Sunsets and Saguaro: Preparing to Retire in Tucson, Arizona

Retiring in Tucson, Arizona, offers ample opportunities for outdoor activities beneath its vast, sunny skies. With access to high-quality and affordable long-term care options, retirees can enjoy their golden years in good health, surrounded by the stunning beauty of the Sonoran Desert.

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Sunsets and Saguaro: Preparing to Retire in Tucson, Arizona
5 Min Read March 28th, 2024

Tucson, nestled in the Sonoran Desert basin, beckons retirees with its vibrant culture, stunning natural beauty, and year-round sunshine. But before packing your bags or deciding to stay right where you are, it's crucial to carefully consider all aspects of retirement life in the Old Pueblo. Several key factors should be considered as you contemplate making Tucson your golden year's haven.

Situated in the southeastern part of Arizona, Tucson is approximately 113 miles southeast of Phoenix, the state capital, and about 60 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border. To the west, Tucson is roughly 487 miles from San Diego, California, and to the northeast, Denver, Colorado, is about 820 miles away. Looking eastward, it's approximately 1,630 miles from New York City. Tucson's location in the Sonoran Desert offers a unique landscape, surrounded by multiple mountain ranges, including the Santa Catalinas to the north.

Weather Includes Lots of Sun

Imagine waking up to over 300 days of sunshine each year, where the blue sky stretches endlessly above a landscape painted with the vibrant hues of the desert. Tucson boasts a warm desert climate. The area offers a climate that can only be described as a warm embrace from nature itself. Here, the winters are mild and inviting, making heavy coats a thing of the past. At the same time, the summers bring a heat that dances across the skin, encouraging early mornings and late evenings under the stars. 

Be prepared for intense heat and plan outdoor activities for mornings or evenings during the summer months. While summer monsoons bring brief periods of rain and cooler temperatures, they can also cause flash floods.

Winters are mild, with average highs in the low 70s (F) and lows in the mid-40s (F). Perfect for escaping harsh winters, this allows for year-round outdoor activities.

Affordable Real Estate

Tucson offers diverse housing options, from active adult communities and gated neighborhoods to historic bungalows and sprawling ranch-style homes. Compared to national averages, housing costs tend to be lower. 

According to Zillow, the median home price in Tucson as of February 2024 is $345,000, considerably lower than the U.S. national median of $416,000. When making your choice, consider factors like proximity to amenities, lifestyle preferences, and the potential for future home value changes.

Tucson's market experiences notable seasonal fluctuations. The peak season, typically from February to May, coincides with mild weather, attracting more buyers. Conversely, the summer months slow down, largely due to the intense heat.

Properties in Tucson often boast features unique to the desert environment, such as xeriscaping and solar power capability. Emphasizing these characteristics can attract buyers seeking a home that embodies the sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle prevalent in the region.

There is a strong real estate market, especially if you want to sell a house for cash in Tucson. If you are a buyer seeking help from an experienced real estate agent can help you find the right property and help negotiate the best terms.

Health Services and Long-Term Care

Access to quality health care is paramount, especially for those over 50. Tucson is well-served by hospitals and medical centers, including Banner University Medical Center Tucson and Tucson Medical Center. Both facilities are consistently ranked highly for patient care. The University of Arizona College of Medicine—Tucson further strengthens the city's medical infrastructure.

Tucson offers various options for long-term care needs, including assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and home health care services. The LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory provides resources and information to help navigate these choices.

The cost of long-term care is expensive in Tucson as it is nationwide. According to the LTC NEWS Arizona Cost of Care Calculator, home health care services are higher than the state and national average. However, assisted living and nursing home costs are under the national average. 


Arizona boasts a tax-friendly environment for retirees:

  • No state income tax on Social Security benefits
  • Property taxes are lower than the national average but can vary depending on location and property value.
  • Sales tax is 5.6%, with additional local taxes potentially added.
  • The estate tax does not exist at the state level.

Consult a tax professional to understand how Arizona's tax laws might affect your specific circumstances.


Like any city, Tucson has areas with higher and lower crime rates. Researching neighborhoods and utilizing resources like the Tucson Police Department's crime mapping tool can help you choose a safe and secure location. 

Practicing general safety precautions is always wise, regardless of where you live.

Community Events and Entertainment

Tucson offers a vibrant calendar of events throughout the year. From the world-renowned Gem Shows that draw collectors and tourists to cultural festivals celebrating Native American and Hispanic heritage, there's something for everyone. The historic Fourth Avenue district bustles with art galleries, unique shops, and live music venues. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, biking, and stargazing in the surrounding mountains and desert landscapes.

Baseball fans in Tucson won't miss out on the minor-league action! While the city doesn't currently have its own minor league team, baseball fever still runs high during spring training season. The Colorado Rockies and the Arizona Diamondbacks set up camp in Tucson from February to March, offering numerous opportunities to catch rising stars and veterans gearing up for the season.

Looking for professional sports beyond spring training? A short drive north puts you right in the heart of Phoenix, where you can catch major league action with the Arizona Diamondbacks or cheer on the Phoenix Suns in the NBA. NFL fans can enjoy the Arizona Cardinals, and hockey enthusiasts have the Arizona Coyotes. So, whether you prefer the crack of the bat or the roar of the crowd, professional sports are readily accessible near Tucson.

Active Lifestyle

Tucson caters to a variety of active lifestyles beyond hiking and biking. Here's a breakdown of some popular options:

  • Golf:  Tucson is a golfer's paradise! Boasting over 30 courses, the city offers something for every skill level. From championship courses designed by renowned architects to public courses offering affordable access, you'll find the perfect green to tee off on. Many courses boast breathtaking desert scenery, making your golfing experience even more memorable.
  • Tennis:  Sun-drenched courts beckon tennis enthusiasts year-round. Public parks and private clubs offer a variety of options, from hard courts to clay courts. Whether you're looking for a casual game with friends or a more competitive environment, Tucson's tennis scene has you covered.
  • Bowling:  Enjoy some friendly competition or a relaxing evening with friends at one of Tucson's bowling alleys. Several modern facilities offer automated scoring, cosmic bowling nights with music and lights, and delicious food options, making it a fun outing for all ages.


The Sun Tran bus system provides public transportation throughout the city, connecting residents to major destinations. Sun Shuttle offers convenient rides to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. While Tucson is a car-centric city, a growing network of bike lanes and walking paths encourages alternative transportation options.

Other Considerations

  • Cost of Living: While generally lower than the national average, Tucson does experience rising costs for housing and some goods and services. Budgeting carefully and considering your financial resources is crucial.
  • Pet Friendliness: Many Tucson communities welcome furry companions. Research pet policies of your chosen neighborhood or housing complex.
  • Airport Access: Tucson International Airport (TUS) offers convenient connections to major hubs nationwide.

Tucson Offers Many Advantages

Tucson offers a unique blend of sunshine, affordability, and cultural richness that can appeal to retirees. With easy airport access, friends and family can easily visit you, or you have easy access to leave to visit anywhere in the world. 

However, it's important to go beyond the postcard image and carefully assess if the city aligns with your desired lifestyle and access to medical and long-term care services. 

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About the Author

Jacob Thomas writes on health, wellness, and retirement topics, including aging, caregiving, insurance, and long-term care.

LTC News Contributor Jacob Thomas

Jacob Thomas

Contributor since August 10th, 2023

Editor's Note

As you navigate the path toward retirement, you're faced with a multitude of critical decisions that extend beyond merely financing your future leisure years. Among these, the choice to relocate, downsize, and meticulously plan for long-term care stands paramount. Each of these steps is not just about ensuring a comfortable retirement but about crafting a future that aligns with your vision of quality life and financial stability.

Consider the prospect of relocating or downsizing; it's more than just a change of scenery or a reduction in living space. It's about optimizing your lifestyle to suit a phase of life where freedom from the responsibilities of a larger home can translate into more time and resources to enjoy your interests. Whether it's moving to a community better suited to your retirement dreams or simplifying your life to enhance mobility and financial freedom, these decisions are foundational to a fulfilling retirement.

Yet, the cornerstone of a comprehensive retirement plan is preparing for long-term care. The reality is stark; as you age, the likelihood of needing some form of long-term care increases significantly. This necessity can drastically affect your quality of life and finances, not to mention the physical and emotional toll it can take on your loved ones. The cost of care—whether it's in-home services, assisted living, or nursing home care—can rapidly deplete your savings, altering the retirement experience you worked hard to achieve.

This is where Long-Term Care Insurance becomes a critical part of your retirement planning. Adding a Long-Term Care Insurance policy is not merely a financial decision; it's a choice to protect your independence and ensure your well-being without overburdening your family. An LTC policy provides the peace of mind that comes from knowing you have a plan in place to cover the cost of care, preserve your assets, and spare your loved ones from potential financial and emotional hardships.

In essence, successful retirement planning encompasses a holistic approach—considering relocation and downsizing and, fundamentally, preparing for the potential need for long-term care. By addressing these aspects, you not only secure your financial future but also ensure that your retirement years are marked by joy, comfort, and peace of mind. 

Long-Term Care Insurance is not just an insurance policy; it's a gateway to a retirement that embraces both your present happiness and future security.

The best time to plan is when you are in your 40s or 50s, but affordable options are available in your 60s and older, depending on your level of health.

Be sure to find a qualified and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who represents all the major insurance companies offering long-term care solutions. A specialist can provide accurate quotes from all the top companies so you can compare the available options based on your age and health.

Remember that Long-Term Care Insurance premiums vary dramatically between insurance companies for the same benefits. There are a variety of policy options, including traditional, hybrid (which includes a death benefit), and short-term cash indemnity policies.  

Finding Quality Care Services Made Easier

There are so many options available when a loved one needs long-term care services, and finding the right choices can be difficult. It is an emotional time, and often, families are in crisis. 

The LTC NEWS Caregiver Directory has over 80,000 listings nationwide. It is a free and comprehensive tool that makes it effortless to explore qualifications and choices, whether you're searching for caregivers for in-home services or facilities nearby.  

If you're a care provider, you can claim your free listing or upgrade to enhance visibility through the LTC News Directory Business Portal.  

Owning a Long-Term Care Insurance policy makes it easier to obtain the desired care options. One of the first questions a provider will ask is whether the potential care recipient owns a Long-Term Care Insurance policy.

Never delay using the benefits from an LTC policy. LTC NEWS offers assistance in processing claims from any Long-Term Care Insurance policy. Partnering with Amada Senior Care, a renowned in-home health care agency, LTC NEWS ensures that you and your loved ones receive quality care without worrying about securing policy benefits. There is no cost or obligation for this service.

Experience peace of mind knowing you have access to quality care services when you need them most - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

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