7 Unusual Places to Retire

Artists, RV owners and immigrants find like-minded people to grow old with.

Portrait of a mature female painting on canvas with her husband
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Rainbow living. At RainbowVision Santa Fe, same-sex couples are the norm. Many residents identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and there are even a few straight people who appreciate the culture. "You would want to have one for the gay community because they want to feel comfortable and they may not necessarily feel comfortable in another community," says John McIlwain, a senior resident fellow for the Urban Land Institute. You won't find a golf course at RainbowVision, but there are many other amenities including a cabaret, fine dining at Garbo's Restaurant, a full bar at the Starlight Lounge and the Edward Scissorhands salon.

[Read: Best Places to Retire for Under $40,000.]

Back on campus. Some retirees are nostalgic for the time when they toted a backpack filled with textbooks around campus and discussed big ideas over coffee. For these retirees, a growing number of colleges and universities have retirement communities on campus, giving seniors access to classes, medical care and other campus amenities, and a chance to interact with younger students. "With the real estate market coming back up, I am seeing an uptick in interest," Carle says. "I think virtually every major academic institution in the United States will have some affiliation in the next 20 years." Stanford, Notre Dame, Cornell, Duke, the University of Arizona and the University of Michigan are among the major institutions with university-affiliated retirement communities on or near campus. At Lasell Village in Newton, Mass., residents are actually required to complete at least 450 hours of learning and fitness activities each year as a condition of residency.