Yuma has been named to another “best places” list, based on its popularity on a website targeting baby boomers looking for the right place to retire.
John Brady, founder of topretirements.com, said Yuma came in at No. 16 on the website’s “20 Most Popular Places to Retire in 2019,” grouping Arizona with New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma.
Asked what trends might have pushed Yuma up in the rankings, he said, “We actually have no idea why it made the list this year.”
What he meant by that is sometimes the site runs a feature spotlighting a particular community, which then gets a bump in the overall number of views its Topretirements review gets. That wasn’t the case with Yuma.
But Brady quickly started coming up with theories behind the city’s debut.
“It was kind of fun that it and Prescott, the two kind of frontier towns, in my thinking, made the list. People were pretty excited about that, I guess,” said Brady, who lives in Connecticut.
Yuma’s description for its entry on the list does lean heavily on its climate and history:
“Considered the sunniest and driest town in the U.S., this frontier town served as a gateway during the gold rush of 1849. The U.S. Army also found Yuma to be in a prime location along the Colorado River and used it as a supply base for Army posts — today it still operates the Yuma Proving Ground.”
“Maybe it’s the name, you’ve got a great name,” Brady said, associating it with the Western movie and TV show “Johnny Yuma,” which turns out to be set in Texas. He wasn’t familiar with either the 1957 or 2007 versions of “3:10 to Yuma,” neither of which are among the movies filmed here.
More seriously, Brady said the area’s relative affordability helps Yuma, and Arizona overall, get the attention from would-be retirees.
“One thing I’m thinking is Yuma’s got a lot of these RV resorts, and some of them are more budget-oriented, or ideally suited for snowbirds who want to come down,” he said, with four listed in his website’s directory: Blue Sky Ranch, Desert Paradise, The Palms and Westwind.
Prescott was No. 1 for the Southwest region, with its profile viewed 5,200 times, and No. 3 in the entire country. Arizona dominated the Southwest’s list with 12 of the 20 most viewed destinations, the others being Green Valley (2), Flagstaff (3), Tucson (4), Lake Havasu (7), Sedona (9), Payson (10), Scottsdale (11), Bisbee (12), Yuma (16), Kingman (17), and Cottonwood (20). “Arizona’s very popular, especially with people west of the Mississippi, and a surprising number of people east of the Mississippi, too. And so they’re looking for a place that’s not very expensive and I think Yuma fits the bill. And an ideal snowbird place. You have pretty warm winters there, probably as warm as any in Arizona,” Brady said.
Brady said Yuma could well have a bright future on his website, thanks to its popularity in 2019. “What happens if you make a list like that, of ours, and people click on the links, and it’ll stay popular for a while. So hopefully you can build on that.”
Other website popularity lists Yuma has been named to in recent years include No. 5 on Expedia’s list of highly rated small- and medium sized cites as travel destinations and Top 10 most charming cities and small towns in Arizona, both last year.