Each spring, the town of Louisville, Ky., hosts one of the country's biggest sporting and cultural events. The Kentucky Derby brings people from around the world who are drawn to Southern hospitality and world-class horse racing. For the state's residents, this sense of tradition and local charm extend throughout the year, coupled with affordable housing and a high quality of life. Lexington is another hub of horse country, with the world-famous Kentucky Horse Park. And it's the home of the University of Kentucky, whose top-ranked men's basketball team makes things lively each winter.
Major cities like Bowling Green and Louisville offer single-family homes at about $137,000, with a median family income in the mid-$30,000s. In the Lexington-Fayette metro area, single-family homes average $160,000, and median household income tops $46,000. With a population of just less than 300,000, even the "big" city of Lexington has a small-town vibe compared to many other major U.S. cities.
Of course, affordable housing isn't all Kentucky has to offer. The state capital of Frankfort provides one of the best areas for retirees and new grads due to its low property and income tax rates. In your spare time, hike the state's Blue Hills or get caught up in the college sports action at the University of Kentucky or University of Louisville.