Retirees who dream of living near the Atlantic coast find the small state of Delaware, made up of only three counties, offers several affordable options. The major advantage of living in the state, nicknamed "The First State," is it's tax-exempt Social Security benefits. While the state's best places for retiring may lack immediate health care services, you're only a short drive to larger cities with plentiful access to doctors and hospitals.
If you love history, New Castle is an appealing town with 15 blocks designated as part of the National Historic Landmark Area. The town is located within an hour's drive of Wilmington and Baltimore. While the cost of living is 6.9 percent higher than the rest of the country, it is lower than many other New England towns. The median home cost is $137,300 with 30 or more options for senior housing available in the city and nearby area. The small city offers special events all summer long and plenty of walking paths to keep fit along the Delaware River. Christiana Hospital, located 10 minutes away from New Castle, offers a cancer center.
A lack of state sales, estate and personal property tax helps counteract the cost of living -- 42.8 percent higher than the U.S. average –– in the quaint beach town of Lewes. Senior citizens pay about 35 percent less in property taxes, making the town the third lowest in the country for real estate taxes. The median home cost is $261,500 with a couple of retirement communities available in the town. Recreational opportunities include boating, fishing and 4,000 acres of trails for hiking and biking. Access to health care services can be found at the Beebe Medical Center located in downtown Lewes. A park and ride transit system that runs all summer long makes it easy to visit the beach and downtown area without dealing with heavy congestion.
College Town Atmosphere
The opportunity to take continuing education classes and enjoy the cultural amenities associated with nearby University of Delaware make Newark a place for retirees to stay young at heart. Two hospitals are located within 10 minutes of the town. If you need advanced medical facilities, the town's location off I-95 makes it easy to reach New York City or Baltimore by car or Amtrak. The town boasts eight retirement communities for residents 55 and older. The median home cost is $180,200, and the cost of living is 15.8 percent higher than the rest of the nation, so don't expect the low costs often associated with a college town.
Small Town Living
If the hustle and bustle of larger cities doesn't appeal to you, look at Millsboro. The small town features a vibrant downtown area with enough boutique shops and restaurants to keep you satisfied, while a short drive puts you on the coast in 20 minutes. The cost of living is 5.1 percent higher than the rest of the country. The median home cost is $162,800 with one planned community in the town offering homes starting at $130,000. Boating enthusiasts can lease a lot for about $9,000 to $16,000 per year to dock their boats right on the Indian River Bay, according to MarketWatch. Head to the Beebe Medical Center, located less than 10 minutes away in Lewes, for health care services.