Pennsylvania, Maryland cities top list of best retirement destinations

Deciding where to retire can be difficult. There are many factors to take into consideration ranging from climate and healthcare access to social activities and proximity to family. It's certainly worth careful consideration, especially given that you'll be spending your golden years there. Retirement hotspots such as Florida and Arizona remain popular destinations, but a recent analysis from NerdWallet revealed some surprising choices as the top places for retirement.

At first, Pennsylvania may not seem like an ideal retirement location. The weather can sometimes get blustery and it's not in the southern U.S. However, retirees should consider Pittsburgh when going over their potential destinations. Aside from the fact that more than 25 percent of the city's population is between 50 and 70, Pittsburgh offers plenty of opportunities for lifelong learning, so it's ideal for anybody looking for mental stimulation. There are also many healthcare providers located nearby. 

"A lot of that is people who started there stay there," industry insider Ron Clarke told USA Today. "It is a friendly state and the only state where all the lottery proceeds go to benefit seniors."

Pennsylvania isn't the only surprising location that made the NerdWallet list. Maryland retirement communities also had a strong showing. Specifically, analysts point to the Baltimore-Towson area as the No. 4 best city for retirees. Much like Pittsburgh, there are plenty of opportunities for seniors to indulge their intellectual curiosity, but there is also a rich cultural scene. Perhaps most appealing, however, is the fact that its cost of living is relatively low, and with Johns Hopkins Medical Center located nearby, some of the best doctors in the world are at your fingertips.