Known as the Garden State, New Jersey has plenty to recommend it as a top destination for retirees—from beautiful seaside villages to bustling Manhattan suburbs. The climate in New Jersey has four distinct seasons, with hot summers and cold winters. Snow in the winter is occasional—the weather is heavily influenced by the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Gulf Stream, and ocean waters tend to be warm.

New Jersey is one of the richest states in the nation, with a high average household income and high home prices, especially in the northern areas near New York City. However, prices in northern Jersey are still much lower than they are in New York City—so if proximity to the Big Apple is a factor for you, a New Jersey retirement may be a steal. And prices in the southern end of the state, in the Jersey Shore area, are much more reasonable—although still higher than the national average.

New Jersey’s taxes are the highest in the country—a total of 11.8% for state taxes. The state taxes both inheritances and estates, although it doesn’t tax military income and some pensions. In addition, the state does not tax Social Security income. The state has the highest property taxes in the nation per capita, but there are some tax breaks for seniors in this area—including a Homestead rebate program for seniors age 65 or older and the disabled who earn less than $150,000 per year.

New Jersey senior housing has a lot to offer. There are plenty of communities in the state that offer excellent quality of life for retirees, including:

Ocean City

Known for its strong family orientation, Ocean City is a beach town that attracts thousands of families every year. It’s a dry town—no alcoholic beverages are sold within the town limits—but the town limits aren’t wide. Ocean City offers a two-and-a-half mile boardwalk, downtown shopping and dining, and miles of beautiful beaches rated the third best in New Jersey. There’s plenty of fishing, crabbing, water sports, and other outdoor activities available for active seniors.

Cape May

A seaside resort town with a younger vibe than Ocean City, Cape May is known for its rich history and its striking downtown full of picturesque Victorian houses and bed-and-breakfasts. The town is also a well-known birding location, with over 400 migrating bird species spotted there year after year, and offers renowned beaches—it’s a top vacation spot for Philadelphia tourists.

Edison

Ranked one of the most livable small cities in the US by CNN Money Magazine, Edison is a Northern New Jersey town that’s known for its low crime rate, excellent schools, expansive green spaces, and high quality of life. There’s plenty to do in Edison, including cultural, artistic, and sporting activities, shopping, cafés, and more. The city is also very close to major metropolitan areas including New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington, DC—so you’ll always have something to do in the area.

Senior living in New Jersey offers a variety of landscapes, from striking pine barrens and seaside resorts to the excitement of living near a big city—at significantly lower prices. New Jersey seniors have access to outdoor activities focused around oceanside living and water sports, as well as sophisticated boutiques, dining, and cultural activities—even in the smaller towns. New Jersey retirement homes may be more expensive than in much of the rest of the nation—but for many seniors, the cost are worth it. Check out our listing of New Jersey assisted living communities today—and find the best community for you.