The Best Places to Retire With Your Dog

Posted by Billy Francis

Reaching retirement age doesn’t mean retiring from good times. No more clocking in, but you still have to get up early to start your new full time job, spending time with Fido. If his dog house is starting to feel stale now he has more time on his paws, start a new “leash” of life together at these pet- and senior-friendly destinations across the country.

Sarasota

Florida
All smiles in Sarasota. Photo by @sarasotafarmersmarket

Retirees flock to Florida for exceptional year-round weather, tax-exempt retirement income and lively senior communities from coast to coast. Located on the Gulf Coast, Sarasota is gradually becoming the place to be for people entering their golden years. Earning itself the nickname of "Circus City" for historically offering winter homes to performers for the world-famous Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circuses, Fido can be the latest “paw-forming” animal to take up residence here. Nowadays, headline events are held at numerous arts venues around town, frequently featuring famous bands from back in the day. In winter, temperatures average 63 degrees, which means there’s no excuse for staying home and missing out on opportunities to make new friends at one of the area’s dog parks. The average age of residents in Sarasota is 53, so newbies are bound to find other dog lovers with shared life experiences to connect with.

Get a taste of the good vibes and great cocktails on the expansive deck at Old Salty Dog, or lounge on the dog beach while your best friend frolics off leash at Brohard Paw Park. On weekends, bring Fido to the Sarasota Farmer's Market for the best selection of fresh fruits and vegetables in town. And if you're looking to expand your pack, adopt a new senior playmate from Vintage Paws Sanctuary, and give another old dog a chance at a new life. For dogs and owners who need a little extra help, The Fountains at Lake Pointe Woods is a pet-friendly senior living facility in Sarasota home to its own dog park and 53 acres of nature trails to explore.

Think Sarasota is right for your golden years? Get a sneak peek of the good life with a stay at the pet-friendly La Quinta Inn & Suites Sarasota I-75.

Savannah

Georgia
Strolling in Savannah. Photo by BringFido/Barbara

Lovers of history and culture will relish relocating to the “Hostess City of the South.” Despite its reputation as a vacation destination and college town, Savannah has everything needed for “pawfect” post-work years, too. Unlike Florida, property taxes and cost of living are both relatively low here. A mid-sized city that offers a great blend of amenities and a fantastic food scene with the laid-back pace of a smaller coastal town, Savannah offers something for everyone. Mild winters are a boon and you can escape sultry weather during the peak of summer with a weekend away at nearby Tybee Island. Neighborhoods are often a healthy mix of students, young families and retirees, who all share a love for the arts and a good time.

New transplants to the city can learn all about Fido’s new stomping ground with Oliver Bentleys Historic Dog Walk Tour. After your stroll, bask in the incredible history with a table for two at The Olde Pink House, a popular restaurant located within a house that dates back to 1779. Getting older doesn’t mean the “pawty” has to end. Slip on your dancing shoes and celebrate at one of the city’s big bashes. Dogs are welcome at annual festivals including St. Patrick's Day Parade, Wag-O-Ween and the Fall Fair.

Try before you buy with a stay at Olde Harbour Inn, where pups are presented with a special welcome bag.

Salinas

California
Cycle your way to Salinas. Photo by Facebook.com/maddogscarmel

It’s time to age gracefully on the West Coast and wander in the footsteps of John Steinbeck and his famous characters in Salinas. The author was an early adopter of dog travel, hitting the road with his standard poodle, Charley, in 1962 and documenting the journey in his book “Travels with Charley: In Search of America.” The Californian city he grew up in is known as the “Salad Bowl of the World" due to its agricultural history and is home to numerous art deco and Depression Moderne buildings. House prices don’t come cheap in California compared to elsewhere in the country, but Salinas is still more than half the price on average than San Francisco and nearby Carmel if your heart is set on the Golden State. Spend your days touring downtown murals, cycling through the countryside and enjoying the area’s mild Mediterranean climate.

Salinas is also a great central hub for exploring one of the best pet-friendly coastlines in the U.S. Monterey State Beach and Carmel Beach are both under 30 minutes away and welcome dogs on the sand for a Sunday sunset stroll (every day is Sunday when you’re retired). Beautiful Carmel, one of the best dog-friendly beach towns in the country, lies just a stone’s throw away. You can make frequent trips to Carmel Plaza for shopping and take a picture next to the Fountain of Woof as often as you like. Back in your new hometown, enjoy a walk in Toro County Park and dinner at Elli's Great American Restaurant.

Before you sign on the dotted line, bring the whole family to this great vacation rental with a fenced backyard and explore everything Salinas has to offer.

Lancaster

Pennsylvania
Live the Amish life in Lancaster. Photo by BringFido/Traci

If you’re a country kid but your dog’s a “city licker,” find the best of both worlds in Pennsylvania’s most desirable retirement city of Lancaster. Even the suburbs of this city are never too far from expansive farmland. House prices are nearly $100,000 under the national average and Pennsylvania doesn’t tax residents’ retirement income, which gives transplants more bang for their buck. With four distinct seasons, Fido can enjoy all his favorite things: snowy walks, spring fetch at the dog park, BBQ season, and leaf peeping.

Saving money isn’t the only plus of a big move to Lancaster. There’s also a bounty of things to do with your pooch. Join the community of dog lovers at Beau's Dream Dog Park at Buchanan Park, one of the most unique fenced spaces in the country. Pups can race across the 40-foot rollercoaster bridge, get wet at splash pads and guess which way to fetch at the tennis ball tree that flings balls in all directions. Overlook Dog Park is another great space for your dog to play and make new friends. Learn about the local Amish community at The Amish Farm and House or on a buggy ride with Abe's Buggy Rides. The food scene isn’t to be sniffed at either. Roll up with your pup at DJ's Taste of the 50's, or sit on the patio at Isaac's downtown. Fido can find his crowd at Lancaster’s pet-friendly First Friday event.

Stay in the heart of downtown at this beautiful boho villa, and let Lancaster steal your heart.

Myrtle Beach

South Carolina
“Life begins at 9 (dog years).” Photo by BringFido/Thurman

Whether you love to spend your newly free days strolling on the beach or browsing shops, 60 miles of coastline invite you to wander into retirement however you like in Myrtle Beach. Life after retirement begins for many when they unpack to this “pawradise” in the Palmetto State that boasts an average age of 45 and climbing. Myrtle Beach offers over 80 golf courses, house prices below national average, stellar weather year-round, no tax on social security and low property taxes, plus an incredible array of amenities for your best friend. It’s hard to beat this spot on the Grand Strand.

Long walks along the sand await golden-agers during the autumn of life on Myrtle Beach, where leashed dogs are allowed at any time of day from Labor Day to April 30. Play Frisbee with Fido while the grandkids build sandcastles at two sandy state parks: Myrtle Beach State Park and Huntington Beach State Park. Dogs who prefer it off-leash can join you at Barc Parc South and Barc Parc North. Explore the canals that surround the sand together with a guided tour by Living Large Party Barge. Get your retail therapy at pet-friendly shopping centers like Barefoot Landing, and keep the party going at The Sneaky Beagle, where pups can sit at the outdoor deck and order frozen dog treats, chicken and rice, and other goodies.

Roll up to Red Roof Inn Myrtle Beach Market Common and get the scoop on your future neck of the woods.

Daytona Beach

Florida
Best friends ride together. Photo by Facebook.com/daytonabikeweek

Like the cars on Daytona Speedway, retirees never slow down in Daytona Beach. When it comes time to withdraw from the workforce, the second Floridian city on the list on the opposite side of the state also offers exceptional beaches, inviting atmosphere and financial benefits. Save money for that classic convertible you’ve always wanted with housing and living costs that are lower than the national average. Driving is still allowed on certain sections of the beach, which gives Fido the chance to feel the wind in his ears with the top down and ocean views from the comfort of the car.

Daytona Beach is more than just the promised land for gearheads. Dog owners will discover more than enough pet-friendly activities to keep them busy away from the track. Pick up a new hobby like stand up paddleboarding (SUP) with Three Brothers Boards. Every trip starts with an on-the-ground demonstration and lessons to help beginners get a feel for the boards (they have kayaks if Fido doesn’t take to it). Or, stay on dry land and enjoy an off-leash adventure at Halifax Humane Society Dog Park. Road trippers can head south on The A1A, a historic coastal road that passes through quaint oceanfront towns along the Atlantic Ocean for more than 375 miles. Just because you have more time on your hands doesn’t mean you have to cook. Sloppy Joe's serves up American classics on the pet-friendly patio.

Bask in beautiful beach views from this condo and decide if you could wake up to them forever.

Ocean Shores

Washington
"Shore" feels good to be retired! Photo by @visitoceanshoreswa

Life begins at 60 in Ocean Shores, WA. Well, 62 to be more precise. The average age of this charming coastal retirement town gives the whole place a more mature feel. This little gem is an ideal retirement spot for people and pups who prefer colder climates and smaller crowds. The permanent population is around 6,000, which means Fido can enjoy long stretches of sandy beach to himself during the off-season. In summer, tourists flock to town for the beautiful natural surroundings, excellent eateries and welcoming atmosphere. See if you and your pup can check off all 280 bird species who frequent the area from 6 miles of windswept sandy beaches.

Salty sea air boosts serotonin and accelerates oxygen absorption, which is how Ocean Shores residents prove that age really is just a number. Get a healthy dose of the good stuff every single day at beautiful Ocean Shores Dog Beach. Dogs are welcome to bound through the surf without a leash on a section of the beach. Or, walk on the sand, hike the dunes, stroll along the river and see Copalis Spit, a designated wildlife refuge, at Griffiths-Priday State Park. Toast your new lives together at Ocean Pours Taproom, before heading to Bennett's Fish Shack for award-winning seafood.

Introduce Fido to his new forever home with a stay at Shilo Inn & Suites Ocean Shores.

Where will you and Fido retire? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

Banner photo by Facebook.com/AtriaSeniorLiving.