When it comes to retirement, there's nothing more important than sand and sun, right? Wrong — especially if you're looking for one of the "best" places to retire.
"It's like that saying, 'don't go into a grocery store hungry,'" said Bankrate.com analyst Taylor Tepper.
After working for decades, you may be tempted to find the most tropical, relaxing destination on the map. But it's important to look beyond climate to lifestyle and financial factors like health-care costs, which can be one of the biggest expenses for retirees, Tepper said.
To find the best places to retire, Bankrate.com assessed 50 U.S. metro areas, comparing things such as weather, health-care quality and affordability, cost of living, crime rate, taxes, senior well-being, friend factor (percentage of population ages 65-plus), cultural vitality and public transportation.