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If you don’t like tourist towns, a North Dakota retirement may be perfect for you. It’s the least visited state in the country, probably because it doesn’t have many well-known tourist attractions. However, residents love North Dakota for plenty of reasons—including its family-oriented communities and its relaxed, small-town way of life. In addition, lesser-known but worth-visiting attractions include the Lewis and Clark Trail, Lake Sakakawea, and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Senior communities in North Dakota are located in the third least populous state in the country, with only a little over 600,000 residents as of 2010. Located along the Canadian border and solidly in the Midwest, North Dakota offers four distinct seasons—with a wide range of temperatures and conditions between the cold winter months and the hot summers. Many residents hunt and fish, and there are many activities to take advantage of the cold winter months—including ice fishing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.

North Dakota is heavily influenced by its Native American communities. There are many different tribes in North Dakota, and regular events include the United Tribes International Powwow, the largest event of its kind in the United States, complete with parades, music, and traditional dances. 

North Dakota also has strong Icelandic and Norwegian influence from immigrants who settled in the state in the 1800’s. You can still see this influence in traditional foods such as lutefisk and lefse. The largest Scandinavian festival in the Americas, the Norsk Høstfest, occurs yearly in October. Visitors can also see the Icelandic State Park in Pembina County and other smaller Icelandic festivals.

North Dakota doesn’t have a lot of tax breaks for seniors, unfortunately. It’s one of only thirteen states in the Union that taxes some Social Security benefits. Retirees can exclude up to $5,000 in qualified pension income from state income taxes, although out-of-state pensions are fully taxed. There is a small Homestead Tax Credits for seniors age 65 or older, although your entire household income cannot exceed $26,000 per year to qualify.

There are several towns that are excellent places to look for North Dakota senior communities. These include:


The state’s capitol city, Bismarck is located along the banks of the Missouri River—and it’s known for one of the lowest crime rates in the US. An ideal place to look for retirement communities in North Dakota, the city is home to the state’s largest museum, zoo, and opera / ballet house in the state, as well as plenty of stadiums, music venues, and more. There are several colleges in the city, offering plenty of opportunities for continuing education. In addition, the city offers three malls, plenty of parks and green space.


Named by Departures Magazine as one of the best places in the country to raise a family in 2010, Minot is a great place to retire as well. It’s the fourth-largest city in the state, with a population of only a little over 40,000—and it has a thriving arts community as well as an art museum, opera, city band, dance and theatre troupes, and a symphony orchestra. Minot hosts the Norsk Høstfest every year, and the city also offers several parks, open spaces, and golf courses.


North Dakota’s largest city, Fargo still has only a little over 200,000 residents—but there’s a lot going on for a city of this size. Three universities call Fargo home, and they all produce many theatrical, cultural, historical, and artistic events throughout the year. Entertainment in Fargo includes theatre, symphony orchestra concerts, ballet, a yearly Winter Carnival, art museums, and more. Golfers can find several private and public golf courses, and there are numerous neighborhood parks throughout the city.

Assisted living in North Dakota is perfect for those who are looking for a relaxed, small-town vibe—even in the big cities. Check out our comprehensive listing of North Dakota assisted living communities, and find your ideal retirement town today.