itemscope="" itemtype="" >20 Best Place to Retire in NC ( North Carolina) in 2024

Discover the 20 Best Place to Retire in NC: A Comprehensive Guide

Retirement is a significant milestone in life, and choosing the perfect place to spend your golden years is crucial, so find the best place to retire in NC. North Carolina (NC) and South Carolina (SC) has emerged as one of the top retirement destinations in the United States, offering a diverse range of options for retirees seeking a fulfilling and enjoyable lifestyle. In this tutorial, we will explore the best places to retire in NC, its charm, amenities, and various factors to consider before deciding.

Summary Methodology:

We curated the top retirement spots in North Carolina by analyzing data from various sources, including Travel and Leisure, US News & World Report, New Home Source, Reddit, and Quora. Our consensus approach awarded points to locations recommended by these sources, resulting in an Insider Monkey Source score. Rankings are based on accumulated points, and the cost of living mentioned pertains to a one-bedroom apartment in the city/town center.

Understanding Retirement Priorities

When considering retirement, individuals often have specific priorities in mind. Some may seek a peaceful retreat, while others look for vibrant communities with ample recreational opportunities. Factors such as climate, cost of living, healthcare facilities, and proximity to family and friends all play a crucial role in the decision-making process.

Exploring 20 Best North Carolina Places for Retires

North Carolina has become appealing to retirees due to its diverse landscapes and attractive lifestyle options. From serene coastal getaways to picturesque mountain towns and charming historic cities, NC offers something for everyone.

1. Durham

  • Insider Monkey Score: 12
  • Median Home Price: $420,000
  • Average Rent: $1,490

Home to a vibrant cultural scene and excellent healthcare, Durham is a top retirement spot with a mild climate. With a cost of living 1.2% lower than the national average, retirees enjoy dining adventures, exploring rich history, and outdoor recreation in proximity to Raleigh and Chapel Hill.

2. Hickory

  • Insider Monkey Score: 9
  • Median Home Price: $290,000
  • Average Rent: $795

Located in Western North Carolina, Hickory stands out with affordable housing, a picturesque landscape, and a thriving arts and culture scene. The city’s cost of living is 11% lower than the national average, fostering a small-town charm with a relaxed pace of life.

3. Greensboro

  • Insider Monkey Score: 5
  • Median Home Price: $290,000
  • Average Rent: $904

Greensboro beckons retirees with an affordable cost of living, reasonable housing prices, and a plethora of amenities. The city’s cost of living is 15.8% lower than the national average, offering well-regarded healthcare facilities, parks, recreational areas, and a diverse culinary scene.

4. New Bern

  • Insider Monkey Score: 9
  • Median Home Price: $352,000
  • Average Rent: $1,250

An affordable riverfront city, New Bern boasts housing options, a 16.4% lower cost of living than the US average, and the title of a “Certified Retirement Community.” Retirees enjoy a waterfront lifestyle, cultural attractions, and ample outdoor activities.

5. Winston-Salem

  • Insider Monkey Score: 6
  • Median Home Price: $260,000
  • Average Rent: $895

Deemed one of the safer cities, Winston-Salem is a cultural hotspot with modern conveniences. Retirees experience a relaxed pace of life, explore museums, attend film festivals, and benefit from quality healthcare. The cost of living is 15.7% lower than the US average.

6. Charlotte

  • Insider Monkey Score: 8
  • Median Home Price: $413,000
  • Average Rent: $1,579

Seniors choose Charlotte for its pleasant climate, top-notch medical facilities, and lively city life. Despite a 2.5% higher cost of living than the US average, the “Queen City” offers a high-quality lifestyle with diverse amenities.

7. Pinehurst

  • Insider Monkey Score: 7
  • Median Home Price: $499,000
  • Average Rent: $1,565

Known as the “Home of American Golf,” Pinehurst caters to golf enthusiasts with over 40 courses. The village offers top-notch healthcare and a 6.1% lower cost of living than the national average, making it an ideal retirement spot.

8. Raleigh

  • Insider Monkey Score: 6
  • Median Home Price: $410,000
  • Average Rent: $1,305

Famous for its friendly atmosphere, great healthcare, and pleasant climate, Raleigh is a sought-after retirement destination. Despite a 5.8% higher cost of living than the US average, retirees enjoy walkable and bicycle-friendly areas with abundant amenities.

9. Wilmington

Located on the southeastern coast of NC, Wilmington is a coastal gem known for its scenic riverfront, historic downtown, and beautiful beaches. Retirees can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and numerous cultural attractions.

  • Insider Monkey Score: 2
  • Median Home Price: $440,000
  • Average Rent: $1,391

Vibrant coastal city along Cape Fear River with a beautiful river-walk downtown. Affordable housing and 4% lower cost of living than the national average.

Best Places to Retire in North Carolina

10. Beaufort

  • Insider Monkey Score: 3
  • Median Home Price: $500,000
  • Average Rent: $1,838

Coastal retirement haven with scenic waterfront, kayaking, and friendly locals. Cost of living is 0.7% lower than the national average.


11. Serene Mountain Towns

The mountain towns of NC are a perfect fit for those seeking tranquility and breathtaking natural beauty. Retirees may live a calm and rejuvenating lifestyle surrounded by beautiful woods and breathtaking here are the Best Place to Retire in NC.

12. Asheville

  • Insider Monkey Score: 10
  • Median Home Price: $493,000
  • Average Rent: $1,425

Situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, despite a 5.8% higher cost of living, attracts retirees with breathtaking natural landscapes, a vibrant arts scene, rich history, and various recreational activities.

best places to retire in nc

13. Cary

  • Insider Monkey Score: 5
  • Median Home Price: $568,000
  • Average Rent: $1,431

Cary, a rapidly growing region, blends small-town ambiance with top-tier healthcare, shopping, and entertainment. Despite a 5.8% higher cost of living than the US average, the city offers vast green spaces and amenities.

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14. Hendersonville

  • Insider Monkey Score: 5
  • Median Home Price: $390,000
  • Average Rent: $1,195

Nestled in the Southern Appalachians, Hendersonville charms retirees with mountain views and lush landscapes. Outdoor activities, cultural events, and historical attractions enrich the retirement experience, despite a 2.4% higher cost of living than the US average.

15. Elizabeth City

  • Insider Monkey Score: 3
  • Median Home Price: $335,000
  • Average Rent: $1,900

Quaint coastal town on Pasquotank River known as the Harbor of Hospitality. Picturesque waterfront and historical charm with a 15.6% lower cost of living.

16. Lumberton

  • Insider Monkey Score: 3
  • Median Home Price: $213,000
  • Average Rent: $700

Designated as “The First Certified Retirement Community in North Carolina,” Lumberton offers retirees an exceptional quality of life. The city’s cost of living is 28% lower than the US average, with abundant healthcare, parks, and shopping options.

17. Carolina Beach

  • Insider Monkey Score: 2
  • Median Home Price: $730,000
  • Average Rent: $1,450

Relaxed coastal town with a beachfront lifestyle, fishing pier, and a charming boardwalk. Cost of living is 1.9% lower than the US average.

18. Laurinburg

  • Insider Monkey Score: 4
  • Median Home Price: $155,000
  • Average Rent: $799

Affordable housing and a 29.7% lower cost of living make Laurinburg a delightful city for retirees. Certified as a retirement community, it boasts historical and cultural attractions, outdoor activities, and healthcare access.

19. Reidsville

  • Insider Monkey Score: 4
  • Median Home Price: $240,000
  • Average Rent: $1,091

Reidsville, with serene lakes and inviting parks, offers affordable housing and a cost of living 22% lower than the US average. Abundant amenities, including top-notch hospitals and diverse dining, make it a top choice for retirees.

20. Boone

A university town bordered by the Appalachian Mountains, provides a mix of outdoor activities and cultural events, making it a perfect site for retirees looking for an active lifestyle.

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Charming Historic Cities

North Carolina boasts a rich cultural heritage, and its historic cities are magnets for retirees who appreciate history, arts, and a vibrant community. These cities blend the past and present, creating a unique and captivating retirement experience.

1. Charlotte

North Carolina’s largest city, Charlotte, offers modern amenities and historical landmarks. Retirees can explore museums, enjoy fine dining, and participate in recreational activities.

North Carolina largest city, Charlotte

2. New Bern:

This picturesque town boasts a wealth of historic architecture, quaint shops, and a vibrant waterfront. Retirees can immerse themselves in a welcoming community rich in history.

New Bern:

Essential Considerations for Retirees

To make an informed decision about the best place to retire in NC, it’s essential to consider various factors carefully. Creating a checklist can help assess each potential location based on individual preferences and needs.

Some key factors to consider include:

  • Cost of Living: Analyzing the cost of living in different regions of NC is crucial for budgeting and financial planning in retirement.
  • Real Estate Market: Understanding the local real estate market in the chosen area and evaluating housing options is vital for securing a comfortable retirement home.
  • Community and Healthcare Facilities: Access to a supportive and inclusive community and quality healthcare facilities significantly impacts retirees’ well-being.
  • Climate and Recreation Opportunities: The climate and availability of recreational activities influence the overall lifestyle and enjoyment of retirement.

The real estate market in NC is dynamic, offering various housing options for retirees. From cozy beachfront cottages to charming mountain cabins and urban condos, a home suits every retiree’s preference. Working with expert real estate agents can help retirees navigate the market and find the perfect place to call home in NC.

Cost of Living and Financial Planning

One of the major attractions of retiring in NC is the relatively affordable cost of living compared to many other states. However, retirees must estimate their retirement expenses accurately and plan their finances accordingly. Budgeting for housing, healthcare, recreation, and different essential needs is vital to ensuring financial security throughout retirement.

Community and Healthcare Facilities

Retiring in a supportive community can enhance the retirement experience. North Carolina offers numerous retirement communities with social activities, clubs, and events tailored to seniors’ interests. Additionally, the state has excellent healthcare facilities and medical centers, ensuring retirees can access top-notch healthcare services.

Climate and Recreation Opportunities

NC’s climate varies across its regions, allowing retirees to choose the weather that suits them best. Whether it’s the mild coastal climate or the cooler mountain air, there’s a climate to match every preference. Furthermore, NC offers abundant recreational opportunities, including hiking, golfing, fishing, and cultural events, ensuring retirees can enjoy an active and fulfilling retirement.

Testimonials from Retirees in NC

There’s no better way to gain insight into the retirement experience in NC than through firsthand testimonials from current retirees. We spoke with several individuals who chose North Carolina as their retirement haven, and they all expressed overwhelming satisfaction with their decision. From the friendly communities to the diverse landscapes, NC provides retirees with a fulfilling and enriching lifestyle.


Choosing the best place to retire in NC is a personal journey in which individual tastes and requirements must be carefully considered. Individual preferences and needs. From coastal getaways to charming historic cities and serene mountain towns, North Carolina offers many retirement options. By understanding essential factors such as the cost of living, real estate market, healthcare facilities, climate, and recreational opportunities, retirees can make a well-informed decision that leads to a fulfilling and happy retirement in the beautiful state of North Carolina.

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