When you retire to Payson, you are close enough, a little over an hour, to Phoenix... The Mayo Clinic...and all the attractions of a major city.
At a shade under 5000 feet, you can be guaranteed of snow in the winter, but without the blistering heat that you would experience in Phoenix in the summertime.
You are surrounded by the Tonto national Forest, and soon realize that Arizona is not all desert...a common misconception about Arizona retirement.
Once you leave Phoenix, and begin the climb up to Payson, you see the topography change from desert to forest...noting that the Saguaro cactus disappears at about 3500 feet elevation.
The person that will retire to Payson, will not mind the snow in the winter time, and will enjoy being surrounded by towering pine trees.
There are two upscale communities in Payson, The Rim and Chaparral Pines. these are exclusive communities, featuring championship golf and other upscale amenities.
There are also many neighborhoods with modular type housing, that are affordable for the person looking to retire in Payson on a modest budget...fresh air is available to all.
Because of the proximity to Phoenix, Payson is attractive as a weekend and summer home for Phoenix residents.
Payson has a year-round population of less than 15,000...it has a Walmart and a Starbucks.
For fans of Western novels, there is a local Zane Grey Museum... the cabin that he lived in when he wrote many of his novels burned down in 1990... The museum contains a replica of that cabin.
In about 45 minutes, you can be on top of the Mogollon Rim ( pronounced Mug-e-on...set yourself apart from the tourists, by pronouncing it correctly) offering spectacular mountain vistas.
At the top of therim is one of my favorite places to fly fish, Woods Canyon Lake.
The Tonto Natural Bridge state Park is 15 min. from Payson... It is definitely worth a visit...keep on going and you'll see the unique little town of Strawberry, Arizona.
When you retire in Payson, you will be faced with housing options from the millions to very modest prices...the Payson retiree will find a very friendly community, and regardless of where you live, you will all breathe the same clean fresh mountain air.
Recently Payson was voted the best small town in Arizona...it's not hard to see why.