Lake Havasu City, with a population of 52,527 as of the 2010 census, was established in 1963 as a self-sufficient, planned community. Retirees will appreciate the order and neatness of this town, situated on the eastern shore of Lake Havasu on the Colorado River border of California and Arizona. Lake Havasu City is the home of the historic London Bridge, and has been named to the “Best Places to Retire” lists of many national publications including Money Magazine and Portfolio.com.
Climate: With a scant 3 inches of rain per year, Lake Havasu’s arid desert climate will appeal to many retirees. Frost is virtually unknown in the area, but it has extremely hot summers.
Cost of living: Not as affordable as some small towns, the cost of living in Lake Havasu City is 9% greater than the national average. Housing is more reasonable, at around 7% greater than the national average. A retirement home will cost on average $196,300.
Colleges and Universities: Mohave Community College offers many choices for lifelong learning to Arizona residents who are at least 55 years old.
Transportation: Lake Havasu City has its own airport. Havasu Area Transit (HAT) provides public transportation around town.
Travel and tourism: Lake Havasu is formed by Parker Dam on the Colorado River, and offers 45 miles of beautiful beaches. Active retirees will find a full panorama of recreation and outdoor activities such as golfing, fishing and boating in a land free of mosquitoes, smog and big city hassles.
Yuma, with a population of 93,064 as of the 2010 census, is the county seat and largest city in Arizona outside the metro areas of Phoenix and Tucson. The mighty Colorado River defines the border between Arizona and California and runs along the city’s northern edge. Yuma’s location as the safest spot to cross the Colorado River has historically been a magnet for travelers from Spanish explorers to Okies fleeing the Dust Bowl. And today snowbirds flee northern climates to bask in the sunshine of Yuma’s winters.
Climate: Retirees love this climate, with 308 sunny days per year, average annual rainfall of around three inches a year, and low humidity. Gardeners appreciate that hard freezes are rare, allowing vegetables and citrus to flourish through the winter.
Cost of living: A bit more expensive than the national average, the cost of living in Yuma is 9% above that. But the average cost of a retirement home runs about 15% less than the national average, at $127,000.
Colleges and Universities: The University of Phoenix campus offers continuing education courses at the Yuma Learning Center. Parks and Recreation through the City of Yuma also offers a wide variety of year-round activities for adults 50 years of age and older.
Transportation: U.S. Airways flies direct to Phoenix, and United/Continental provide daily service to Los Angeles. Retirees may also take advantage of the scheduled shuttle van service to and from the Phoenix airport. Those who like to travel by train or bus will find Amtrak and Greyhound routes that also serve the area.
Travel and tourism: As the place that has more sunshine than any other city on earth, Yuma is a natural for all kinds of outdoor activities, from boating to golf to off-roading. There are many festivals to be enjoyed all year round, and retirees can take a day trip south of the border. There are three casinos which provide a plethora of evening entertainment.
Not named for a fish, instead Bullhead City took its name from the Bull’s Head Rock formation that was submerged by the creation of Lake Mohave. Incorporated in 1984, Bullhead City had a population of 39,540 as of the 2010 census. This area offers striking scenic beauty along the beautiful blue waters of the Colorado River near the spot where Arizona, Nevada and California meet.
Climate: Temperatures frequently exceeding 110 degrees in the summer, but retirees love the sunny and mild winters ideal for golf and other outdoor pursuits. The annual average precipitation here is a mere 6 inches.
Cost of living: The cost of living in Bullhead City is 9% greater than the national average, but housing is 24.2% less. An average retirement home in Bullhead City will cost around $129,200.
Colleges and Universities: Retirees who are at least 55 years old and residents of Arizona may choose from several courses in the lifelong learning department at Mohave Community College in Bullhead City.
Transportation: The area is served by Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport.
Travel and tourism: Outdoor recreation is the name of the tune for retirees, with Bullhead City’s year-round sunshine. Located across the Colorado River from one of the nation’s most popular gaming communities, Laughlin, Nevada, there are always options for entertainment.
Arizona retirement summary: There is no secret as to why retirees love Arizona – it’s the climate! The trend toward retirement in Arizona began years ago, and continues today. This is a process that starts with occasional visitors, who then become snowbirds, and who eventually make their year-round home in Arizona because of the irresistible lure of the sunshine and opportunity for being outdoors year round.