Combine over 50,000 acres of unspoiled wilderness in the rugged foothills of the Appalachian Mountains...miles of snow-white beaches and the pleasant sea breezes of the Gulf Coast...an almost total absence
of urban congestion ...and a unique and affordable collection of public golf courses... and you have a formula that makes
the state of Alabama an extremely inviting place for thousands of retirees.
fact that the cost of living, including home prices and taxes, are below the national average only adds to the state's attractiveness
as a great place to retire. But perhaps nothing has spurred interest in Alabama as a retirement destination as much
as the development of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, a system of more than twenty challenging courses spread out across the state at ten ecologically diverse locations.
Since their inception almost fifteen years ago, these affordable public
courses have generated an unprecedented interest among, not only tourist golfers, but also among retirees who have discovered attractive
housing at affordable places as well as the experience of quality recreational amenities around the "Trail".
Alabama's moderate four-season climate and mild winters that permit year-round golfing weather only enhance the attraction
for retirees who enjoy outdoor sports.
Situated in nearly
every corner of the state with locales ranging from metropolitan areas like Birmingham and Huntsville
to more rural and smaller communities like Dothan and Muscle Shoals, these courses
have served as vehicles to attract retirees from across the country.
In fact, the Auburn / Opelika area, home to the Grand National Course, has been rated as one of the nation's top six retirement spots. Just a ninety minute
drive from Atlanta and with excellent medical facilities and a major university, this area has much to offer retirees, especially
to retired military personnel who find the convenience of nearby Ft. Benning, Georgia a major plus. And for those wishing
to continue their pursuit of additional education, Auburn University offers several programs for lifelong learners.
Several nearby lakes add to the outdoor pleasure of boating and fishing enthusiasts.
For retirees wishing to live in an urban setting and yet still be able to enjoy a quality, affordable lifestyle, Huntsville
is worthy of consideration. Located in the northern part of the state, mid-way between Nashville and Birmingham,
this small city of 160,000 residents, truly has an international flavor, with more than ten percent of its population being
natives of other countries. This fact is attributed to its role as American's space science center and the growing number
of international manufacturing plants located here. One of the South's fastest growing areas, Huntsville is also experiencing
an increasing influx of retirees, with several new residential communities being built near Hampton Coves, one of the Robert
Trent Jones Golf Trail facilities.
Several other small
towns throughout Alabama, especially those near the RTJ courses, have realized the economic potential of the seniors market and begun to heavily market themselves as desirable places
to retire. Some of these are river towns such as Guntersville, a warm and inviting community with an
excellent quality of life and surrounded by a 69,000-acre lake in the Appalachian foothills, or Muscle Shoals on
the banks of the Tennessee River in northwest Alabama.
And two other small hamlets on the Robert Trent Jones Trail, Greenville and Prattville,
are located in the mid-state area, just a short drive from the state capital of Montgomery and the beaches of the Gulf Coast.
Greenville, considered by some to be among the best small towns in America, is proud of its historic restored neighborhoods,
and like Prattville, a New England-style village, offers a variety of natural and recreational attractions.
Though Alabama's beach front is not as extensive as that as some of its neighbors,
a boom in coastal construction, including condos and residential golf communities, is attracting more and more retirees to
places like Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Dauphin Island.
For anyone considering a move to the state for their retirement years
or looking for a lifestyle change, Alabama Advantage is a very informative website with detailed information on these and several locations throughout the region.