Founded in 1632, there’s a lot more to this quaint corner of the populous Hampton Roads urban area than the renowned colonial-era living history museum at its core. For instance, the College of William and Mary assures that this ancient setting has youthful vigor—and the cultural, athletic, educational, and nightlife/dining options you’d expect from a college town. Nestled on the Virginia Peninsula between the Bay-emptying James and York Rivers, Williamsburgers enjoy ready proximity to not only Hampton Roads, but Richmond as well. The best in healthcare is never far away. Indeed, the senior-focused real estate blog 55plus.com has it on its “Best Places to Retire for Health Care” list. As a tourist town, getting the kids and grandkids to visit shouldn’t be a problem. Have fun putting the “bad” grandkids in the colonial stockades and take the “good” ones off to the amusement parks—either Busch Gardens or Water Country USA.
AARP Livability: 54
Niche rating: A overall
Bayside alternative—Poquoson, Va. (pop. 12,200) This water-lapped Hampton suburb is close to urban amenities (and VA medical facilities for military retirees) but backs up to a sprawling wildlife preserve.