15 Retirement Gems From Our Readers

These locales are speckled with golf courses, wineries, art galleries, and more

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For some retirees, a seaside town in Florida is an idyllic retirement spot. But others prefer the excitement of the ski slopes, the beauty of the wine country, or the art and culture that come with living in a big city. This year, U.S. News invited readers to recommend their personal retirement havens. Hundreds of retirees and baby boomers contemplating retirement told us about leisure activities like golf, festivals, and the cost of living in their favorite towns:

Bella Vista, Ark. "We have any kind of club you could think of. If you play the recorder, if you play canasta, if you knit, if you line dance or square dance, there's a club for you. When Broadway plays come through Fayetteville I work as an usher, and I volunteer at the library." -Joanne Coquillard, 82

Wilmington, Del. "I moved here from the Bronx because the city was just too expensive, but it's not that far from New York. It's quiet and not crowded and peaceful here. I go to the beach with the grandkids so they can learn how to swim. I plan on going to Wilmington College, and their tuition is decent as far as colleges go." -Ava Gardner, 53

[Check out America's Best Affordable Places to Retire.]

Red Wing, Minn. "The day after Thanksgiving we light up the whole city with lights. It's like living in a Norman Rockwell painting. We literally have chestnuts roasting on an open fire. I won't live anywhere else. If my daughters put me in a nursing home, it better be in Red Wing." -Vicky Kimmen, 52

New Port Richey, Fla. "We have a half-mile walkway that runs along one of our canals, and all day long you see people getting their exercise along the canal and people stop and say hello. Restaurant food is very affordable. We can easily go out and have a dinner that includes a beverage and dessert for $8. I have one small problem: My waistline has expanded since I retired." -John O'Shea, 67

Knoxville, Tenn. "You can buy a lot of house here for a very reasonable amount of money. We're a little bit in the country. We have 12 acres that we live on, and we used to have a half-acre lot in Ohio. We've added on and put in a pool. That was one of our retirement dreams."  -Jeffrey Corthell, 65

Peachtree City, Ga. "It's a little bit more upscale than the rest of Georgia. The most amazing thing is our 90-mile golf-cart path system. I don't even need my car in the evening or on weekends. I just get in my golf cart and go. The grandkids love riding in the golf cart." -Jeffrey Ward, 63

[See this Slideshow of Affordable Places to Retire.]

Manhattan, Kan. "It's small enough that we see one another a great deal at events and in stores and at community activities, but it's also large enough and advanced enough economically that we do have a lot of shopping and recreation options. ... We have the little apple ball drop on New Year's Eve, but there are no lines or waiting for restaurants here." -Linda Weis

Boise, Idaho. "Within 100 miles of Boise is just about any kind of outdoor activity anyone could want. I camp and go hunting in the fall. You can literally go from one end of Boise to the other in a park." -John Downer, 80

Traverse City, Mich. "The city has a nice sophistication to it. There are some very good wineries in the area, and we have a culinary institute, so there's a huge collection of good American cuisine. The two big events are a film festival and a cherry festival." -Barb Kennedy, 68

Wilmington, N.C. "I like to kayak and boat. There are bike paths here to the beach and the rivers, and we're only a short drive to the mountains. I go to some of the plays at the theater, and we have lots of galas and social activities." -Nancy Nipper, 54

[Find Your Best Place to Retire.]

Ithaca, N.Y. "Ithaca is a great college town where the cost of living is very low. I like areas with some forest around that are quiet and have natural beauty. Ithaca has really fresh, clean air and lots of stars at night." -Joe Register, 48

Las Vegas. "We don't go down on the strip because it has gotten too expensive, but there are three casinos for locals. They have shows that are inexpensive enough that you can go to them. And the buffets are marvelous!" -George Appleton, 83

Los Alamos, N.M. "I run into my ex-coworkers from the [Los Alamos] National Laboratory all the time, and we talk shop a little bit. Los Alamos has the fastest supercomputers in the world right now, so I tend to talk about computers and supercomputers, but others talk with their former coworkers about chemistry and physics. There's also a lot of music and arts stuff, so it's not totally focused on science." -Stephen Tenbrink, 61

St. Louis. "I went to my first Cardinals game in 1937, and still go two or three times a year. The prices are a lot different than they used to be. In the '50s, it was 50 cents to sit in the bleachers. Now it's about $15. But the games are just as exciting because anything can happen." -Aaron Greenberg, 82

Oklahoma City. "After you buy a desirable home, you will still have pocket money left for travel, arts, sports, plays, and entertainment galore. Keep mentally alert by attending a course at a nearby college or trade school. We Okies are the most caring and friendly people you can ever find anywhere." -Josephine Spivey, 93

Please share your ideal retirement spot below or e-mail us at retire@usnews.com.