Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Retire in Gulf Shores, Alabama?
Overview: People come to Gulf Shores, tucked along Alabama's coast, for its relaxing atmosphere, beautiful 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 by more than 25% in the last decade, and much of this growth has come from retirees.
The city surrounds a 10 mile long lagoon called Little Lagoon. The 1/2 mile wide stretch of sugar-white beach south of the lagoon that fronts the Gulf is known as West Beach and has beach houses, tall condominiums, free public parking and a long pier. North of the lagoon, part of Gulf Shores sits along Bon Secour Bay and part is completely inland. A canal lined by homes on stilts runs through the center of Gulf Shores. The city has a lot of vacation condos, hotels and motels in all shapes and sizes, and private dwellings run from inexpensive apartment-style condos to elegant single family homes in communities such as Martinique on the Gulf. 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. The city has several beach access points. Gulf Shores Public Beach is full of activity, while Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge Beach, 20 miles to the west, is a quiet spot for contemplation.
Population: 11,500 (city proper)
Percentage of Population Age 45 or Better: 53%
Cost of Living: Meets the national average
Median Home Price: $265,000
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
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. The tornado risk is 45% higher than the national average.
Notes: Gulf Shores is touristy and has somewhat of a haphazard feeling to it. Shops, markets and restaurants are in good supply, but most are tourist-oriented.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the higher than average property crime rate is a concern.
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.
Population - 4,863,300
Persons 65 years old and over - 16%
High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 84%
Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 23%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 4%
White persons, not Hispanic - 65%
Median household income - $43,634
Median home value - $125,500
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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