Retirement Living With Old West Tradition, Outdoor Adventure and Modern Lifestyles
If biking and hiking through beautiful mountain meadows or just sitting and watching majestic summer sunsets fit into your retirement plans, Colorado may just the place for you. Of course, you may have to endure some pretty deep snows and cold winter winds, but, for many, this is a small price to pay in order to live in some of the most spectacular outdoor scenery in the nation, as well as experiencing a lifestyle that is both exciting and invigorating.
While Denver, the capital and largest city, is the state's economic and financial hub, it is the smaller cities and towns scattered across Colorado that seem to be most attractive as places to retire. In the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, just 35 miles northwest of Denver, Boulder is an alluring mountain community enhanced by spectacular natural beauty, an energy-filled urban lifestyle and a vibrant appreciation of the outdoors. This captivating of city of 100,000, in addition to being the home of the University of Colorado, is a center of commerce and scientific research.
With more than 200 miles of serene hiking and biking trails, 30,000 acres of unspoiled open space nearby, it is easy to understand why residents embrace an outdoor lifestyle. This is a place where kayakers paddle through the middle of town and rock climbers, bicyclers and fly-fishermen congregate, a fact which has resulted in Boulder's being designated as the "No. 1 Sports Town in America." Adding to this distinction as a very special place to live is a year-round schedule of artistic and cultural events, including an annual Shakespeare Festival and the Boulder International Film Festival.
But be forewarned…this idyllic lifestyle comes with a price. The cost of living in Boulder, as in most other cities mentioned here, is substantially higher than other retirement destinations. Still, housing prices are lower than you will find in major metropolitan areas like New York City or San Francisco.
Another thriving Colorado city that ranks high on many lists of choice retirement destinations is Fort Collins, which holds the distinction of being selected as the "best place to live" on at least one major compilation in 2006. Situated at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and marked by a moderate, four-season climate, it boasts a strong, diverse economy centered around several high-tech businesses, as well as Colorado State University. The city consistently ranks among the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the country and provides its residents a menu of diverse cultural attractions, including a symphony orchestra, a ballet company and several theatrical venues.
Fort Collins offers an interesting collection of residential neighborhoods ranging from tree-lined older neighborhoods to sprawling new subdivisions. With the Cache la Poudre River flowing through town, the Rockies looming across the Western horizon and the Great Eastern Plains spreading east, there are numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation nearby...notably skiing, golfing, whitewater rafting, hiking and boating.
Just an hour away is Denver, with its big city amenities and major professional sports teams. For variety, the wide open spaces of the Wyoming desert country are less than forty miles to the North. Compared to other areas of the Mid-West, such as Minnesota and Michigan, the winters, while subject to periodic heavy snows, can be surprisingly mild, especially in view of the fact the ground is not covered all winter, except in the high mountains to the West.
As might be expected, Denver, particularly its upscale suburban areas, attracts a great number of retirees migrating to the State. In fact, several national developers of active adult communities, including Del Webb Communities, have recently built major developments in such smaller cities as Broomfield, a fast growing area located mid-way between Denver and Boulder.
Colorado Springs is another metropolitan area that is becoming more popular as a retirement destination. With a substantial presence of scientific and software companies, especially several related to military and space technology, the city has attracted thousands of highly educated and technically skilled professionals seeking the quality of life and recreational opportunities available to area residents. Retirees have a number of excellent artistic and cultural venues at their disposal, including a superb fine art center and an outstanding center for the performing arts that is renowned for its design and acoustics.
For anyone who is searching for a small town as a possible place to retire, Colorado presents a number of unique and interesting choices, many with a distinctive flavor of the "Old West". In places like Georgetown, Greeley or Dillon, local rodeos, 1870's Victorian architecture and the popularity of cowboy hats and boots maintain the character and traditions of the area's heritage.
A more contemporary small town option is Castle Rock, just a few miles south of Denver, is a picturesque community with a sense of charm, beautiful views and an active cultural life. Its 43,000 residents have easy access to both Denver and Colorado Springs. At an elevation of 6,200 feet above sea level, it is noted for its spectacular and challenging golf courses, including four private and three public layouts.
Although priced beyond the budget of most average retirees, Colorado is home to some of the nation's most notable trendy ski resort towns, some of which do have a significant number of affluent retirees as residents, although in some cases on a part-time basis. Towns like Breckenridge, Vail, Aspen and Telluride are experiencing a growth in the number of younger, active retirees who come for the outdoor lifestyle and sense of adventure.
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