Vegan-Friendly Retirement Destinations

In a previous post I mentioned an ABC News article that ranked the 10 best states for retirees. The rankings were based largely on economic factors—cost of living and tax rate—as well as crime reports and climate. While these are all important factors, many Prime members also want to retire—or vacation—in a vegan-friendly region. Fortunately, ABC News’ top five states for retirees—Tennessee, Louisiana, South Dakota, Kentucky, and Mississippi—all appear to be fairly vegan-friendly, at least in certain cities. Let’s look at how the other five fare:

Virginia: Having lived in Norfolk, Va., for 14 years, I can tell you that Virginia is for animal lovers. Hampton Roads is full of vegan-friendly restaurants—the PETA HQ staffers have helped to make sure of that! The Blue Ridge Mountains are a great place to go for scenic views, fruitful wines, and vegan meals, and Williamsburg is also wonderful destination for vegans, history buffs, and sightseers alike.

West Virginia: ABC News praises The Mountain State for its lower-than-average cost of living and higher-than-average access to hospital beds, as well as its safe neighborhoods and mild temperatures. Happy Cow lists 40 vegetarian- and vegan-friendly restaurants and stores in the state, and I have a feeling that’s just the tip of the … mountain.

Alabama: The “Heart of Dixie” not only has a low cost of living and an average temperature of 63 degrees, according to the ABC News report, it’s also known for its “southern hospitality.” In Mobile, for one, this extends to vegans and animal lovers. Birmingham and Huntsville also are known for their vegan-friendly restaurants.

Nebraska: The Cornhusker State has an average temperature of 49.2 degrees, so its way to cold for a southern gal like me, but the state’s cost of living is reported as among the lowest in the country. Vegan Omaha maintains a list of veg-friendly restaurants and other resources, and the Nebraska Vegetarian Travel Guide cites veg-friendly options in Lincoln, too.

North Dakota: While northern states like Nebraska and North Dakota may not enter my mind when thinking about states to live, they do both deserve props for their low crime rates and “mild” tax burdens. According to ABC News, North Dakota also boasts “excellent access to healthcare, with 5 beds for every 1,000 people in the state, the second-best in the U.S.” But perhaps that’s just because North Dakota doesn’t appear to have many vegan-friendly stores and restaurants, and its beneficial for residents if there are lots of hospital beds on hand!

If you’re just looking for a list of vegan-friendly cities to visit, and maybe eventually move, check out PETA’s complete list of the most vegan-friendly cities in the U.S. here.