Senior Citizens: Outstanding Places to Retire in Iowa

Senior Citizens: Outstanding Places to Retire in Iowa

A picturesque image of the Iowa River running through The University of Iowa's illuminated campus.

Iowa–known for its Midwestern hospitality, bicycling events, and neverending cornfields–happens to be a wonderful place for senior citizens to live. Not only is Iowa affordable, but it has a high overall wellness score and low crime rates. Scattered throughout the state, there are numerous perfect options with varied population numbers, activities, senior communities, and transportation options. Here are the top five best places to live in Iowa for senior citizens!

#1 – Marion

Marion, Iowa is a flourishing city that has been rapidly growing since the start of the 21st century. Marion provides free weekly programs specifically for seniors in their local park and public library, where senior citizens can mingle and enjoy their favorite activities.

Anyone who appreciates art will find Marion vibrant and fascinating, as this 41,023-person community has an arts and environment center, amphitheater, downtown artway, and library open to the public.

If Marion has a slow night, residents can easily access Cedar Rapids: another city only 15 minutes away. Cedar Rapids has the Eastern Iowa Airport, an easily accessible way to connect with friends and family from far away.

With the many opportunities inside and outside Marion, it is a perfect place for seniors to live in Iowa.

#2 – Spirit Lake

The town of Spirit Lake is simply beautiful. Sitting on the edge of a lake by the same name, Spirit Lake has some of the most beautiful views and diverse recreational activities. Fishing and boating are popular timespenders, but local land dwellers can also enjoy shopping, hiking, and the farmer’s market.

Spirit Lake was awarded the Healthy Iowa Award, giving its 5,301 citizens recognition for implementing healthy living into its culture. Healthcare is extremely important to the community, and there is easy access to clinics and care centers throughout Spirit Lake.

For seniors searching for a happy and healthy place to retire, Spirt Lake will not disappoint. It is a prime place for seniors to live in Iowa.

#3 – Burlington

From music enthusiasts to train lovers, Burlington is an excellent place for seniors to live. It has a fascinating history and precious landmarks, such as its historic performing arts center and authentic log cabin. The town also sports great pride in its music programs. There is often a performance to attend with both a symphony orchestra and a municipal band.

Though only 24,160 people live in Burlington, the town has a shopping mall and a downtown district, both with shopping and restaurants. Burlington also has a medical center. When wanting to leave Burlington, residents can take an Amtrak train from the town’s indoor station. With all its amenities, Burlington is a top place in Iowa for seniors to live.

#4 – Fort Madison

With a population of 10,340, Fort Madison is a quaint river town with tons of beauty and charm. Fort Madison’s beaches line the glistening Mississippi River. Beautiful, historic buildings full of welcoming small businesses line downtown Fort Madison’s streets. The town has a hospital, a medical center, and various senior centers.

There is an abundance of activities to do in Fort Madison, but perhaps Fort Madison’s oldest and most well-known pastime is its Tri-State Rodeo. The rodeo puts on various events yearly, like saddle acts, rodeo parades, and cowboy contests. They also host concerts, military nights, and specialty acts, making Fort Madison a lively and exciting town for seniors to live in.

#5 – Sac City

Sac City, Iowa, is small but mighty. The town is located in the midwest part of Iowa in Sac County and has 1,895 residents. There are many ways for senior citizens to get involved in Sac City’s community through town committees, and retirees have a variety of groups to choose from.

If you greatly appreciate the arts, you can join the Arts Council. For any nature lovers, the Recreational Trails committee is a perfect way to stay occupied and give back to the town. The town also gives back to its residents. There is both a hospital on the east side of town and several senior communities, advertising safety, privacy, and affordability. 

Sac City is one of the best places for senior citizens to live. It offers many exciting recreational activities, such as skiing, golf, swimming, and pickleball. This blossoming community is situated on the Racoon River, so canoeing, kayaking, and fishing are prime summertime exercises.

Iowa State University has noticed Sac City for being a “smart senior town” and welcomes new residents with open arms.


Marion, Spirit Lake, Burlington, Fort Madison, and Sac City are the best places for seniors to live in Iowa. They are all rich in history, art, activities, and opportunities and are absolutely worth considering!

Blogger/Journalist at UniMovers

Caroline is an undergraduate at the University of Iowa studying Business Management and English. When she's not studying, she spends time reading, hanging out with friends, working out, traveling, and calling her family. After college, Caroline will enter the publishing industry, where she will help authors and their stories find their perfect audience.