Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Gulf Shores is Tucked Along Alabama's Central Shore and is Known for its Relaxed Atmosphere, Beautiful White Sand Beaches, Outstanding Golf Courses and Deep Sea Fishing
People come to Gulf Shores, tucked along Alabama's coast, for its casual atmosphere, gorgeous beaches, nine outstanding golf courses and deep sea fishing. In fact, tourists outnumber residents during the summer, and "snowbirds" come in droves during the winter. The city has grown 33% during the last decade, and much of this growth has come from retirees.
Gulf Shores straddles Little Lagoon, with the south part of town sitting on a strip of land with miles of sugar-white oceanfront beaches and tall condominiums. The beach is a busy place, with free parking and eight access points, and its pier is the perfect fishing spot. The city has a lot of vacation condos, hotels and motels in all shapes and sizes, and private dwellings include everything from inexpensive apartment-style condos to elegant single family homes in communities such as Martinique on the Gulf. The canal that runs through town is lined with stilt homes. Downtown is a mix of government buildings, retailers and restaurants. Pelican Place is a mall with Target, Bed Bath and Beyond two dozen other merchants.
The National Shrimp Festival, the G-rated Mardi Gras Parade and the Hang Out Music Festival attract thousands and thousands of visitors each year. Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Beach, 20 miles to the west, is a quiet spot for contemplation.
Population: 13,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 53%
Cost of Living: Meets the national average
Median Home Price: $410,000
Climate: This area has a humid subtropical climate. Summers and early fall are hot and humid while late fall and winter are less humid and cooler. On average, the area receives 60 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients: No, but South Baldwin Regional Medical Center 10 miles away in Foley accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Accredited by Joint Commission: No, but South Baldwin Regional Medical Center 10 miles away in Foley is accredited.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Meets the national average, although property crime is on the high side.
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 35%
Is Alabama Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: Gulf Shores was mostly destroyed by Hurricane Frederick in 1979, damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 and struck by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It was barely touched by Hurricane Michael in 2018, but 2020's Hurricane Sally made landfall here and brought significant flooding and wind damage. The tornado risk is 45% higher than the national average.
Notes: Gulf Shores has somewhat of a haphazard feeling to it. Shops, markets and restaurants are in good supply, but most are tourist-oriented. Home prices have increased 30% since last year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the higher than average property crime rate is a concern and the hurricane threat is real.
The Heart of Dixie was admitted to the Union on December 14, 1819. The Cotton State was a major player in both the American Civil War and the American Civil Rights Movement. Montgomery was once the capital of the Confederacy and also the heart of the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
The current economy is fed by agriculture, auto production, and aerospace. Only Arkansas and Georgia produce more broiler chickens. Alabamians built the Apollo 11 rocket and helped land the first human on the moon.
Bordered by Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, and the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama covers 52,423 square miles of land and water. Topography ranges from mountains and plateaus to river valleys, lowlands, and coastal plains. Average rainfall is 56 inches per year. Growing seasons can be long and summers hot. Winters are normally mild.
Mobile, Alabama has the oldest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States. Nicholas Langlois introduced Carnival to the city in 1703, 15 years before New Orleans was founded.
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