I think it depends on what type of lifestyle you want. For me, when I looked for a place to retire, I looked for a place that is mostly warm, but has a good showing of all four seasons. I also wanted to live in a place that I could afford to live on retirement income. I found such a place way out in a small part of California. It is an area that is slightly elevated, kind of in the foothills, just below the snow line. So, in the winter we can see the snow but we're not in the snow. In the summer, it is hot but not blistering. The spring and fall are mild temperatures. All of the seasons are enjoyable. That was the ideal area for me to buy. But, it may not be the ideal area for someone else.
For instance, my youngest daughter loves the beach life, so she chose a place that is along the beach. And, that was the ideal place for her to buy. My oldest daughter likes the hustle and bustle of the city, so she chose the city life. And, that was the ideal place for her to buy.
So, the first question in determining what area is the ideal place to buy is to look at what you want, then match it with the amount of money you have to spend.