The best coast? Top 10 cities for an active retirement

The best cities for an active retirement

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For baby boomers, retirement doesn't mean sitting in the rocking chair. They want more out of their golden years than just watching the grandchildren grow up.

Research shows that baby boomers desire to retire in economically vibrant cities that provide affordable housing, outstanding health care and a wide range of social and recreational activities.

SmartAsset, a personal finance website, sifted through data on 575 large cities looking for walkable places that provided plenty of golf courses, bike trails and fitness centers along with low tax rates and top-notch medical centers. Six of the best cities are on the East Coast.

"It's interesting that so many of the cities are further north than we expected," said AJ Smith of SmartAsset who compiled the list of best cities for an active retirement.

Here are the top 10:

10. Newport Beach, California

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Roughly 20 percent of Newport Beach residents are retirees. While they can access to all the amenities of coastal living, they also pay high state and local taxes, which kept the city from ranking higher on the list.

9. West Palm Beach, Florida

Golfing in West Palm Beach, Florida.
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This city has more than four golf courses for every 100,000 people and more than five doctor's offices for every 1,000 residents if you throw out your back on the fairway.

8. Erie, Pennsylvania

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Favorable state tax treatment for retirement income and plenty of golf courses, four for every 100,000 residents, helped Erie make the cut.

7. Pompano Beach, Florida

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If you want the beach life, this city is hard to beat. What sets Pompano Beach apart from other beach towns in SmartAsset's analysis was the health care offerings — six doctor's offices for every 1,000 residents — and Florida's lack of a state income tax.

6. Rockville, Maryland

Rockville is a city located in the central region of Montgomery County, Maryland.
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Rockville has one of the highest concentrations of retirement centers in the country. As part of the Washington, D.C., metro area, retirees can enjoy the miles of bike and hiking trails in and around the nation's capital.

5. Missoula, Montana

Fly-fishing in Missoula, Montana.
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SmartAsset named Missoula the most fitness-friendly place in the country. While the city is not as walkable as others on the list, it is a cyclist's dream.

4. Bethesda, Maryland

A homeowner trims her yard in the Kenwood Park neighborhood of Bethesda, Md.
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You might not expect this, but Bethesda is a golfer's paradise. The city, a suburb of Washington, D.C., has the most golf courses of any spot on the top 10 list: more than six courses for every 100,000 residents.

3. Santa Barbara, California

Santa Barbara, California
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Even though Santa Barbara had one of the highest effective tax rates for retirees on the list, the city's beaches, golf courses and bike trails pushed it into the top three. Plus, SmartAsset recently named Santa Barbara one of America's best wine destinations.

2. Portland, Maine

Paddleboarding across the harbor in Portland, Maine.
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If you love the outdoors, you'll find Portland ideal. The city scored highly for its bike and hiking trails, such as the 65-mile Eastern Trail, as well walkability.

1. Wilmington, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware
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A rock-bottom effective tax rate for retirees and the highest walkability score among the top 10 cities are the main reasons SmartAsset named Wilmington the best place for an active retirement for two years in a row.