2023 Best (And Worst) Places To Retire In Tennessee [See Our List]

Tennessee's Real Estate Market On The Rise

The Tennessee area real estate market is booming! The more and more we drive around the downtown Nashville area, the more license plates we see from all across America. People from the northeast, midwest and even southeast are flocking to Tennessee in the masses, and for good reason. The mild climate, lower cost of housing, good healthcare facilities, and pretty views of the great smoky mountains make Tennessee a great place in terms of quality of life. But did you know Tennessee is also one of the best states for retirees?

Why Is Tennessee A Good State For Retirees?

More and more retirees are coming to The Volunteer State to live out their golden years. Retirees find this state a great location to call home for numerous reasons.

Affordable housing and cost of living

Overall, Tennessee has an affordable cost of living. The basic rules of supply and demand will apply here as well, and as more people enter the state, and very few leave, house prices are certainly expected to rise. That said, you can still get a lot of bang for your buck as the median household price is still affordable and new homes are being developed in popular cities such as Nashville, Memphis, Chattanooga, and Knoxville.

PRO TIP: Have you been thinking about living in Tennessee? Check out our comprehensive local guide.

The tax rates are favorable

Seldom do the words taxes and favorable go together, but in the case of Tennessee, they do! There is no capital gains tax on your retirement income. So if you have a pension from another state, or you're living off of your 401k income, moving here will be a great way to put more money in your pocket. Who doesn't want to do that? In addition to no state income tax, the overall property tax rates are on the lower end. On average, the effective tax rate on your property is 0.74%. Although Davidson County, which the city of Nashville is located in just increased property taxes by 34%, they are still competitive with growing metropolitan cities like Charlotte and Atlanta. This low rate is difficult to pass up compared to other areas in the nation.

The mild climate

The northeast can see bitter cold winters and the south can be excessively hot in the summer. Tennessee is a nice blend of both extremes. Our climate is mild. We get the beautiful 4 seasons, but our winters are not nearly as cold as our friends up north, and our summers are not as humid as the more southern states. Seeing as most retirees prefer warmer climates, this makes Tennessee a great option to consider!

Tennessee has a beautiful landscape

The beauty in Tennessee is hard to describe. There is arguably nothing prettier than having the great smoky mountains as a backdrop or living along the hundreds of lakeshore miles throughout the state. Tennessee is also known for its rolling hills and open farmland.

Our culture and history

Country music, southern hospitality, and a slower pace of life are certainly popular attributes that catch the hearts of most retirees. Our cities still have that small-town feel, but provide a tremendous amount of entertainment. The list goes on and on. There are so many reasons why people consider retiring in Tennessee. The only difficult decision is finding the right town or city to call home!

What Is The Best Place To Retire In Tennessee?

This is one of the questions we get asked a lot at Felix Homes. There are plenty of great cities to live in, or near, picking between popular cities like Memphis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Knoxville is nearly impossible. Instead of choosing just one, we collected our list of the top 10 best places to retire in Tennessee.

Before we get into the list, if you're searching for the best retirement communities in Tennessee, we wrote another article specifically focusing on that. But, if you're just hoping to live out your retirement years in Tennessee, and not necessarily searching for a retirement community, here is a list of our top 10 places you should considering spending your retirement years.

#10 - Chattanooga

If you want to embrace mother nature and all her beauty, consider moving to Chattanooga. Between the banks of the Tennessee River and Appalachian mountains, you'll be surrounded by beauty 365 days a year. Not only is Chattanooga a pretty place to call home, but it is also well known for being affordable. The median home value is $230,000 per year.

#9 - Memphis

Despite having a population of over 650,000 people, Memphis still very much feels like a small country town. Situated on the great Mississippi River, Memphis has a unique character that cannot be duplicated in any other city on our list. There are plenty of activities to do inside of the city, or if you're looking for a more laid back lifestyle in your retirement years, the suburbs of Memphis and neighboring communities make for a great place to call home. The median home value is on the low end, so you'll really be able to stretch your retirement dollar here!

#8 - Murfreesboro

Well known for its American Civil War History, Murfreesboro makes our list at spot number eight. The affordable median home price of $250,000, and affordable tax rates, make this area a great place for retirees to live. Retired residents can enjoy playing golf at the Old Fort Golf Club, or relax at one of the beautiful outdoor parks. The large Middle Tennessee State University campus keeps the city young at heart, and you'll enjoy plenty of entertainment, shows, and restaurants in the heart of downtown Murfreesboro.

PRO TIP: See homes for sale in Murfreesboro

#7 - Knoxville

Situated just an hour north of the great smoky mountains national park, and home to the legendary University of Tennessee college football team, Knoxville surely makes our list of best places to retire in Tennessee. The city of Knoxville is located in East Tennessee and is nearly 1/4 the size of Memphis with a population of 180,000 people. Housing is rather affordable with the average home price being $215,000.

#6 - Nashville

Located in Davidson County, Nashville has our heart and is arguably the gem of Tennessee. There's no question Nashville makes our list of best places to retire. The residents here not only enjoy an international airport which makes traveling convenient, but they are also spoiled with amazing food choices, an endless amount of live entertainment, over 100 parks, and plenty of social clubs and recreation activities all across the city. Between the art scene, and the birthplace of country music, this is undoubtedly amongst the best places to retire in Tennessee.

PRO TIP: See homes for sale in Nashville

#5 - Oak Hill

Although this area is more expensive than other areas of Tennessee, Oak Hill is attracting more and more retirees. This is far enough outside of Nashville if you're seeking a laid back lifestyle, but just a short drive into the city where you can enjoy tons of shows, plays, concerts, restaurants, and museums.

PRO TIP: See homes for sale in Oak Hill

#4 - Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg

Just 40 minutes west of the North Carolina border sits Pigeon Forge. We promise, there is nothing more satisfying than having your morning coffee on your back deck overlooking the natural beauty of the great smoky mountains. No matter the season, the smoky mountains of Tennessee will always be a magnificent sight to see. Pigeon Forge is a small town that is well known for its amazing retirement benefits. The low cost of living, pretty views, and ease of access in and out of larger cities, makes this one of the best places to retire in Tennessee.

#3 - Franklin

Why is Franklin one of the best places to retire in Tennessee? Franklin is not only a historically rich town, it's also an affluent town. The active downtown surely promises a great culture. With plenty of restaurants to choose from, museums, and a fantastic music culture, Franklin is nothing shy of an amazing place to be. Your life can be as active as you'd like. There are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from. From walking trails, various parks, and several public golf courses, it's no secret why the population is on the rise!

PRO TIP: See homes for sale in Franklin

#2 - Kingston Springs

Kingston Springs is a beautiful town located in Cheatham County just 20 miles southwest of the big city (Downtown Nashville). The population is shy of 6,000 residents. Residents of Kingston Springs love the several outdoor adventures this rural town provides. Between hiking, fishing in the river, golf, or canoeing, you won't be bored here. Kingston Springs is an incredibly safe place to be with a very low crime rate. Better yet, if the outdoor activities do not keep you busy, you can drive 25 minutes to Downtown Nashville and enjoy all this large metropolitan city has to offer. Most homes in Cheatham County are on over an acre of land so Kingston Springs is our pick for retirees who prefer some privacy.

PRO TIP: See homes for sale in Kingston Springs

#1 - Tellico Lake

The Tellico Lake community tops our list as the best place to retire and for good reason. Anywhere along Tellico Lake is nothing shy of a dream. The lake is 33 miles long and provides over 357 miles of beautiful shoreline. Entertainment and recreation activities are endless. Between boating, fishing, golfing, hiking, and walking trails, you'll love spending your life on the lake! Roughly an hour drive to the smoky mountains and half an hour away from Knoxville, Tellico Lake provides the best of both worlds.

Areas To Avoid

Now that we covered the top 10 best places to retire in Tennessee, what are some places you should avoid?

Davidson County

While the city of Nashville is located in Davidson County, if you're looking to avoid rising property taxes in your retirement years, we would suggest looking for homes outside of county limits. If you're able to put up with higher property taxes, Davidson County has a lot to offer.


Dyersburg is one of the cities we'd recommend you avoid. With a population of roughly 17,000, it's surprising how high the crime rate is compared to the national average. The city has struggled to expand and develop over the years. It's located on the west end of Tennessee, and hours away from vibrant, culturally rich, cities.


70 miles east of Memphis is Jackson Tennessee. Unfortunately, Jackson makes the top 100 most dangerous cities in America list. Much of the city has a household income below the poverty line.

Looking To Retire In Tennessee?

If you're looking to retire in Tennessee, we're here to help. At Felix Homes, we've helped countless clients find their retirement dream home. We understand everyone has their own unique goals and desires for their retirement years.

Some of our clients chose to live in an active retirement community amongst other seniors seeking a social atmosphere full of amenities. Whether they are relaxing in the clubhouse, enjoying a swim at a beautiful pool, or playing golf a few times a week, these communities make for a great place to live.

But many of our clients don't want to adhere to the various restrictions or rules a 55+ community can put in place. We've helped clients find homes deep in the mountains, or right in the heart of a vibrant downtown area. From Chattanooga to Nashville, from a mountainside to a lakeshore, and everything in between, we have you covered.

About Felix Homes

Felix Homes is a local Nashville based low commission real estate broker. On average, we help our clients save $12,375 when buying or selling a home. How is that even possible? We're glad you asked.

Most real estate agents charge a 3% commission fee to help you sell, we charge a 1.5% fee.

Seniors, in particular, love our rates as they want to keep more money in their pockets given the nature of retirement.

If you need any help or have any questions, we can always be reached at contact@felixhomes.com or 615-354-5731. Feel free to drop us a line!

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