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The 5 Best Places to Retire in North Carolina
- Asheville. Asheville is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina and is well-known for its arts, music and its thriving craft-beer scene.
- Brevard. Like Asheville, Brevard is nestled in the mountains of western North Carolina, but it’s a much smaller town, with a population of just over 7,900 (based on 2018 ...
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- Asheville. CITY POPULATION: 92,870. SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 18.1% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 4% below the national average. PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $33,176.
- New Bern. CITY POPULATION: 29,994. SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 21.8% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 3% below the national average. PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $29,459.
- Raleigh. CITY POPULATION: 474,069. SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 10.6% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 5% below the national average. PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $38,494.
- Charlotte. CITY POPULATION: 1,110,356. SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 11.5% COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 5% below the national average. PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $38,819.
- Hendersonville. Hendersonville, which ranks in the top 50 places to retire in the U.S., is an inland town about 20 minutes north of the South Carolina border.
- Southern Pines. While Southern Pines is a fairly small city, it is just about an hour west of the much larger Fayetteville, home to Fort Bragg. This geography lets Southern Pines retirees live a small-town life while still having access to the amenities and culture of a military town like Fayetteville.
- Brevard. Brevard leads this list in terms of recreation centers, with 1.83 recreation centers per 1,000 residents. Even beyond that, it’s a great fit for those looking to remain active in their retirement, especially if you like the outdoors.
- Pinehurst. Pinehurst is absolutely the town for duffers who want nothing more than to hit the links in their retirement. The town is the home of Pinehurst Resort, a golf club that has hosted several U.S. Opens.
- Morrisville. While Morrisville is our No. 1 place in our list, it reached this great height by the narrowest of margins. Still, it’s the best place to retire in North Carolina.
- Mount Holly. As we mentioned above, it was a close call between Mount Holly and Morrisville. Nonetheless, the No. 2 spot is a coveted position. Unlike Morrisville, Mount Holly placed well in all five criteria, though it had no top three finishers.
- Apex. The Town of Apex in Wake County rounded out our top three best places to retire. Three criteria helped push Apex near to top of our list: travel, weather, and crime.
- Holly Springs. Holly Springs achieved in two criteria, taking the No. 3 spot for its low crime rate and the No. 4 spot for its overall weather. According to our analysis, there were 1,393 crimes per 100,000 people in Holly Springs in 2012.
Dec 28, 2020 · Smithfield is a small town sandwiched between Charlotte, Statesville, and Black Mountain in North Carolina that is perfect for any retiree. You can spend weekends swimming Lake Norman or camping in the mountains. North Carolina is a state that constantly comes up on lists about great places to live in the U.S., so why not move here for retirement?
- Charles Moss
- The Triangle. Together, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, and Durham make up the popular area nicknamed the Research Triangle, or simply the Triangle. Because it's home to North Carolina State University, Duke University and the University of North Carolina, this region of the Tar Heel state is known for its technology and research facilities.
- Asheville. Largely known for its Art Deco and Beaux architecture, dozens of art galleries, and lush, mountain setting Asheville is one of the most eclectic cities in North Carolina.
- Charlotte. While Charlotte has seven active adult communities within the city, there are 46 in the immediate vicinity, making it one of the top retirement destinations in the state.
- The Piedmont Triad Cities. Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and High Point make up North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad cities, which is not to be confused with the Triangle region of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.
- 10 – Brevard, North Carolina
- 9 – Marion, North Carolina
- 8 – Hendersonville, North Carolina
- 7 – Hickory, North Carolina
- 6 – Chapel Hill, North Carolina
- 5 – Corolla, North Carolina
- 4 – Pinehurst, North Carolina
- 3 – Asheville, North Carolina
- 2 – Raleigh, North Carolina
- 1 – Durham, North Carolina
Brevard is an active city that is the perfect place for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. With the Nantahala National Forest on the edge of the city, you can enjoy the natural beauty of North Carolina. The Transylvania County city has above-average medical access, a low crime rate and a high-tourism economy. Furthermore, it’s become known as the “Land of Waterfalls” due to Looking Glass Falls, Connestee Falls, Batson Creek Falls and Sliding Rock.
Marion’s motto is “Where Main Street Meets the Mountains,” and it couldn’t be more spot-on. With the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Marion has become a growing retirement locale. Outdoor attractions include Lake James, Linville Caverns and the Pisgah National Forest. There are many outdoor adventures in the area. In addition, it’s right up the road from Asheville and less than two hours from Charlotte.
A dining and outdoors delight, Hendersonville can be found on most lists for the best places to retire in North Carolina. The “City of Four Seasons” is a hub of many historical sites, museums and parks. The entertainment in Hendersonville is underrated as well. In 2014, Sierra Nevada opened a world-class brewery in the area. There’s also a local aquarium that opened in 2009.
Believe it or not, retirees across the country are drawn to Hickory. The Catawba County city is one of the most beautiful towns in the state. It’s also great for sports fans looking to live outside the major cities. Hickory is home to the Crawdads, a minor league baseball team with great history. There’s also the Hickory Motor Speedway, which is known as the “Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars.”
There are only a handful of towns in North Carolina as vibrant and energetic as Chapel Hill. With the University of North Carolina, this city has rapidly grown into a destination that features some of the best food, events, music and scenery in the state. Franklin Street is the central core of Chapel Hill, with coffee shops, dining options, bars and museums. This city isn’t just a college town anymore, it has become one of the best places to retire in North Carolina.
Corolla is a popular summer destination for vacationers. However, it’s also become a popular location for retirees. With some of the best beaches in North Carolina, and other attractions, Corolla is growing year by year since its major development in the 1980s. During the off-season, Corolla is a spacious and uncrowded area with wild horses, outdoor programs, holiday events and concerts. There’s always something to do in this beachfront town as it encourages outdoor activities.
If your goal in retirement is to hit the links, then there’s no better place than Pinehurst. The Pinehurst Resort has hosted several U.S. Open Championships for the PGA Tour and the area has several high-quality golf courses. Outside of the golf scene, Pinehurst has the lowest crime rateson this list, and the town is full of culture and art. The recreational value is as good as it gets, and that’s why Pinehurst’s population is over 40% seniors.
Asheville is often recognized as one of the best places to retire in North Carolina. It’s the craft beer capital of America with more breweries per capita than any other U.S. city. In western North Carolina, it’s tough to find a better cultural and art scene. Downtown Asheville is full of nightlife, and the city is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This makes for great hiking trails, biking and camping. Additionally, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville offers more than 350 college courses for seniors.
Raleigh ranks high on this list for its entertainment and cultural value. In addition, its sports franchises, its proximity to North Carolina State University and the growth of downtown Raleigh have resonated with retirees. In fact, N.C. State offers tuition-free audit courses to North Carolina residents over the age of 65. This, along with the outdoor experiences, local boutiques and family fun, makes Raleigh one of the best places to retire in North Carolina.
Durham is, without a doubt, the cream of the crop for retirees in North Carolina. From the best medical care in the state at Duke University to entertainment and recreation, Durhamis “overflowing with unique, exciting things to do, no matter what kind of experience you’re looking for.” The Durham Bulls are an iconic minor league baseball team, while the Duke Blue Devils compete at the highest level of collegiate sports. Durham also offers unique shopping and dining at its downtown district, along with visual and performing arts events. The “Bull City” is the cultural diamond of North Carolina and it’s become the perfect place to retire in 2019.