18 Pros and Cons of Retiring in Idaho

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Idaho is an excellent retirement location if you lead an active lifestyle. But even if you don’t, there are many other benefits to spending your golden years here. While this location is gaining increased popularity, there are a few setbacks to living here that you may want to consider before signing up.

Idaho has low living costs, mild weather, low crime rates, and stunning scenery. Additionally, the state offers senior citizens tax rebates and access to affordable healthcare. However, the winters are cold, there’s minimal public transport, and you’re not likely to find luxury stores.  

Your choice of a retirement location will depend on several factors. Some of these might include your economic status, health status, or fitness levels if you plan to spend time climbing mountains or playing golf.  

18 Pros and Cons of Retiring in Idaho

The Pros of Retiring in Idaho

Whatever your motivation for choosing a particular location, read on to discover whether Idaho might be an option worth considering.  

Low Cost of Living

Wouldn’t you love to live in a place that allows you to keep more of your money? Idaho’s lower than average cost of living will enable you to do just that. You can thus spend your money on the things you enjoy doing rather than on paying bills. 

Tax Benefits for Seniors

The state of Idaho offers its senior citizens tax rebates. Sales tax is at a low 6% while Social Security income and prescription drugs are tax exempt. This means that you get to retain even more of your money. Few states can beat that.

Affordable Medical Costs

For many senior citizens, good health is a constant challenge. It’s, therefore, vital for you to have access to affordable medical care. Fortunately, that’s not a problem in Idaho since the state makes a special provision for seniors; access to low medical costs plus medical care. Indeed, Boise, the state capital, has two top-rate hospitals that offer retirees affordable services. 

Safe to Live In 

Safety is a major concern for everyone. You want to live in a place where you feel secure and protected. Look no further. This state is one of the safest places in the country. Boasting a lower crime rate than the national average, Idaho is quite appealing as not many states can make such a claim.

And that’s not all. The state invests heavily in law enforcement, and at some point, Boise had the distinctive honor of having the highest number of police officers in the entire country.


Despite the presence of an isolationist spirit (as we shall see later), Idaho is warm, friendly, and welcoming. People are also generally helpful, and it’s easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger. You will thus find it easy to settle here.

Climate Is Mild 

If you choose to reside here, you will not only experience the mildest of climates, but you will also get to enjoy all four seasons. With spring comes gorgeous wildflowers while winter heralds the excitement of skiing season. 

Stunning Landscapes

The beautiful Idaho landscapes can woo even the most unenthusiastic couch potato. But if you are a nature lover, then you got your hands full. Majestic mountains compete with breathtaking lakes, prairies, hot springs, and rivers. If you don’t enjoy hiking, a picnic by the lake is something you might enjoy.  

A Rich Culture

If you love country music, then you will feel at home since it’s a big deal here. But that’s not all. Idaho is a cultural melting pot, playing host to operas, ballets, and various festivals. Once solely characterized by the Mormon community, it now has people from diverse backgrounds, including German, Hispanic, Native American, and Latino. 

You Can Maintain an Active Lifestyle

In Idaho, you have access to an endless list of outdoor activities. Apart from hiking, you can jog, walk, golf, or bike as you take in the stunning views. There are 30+ state parks, including the Grand Teton National Park, recreation centers, and a 25-mile Greenbelt in Boise that’s perfect for walking.

For the perfect weekend adventure, you can go boating, whitewater rafting, skiing, kayaking, or paragliding.

You Have Easy Access to Almost Everything

Nearly everything in Idaho is easy to reach. For instance, it takes under 30 minutes to drive across town from Boise. It’s also easy to access most of what you need, e.g., dining places, movie theaters, and live events. 

Renowned Vineyards and Breweries

What better way to spend a relaxing evening or weekend than with a glass of wine – a visit to a vineyard, maybe? Idaho teems with craft breweries and vineyards; thus, you will have an unlimited choice of whatever beverage you fancy.

A Clean State 

You are hardly likely to find a pile of garbage lying around in this clean state. This is because most cities make deliberate efforts to maintain a high level of cleanliness, unlike other urban centers in the country. 

The Cons of Retiring in Idaho

Below are some cons to consider if Idaho already looks like a worthwhile retirement location.

You Will Experience Exceedingly Cold Winters

Idaho winters can get pretty cold, with temperatures dropping to lows of 16℉ (-8℃) at the beginning of the year. Driving through snow might not be much fun either if you were looking forward to warmer temperatures – not to mention abundant sunshine.  

The 2nd Amendment Is Valued

If you are not a fan of guns, you might get a little uncomfortable living here. The thing is, hunting is an integral part of life for Idahoers, and it comes with the right to defend your family and property. In this open carry state, anybody can own, use, and carry a firearm – even without a license.  

Politically Conservative 

Most of the people in Idaho are conservative republicans. They also tend to lean towards conservative principles and elect republicans who don’t necessarily share liberal views.

If you are not a conservative, well, let’s say that life in Idaho might involve occasional heated political debates with some of your neighbors. 

Lack of Public Transportation

Public transport is almost nonexistent in Idaho, and what’s there is limited to large cities like Boise. If you decide to move here, start making plans to buy a vehicle if you don’t have one. Also, Uber is rare outside the city, and where bus or rail transport exists, it is unreliable.  

The infrastructures do not fare well either. For instance, Boise airport, “the state’s only commercial airport,” is only a regional hub. To fly outside the region, you would need to connect through cities like Seattle or Denver. 

There Are Limited Options for Luxury Shopping

Regular Walmart-styled stores are available in Idaho, but if shopping for luxury brands is one of your pastimes, you will be disappointed. This is because you would need to buy online or go out of state. However, with increasing urban migration, things are changing, and there is some improvement. 

Isolation Is Embraced

Some people jokingly refer to Idaho as the Isolationist State. People tend to mind their own business and keep out of other peoples’ lives. There are still many opportunities to socialize, though, but don’t be surprised to find yourself alone – unless you go out of your way to seek company.

Final Words

If you were having a difficult time deciding where you want to spend your retirement, we hope this list will help you make up your mind. Even if you don’t want an active retirement and would rather spend your time in quiet relaxation, Idaho has more than enough desirable options. 

However, you still need to consider whether to go for it, given the downsides mentioned. Nonetheless, whatever you decide, you now have the information to make an informed decision. 



Hey there, my name is Ruth, I'm in my late fifties. My life was turned upside down a few years ago as I experienced a burn-out. But I saw it as a sign that something had to change in my life. I'm happy I used this tough experience as a stepping stone. I now feel happier than ever and hope to inspire you to do the same, no matter how old you are.

One thought on “18 Pros and Cons of Retiring in Idaho

  1. Today, I went to the beach front with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!

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