The Best Warm Place to Retire

The best warm places to retire depend on what you desire in a destination.

If you are at an age where you imagine yourself on a sunny beach enjoying every day of your retirement, there are a number of great choices both in the United States and abroad. Retirement locales range from traditional states like Florida to developing countries such as Nicaragua. The best warm places to retire depend on your personal criteria and the standard of living you desire.

Prescott, Arizona

This popular retiree destination was number three on CNN Money's "25 Best Places to Retire" and the top warm city on its list. It is located just 100 miles north of Phoenix. While there are plentiful sunny days, there are also four distinct seasons for those who prefer a little balance to their summer days. The city is dotted with Victorian homes, 19th-century Whiskey Row saloons and a serene Courthouse Plaza. For activities, there are half a dozen golf courses, a number of art shows, film festivals, craft fairs and outdoor concerts.

St. Petersburg, Florida

If Florida is at the top of your list, consider this well-cultured and warm retirement destination. The average monthly temperature hovers between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit all year. With median home prices at $150,000 as of 2010, you can use your savings to enjoy the city's luxury shopping, fine dining and professional golf courses. St. Petersburg also offers two unique educational programs created especially for seniors at Eckerd College, where you can study a wealth of university-level subjects. There is also the Salvador Dalí Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts.

Greenville, South Carolina

In CNBC's report, "America's Top Places for Boomers to Retire," this small city was near the top of the list. Characterized as having a "family-friendly" vibe, the city averages 220 sunny days per year. Its low home prices and friendly main street helped it get selected by "AARP Magazine" as one of the best places to "live the simple life." There's also a performing arts center and the nearby mountain woodlands of Jones Gap State Park.

Corazal, Belize

If you're considering heading south of the border but don't want to make the language jump, consider the country of Belize. This English-speaking Central American country offers pristine white beaches, tropical jungles and world-class fishing. Its "Qualified Retired Persons" program, known as the QRP, also offers a fast track to residency status. The region of Corozal is only a few miles south of the Mexican city of Chetumal where you can find modern shopping malls and cineplexes.

Costa Del Sol, Spain

If you seek a retirement adventure abroad in Europe, consider Costa Del Sol, a coastal region of 150 miles stretching from Gibraltar to the southern tip of Spain. If its quaint villages and endless beaches don't lure you, its economic slump resulting in a huge drop in home prices just might. There is also no sales tax and property tax is very low compared with the United States. The region offers more than 300 days of sunshine a year and an average winter temperature of 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

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