10 Best Cities to Retire in Idaho in 2022

10 Best Cities to Retire in Idaho in 2022

With a stunning collection of national and state parks of unparalleled beauty, a relatively low cost of living, and a strong commitment to healthy living, Idaho has a lot to offer savvy retirees. The state plays host to a portion of the famous Yellowstone National Park as well as a number of local greenways and outdoor recreation areas, including several lakes and ski resorts.

Annie Sisk

Published July 21st, 2022

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Idaho offers a rich variety of settings for numerous outdoor activities, including parks, rivers, waterfalls, and more.
  • Retirees may also enjoy a diverse cultural environment throughout the state, from three separate state fairs each year to live theater, music and more.
  • Idaho also provides some tax benefits for retirees, including a relatively low sales tax rate of 6%.

With a stunning collection of national and state parks of unparalleled beauty, a relatively low cost of living, and a strong commitment to healthy living, Idaho has a lot to offer savvy retirees. The state plays host to a portion of the famous Yellowstone National Park as well as a number of local greenways and outdoor recreation areas, including several lakes and ski resorts.

Idaho isn’t ideal solely for outdoor enthusiasts and weekend athletes, though. Many of its cities and towns boast active arts communities and opportunities. You’ll also find a strong network of physical and mental health care professionals to keep you feeling your best while you enjoy your retirement. Add in a relatively mild climate with four well-defined seasons, popular breweries and vineyards, with one of the lowest crime rates in the United States and it’s easy to see why seniors are giving Idaho a close look.

What’s more, Idaho offers tax benefits for retirees. Its sales tax is a relatively low 6%. Additionally, prescription drugs and Social Security income are not taxable.

However, some retirees may not find Idaho quite so perfect. For some, the cold, snowy winters may present a challenge. Additionally, Idaho cities don’t offer quite as much in the way of luxury retail shopping as coastal cities do. And you might not find the robust public transportation options you’re seeking. But for those who enjoy a little snow and don’t mind driving, consider these ten best Idaho cities for your retirement.

Idaho Falls

CITY POPULATION: 66,898

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 13.1%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 12.3% below national average

MEDIAN INCOME: $49,265

TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Higher than US average

Idaho Falls is the largest city in the eastern portion of the state. As such, it’s the area’s biggest cultural and business hub. A healthy ratio of healthcare providers to people means you won’t struggle to find quality care providers. And with so many parks and outdoor recreational opportunities, seniors get to enjoy an active lifestyle.

Enjoy Idaho Falls’ many cultural and artistic offerings, such as the Museum of Idaho which offers exhibits and programs centered on science and history, the Art Museum of Eastern Idaho, the ARTitorium on Broadway, and the Collector Corner Museum featuring over 100 themed collections of antiques, postcards, coins and more.

Sit and sip a perfect cup of coffee in one of the city’s many coffee shops or parks, or enjoy live performances in local theaters. You can also explore the part of the Snake River that flows nearby, producing fun hiking trails for all abilities and stunning waterfalls. Idaho Falls truly offers a little something for everyone.

Twin Falls

CITY POPULATION: 53,213

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 12.9%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 12.5% below national average

AVERAGE INCOME FOR POPULATION 65+: $28,818

TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Higher than U.S. average

Twin Falls is the biggest city in the state’s Magic Valley area. It gets high marks for retirement living thanks to its well-stocked inventory of affordable housing and retirement communities. Lots of hiking and camping opportunities in the area. Check out the powerful waters of Shoshone Falls, also known as the “Niagara Falls of the West.” Twin Falls also boasts a vibrant downtown area, with shops, restaurants and breweries. You can also find plenty of art exhibits to enjoy on First Fridays.

Blackfoot

CITY POPULATION: 12,332

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 13.0%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 17.5% below national average

MEDIAN INCOME: $52,360

TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Higher than U.S. average

The county seat of Bingham County, Blackfoot is small, but growing. Over the last ten years, the population has grown 2.89%, and those trends seem to be poised to continue. For a small town, though, Blackfoot demonstrates an appreciable diversity of interests. From the Idaho Potato Museum to the Eastern Idaho State Fair, Blackfoot offers a wide variety of activities for seniors and residents of all ages.

Enjoy movies at the Blackfoot Movie Mill, housed in a historic industrial building, or travel a short way out of town to enjoy the Butterfly Haven, a lovely farm and apiary. And if you’re more into hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities, check out the Blackfoot Green Belt on the banks of the Snake River.

Sandpoint

CITY POPULATION: 9,003

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 20.1%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 1.0% above national average

MEDIAN INCOME: $46,712

TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: On par with U.S. average

With a small population and the easy, relaxed vibe of a lakefront town, Sandpoint presents a cozy, walkable town with a strong community of retirees. It’s packed with resorts, but don’t call it a resort town. The locals who live here year round are a tight knit group but you’ll find that new residents are welcome.

Vibrant arts scene, plenty of outdoors activities to explore and enjoy, and the beauty of access to the waters of Lake Pend Oreille, the state’s largest lake, which offers plenty of waterfront property to buy or rent. Locals enjoy skiing, and some resorts offer senior discounts. Many retirees in the area enjoy a post-retirement work life by gaining part-time or seasonal employment to run the ski lifts and concession stands.

Burley

CITY POPULATION: 11,863 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 12.4% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 18.2% below national average MEDIAN INCOME: $48,065 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: On par with U.S. average

A few miles north of the state line between Idaho and Utah you’ll find the City of Rocks, an enchanting geological marvel of granite spires and rock formations up to 600 feet high. Burley is the closest town to City of Rocks, which is far from the only interesting site to explore in the area.

Enjoy kayaking, paddleboards, water skiing and so much more on the broad, relatively flat waters of the Snake River, or simply spend a more sedate afternoon out of doors in Storybook Park. Spend a day at Lake Walcott State Park, which hosts campsites for tents as well as RVs and a number of great spots for fishing.

If you enjoy golf, you’ll love the public course with low green fees at River’s Edge. And if you’re into spooky outings, check out Albion, a historic settlement a few miles southeast of Burley with some truly atmospheric abandoned buildings. It’s a great place to hunt for ghosts on Halloween!

Jerome

CITY POPULATION: 12,555

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 10.8%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 13.7% below national average

MEDIAN INCOME: $47.389

TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: On par with U.S. average

Jerome is also near the banks of the Snake River, which carves out a 500-foot canyon as it ambles around the south and west of Jerome. History buffs will find lots to explore in Jerome, from the Minidoka National Historic Site, one of ten U.S. internment camps for people with Japanese ancestry during World War II, as well as the Jerome County Historical Museum.

If you prefer more active outdoor pastimes, check out North Park, a lovely urban park filled with tall shade trees, a splash pad, a skatepark and an amphitheater for live performances. Or join the Jerome Country Club, one of the oldest courses in Idaho, offering 18 holes with interesting hazards, including old lava flows.

During the summer, you can find delicious locally grown fruits, from raspberries to cherries to blackberries, plus herbs and vegetables, artisanal breads, and other delightful home baked goods. Jerome is also not far from Shoshone Falls (i.e., the “Niagara of the West”), where you can enjoy spectacular views of the Snake River roaring over the falls 212 feet down to the river.

Garden City

CITY POPULATION: 12,288

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 26.4%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 9.4% over national average

MEDIAN INCOME: $50,185

TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Slightly higher than U.S. average

Garden City is a bright and trendy little community located in the state capital. It offers a lovely place for retirees who want to stay active and involved in life. The Boise River Greenbelt’s 20 miles of riverside trails provide ample space where you can hike, look for bald eagles and a wide variety of waterfowl, and even rent bikes, paddleboards, and kayaks to more fully explore the river.

The rich diversity of creative and cultural offerings in Garden City is beautifully demonstrated in the Garden City Artisans Pathway, which helps you find a plethora of stunning small locally owned businesses. From glass artisans to ceramics, jewelers and more, you’ll enjoy exploring the local cultural offerings while periodically enjoying one of several cider, craft beer, and wine bars. Enjoy the Boise Hawks baseball games in season, and in August, take advantage of the Western Idaho State Fair.

Eagle

CITY POPULATION: 32,100

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 20.9%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 29.4% over national average

MEDIAN INCOME: $91,414

TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Higher than U.S. average

Housing is the main sector that drives up the cost of living in Eagle, Idaho, which is very close to the state capital of Boise, but if you can find a home that’s in your budget, you’ll find lots to love about retiring here. If you like to discover new wines, check out 3 Horse Ranch Vineyard. Take the grandkids to Roaring Springs Family Fun Park or the Firebird Raceway and earn major “cool grandparent” points.

For quieter weekends, explore Eagle’s Saturday farmers’ market for the freshest local produce and homemade goods. The market also features a number of vendors offering a diverse array of artistic pieces and live music while you browse and buy.

Hayden

CITY POPULATION: 32,100 SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 20.9% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 10.4% above national average MEDIAN INCOME: $91,414 TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Higher than U.S. average

Hayden is close to Coeur d’Alene, two lovely lakes, and a wide variety of enjoyable attractions you can enjoy all year long. Enjoy fun outings to Raptor Reef Indoor Water Park, Silverwood Theme Park, or Triple Play Family Fun Park when the grandkids are visiting—or go by yourselves any time! You can also explore the Big Red’s Barn Indoor Animal Experience, a petting zoo that lets children and adults of all ages interact with and appreciate all kinds of animals, from dwarf goats to a capybara.

Indulge your inner daredevil at Timberline Adventures, with exhilarating zip lines high up in the forest canopy next to Lake Coeur d”Alene. Hayden Lake, situated east of Hayden, is a breathtakingly gorgeous lake surrounded by mountains and dense forests of pine. Honeysuckle Beach is one of three public access spots on Hayden Lake. After a day on the water, relax at the Mad Bomber Brewing Company.

Emmett

CITY POPULATION: 32,100

SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 20.9%

COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 3.1% below national average

MEDIAN INCOME: $91,414

TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Slightly lower than national average

Emmett is a small city (though larger than some other places on our list) that’s located northwest of Noise in a fertile valley carved out of a formerly desert landscape. The result? Plenty of locally grown fruit that’s known for its sweetness and taste. You can pick fruits yourself in season or buy at local markets. And definitely don’t miss the annual Emmett Cherry Festival usually held in mid-June each summer.

Emmett has a number of interesting facilities and activities to explore, including the Gem Historical Village Museum. Get a panoramic view of the Emmett valley at Freezeout Hill, enjoy a night of bowling at KT’s Lanes, or take in a movie at Frontier Cinema. You’ll also enjoy the hot springs at Roystone. If you’re eager to try some more active outdoor pastimes, try your hand at whitewater rafting on the Payette River.

Which City Should You Retire In?

Idaho has so much to offer retirees who align with its outdoorsy vibe. Whether you’re after the small-town vibe of Sandpoint or something a bit bigger and closer to the lights and excitement of a large city, you can find a place that will welcome you and provide the perfect setting for your retirement. Which city suits you best? That depends on a variety of factors, including your retirement plan and budget. And if you don’t have a retirement plan yet, let’s create one together.

Free Retirement Consultation

Still have questions about how to properly plan for retirement? Speak with a licensed fiduciary for free.

Where Can You Afford?

Will you be able to maintain your lifestyle through retirement? See how much monthly income to expect and how to make it last as long as you need.

Learn More

Author

Annie Sisk

Annie Sisk is a freelance writer and content strategist. Originally from North Carolina, Annie now lives in Binghamton, New York. She's written extensively for finance, legal, and human resources sites and publications, including Legal Beagle and Predictive Index.

This website is maintained by Retirable Inc. ("Retirable"). By using this website, you accept our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Retirable, Inc. ('Retirable') is an SEC registered investment adviser. By using this website, you accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Retirable provides holistic retirement planning services, which are available only to residents of the United States. You must be at least 18 years of age to become a Retirable Premium user. Nothing on this website should be considered an offer, solicitation of an offer, or advice to buy or sell securities.

Investing involves risk and past performance is not indicative of future results. Increased spending increases the risk of depleting your savings and performance is not guaranteed. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any decisions based on your own personal circumstances.

Retirable Inc.

Email: info@retirable.com

Tel: (833) 222-1807

2022

All rights reserved.