The climate is pleasant nearly year-round, the entertainment is second to none, and the terrain is richly varied with deserts and mountains. If any of those features sound desirable for your retirement years, then the southwestern-U.S. state of Nevada might be calling your name.
Although not as well-known a retirement destination as Arizona, its neighbor to the south, Nevada enjoys much of the same mild climate and diversity in terrain. Southern Nevada’s temperatures remain warm and sunny throughout much of the fall, winter, and spring, and the cooler mountainous areas in the northwest provide wonderful hiking, camping, and skiing opportunities.
Add to that the other obvious plus: Las Vegas, known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” is the state’s largest city and undisputed star, offering world-class musical acts and non-stop nightlife. The Silver State is also dotted with historic mining towns, scenic mountain communities, and laid-back suburbs that all make for great retirement homes as well.
Retiring in Nevada also makes sense financially, according to the experts. Property tax rates tend to be low, and the state has no income tax, estate tax, or inheritance tax. In fact, Nevada was among TravelAwaits’ 8 States That Will Give You An Instant Raise In Retirement in 2021.
As a frequent visitor to Nevada, I have explored many of the cities and small towns. Based on my visits, as well as from information on the Travel Nevada website, here are seven cities in Nevada that are ideal for retirees.
1. Las Vegas
With its somewhat boisterous reputation, Las Vegas might not seem the logical choice for retirement, but the city known for its hotel casinos and bright lights actually has many advantages for active retirees.
The things that make Las Vegas so appealing to visitors of all ages — the non-stop entertainment, excellent dining, and sunny weather — are also pluses for retirees. If you’re looking to have some fun after your working years, Las Vegas could be the perfect spot. You will have easy access to world-famous performers, celebrity chef-led restaurants, and virtually unlimited gaming opportunities. There are also fascinating attractions like the Neon Museum and the Mob Museum.
The weather in Las Vegas is also a draw for retirees looking for a break from snowy winters. Although summers are hot, with June, July, and August all posting average highs over 100-degrees Fahrenheit, the climate from late fall to early spring is ideal. March, April, October, and November all post average highs in the 70s and 80s, and December and February in the 60s.
Because Las Vegas is such a popular spot for vacations for all ages, living there makes visits with friends and family super easy. Las Vegas airport (McCarran International Airport, soon to be Harry Reid International Airport) is the nation’s eighth busiest airport and offers connections to virtually anywhere passengers want to go.
Pro Tip: For more ideas on Las Vegas-area attractions, see 9 Best Things To Do In And Around Las Vegas
2. Boulder City
For a place to enjoy many of the benefits of Las Vegas but in a more laid-back atmosphere, many retirees gravitate to charming Boulder City, located just a half-hour or so from the Las Vegas Strip. About 30 percent of the town’s population is 65 or older, compared to about 16 percent for the entire state.
At a population of about 17,000, Boulder City offers less traffic and a slower tempo than Vegas, which has a population of about 650,000. The town also comes with an interesting history that dates back to the 1930s-era construction of the Hoover Dam. In fact, Boulder City is known as “the town that built the Hoover Dam” – a past that is on display in the excellent Boulder Dam Museum in downtown Boulder City.
Boulder City is also just a 15-minute drive from Lake Mead, the 247-square-mile lake that was formed by the Hoover Dam. The lake offers all sorts of recreational opportunities, from swimming to boating to water skiing. More ideas for lake fun are available in the article 7 Amazing Experiences On Lake Mead.
3. Carson City
And that is a great advantage for active retirees, who will have their choice of water activities, mountain hiking and biking, and sightseeing in historic towns. Carson City is known for a number of attractions like the Kit Carson Trail, a 2.5-mile walking tour that passes through the history of the Nevada Territory, and the beautiful Kings Canyon Waterfall, accessible via a short, steep trail.
With a population of about 59,000, Carson City also offers plenty of shopping, dining, and services. The city makes regular appearances on lists of the best places in Nevada to retire, and about 20 percent of the population is 65 or older.
Situated in the sparsely populated northeastern corner of Nevada, Elko offers a retirement experience full of western culture, unspoiled mountains, and unique dining opportunities. The Travel Nevada website describes the town of about 20,000 people as “one of the last true western towns in the U.S.”
Elko is located along the Cowboy Corridor of Interstate 80, about 3.5 hours west of Salt Lake City, Utah, and 6.5 hours north of Las Vegas. It is the gateway to the Ruby Mountains, known as the Swiss Alps of Nevada, and the scenic Lamoille Canyon.
Elko would be a great choice for retirees looking to get away from the big city, and those who are interested in history, outdoor recreation, or hunting. At about 5,000 feet elevation, it has warm summers in the 80-and-90-degree Fahrenheit range, and cold, sometimes snowy winters in the 30s and 40s.
The small city of Mesquite has a number of things going for it when it comes to retirees. For one — at less than an hour northeast of Las Vegas, it is away from the hustle and bustle of the big city but close enough for an easy day trip.
Mesquite is also among a number of Nevada communities known to be a golfer’s paradise, and it hosts countless national golf tournaments. At about a 50-minute drive from the stunning Valley of Fire State Park and about an hour and a half from Lake Mead, residents of Mesquite have plenty of nearby hiking, boating, and sightseeing opportunities.
Retirees have taken note of all of the pluses. According to figures from the U.S. Census, more than 40 percent of Mesquite’s 18,000 people are aged 65 or older.
The mid-sized community of Pahrump lies less than an hour southeast of Death Valley National Park near the Nevada/California border, making it a convenient gateway town for the spectacular national park.
With an arid desert climate, and a relatively low cost of living, Pahrump has long been popular with retirees, and U.S Census figures show that about 32 percent of the community’s population of 40,000 is 65 or older.
Along with nearby hiking and camping opportunities, Pahrump is known for its many annual events, such as the Stompapalooza (grape stomping) event at Pahrump Valley Winery in the fall, and the Wild Wet Extravaganza & Bluegrass Festival in the spring.
Summers are hot in Pahrump, with averages in the mid-90-to-100-degree Fahrenheit range from June through September, but the spring and fall months drop to highs in the 70s and 80s.
Retirees looking for big-city amenities with a small-town feel will find it in Reno, a city in northwestern Nevada that identifies as “the biggest little town in the world.” Located near the Nevada/California state line, Reno has long been known for its casinos and tourism industry. It sits in the midst of the beautiful Truckee River Valley and is less than an hour’s drive from Lake Tahoe.
With a population of about 267,000, Reno is Nevada’s third-largest city (behind Las Vegas and Henderson), and it offers plenty of big-city services, such as the sprawling University of Nevada, Reno campus. It also has a dynamic downtown, famous for its Reno Arch and Downtown Reno Riverwalk.
At about 4,500 feet elevation, Reno enjoys somewhat mild temperatures year-round. Its summers are in the 80-to-90-degree Fahrenheit range, and winters get into the 40s and 50s. Spring and fall shine in Reno, with average highs in the 60s and 70s. About 15 percent of Reno’s residents are 65 or older.
Pro Tip: Another popular retirement option in the Reno area is the suburb of Sparks, a city of about 100,000 people, known for its bustling shopping malls and entertaining annual events, such as the Best in the West Nugget Cook-Off, Hot August Nights classic car show, and Street Vibrations motorcycle rally.