- Median home value: $111,600 (78% own)
- Median rent: $583 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $61,290

Hutchinson County in southern South Dakota is a sparsely populated rural community appreciated for its low cost of living. It's also one of the safest communities in the country. There are virtually no violent or property crimes committed in the community on a yearly basis.

#27. Dickinson County, Iowa

Oleksandr Koretskyi // Shutterstock

- Population: 17,260
- Median home value: $199,800 (78% own)
- Median rent: $833 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $60,975

Northwestern Iowa's Dickinson County is the smallest county by land area in the state, according to USA.com. Its claim to fame is the Iowa Great Lakes, which includes West Okoboji Lake, East Okoboji Lake, and Spirit Lake. These are the largest natural lakes in the state and provide natural playgrounds for residents and visitors alike.

#26. Emmet County, Michigan

Roberto Galan // Shutterstock

- Population: 33,175
- Median home value: $206,900 (74% own)
- Median rent: $829 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $55,947

Located at the northernmost tip of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, Emmet County is bound by Lake Michigan and the Straits of Mackinac. Residents pride themselves on their public parklands, trails, and open spaces. The county has dozens of parks along the Lake Michigan shoreline, as well as wooded areas inland that are webbed with hiking trails, dotted with campgrounds, and zigzagged with snowmobile trails.

You may also like: Can you guess these famous skylines?

#25. Roscommon County, Michigan

Notorious4life // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 23,863
- Median home value: $111,300 (80% own)
- Median rent: $677 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $41,828

Roscommon County in northern Michigan is an affordable, rural county that thrives on its beautiful natural features. The county is home to many lakes and rivers, which provide countless recreational activities for residents and visitors. Houghton Lake, for example, is a haven for canoeing and kayaking, fishing, hiking, golfing, and boating.

#24. Levy County, Florida

Leigh Trail // Shutterstock

- Population: 40,979
- Median home value: $119,000 (79% own)
- Median rent: $704 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $38,951

Located where the Panhandle meets the peninsula, Levy County hugs the Gulf Coast in northern Florida. Retirees love the county because it offers a little bit of everything from the state, from long, beautiful drives to fishing villages, small towns, and natural wildlife. Cedar Key, for example, is one of the best examples of Old Florida, with beautiful beaches, nature preserves, and delicious Floridian cuisine.

#23. Bandera County, Texas

FiledIMAGE // Shutterstock

- Population: 22,770
- Median home value: $202,000 (87% own)
- Median rent: $884 (13% rent)
- Median household income: $60,361

Bandera County, Texas, is a cultural melting pot thanks to the part it has played in history throughout the centuries. It mixes Native American, Mexican, Polish, and Western cultures. Today the county is wonderful for retirees thanks to the sheer volume of things to do, from horseback riding and live music, to parks, scenic drives, and vibrant nightlife.

#22. Atchison County, Missouri

marekuliasz // Shutterstock

- Population: 5,180
- Median home value: $90,400 (69% own)
- Median rent: $532 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $51,625

Atchison County sits at the northwestern tip of the state. Its main boundary with Nebraska is the Missouri River. The county is one of the most affordable in the nation, with home values well below the national median. According to Niche, it is also one of the safest counties in the country.

#21. San Augustine County, Texas

Renelibrary // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 8,260
- Median home value: $75,500 (73% own)
- Median rent: $626 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $41,568

East Texas' San Augustine County was founded in the early 18th century with the establishment of Mission Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de los Ais by Spanish missionaries. Today, the Texas county is known for its low cost of living, arts and entertainment, great outdoors, and historic homes.

You may also like: Best place to live in every state

#20. Lyon County, Kentucky

Patrick Jennings // Shutterstock

- Population: 8,226
- Median home value: $149,100 (84% own)
- Median rent: $602 (16% rent)
- Median household income: $49,286

Lyon County is a small county in western Kentucky with an affordable cost of living and high quality of life. The county is home to the beautiful Lake Barkley, a stunning stretch of pristine water that draws anglers, cyclists, hunters, and drivers looking to cruise the scenic byways. The community is replete with museums and historical attractions, as well as public parks and wildlife refuges.

#19. Rabun County, Georgia

Thomson200 // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 16,859
- Median home value: $185,500 (74% own)
- Median rent: $810 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $44,871

The northeasternmost county in Georgia, Rabun County is heralded for its natural features, including the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. The area is ruled by mountains, as the county sits on the Eastern Continental Divide. The region is home to several spectacular waterfalls, as well as a portion of the Appalachian Trail.

#18. Pamlico County, North Carolina

MarkVanDykePhotography // Shutterstock

- Population: 12,673
- Median home value: $161,600 (77% own)
- Median rent: $723 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $48,531

Pamlico County sits in the heart of North Carolina's central coast. Life in Pamlico County is all about making the most of the forest and water, with marshlands and both pine and hardwood forests. The county is surrounded by water, creating a wide range of activities for residents, from boating on the Pamlico Sound, to cycling, fishing, or experiencing live performance art.

#17. Talbot County, Maryland

Christian Hinkle // Shutterstock

- Population: 37,087
- Median home value: $334,000 (71% own)
- Median rent: $1,122 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $73,102

Eastern, coastal Talbot County in Maryland is steeped in American history. It offers more than 600 miles of Chesapeake Bay waterfront, as well as a calendar of events that include art, food, and music festivals. The county has waterfront villages and towns, as well as ample opportunities for sailing enthusiasts to get out onto the water.

#16. Aransas County, Texas

Grossinger // Shutterstock

- Population: 24,220
- Median home value: $183,200 (82% own)
- Median rent: $826 (18% rent)
- Median household income: $47,924

Aransas County is a gulf county in the state of Texas. The laid-back coastal community thrives on oil industries, tourism, sport hunting and fishing, fine art, and nature. Retirees enjoy the warm, year-round temperature, which averages between 51 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the U.S. Climate Data, as well as the relaxed beach lifestyle and the affordable cost of living.

You may also like: Interior design trends from the 1920s to today

#15. Leelanau County, Michigan

Northern Way of Life // Shutterstock

- Population: 21,649
- Median home value: $285,700 (89% own)
- Median rent: $961 (11% rent)
- Median household income: $67,330

Leelanau County, Michigan, is perched on the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula. It affords one of the most picturesque locations on Lake Michigan. In fact, the county is its own peninsula, which has many leisure attractions for residents and visitors alike, from the famous Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore to local wineries and ferry access to the Manitou Islands.

#14. Izard County, Arkansas

Valis55 // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 13,596
- Median home value: $81,900 (78% own)
- Median rent: $596 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $42,818

Izard County, Arkansas, is a top choice among retirees because of the low cost of living. Crime rates are low, as well, according to Niche. The majority of residents are over the age of 65. One of the top attractions is the beautiful Mirror Lake, a 3-acre body of water known for its rainbow trout population, nearby caverns, and ample hiking trails.

#13. Greenwood County, Kansas

Brent Coulter // Shutterstock

- Population: 6,010
- Median home value: $64,500 (77% own)
- Median rent: $566 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $43,320

Greenwood County is in the southeastern corner of Kansas. It contains the towns of Eureka, Climax, Hamilton, Virgil, Madison, Fall River, and Severy. The county is small, at just over 6,000 people, and the cost of living is low. The county is home to several outdoor recreational areas, like Cross Timbers State Park, Fall River State Lake & Wildlife Area, and West Creek Recreation.

#12. Llano County, Texas

JB Manning // Shutterstock

- Population: 21,452
- Median home value: $235,700 (78% own)
- Median rent: $863 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $58,941

Llano County sits in central Texas on the Edwards Plateau. It's known as the "Deer Capital of Texas," and prides itself on its outdoor living, music, and cuisine. Locals of Llano are proud of the small-town living and natural attractions like Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and Lake Buchanan.

#11. Union County, Georgia

John Trainor // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 23,999
- Median home value: $199,000 (78% own)
- Median rent: $705 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $49,703

Union County is a northern Georgia county, near many of the region's natural landmarks, like Brasstown Bald mountain, the Hiwassee River, and Vogel State Park. The county boasts many waterfalls, local restaurants, and a calendar of festivals throughout the year.

You may also like: The best places to live out your West Coast retirement dreams

#10. Camden County, Missouri

LanaG // Shutterstock

- Population: 45,823
- Median home value: $213,200 (81% own)
- Median rent: $714 (19% rent)
- Median household income: $53,520

Perched right on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, Camden County is full of activities for retirees. The county is also home to Ha Ha Tonka State Park, a fascinating natural playground filled with sinkholes, caves, and the ruins of an old castle that overlook the lake. The park is veined with trails and walking paths, as well.

#9. Franklin County, Florida

evenfh // Shutterstock

- Population: 11,914
- Median home value: $193,800 (76% own)
- Median rent: $806 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $48,814

Nestled under the Florida Panhandle, Franklin County is part of Florida's "Forgotten Coast." It's affectionately called this because it remains one of the last vestiges of undeveloped, pristine Floridian coast. The county seat is the city of Apalachicola, which is known for its art galleries, boutiques, and maritime history. Golfers flock to Carrabelle to play on the championship course, while beach lovers head to St. George Island to explore the tranquil, uncharted beaches.

#8. Sharp County, Arkansas

Melissa Tate // Shutterstock

- Population: 17,217
- Median home value: $75,200 (79% own)
- Median rent: $552 (21% rent)
- Median household income: $35,573

Sharp County is a county located in northern Arkansas. The county seat is Ash Flat, a paradise for outdoor lovers who can enjoy the Strawberry and Spring Rivers, plus the Harold E. Alexander Spring River Wildlife Management Area. There is also the town of Hardy, founded in 1883, and currently serves as a retreat area filled with historic buildings, galleries, museums, and restaurants.

#7. Macon County, North Carolina

Warren LeMay // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 35,172
- Median home value: $171,700 (73% own)
- Median rent: $758 (27% rent)
- Median household income: $45,703

Perched on the Nantahala River, Macon County spans 515 square miles, much of which is within the Nantahala National Forest. It's an area rife with natural beauty, peace, and quiet. The area is also known for its many waterfalls, like Cullasaja Falls, which is part of the Mountain Waters Scenic Byway.

#6. Sabine County, Texas

Renelibrary // Wikimedia Commons

- Population: 10,470
- Median home value: $99,900 (86% own)
- Median rent: $659 (14% rent)
- Median household income: $38,917

East Texas' Sabine County was founded in the early 19th century, and named for the Sabine River that forms part of its eastern border. The county's crown jewel is Toledo Bend Lake, which straddles the border with Louisiana and offers more than 180,000 acres of recreational opportunity. There is also the Sabine National Forest, which offers 28 miles of hiking trails.

You may also like: These are best cities to raise a family in

#5. Wood County, Texas

Martina Birnbaum // Shutterstock

- Population: 45,054
- Median home value: $151,400 (81% own)
- Median rent: $789 (19% rent)
- Median household income: $56,749

Wood County is located in East Texas, known for its stunning lakes, cultural events, performing arts, and golf courses. Its most notable landmark is the expansive Lake Fork Reservoir, spanning 27,690 acres with 315 miles of shoreline.

#4. Baxter County, Arkansas

Tara Ballard // Shutterstock

- Population: 41,673
- Median home value: $134,500 (77% own)
- Median rent: $722 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $43,504

Arkansas' Baxter County sits at the northern border of the state. It's often referred to as the Twin Lakes Area because it is bordered by two of the state's largest lakes: Bull Shoals Lake and Norfork Lake. The county seat is Mountain Home, a quaint community tucked in the Ozark Mountains. Mountain Home is a haven of activity for water sports, outdoor activities, local restaurants, and shopping.

#3. Polk County, North Carolina

Kenneth Keifer // Shutterstock

- Population: 20,682
- Median home value: $222,700 (76% own)
- Median rent: $855 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $52,125

Polk County sits at the southwestern edge of North Carolina, in prime mountain country, near both the Blue Ridge Mountains and Piedmont ranges. This opens a world of possibilities for retirees to experience the great outdoors, from kayaking and tubing to scenic drives, hiking, fishing, parks, golf, and horseback riding.

#2. Lancaster County, Virginia

Kristi Blokhin // Shutterstock

- Population: 10,686
- Median home value: $236,500 (76% own)
- Median rent: $903 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $59,736

Located on the tip of the Northern Neck Peninsula, Lancaster County offers 290 miles of Chesapeake Bay shoreline, attracting water enthusiasts, seafood lovers, and boaters. Lancaster County is also home to Belle Isle State Park, which has hiking, fishing, and camping areas. The historic county, founded in the mid-17th century, has beautiful colonial architecture, including one of the oldest colonial churches in the state.

#1. Brewster County, Texas

Gestalt Imagery // Shutterstock

- Population: 9,231
- Median home value: $171,700 (58% own)
- Median rent: $698 (42% rent)
- Median household income: $45,296

The number one rural county in the United States for retirees is Brewster County, the southernmost county in West Texas. The county spans a sweeping 6,183 square miles and is home to Big Bend, one of the most beautiful national parks in the country. This county is one of the best spots in the country for outdoor adventure, striking scenery, small towns, Mexican handicrafts, and long, scenic drives.

You may also like: Metros where people owe more than their homes are worth