The Best Places for Military Veterans to Retire

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VA medical centers offer health care and peace of mind to retired military personnel.
VA medical centers offer health care and peace of mind to retired military personnel. (Image: retirement worries image by Jale Evsen Duran from Fotolia.com)

Military veterans are wise to retire to a community with a nearby veterans’ medical facility. If you are a veteran with medical benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a number of excellent full-service VA medical centers are located in communities that have a lot to offer you during retirement. Consider relocating to a temperate climate to maximize your health with plenty of outdoor activity.

Puerto Rico

The island of Puerto Rico boasts a full-service VA Caribbean Healthcare System facility in the capitol city of San Juan as well as five VA outpatient clinics in communities throughout the country. From the beaches and nightlife of San Juan to the hiking trails in the El Yunque rain forest, Puerto Rico is a tropical paradise of a place to retire. Puerto Rico is famous for its local restaurants called mesons that serve traditional and contemporary cultural food, its friendly people, western coast surfing beaches, quaint mountain villages and Caribbean-style east-coast resorts. As of 2010, an average four-bedroom house was priced at $330,000. Retire to Puerto Rico to feel like you’re always on vacation.

Florida

The VA Sunshine Healthcare Network in Florida has five separate VA Medical hospital centers located in Tampa, Lake City, Gainesville, Orlando and West Palm Beach. Tampa is known for its aquarium, big-cat rescue facility and Busch Gardens, as well as its inland harbor and access to the waters of the Gulf. The interior communities of Lake City and Gainesville are about halfway between Jacksonville and Tallahassee, with access to golf, river rafting and area parks for hiking and camping. Orlando is home to Disney World and Epcot, Gatorland, Seaworld and some of Florida’s best golf courses. If you like to shop and dine out, consider living near West Palm Beach’s City Place and Worth Avenue. Housing prices run the gamut in Florida, with inland homes priced quite affordably and seaside homes reaching into the millions. As of 2010, all Florida housing markets offer low interest rates and many reduced and short sale (foreclosure) bargains.

Arizona

This state has three major VA health administration facilities, in Phoenix, Prescott and Tucson, as well as 19 community-based VA outpatient clinics. Long a favorite destination of retirees because of the warm, dry climate, Arizona has seen the average price of a family home reach $275,000 in most larger communities; interest rates are holding around 4.5 percent. Each of these cities has its charms: Phoenix is a sophisticated and modern metropolis, Tucson retains its old-world southwestern ambiance, surrounded by mountains with saguaro cactus-covered foothills, and Prescott offers four temperate seasons, scented with the vanilla smell of ponderosa pines.

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