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Best Places to Retire in North Carolina

If you are or are about to be retired, your goal should be wringing every last drop of fun and enjoyment out of these golden years.

And one way to ensure you accomplish that is picking an ideal place for your retirement.

If you’re considering North Carolina as a retirement destination, read on to learn why it’s a good place for retirement, and what the best places to retire in North Carolina are.

Why Is North Carolina One of the Best Places To Retire?

The state of North Carolina is quickly growing in popularity, including among the newly retired. It’s combination of friendly demeanor, charming architecture, delightful weather, affordable living, and splendid beaches has made it a haven for those looking to live life to the fullest.


A huge boon for retirees is its weather. Frigid cold is a thing of the past for anyone moving from a more northern state. Even western regions of North Carolina up near the Blue Ridge Mountains get a small to moderate amount of snow in the winter months – just enough to make it look pretty but not so much that it’s a nuisance. This is great for anyone who needs a warmer climate to help with stiff joints. 

Tax-Friendly Toward Retirees

Another major reason North Carolina is such a great state for retiring seniors is that it is very tax-friendly toward retirees. Social Security benefits are entirely exempt from taxes in the state. Other retirement income is subject to North Carolina’s flat 5.25 percent income tax, which is quite generous. Sales and property taxes are likewise middle-of-the-road in comparison to other states, which makes North Carolina a solid financial choice for stretching your retirement income.

Best Towns in North Carolina to Retire

Let’s talk about some of the best places to live in North Carolina for retirees. Here are but a few ideal towns and cities:


Like the outdoors? You’ll love retiring in Asheville. One of the most picturesque towns on our list, Asheville is located right smack dab in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains. The inspiring backdrop routinely attracts artists and writers of all stripes, which gives Asheville a truly creative cultural vibe. Throw in a restaurant scene where fresh, locally sourced ingredients are used in innovative ways and you’ve got a winning combination!


What’s not to say about Charlotte? This fantastic city is just minutes from the border with South Carolina and is the largest in the state, providing you with a bonafide urban cultural experience for your retirement. Museums and performing arts venues are everywhere, and with nearly a half-dozen professional sports teams to its name, the Queen City is a happening place to be.


Located west of Charlotte and right on the Interstate 26 corridor, Columbus has much in common with its close neighbor Asheville, just a little to the northwest. Columbus is considered one of the best places to retire in North Carolina due to its reputation as horse and wine country. This charming town sits at the foothills of the Blue Mountains and has plenty of history, including the oldest courthouse in the state and the House of Flags, the only flag museum in the United States! Tryon Estates, our 215-acre retirement community in Columbus, is nestled in the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains.


Looking for a midsize city that’s centrally located to lots of points of interest but isn’t nearly as busy as other large urban centers? Greensboro is a great choice for seniors. The small-town feel, low cost of living, and close proximity to major locations like Charlotte and the Raleigh and Durham area make it a great place to retire in North Carolina.


Making the list as one of the best places to live in North Carolina for retirees due to more than its great location, Hickory is possibly the most affordable region for anyone looking to stretch their retirement budget as far as they can. It’s also (since we mentioned location) convenient for getting to other parts of the state, as it’s located east of Asheville and northwest of Charlotte, right on Interstate 40.


Is Greensboro too far from the action? Do you crave a classic suburban location that boasts comfort, convenience, and plenty of nearby amenities? Then Matthews may be the best town in North Carolina to retire for you. This upscale suburb of Charlotte has become a hot spot of growth over the past few years. Great for those who want easy access to Charlotte’s urban culture but prefer a green suburban oasis at the end of the day! Matthews Glen, our pet-friendly retirement community in Matthews, offers many amenities and activities to enjoy on-campus and off.

Raleigh and Durham

The Raleigh-Durham area is a major educational center in the state, thanks to UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, and Duke University all located nearby. Older adults can take advantage of this, by auditing classes for free at NC State as an example. Plus, Raleigh and Durham have some of the best healthcare providers in North Carolina, making it perfect for staying fit and active during your retirement.


Just a quick jaunt west of Greensboro on I-40 is Winston-Salem. The city is located in the fertile Yadkin Valley, making it a fantastic place to grow grapes; there are dozens of wineries in this region. The rural environment is ideal for anyone who wants to take it easy and enjoy the days as they come!

Should You Consider a Retirement Community in North Carolina?

One of the great benefits of retiring to North Carolina is getting to enjoy the good life in a great place. Don’t risk adding unnecessary stress by buying a house and having to deal with home maintenance and lawn care and all that. Put chores in the past with your working life.

The best way to live the ultimate retirement dream is in a North Carolina retirement community.

Benefits include:

  • Gated security
  • Luxurious amenities
  • Access to swimming pools, fitness centers with trainers, and the like
  • Access to art rooms, woodworking shops, hobby classes, etc.
  • Fine dining right on campus
  • Excursions to nearby hotspots off campus
  • A full calendar of available activities and events

Some of the best retirement communities in North Carolina are operated by Acts Retirement-Life Communities. An exceptional added benefit is what’s called Acts Life Care®, which is a promise for health services at no additional cost. This means that, as time passes, should you ever need a higher level of care such as assisted living or skilled care, it will be made available right on the same campus, for no direct increase in your monthly costs.

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Retirement Resources

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