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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Charlevoix, Michigan

A Pretty Lakeside Town, Charlevoix Boasts Fun Events, a Cute Downtown, Water Recreation and Baskets of Petunias

Scenic northwestern Michigan is the home of Charlevoix (Shar-lay-voy), a pretty town along the shores of Lake Michigan, Lake Charlevoix and Round Lake (often called the best natural harbor on Lake Michigan). Originally settled by commercial fishermen in the late-1800s, it soon became a resort town and was even popular with Chicago gangsters in the 1920s. Today, it is a boaters' Paradise and the site of several resorts.

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Streets are wide and tree-lined, and the downtown is cute and touristy. Every year volunteers hang 450 baskets filled with petunias all around town, creating a colorful tableau. Residents enjoy a lakeside summer concert series, the beautiful Charlevoix Venetian Festival, the Apple Fest and more. The 67-slip city marina, five private marinas, two public boat launches and four public beaches provide plenty of water access. Five golf courses have a Charlevoix address, and camping, hiking and snowshoeing venues are nearby. Leafy East Park is the home of the five month long farmers' market. Everyday supplies can be found in town, but many residents travel to Petoskey (15 miles) for more shopping and services.

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Charlevoix has a lot of second home owners. Condos and timeshares are plentiful, but so are ranch ramblers in quaint neighborhoods. Gorgeous lakeside residences are here, too.

Population:  2,500 (city proper)

Age 45 or Better:  55% 

Cost of Living:  18% below the national average

Median Home Price: $305,000

Climate:     Summers are cool with temperatures in the 60s, 70s and 80s. Winter temperatures are in the single digits, teens and 20s. On average, the area receives 32 inches of rain and a whopping 105 inches of snow each year.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?   Yes

At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission?  Yes

Public Transit:   No

Crime Rate:   Meets the national average

Public Library:   Yes

Political Leanings:   Conservative

College Educated:   36%

Is Michigan Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?    Somewhat

Cons:   None

Notes:    The population started to decline in 2016 but has rebounded to about where it was a decade ago. The summer population swells to 30,000, and summer traffic can be a headache, particularly along Bridge Street because it has a bridge that opens and closes to let boats pass between Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan. Winters are very quiet. Home prices have increased 11% since last year. About 32 miles from Charlevoix, Beaver Island sits in Lake Michgian and is reachable via ferry. It is known for its beaches, forests and seclusion. Several years ago locals fought to keep Wal-Mart out of town and won.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?   Yes

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Michigan

The Wolverine State's borders touch four of the Great Lakes and the state is divided into two parts - Upper and Lower. The Mackinac Bridge, one of the world's longest suspension bridges, connects these two halves. Up North, the Sault St. Marie canals connect Lake Superior and Lake Huron.

Native Americans lived in the area when the first Europeans arrived in 1618. Sault St. Marie was the first immigrant settlement in 1668. After the Indian and French Wars, Britain claimed the land from the French. The region became part of the U.S. after the Revolutionary War, but constant conflict occured between the British, Americans and Native Americans until the end of the War of 1812.

The name Michigan came from the Ojibwa Indian words Mishi-gama (meaning "large lake").

The world's first air-conditioned automobile was built by Detroit's Packard Motor Car Company in 1939.

No point in Michigan is farther than six miles from a body of water.

Michigan is the only U.S. state to have two peninsulas.

The state produces 70% of the tart cherries grown in the United States.

Michigan has about 150 lighthouses, more than any other state.

Although Michigan's nickname is the "Wolverine State," no wolverines live in the state.

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