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Bankrate.com recently named Tennessee as the number-one spot to retire. The financial website ranked states according to climate, tax rates, cost of living and access to health care. Even those under 65 years of age can benefit from the temperate climate, the third-lowest state and local tax burden in the nation, and a cost of living that is 9.6 percent below the national average. Welcome to the Volunteer State.
The Gulf of Mexico dominates the weather bringing winds from the south that cause most of the state''s precipitation. On the average Tennessee receives 50 inches of rain a year. Annual snowfall ranges from 5 inches in the west to more than 16 inches in the mountains to the east. Winters tend to be cool with decreasing temperatures at higher elevations while summers generally run hot with an average of 90 degrees. This climate has made Tennessee famous as an outdoor playground.
More than 9.4 million people visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg each year, making it the most visited national park in the U.S. Part of the reason for the park''s popularity may be that no entrance fee is charged. But visitors also come for many other reasons like hoping to spot elk, deer, black bear, and spectacular displays of wildflowers.
Tennessee caters to bicyclers, fishermen, golfers, archers, hikers, boaters or anyone who enjoys outdoor recreation. Fans who like watching team sports can cheer on the Tennessee Titans (NFL), the Memphis Grizzlies (NBA) and the Nashville Predators (NHL).
Music lovers flock to Nashville where you can see live performances most anywhere. Home of the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, this city attracts lots of up-and-coming performers in the country and western music genre. Memphis has ties to blues and rock ''n'' roll plus houses Elvis Presley''s Graceland, a major tourist attraction.
If you can''t spend all your time outside or listening to music, you might spend your days working in one of the major industries the state supports. Coal mining, electrical power, enriched uranium productions, music, auto manufacturing, farming and tourism employ the most people in the Volunteer State.
Expect to see the southern tradition, meat and three, on restaurant menus in Tennessee. They say it means one meat and three vegetables, but one vegetable offering is almost always macaroni and cheese.