With a temperate climate in the east due to the Atlantic Ocean and a mountainous climate in the western areas with temperatures rarely rising above 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, North Carolina has a lot of natural beauty that makes it a great place to consider for people wanting to live in a small town. With technology, banking, health care, and agriculture making up a good portion of the economy, North Carolina has gone through rapid changes in demographics and living arrangements. Most people now live in the major urban areas like Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, and Greensboro. However, there are still many small towns that are attractive to live in that don’t give up bigger city amenities just to have peace and quiet. Ten of the best small towns to live in are listed below.
North Carolina has some of the very best small towns to relocate to. Such a varied state is NC. You have the Western Mountains (blue ridge mountains) which are beautiful, the Beaches, the large metro areas and more.
We just visited Asheville NC and noticed many new retirement communities around the area. We took the Asheville Food Tour and enjoyed the eclectic downtown area as well.
Hendersonville NC is another area we visited and walked down their wonderful Main Street and visited the Visitors Center where they were very help. Lots of retirees moving to Hendersonville. But here is another town you may want to consider for NC.
Best Small Towns for Retirement in North Carolina
Charlotte Area – All around Charlotte metro area seems to be the place for Active Adult Communities: Trilogy Lake Norman up on the Nortwest side of Charlotte, Lennar at Imagery at Mount Holly, Tree Tops also by Lennar Homes on the Southside down by Sun City Lakes which is all resales by now, Cresswind Charlotte a 55+ community over on the East side next to the hospital, Carolina Orchards, a Del Webb Community down on the Southside at Fort Mill. These are the big five retirement communities near Charlotte NC.
Chapel Hill – If you are seeking the perfect small town retirement location, and are drawn to the moderate climate and Southern charm of North Carolina, the small city of Chapel Hill may be the place for you. Chapel Hill, located in North Carolina’s “Research Triangle” (home to three renowned universities, teaching hospitals, and one of the largest research parks in the nation), offers everything a retiree desires. Not only are there cultural activities, medical facilities, and other senior-friendly amenities galore, but the area’s four distinct seasons draw retirees from across the country.
Chapel Hill, situated in the hills of central North Carolina, enjoys close proximity to three thriving institutions of higher learning – the University of NC at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State, and Duke University. College towns in general are enriching and invigorating places to retire – with art, music, education, a wide variety of dining options, and a “young” atmosphere – and Chapel Hill offers these benefits threefold.
The proximity of the universities also means that stellar medical care is available only minutes away from downtown Chapel Hill. Both the University of North Carolina and Duke University have large, modern teaching hospitals, and the large number of seniors moving to the area have drawn even more world-class health facilities into the region.
As a popular retirement destination, the Chapel Hill area boasts a number of 55+ communities that offer resort retirement living, although the cost of housing here is higher than in many small town retirement locations. There are golf communities, mixed-generation neighborhoods with a senior-friendly focus, and assisted living facilities. Closer to downtown, retirement condominiums and apartments are also available. Active retirees can enjoy the vibrant cultural scene in and around the city, or pursue recreational activities among the nearby mountains and beaches, both just a couple of hours’ drive away. With many social activities and dining establishments in town, meeting other retirees and making new friends can be easier than in smaller or more rural settings.
If you are considering North Carolina as a retirement destination, this charming small city with a cosmopolitan atmosphere may appeal to you. You may want to look into the city of Chapel Hill proper, or one of the many 55+ communities nestled among surrounding towns such as Carrboro and Durham.
The wife booked us a three night get-a-way in Highlands NC, so we headed up I-985 from Atlanta for the 2.5 hour plus trip. It took 4 hours. So much for Google Maps prediction when it is foggy and light rain in the mountains.
Highlands NC is in Western North Carolina about 25 miles north of Georgia. In this section of Western North Carolina there are other desirable small towns like Cashiers, Sapphire Valley, Sylva, Glenville, Lake To a way and Brevard, a quaint college town. Both Highlands and Cashiers are resort mountain small towns with lots of charm. Both are favorites of Atlanta people escaping the heat and humidity during the Summer months and Florida halfbacks moving up from the Sunshine state.
Highlands has a walkable town filled with antique shops, interesting stores for shopping, restaurants, some gourmet, and places to stay like 200 Main where we are staying.
Many people come here on a vacation and end up buying a seasonal home and for some that turns into their retirement home. There are no 55 Active Adult Communities but there are many mountain homes and cabins with scenic yards. There are many mountain lifestyle communities with activities and amenities that are similar to what Active Adult Communities offer. Lonesome Valley, Sapphire Valley, and Bear Lake Reserve are some of the larger communities but there are many more. Many full time residents now call this area home.
Western NC is known for being an appealing retirement area with award winning golf courses, gourmet restaurants, and renowned trout fishing waters. Most get an introduction to the area by renting a home first from rental companies like SPM Resorts and Sapphire Real Estate and Rentals.
I would image with the influx of tourists in the Summer that might get irritating to locals, but this helps supports the gourmet restaurants and attractions. During Winter I bet it gets a little quiet around here but locals love it.
Most of the time weather is great break from city heat and people enjoy hiking the nature trails, golfing, fishing on the mountain lakes and visiting the many waterfalls in the area.
In the meantime back to my trip, since it is foggy and raining today, we will curl up around the cozy fireplace with a glass of wine and a good book and research where to make dinner reservations.