The Lone Star State has a lot to be proud of these days, and it has nothing to do with the Ewing family or Southfork! Over the last few decades, the 28th state has become a force to be reckoned with on several fronts, including aerospace, medicine, and technology. Of course the cattle and oil fields are still here, but the state has much more going for it. The unique blend of Cowboy Culture, TexMex influences, Native American history, not to mention a vibrant arts and culture scene, have shaped Texas into one of the most interesting destinations in the country.

Earlier this year, Forbes magazine unveiled its “Best 25 Places to Retire in 2013” list. Only the state of Texas had 3 cities on the list. Considering aspects they all share such as no state income tax, abundant recreational opportunities and a lovely warm climate, no wonder. The qualities recognized by Forbes do make these 3 cities nice for retirees as well as professionals and young families. Regardless of which category you fall into, here’s a closer look at these Texas towns.


Known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” this capital city is home to nearly 2 million residents. Over the years, Austin has received recognition for a number of its positive qualities and landed on an impressive number of lists. It was named “The Greenest City in America,” “Coolest City in America,” “Best Big City in Which to Live,” voted one of the “Most Walkable U.S. Cities,” “Best Places to Live and Play”, and made the “Top 5 Most Loved Cities” list. Moreover, this Texas hot spot has a booming economy, some of the highest rated schools in the nation, plus world-class recreational and cultural amenities.

Since it is situated along the northern banks of the Colorado River, Austin has both the breathtaking beauty of the Texas Hill Country and countless opportunities for natural discovery and big city adventure. Known as “where the South ends and the West begins,” Austin is known as a cultural melting pot. The city’s motto, “Keep Austin Weird” demonstrates the positive way its residents embrace their individuality.

The city where Whole Foods began is now something of a high tech mecca, with several Fortune 500 companies calling Austin home, along with Google, Samsung, Dell, and Intel. Austin has committed to becoming “carbon neutral” by 2020 and the Clean Air City also enforces a strict no smoking ordinance.

There is no lack of entertainment options here either. Austin’s choices run the gamut and cover all the bases from the arts to fine dining to world-class shopping and recreation.

College Station

College towns typically make great retirement destinations, and this one is no exception. Even if you are not familiar with the home team, it won’t take long before you’re an avid Aggie fan. College Station sprang up around the main campus of Texas A & M University and is today home to around 98,000 residents. The city is in the eastern central region of the state in the heart of the Brazos Valley. College Station is conveniently located near Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

In addition to the typical pros such as college town amenities, a low cost of living, affordable housing, low crime rate, and great weather, moving here might even improve your IQ! In 2006, Money magazine chose College Station as the “Most Educated City in TX.” College Station was also recently ranked as the 11th most educated city in the U.S. This likely attributed to the fact that Texas A&M has earned the triple designation as a Land-Sea and Space Grant institution. This status has resulted in major research projects funded by agencies such as NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research.

If that all sounds a little stuffy for prospective retirees – no worries! College Station is bursting at the seams with intriguing points of interests, charming traditions, and plenty of cultural and recreational choices. There are iconic eateries, like the Dixie Chicken, Rudy’s BBQ and the TX Hall of Fame where you can learn the two-step. The Northgate Strip is a favorite hangout for those in search of live music, great food, and nightlife.

There are plenty of wide-open spaces for hiking and biking and Lake Bryan is a year round haven for water enthusiasts. At the Bush Library and Research Park, it’s possible to connect history and nature through several permanent exhibits and ongoing educational programs. College Station even boasts its own winery-Messina Hof Winery, restaurant, and resort. Perhaps the best way to get a true taste of the area is to tailgate with a few cheerful Aggie fans by tailgating before a little gridiron action!

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The charms of “River City” are already well known. From the enthralling Paseo del Rio to the historic grounds of the Alamo, the city has been enticing visitors for years. San Antonio has done an outstanding job of preserving its history and blend of cultures. Because of positive growth in recent years, rising job opportunities, top-rated schools, and home prices that are well below average, the city is appealing to many, including retirees.

Since access to high quality medical services is at the top of most senior’s list of must haves, prospective retirees will be happy to learn that one of the city’s largest employers is The South Texas Medical Center. The 900-acre campus is home base to a number of cutting edge research and medical centers. Furthermore, the presence of several military bases, five Fortune 500 companies, over 10 colleges and universities, plus a large hospitality and retail market provide the backbone for San Antonio’s economy.

Another feature that retirees often have at the top of their wish lists in respect to a home base, is that it be in close proximity to a college or university. San Antonio certainly delivers on this requirement. It is quite easy to attend a variety of continuing education classes, finish a degree, obtain a new one, or finally wrap up that PhD dissertation!

Living in San Antonio is just fun, thanks to the inviting climate and the city’s many exceptional ways to play! From the 343-acre Brackenridge Park, hiking and biking trails galore, SeaWorld, and to the top of the tree house at the Witte Museum, there’s definitely something for everyone. Many feel that the heart of San Antonio is found along the Paseo del Rio. The lovely walkway has captivated more than one visitor, with its 4-mile network of canals that intertwine with colorful shops, galleries, and restaurants. If you’re on the fence about San Antonio, see how you feel after an evening stroll along the River Walk. Chances are, you’ll be under the city’s spell in no time!