This Southern Small Town Is One of the Most Affordable Places to Retire in the U.S. — and It's Got Sunny Weather and a Vibrant Culture

Tupelo, Mississippi, is also the birthplace of Elvis Presley.

<p>DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images</p>

DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

In recent months, the midwest, especially Ohio, has been in the spotlight as some cities like Akron and Cleveland are among the most affordable places to retire. But if the South draws you more with its famous hospitality, sunny weather, and vibrant culture, then consider settling in the historic town of Tupelo, Mississippi.

The town, which is located in the northeast of the state, was recently named the third most affordable place to retire in 2024 by financial website Insider Monkey. The website stated that it "offers retirees a charming Southern atmosphere, affordable living, and a rich cultural scene, providing a tranquil yet vibrant environment for a fulfilling retirement experience."

Tupelo is known for being the birthplace of legendary musician Elvis Presley, who lived here from his birth in 1935 until 1948 when his family moved to Memphis. Now, this small town has a well-established community of retirees — 15 percent of its population is aged 65, and over — and offers plenty of recreational activities, a peaceful environment, and many conveniences.

But one of Tupelo's main draws, as Insider Monkey points out, is its affordable housing. According to current real estate data by Zillow, the median home price there is $180,000, a whopping $207,000 below the national average for November 2023. The town is one of the fastest-growing metro areas in The Magnolia State, as prices over the last five years have increased by almost 37 percent,

The overall cost of living is also worth considering: it is 25 percent less than the country's average and almost five percent lower than Mississippi's.

But part of Tupelo's charm is its unique cultural activities. It is the headquarters of the Natchez Trace Parkway, a historic 444-mile scenic drive that now draws motorists, hikers, and bikers. Residents can also tour the home where Elvis Presley grew up, visit the museum dedicated to him, and see the church where the Presley family attended services. (Seniors 60 years of age and older get discounted ticket fares here, as well as other town museums.)

Several daily activities are available for seniors through Tupelo's Parks and Recreation department, like dancing, fitness, and arts and crafts. There are also several senior clubs dedicated to ballroom dancing, duplicate bridge, and aquatic recreation, where retirees gather to stay active and socialize.

And while Tupelo is home to several national chain stores, the town is chockfull of independent businesses — from top-notch barbecue restaurants like Clay's House of Pig, which is housed in a bait and tackle shop and modern southern cuisine spots like Forklift to a custom-fitted jeans company and a business specializing in custom charcuterie boards and classes.

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