The 10 Best Places To Retire In Idaho For 2022


We analyzed over 23 places in Idaho to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

HomeSnacks is reader-supported. When you click through real estate links on our site, we earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the best places to retire in Idaho.

Looking to find a gem of a place to retire in the Gem State? Look no further, because we've used science and data to determine the hottest spots in Idaho to call home for those looking to permanently hang up their office apparel.

Idaho may not immediately come to mind when thinking of states to retire in, but if you're an outdoors enthusiast with nothing but time on your hands, it's got a lot going for it. Those that want to keep fit with winter sports will love having access to Sun Valley in Sawtooth National Recreation Forest. For folks who prefer hiking, there's Hell's Canyon, which will, names aside, provide heavenly trails and (for those without heart conditions) intense whitewater rafting. And if you just want to kick back and enjoy some startling beauty, there's Idaho's Shoshone Falls, also known as "the Niagara of the west."

So just where are the best places to retire in Idaho? Most of these places are off the beaten track, with most being a few hours away from the nearest big cities. Emmett is the closest place on this list to Boise, while Rexburg is the only place under an hour from Idaho Falls. Three of the cities on this list (Moscow, Hailey, and Lewiston) are also featured on our list of best places to live in Idaho, so you know that they're not solely catering to older communities.

Grab your baked potatoes, settle down beside Lake Coeur d'Alene, and read on to learn the best places to retire in Idaho.

The 10 Best Places To Retire In Idaho For 2022

  1. Hailey
  2. Moscow
  3. Sandpoint
  4. Payette
  5. Preston
  6. Emmett
  7. Lewiston
  8. Rupert
  9. Pocatello
  10. Blackfoot

Why did Hailey take the top spot? And where are Meridian and Nampa?

These cities are sure to satisfy your retirement priorities, whatever they may be. It's good to note that 40% of this list overlaps with our list of best cities for families in Idaho, so you might just have an easy time convincing the kids and/or grandkids to move somewhere close by.

You might be asking just how we determined which spots have the most going on for retired folks. To weed out some anomalies that pop up with super-small communities, we only looked at places with a population of at least 5,000, which left us with 21 cities to rank. Then we looked at data from the Census, the FBI's Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights. Finally, we examined which places had plenty to do, a higher median age, a low cost of living, and a low crime rate. By ranking each of the 21 cities on a scale of 1 to 21, with lower numbers being better, we arrived at our result.

Which city ranked as the #1 spot to retire in Idaho? According to the data, Hailey is the best spot to spend your retirement in the Gem State.

For more Idaho state reading:

The 10 Best Places To Retire In Idaho For 2022

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 8,575
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Rent: $726
Distance to Closest Airport: 222 miles
More on Hailey: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Hailey, ID

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 25,652
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 4)
Median Rent: $722
Distance to Closest Airport: 66 miles
More on Moscow: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Moscow, ID

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 8,692
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Median Rent: $915
Distance to Closest Airport: 64 miles
More on Sandpoint: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Sandpoint, ID

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 7,655
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 4)
Median Rent: $662
Distance to Closest Airport: 239 miles
More on Payette: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Payette, ID

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,477
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Rent: $730
Distance to Closest Airport: 90 miles
More on Preston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Preston, ID

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 6,942
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Rent: $665
Distance to Closest Airport: 240 miles
More on Emmett: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Emmett, ID

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 32,853
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 4)
Median Rent: $724
Distance to Closest Airport: 88 miles
More on Lewiston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Lewiston, ID

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,820
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Median Rent: $797
Distance to Closest Airport: 153 miles
More on Rupert: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Rupert, ID

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 56,016
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Median Rent: $661
Distance to Closest Airport: 145 miles
More on Pocatello: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Pocatello, ID

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 11,936
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Rent: $683
Distance to Closest Airport: 167 miles
More on Blackfoot: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Blackfoot, ID

Methodology: How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Gem State for 2022

To create our list of the best places in Idaho to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Gem State -- 224 cities and towns.

We then narrowed it down to places with at least 5,000 people that weren't townships. This left us with 21 places from across the state.

For these 21, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI's Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living as measured by rent
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport
  • Other retirees (High median age)

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 21, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Hailey, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers. You can download the data here.

Summary: Maybe You're Not Ready To Retire In Idaho Yet...

So there you have it, the best place to retire in Idaho goes to Hailey.

If you're not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  1. Nampa
  2. Chubbuck
  3. Meridian

For more Idaho reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In Idaho?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Hailey 8,575 $726
2 Moscow 25,652 $722
3 Sandpoint 8,692 $915
4 Payette 7,655 $662
5 Preston 5,477 $730
6 Emmett 6,942 $665
7 Lewiston 32,853 $724
8 Rupert 5,820 $797
9 Pocatello 56,016 $661
10 Blackfoot 11,936 $683

How Is The Area In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.