Traverse City, Michigan – Retirement Guide

Traverse City, Michigan   Retirement Guide

The small town of Traverse City attracts an interesting mix of retirees who are both passionate about the outdoors as well as arts and culture. The town’s natural triumphs are many; Traverse City lies alongside Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay and the region is near more than 180 miles of the Great Lake’s shoreline as well as almost 150 large lakes.

With all this water, its no surprise that Traverse City attracts boaters and anglers. The town’s lakes are known for having some of the best fly-fishing in the country. Sleeping Dunes National Lakeshore may be the piece de resistance of Traverse City’s outdoor beauty. The park features stunning stretches of beach bordered by breathtaking bluffs and has become a favorite destination for kayakers and canoers.

Other outdoor activities are also within easy reach in Traverse City. The TART trail system attracts hikers and bikers to a network of 8 scenic trails that wind through beautiful scenery, and the town is in proximity to good golfing and skiing.

Pros: Miles of lakefront coastline and ample outdoor activities, vibrant culture scene
Con: Cold winters and high unemployment

At a Glance
Best For: Boaters and water lovers
Population: 14,894
Cost of Living: 14% lower than national average
Median Home Cost: $225,000
Unemployment: 7.4%
Top State Income Tax: 4.25%
Crime Rate: 48% lower than national average

Arts and culture play another vital role in Traverse City. Retirees can visit any of the dozens of local artists’ galleries, or join locals at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, which produces hundreds of concerts, art exhibits, theater productions and dance performances each year.

Arts lovers will also enjoy performance by the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, as well as exhibits at the Music House Museum, and can explore the annual The Traverse City Film Festival, which attracts film lovers from across the country. The town’s historic center is home to eclectic shops, galleries, boutiques and restaurants. Wine lovers should also take note: a number of well-regarded wineries are in the region, as well.

The town offers retirees an affordable cost of living that’s some 14% lower than the national average, and median home prices around $225,000. Coupled with the state’s 4.25% flat income tax rate, Traverse City is a budget-friendly destination. The town is also near Munson Medical Center, one of the state’s top hospitals Still, there are downsides to living in Traverse City. Winters are snowy and cold, and the unemployment rate may make it difficult for retirees looking for work to find jobs.

Top Retirement Cities in Michigan:  Ann Arbor | Traverse City

Photo by Pat (Cletch) Williams via Flickr. All statistics were up to date as of publication. See these sources for the most current data.