Retirement Living in North Carolina

by Nancy Wagner ; Updated July 27, 2017
If ocean side living appeals to you, North Carolina delivers.

Known as the Tar-Heel State, North Carolina boasts hundreds of miles of ocean side beaches, quaint towns and cities with all the amenities, giving you lots of choices on where to retire. Some of the most attractive areas offer historical attractions, outdoor recreation and cultural activities that meet the most discerning retiree’s needs. Add in a cost of living below the rest of the country, and it’s easy to see the appeal of this southern state.

Coastal Areas

More sailboats than people fill the town of Oriental, making it a top place to retire, according to The town is located along the Intracoastal Waterway, making it ideal for those who love boating and fishing. Just 35 minutes away lies New Bern, another top place to retire. The town lies in close proximity to the ocean while offering lots of historical influence, with more than 160 homes listed on the National Historic Register.

Small Town Living

If a city of more than a few thousand sounds too big to you, head to Highlands. The town boasts just 2,000 permanent residents, although the population explodes in the summer with vacation home residents. The village is located near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Waterfalls and lots of walking paths make Brevard another contender for small town retirement. This small town holds six festivals each year, giving you lots of opportunities to mingle and enjoy the fun while embracing a quieter style of living.

College Towns

Retiring to a college town could help you stay youthful. The city of Asheville, where you’ll find the University of North Carolina-Asheville, puts you in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains. Home to several folk and theater festivals, the city’s main attraction is the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, a university program to help retirees develop educational programs and attend classes. Another option is Greenville, home to East Carolina University, where you’ll find a variety of theater, music and cultural events. State of the art health facilities affiliated with the university’s Brody School of Medicine are also available.

Outdoor Recreation

Golf enthusiasts find Pinehurst, located in the Sandhills of southeastern North Carolina, ideal for playing a round of golf or watching the numerous tournaments. In addition to golf, Pinehurst offers boutique shops and several museums. The town is part of the Badin Lake Recreation Area, part of Uwharrie National Forest. Hiking, boating, horseback riding and mountain biking opportunities are just steps from your door.

About the Author

Nancy Wagner is a marketing strategist and speaker who started writing in 1998. She writes business plans for startups and established companies and teaches marketing and promotional tactics at local workshops. Wagner's business and marketing articles have appeared in "Home Business Journal," "Nation’s Business," "Emerging Business" and "The Mortgage Press," among others. She holds a B.S. from Eastern Illinois University.

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