If you love dogs, you'll be thinking about where you retire with an additional filter. Is the city or town friendly to Fido? Are there active 50+ communities that are especially tailored to pets? On our retirement planning site, GangsAway.com, we're big fans of the canine. All kinds of them.
Pets are great no matter when you make them part of your family. But they can be especially beneficial as we age, for all the reasons you might surmise: companionship, protection, and exercise. Exercise is a big one. And let's face it, dogs walk us. Getting out for a good walk, socializing at the dog park, chatting with another dog family at the coffee shop -- these are all good things, but especially helpful if your inclinations might otherwise be solitary and sedentary.
Dogs are great for our health, our longevity, and well, they're just great. We've looked at all the top lists and selected the best dog friendly towns that are also good retirement towns, and listed them for you below. We've also come across a few retirement communities that cater to pets -- that might be just the kind of place you're looking for.
Check out these towns on GangsAway.com, and if you agree, disagree, or have something to share, please make a point of adding your comments for the benefit of the community.
• Doggy spas, kitty corrals and pet boutiques
• Pet School and Hotel offers grooming, board, day care and specialized training.
• Four leashless dog parks, with plenty of open space for dogs to run and play, with separate areas for small dogs.
• Famous Centennial Park is dog friendly and there are many leash-free dog parks.
• Good number of bakeries, like See Spot Eat.
• Pampering at pooches Come. Sit. Stay.
• Doggie training school at Dogs and Kat.
• Adoption services like the Asheville Humane Society, with events like the Mutts + Divas fashion show.
• Pampering at Funky Mutt, Waggers Dog Depot and Something to Bark About.
• Asheville Dog Parks, like the French Broad River Park or Azalea Dog Park, both of which are leash-free and fenced.
• Dog-friendly restaurants, like Laughing Seed Cafe, Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company and Carmel's Restaurant and Bar.
• Bookworks bookstore keeps dog treats behind the counter.
• Several friendly restaurants: Gecko's Bar, Tapas dogs, and Flying Star Cafes.
• Several dog parks, including the Tom Bolack Urban Forest, Santa Fe Village and Rio Grande dog parks, as well as the lakes of Tingley Beach.
• Oregon Truffle Festival runs a truffle-hunting seminar for curious dogs and owners.
• Home to organic dog treat wholesaler Our Happy Hounds and Steve's Real Food, and at least four dog-friendly restaurants.
• Many leashless dog parks and pet events, with plenty of fresh air good for both residents and their pets.
Santa Cruz, CA
• Spring Dog Festival each year includes skill and talent competitions, costume competitions and more.
• Many off-leash areas like Mitchell Cove Beach.
• More than 16 dog-friendly restaurants.
• Boulder requires residents to fill out paperwork establishing them not as the animal's owner, but legal guardian.
• There are numerous leashless dog parks in the city and nearby
• There are more than 144 miles of trails in undeveloped Open Space and Mountain Parks. Most open to leashless dogs.
Rocky Mount, NC
• Pet boarding, in-home pet sitting, training or exercise from Sisters Two Pet Crew Inc.
• Three top notch veterinary hospitals.
• Adoptive pets are available through Rocky Mount Animal Control and the Edgecombe-Nash Humane Society.
• More than 32 leashless dog parks and dozens of pet friendly restaurants
• Hundreds of pet day cares, dog-sitters, veterinarians, trainers, bakeries, photographers, groomers, boutiques, boarders, and other common pet services.
• Nutritionists, holistic medicine practitioners, pooper scoopers, funeral homes, lawyers, massage therapists, acupuncturists and six listed pet psychics
Dog Friendly Active Adult Communities
SaddleBrooke is an active adult community in Tucson, located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, with amazing views and outdoor hiking opportunities. Unlike most age-restricted communities reserved for residents aged 55 and older, SaddleBrooke allows people 40 and older to reside in the community. It has a dedicated dog park.
The Falls at Eagle Crest, an active adult community in Central Oregon, allows pets, but they must be on a leash. Fences are prohibited in The Falls to preserve the natural beauty of the land. The community also encompasses 15 miles of walking trails, with stations that have waste disposal bags.
Del Webb Naples is an active adult community in the hometown of Ave Maria University in southwest Florida. The 5,000-acre Ave Maria master planned community is centered around an intimate town square and the University.
There are many small neighborhood parks throughout Ave Maria, plus two large community parks. The North Park includes soccer fields, baseball fields, basketball courts, picnic pavilions and a playground. The South Park, adjacent to Del Webb Naples, has a softball field, bocce ball courts, pickleball courts, horseshoe pits, an amphitheatre, dog park and picnic pavilions.
Sun City Shadow Hills is Del Webb's second active adult community in the Coachella Valley. It is located in Indio, two miles east of Sun City Palm Desert. Residents can take their furry friends to the dog park within the community and a second park is being built.
Las Vegas, NV
Ardiente in North Las Vegas is a 788-home active adult community, with gardens, a full-amenity clubhouse. Six landscaped parks, like the rose garden and dog park, weave together via an extensive network of pedestrian paths.
So if you love dogs like we do, there are loads of great options.
Pack your bags, rent a fabulous convertible and let your significant other know that he or she is coming along for a wild ride down the Pacific Coast Highway. For more information about travel in California, go here.
Art Basel Miami Beach is pretty much the sun in the art world's universe. All things modern art seem to revolve around Art Basel Miami, an absolutely amazing annual exhibition of modern art that takes place in the always hot and exciting city of Miami Beach.
A city known for its amazing food and spectacular views, Portland is definitely a place to visit! While you're there, go to the Portland Saturday Fair and visit Stumptown Coffee Roasters.
In the city where East meets West, take a cruise down the Bosphorus and visit the Grand Bazaar. Enjoy the Turkish cuisine and visit the city's beautiful mosques.
A stunning historic landmark in Jordan, Petra is totally out of this world. The gorgeous buildings of this ancient city are carved out of the massive rocks. This is a site that's definitely on the bucket list of many post 50s. You won't regret the fantastic and surprisingly comfortable journey into the city on a camel.
The south of France has just so much to offer! Take day trips to beautiful cities all over Provence. You can't possibly regret this trip. We recommend you visit during the summer months when the weather is warm and wonderful.
One of the world's most vibrant cities, Marrakech is brimming with incredible gardens, snake charmers, markets and more. You won't run out of things to do in this Moroccan city, and if you want to kick back, the sun shines for most of the year.
One of the most beautiful states in the US, Maine offers a wealth of stunning nature. Explore the city of Bar Harbor and take some time to relax at any of Maine's stunning, rocky beaches or even rent a sailboat to see Maine from the water.
It's definitely worth the five-hour drive from New York City to explore the Finger Lakes. The Finger Lake region is a stunning and a quiet oasis of relaxation!
In Kona, you can watch a volcano explode and relax on a beautiful beach. Who wouldn't want to check this out in their 50s, 60s, or 90s?
Follow Moira McGarvey on Twitter: www.twitter.com/#gangsaway