In addition to having an absolutely charming downtown, complete with numerous art galleries, studios, boutiques and antique shops dotting the streets, Fairhope also promotes the arts through its monthly First Friday arts walk. The walk is hosted by the Eastern Shore Arts Center and Fairhope Visitors Center, and is an evening when galleries open their doors, wine and snacks are served and locals and visitors meander through, enjoying the wares. The town even hosts a nationally celebrated Arts & Crafts Festival each March which attracts some 150,000 people to the town.
Still, you don’t move to a waterfront town merely to admire the art. Fairhope is a true stunner, with colorful parks, Spanish moss-draped oak trees, well-manicured landscaping in public spaces, bicycling and walking trails, as well as a number of golf courses.
Cons: Residents must drive to reach urban amenities
Best For: Arts and water lovers
Cost of Living: 8% lower than national average
Median Home Cost: $200,000
Top State Income Tax: 5%
Crime Rate: 10% lower than national average
Fairhope’s sparkling waterfront is another popular draw for retirees, with numerous marinas, and opportunities for fishing charters and boat rentals. Another highlight is the Fairhope Pier, which delights locals and visitors alike with a duck pond, fountain, picnic areas and rose garden.
While it’s often considered an affluent suburb of Mobile, Fairhope remains an affordable destination for retirees; the cost of living is 8 percent below the national average and the median home price is around $200,000.
Though the town is rapidly growing in recent years as it becomes a popular retirement destination, town ordinances insist that certain architectural standards must be met and no “big box” stores like Walmart can be built in town. Of course, that means residents must drive a short distance to reach these kinds of amenities. Still, there is a medical center directly in Fairhope.