Texas is one of the largest states in the U.S. with a variety of different cities and townships. It has many metropolitan areas that attract hundreds of thousands and is also made up of many small, unique towns that are the epitome of the American experience.
Small-town living has many advantages, and at the top of the list is the feeling of being one large family. Small towns in Texas often have families who have been in the community for decades or more. It is also easy to get to know newcomers in these small Texas towns. If you are looking for a homey, tight-knit community for retiring in Texas, then start here with our list of favorites!
Best Small Towns For Retiring in Texas
Located outside of San Antonio is the ultimate small town with around 1,200 citizens. Bandera has a big biker community, so it is not the ordinary sleepy small town without any excitement. San Antonio bikers ride into Bandera every Sunday for brunch. Bandera is only around 40 miles from San Antonio, so if you ever crave a large metropolitan area, San Antonio is less than two hours away. The median income of Bandera is much lower than many places in the U.S. with female citizens making a median income of around $17,000. For those with lower funds, a move to Bandera is certainly sustainable!
One small town that I like in Texas is Brazoria. It’s near the Houston-Sugar Land metro area which houses millions of retirees and youngsters alike! Brazoria holds a population of around 3,000 people, which is a much smaller town than many areas in Texas. Part of the appeal of Brazoria, Texas is that the city holds a lot of farmland. Quite a few members of the Brazoria area have farmland that they use to grow crops and raise animals. Farm employment is naturally an important part of Texas history. And, Brazoria’s farming and cattle industry employ thousands. Brazoria has lots of different cafes and restaurants in the downtown area. It’s also located close to the Houston area, which is another plus, because that means that you can live small while participating in the life of the big city in just an hour’s drive.
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If you are looking for an authentic Texas retirement, Cuero, Texas is the place to be. I like Cuero because of the diversity along with a familial feel. Cuero has a population of around 6,000 people with the good majority being families. Though Cuero, TX is a small city, it has a diverse population in many regards. There are many old-time mansions located in there as well as small homes on a few acres of land. You will notice in Cuero that you may live next to a businessman on one side of your home and live next to a family who farms goats in the front yard on the other. The median income of the town of Cuero is low, at $30,000. Cuero is very affordable to lower-income families and retirees!
Best Small Towns Near Austin, Texas
Kyle, TX is a small town outside of Austin, TX with about 28,000 residents. The town itself is only around six square miles, which qualifies as a small, down-home Texas town. For a small town, Kyle is very mixed. Around 50% of the population is families with children the rest of the town is composed of seniors and retirees, and a mix of younger persons on their own. Kyle is 22 miles outside of the city limits of Austin and 50 miles away from San Antonio, so if you are interested in taking a day trip for shopping or sightseeing it is only an hour’s drive away. Most people in Kyle, TX work in the Hays School district, so this is the perfect spot for retired school teachers to live who may want to still substitute.
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The sleepy town of Buda is extra small, with a population of just around 2,400 persons. This is one of the smallest communities outside of Austin, Texas! Buda is a small town for many workers who commute to Austin, TX on a weekly basis. One of the famous attractions of the town of Buda, TX is the Wiener Dog Races that happen on an annual basis. Retirees would find the town of Buda attractive because of this light-hearted race and the overall familiar atmosphere of the town. Property values in Buda are higher than they are in smaller central Texas towns, so seniors who move here are sure to receive more bang for their buck if purchasing property. Buda holds some of the best neighborhoods for small living.
Hudson Bend, TX
Hudson Bend is a town that’s only a mere 16 miles away from the Texas capital but is home to only over 2,000 people. Over 40% of the population is age 45 or older, making this a great town for older adults and retirement communities. Hudson Bend has RV parks which are an attraction for those inside and outside of the city. Many people enjoy Hudson Bend because of the beautiful Lake Travis. Jet skiing and boating are major attractions in the town of Hudson Bend and provide relaxing fun.
The city of Manor is a part of the Austin-Round Rock area and is home to barely 5,000 people. Fun fact: the major motion picture, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape was filmed here! Downtown Manor is the city center and hosts a farmers market, movies during the summer, and a park with a YMCA-approved pool. Hiking trails and ponds can be found in abundance in Manor, TX, and are well-kept by the city. Manor, TX is one of the most perfect retirement towns in Texas for seniors who are looking for leisure activities they can do at their own pace.
22 miles northeast of Austin is the town of Hutto. The Golf Club at Star Ranch is the shining star of this small town. This nice, quiet golf course and clubhouse sit on a beautiful hilltop in prairie land and host a variety of events. The team, The Round Rock Express is an affiliate of the Texas Rangers Baseball team and provides entertainment to those in the Hutto area. The Round Rock Express team plays games and offered tickets that are affordable along with convenient entertainment.
Lago Vista, TX
Lago Vista is an exotic name, but in reality, this town is a simple, small spot off Lake Travis outside of Austin. This Texas town is so small that the city actually declares itself closed on many national holidays. Lago Vista is host to the Air Power Museum which holds World War I pilot artifacts. This small town has its own airport, which has been used to aid the victims of natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina. Though smaller in square miles, this town hosts two beautiful golf courses, full of wildlife and perfect scenery next to Lake Travis. Retirement among the natural beauty of Lago Vista and Lake Travis is the best retirement living.
Best Small Towns Near Dallas, Texas
The smaller communities around Dallas, Texas are the perfect place to live and have the best neighborhoods to retire. The economy in Dallas primarily comes from energy, banking, telecommunications, healthcare, commerce, computer technology, logistics, and medical research, so the economy is thriving! The nice weather in Dallas also makes it attractive to retirees. Winters are mild with daytime temperatures in the 60s and nighttime temperatures close to 40 degrees. There are very few days with freezing temperatures in this area.
The communities around Dallas have a great mix of city life as well as many areas with lush meadows and lakes. There are several sprawling ranches in the towns near Dallas as well. So being able to sit outside and watch the wildlife meander around on the cool summer evenings is still a possibility.
Arlington is located just 20 miles from downtown Dallas and provides many amenities, while still having that small-town feel. Sports and entertainment are a huge draw for Arlington. It’s home to the Texas Rangers baseball team. In addition, the Dallas Cowboys have also made Arlington their home. On a local level, Friday night football is a widespread obsession throughout Arlington downtown. The two big entertainment attractions and Arlington are Six Flags Over Texas along with The Parks Mall, which houses retail stores along with a movie theater. Downtown Arlington offers free concerts throughout the year and a large Fourth of July parade.
Denton is just a short distance outside of Dallas. Denton attracts many people each year because of its two main entertainment attractions, which help to keep its economy strong. These are the North Texas State Fair and Rodeo, as well as the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival. Denton is often referred to as a college town because of the students that are enrolled in the city’s two universities but keep its old-town charm. Music is another large part of Denton. The independent music scene has grown in Denton over the years and if you are a music lover of any genre, you will always find somewhere to listen to it.
McKinney has a diverse economy with the McKinney Independent School District named as the best employer in the city. Besides McKinney Independent School District, the McKinney Comprehensive Annual Financial Report also lists Collin County and Wal-Mart as top employers in the city.
Entertainment, museums, and parks make Garland a great place for retirement! The Patty Granville Arts Center is a popular destination. Other popular attractions include the Garland Landmark Museum, Hawaiian Falls, and Rowlett Creek Preserves, as well as many quiet walking trails.
Flower Mound, TX
Flower Mound is a nice small town northwest of Dallas and Northeast of Fort Worth. The southern part of the town is surrounded by two lakes: Grapevine Lake and Marshall Lake. Parks are abundant in Flower Mound. The town has 54 parks as well as recreation areas. The town built a new community center in 2008 complete with many amenities. In addition, there are 33 paved miles of paths along with 2 miles of horseback riding trails, both great for a leisurely afternoon out in the fresh Texas air.
Rockwall is the third richest county in Texas. Even though Rockwall County is the smallest of all the counties in Texas, it has been able to continue to have a flourishing economy. For retirees who love golf, Rockwall is a golf lover’s paradise with 22 golf courses, all located within a 17-mile radius of downtown Rockwall. Rockwall is truly one of the most delightful retirement communities in the area.
Best Small Towns Near Houston, Texas
Houston is the 4th largest city in the United States and is the largest city in Texas. Houston is home to the Texas Medical Center, which is the largest healthcare facility in the world. Also, the city is home to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which is where the Mission Control facility is located.
Some of the best small towns near Houston are close to the beaches in Galveston and only a short drive away so residents can have the best of both worlds – big city living and a seaside escape at their fingertip. Here are my favorite small towns for retiring near Houston!
Even though Pearland is located close to Houston, there is still that small-town feeling that residents can experience, which makes it one of the perfect places to live and the best place for retirement. Pearland is recognized as one of the best retail sectors in the state because of its first-class shopping areas and restaurants. In 2008, the Pearland Town Center opened. This 1,100,000-square-foot facility includes stores such as Dillard’s, Macy’s, and Barnes and Noble. Other shopping facilities include Shadow Creek Town center and the Silver lake Village Shopping Center.
Sugarland is known as one of the most affluent cities in the state. Sugarland is also home to several big companies, like CVR Energy and Western Airways, which help to feed its economy.
There have been several famous people that hail from Katy. Actress Renee Zellweger, NFL player Andy Dalton and American Idol contestant Kimberly Caldwell for instance. Its new upscale communities make Katy a great place for retirement. These communities include Pine Mill Ranch, Seven Meadows, Grand Lakes, and Pin Oak Village. Thanks to several national brand companies call Katy and its surrounding areas home, the economy is doing very well. In addition, Katy is home to the Katy Mills Mall. It is a great collection of shops and eateries and is a perfect place for a little indoor window shopping.
Spring may be near a large city but it has “small town” written all over it! There are four parks in and around Spring for residents to enjoy. Southwell Park has a nice mixture of picnic tables, BBQ grills, great scenery, and playgrounds. Other parks include Bayer Park, Pundt Park, and the Mercer Arboretum and Botanic Gardens. The city also has a popular shopping spot called Old Town Spring that offers many unique shops and boutiques. During the holiday season, Old Town is transformed into a Winter Wonderland with many handmade crafts being sold.
Downtown Conroe always has things going on year-round. Once a week there is a market event that takes place, Stage Right Productions showcases a musical in the summer, and Tour the Art Benches is on display. With such mild winters, you can still experience outdoor fun and relaxation all year round. Visiting family would love the petting zoo at 7 Acre Wood, a concert at Heritage Place Park, or picking blueberries at Moorhead’s Blueberry Farm. Fine dining is also a way of life in Conroe. There is something for everyone to eat from Asian to Barbecue, from Steakhouse to Tex-Mex, and from German to Italian.
Robert FowlerContributing Writer
Robert Fowler is a retired blogger who lives with his wife, Mary Ann at Village at Deaton Creek, a Del Webb Community in North Georgia. Robert was previously the President of Retirement Media Inc. He has visited numerous 55+ Active Adult Communities over the years, sharing his experiences along the way with readers. View more posts