With the Appalachian Mountains running through it, Kentucky is a beautiful place to retire—with a wide range of picturesque towns, some of which have been certified as retirement communities. 4.3 million people lived here as of 2008—and it’s easy to see why it’s a great place for senior living.

In Kentucky, you’ll get four seasons—with a humid, hot summer and mild winter. In the mountains, the temperatures are cooler year-round. The stunning Appalachians offer plenty of opportunities for camping, hiking, and other outdoor activities—making it perfect for active seniors who love the outdoors. In addition, Kentucky is horse country—and home to the Kentucky Derby.

It’s very affordable to live in Kentucky. The median household income is in the lowest third of the country, meaning the cost of living is also quite low. Housing prices are considerably lower than the national average. Kentucky is ideal for seniors looking to stretch their retirement dollars.

As far as taxes, Kentucky is exactly in the middle—25th out of 50 states. Its top state income tax bracket is 6%, kicking in at $75,000. Property taxes are low, though—it’s ranked 45th out of 50 states. It has a relatively friendly tax environment for retirees; Social Security benefits are tax exempt, as are any federal, state, and private pensions up to $41,110.

Kentucky is one of six state that offers a certified retirement community program—providing official recognition to certain communities as premier locations for persons aged 55 or older. Communities that qualify get marketing help, grant funding, and technical assistance from the state to design programs that attract retirees. In Kentucky, there are eight certified retirement communities: Danville, Glasgow, Campellsville, Madison, Maysville, Morehead, Richmond, and Murray. There are also many excellent places to retire in Kentucky outside of the certified retirement system. These include:

Berea

An artistic town with plenty of cultural events and activities, Berea is the home of Berea College—where tuition is free, but students must work in addition to attending school. It’s a small college town with plenty of charm.

Bowling Green

About an hour’s drive north of Nashville, Bowling Green is a small college town that was chosen by Forbes as one of the Best Small Places to Do Business and one of the Top Ten Value Towns for retirees. It’s surprisingly affordable to live here, and there are plenty of cultural and artistic events. It’s an ideal place to find Northern Kentucky senior services.

Murray

Located near one of the country’s largest man-made lakes, Murray offers exceptional outdoor activities and a high standard of living. Home of Murray State University, the town also offers plenty of cultural events and attractions.

Louisville

A larger city with thousands of acres of public parks, including some that were designed by well-known landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, Louisville offers plenty to do. Louisville assisted living facilities cater to a wide range of retiree needs.

Danville

Situated in the southwestern corner of the state, Danville is at the heart of Kentucky’s Bluegrass Region. It’s near the southern lakes and the Derby Region, where the pretty white fences of sprawling horse farms decorate the rolling hills.

Senior living in Kentucky caters to a wide variety of needs—from independent seniors who just need light help to those who need more comprehensive medical services. Kentucky offers beautiful landscapes, warm weather and sunshine, and a relaxed pace of life—as well as sophisticated college towns and relaxed, small-town charm. Check out our listing of assisted living facilities in Kentucky, as well as the options for independent living communities and Kentucky’s certified retirement communities. It may be that Kentucky has the best retirement options for you.