Aerial view of Williamsburg, Virginia.

13 Best Small Towns In Virginia For Retirees

Virginia, known for its pristine natural landscapes, charming weather, and historical landmarks, presents an ideal scene for retirees. This is especially true in its quaint small towns, where life is markedly slower, fostering a strong sense of community that pensioners will benefit from. These small towns also offer vital amenities, such as ready access to healthcare facilities, reliable transport networks, and diverse recreational opportunities in delightful open spaces to let seniors stay active in their post-work life. More importantly, Virginia is a tax-friendly state, claiming some of the nation's lowest taxes, making it an attractive retirement destination. All these factors culminate in the perfect context for seniors to spend their golden years, offering a higher quality of life with peace of mind. Here are a few of the best small towns in Virginia for retirees. 


The White's Mill, a 150-year old mill, located near Abingdon, Virginia.
The White's Mill, a 150-year old mill, located near Abingdon, Virginia.

Rich in the arts and bustling with festivals, Abingdon is a cute little town surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is about 2 hours from Roanoke and boasts a handful of calm, open spaces like Munchkin Park, where pensioners can commune with nature and watch the children swing. With more than 25% of the population above 60 years old, retirees will fit in seamlessly and appreciate the affordable cost of living with assisted living options. 

Conveniently, the cost of healthcare and crime rate are also lower than the national average, with access to several leading assisted living facilities in the town, led by the Commonwealth Senior Living at Abingdon. Not to mention that the cost of assisted living in the town is also less than in most parts of the country. Finally, the fine Abingdon weather, with plenty of sunshine for much of the year, favors senior living, making the town an excellent option for retired persons. 


Downtown Bedford, Virginia.
Downtown Bedford, Virginia.

This small, friendly community, sandwiched between the Blue Ridge Mountains in the north and Smith Mountain Lake in the south, is enveloped by bustling natural scenery. With access to scenic trails in the Peaks of Otter and Falling Creek Park, seniors can remain physically active while exploring the lush natural spaces that define Bedford. The town is a famous destination for history buffs, with iconic sites like the National D-Day Memorial paying homage to victims of World War II. 

Bedford has a strong sense of community, with Southern hospitality evident wherever you go. The climate is moderate, and the transportation network is reliable, allowing pensioners quick access to the medical institutions in the town. Also, several assisted living centers like Cardinal Senior Communities guarantee retirees that help is always close. 


View of the Governors Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia
View of the Governors Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Williamsburg, which served as the capital of the Virginia Colony between 1699 and 1780, is a historic town that played a key role during the American Revolution. Besides endless historical landmarks, such as Colonial Williamsburg, the town is encircled by nature, sitting pretty between the York River and James River. This allows retirees the flexibility to engage in diverse activities, including visiting iconic museums, art galleries, and theme parks, enabling them to remain active and happy with a higher quality of life. 

About 15,300 people call Williamsburg home, delighted by its small-town feel and slow pace of life that works for seniors. Although the cost of living is slightly higher than the national average, senior citizens will be relieved to know that healthcare costs are 6% lower and the town is safer than 80% of American cities. 


Main Street in Martinsville, Virginia.
Main Street in Martinsville, Virginia. Image credit: Sleddog116 at via Wikimedia Commons.

More than 17% of the population in Martinsville is over 65 years old, a testament to the ideal environment in the town for senior living. This consists of picturesque natural scenery, highlighted by the majestic peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Seniors have varied options of charming outdoor spaces to unwind, stretch out, or be one with nature, including the Gravely-Lester Art Garden and J. Frank Wilson Park. 

Regarding the cost of living, Martinsville is 28% cheaper than the national average. Pensioners will enjoy ready access to multiple retirement communities and homes, including the Hairston Home For Adults Inc. While crime might be a slight worrying factor, with the town posting about four violent crimes per 1,000 people, healthcare cost is 12% lower than the national average. 


Aerial view of Fredericksburg Virginia from across the Rappahannock River
Aerial view of Fredericksburg, Virginia, from across the Rappahannock River.

Ranked among the top places for retirees in the state, Fredericksburg is a small, charming community of just under 30,000, where pensioners will feel welcome to spend their sunset years. The town was once a strategic military center during the Civil War, evidenced by multiple historical landmarks and National Military Parks, including the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park. Other serene outdoor spaces like the Alum Spring Park and Old Mill Park provide the ideal setting for seniors to relax. 

A critical aspect making Fredericksburg an attractive retirement destination is the presence of the Fredericksburg Senior Citizen Association, where pensioners can find a friendly community of peers and feel a sense of belonging. Furthermore, they enjoy access to over 40 senior living communities spread throughout the town, and it is just over an hour away from Washington, D.C., if you need superior healthcare. 


Street scene in Vienna, Virginia.
Street scene in Vienna, Virginia. Image credit: Idawriter, via Wikimedia Commons.

Vienna offers seniors plenty of opportunities to step outside, stretch out, and enjoy nature, thanks to various charming open spaces. The Meadowlark Botanical Gardens are just one of the places you can go to hang out in the middle of lush surroundings and enjoy stunning water views. The town also hosts a youthful population, with more than 50 institutions of higher learning in the area, that will keep pensioners on their toes. 

Although Vienna is one of the costlier places to live on this list, the crime rate is relatively low compared to other Virginia cities.. With the town being a mere 36 minutes from D.C., the well-developed transportation network enables pensioners to seek higher-quality medical assistance in the country's capital. 


Aerial view of Winchester, Virginia.
Aerial view of Winchester, Virginia.

AARP Magazine ranks Winchester among the best small towns in Virginia to spend retirement life. This is a credit to the friendly retiree environment the town offers, which boasts calm, natural surroundings like the Shenandoah National Park. It is a destination rooted in Civil War and American Revolution heritage, and you can find several landmarks in its historic Old Town dedicated to past conflicts, including the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum. 

The friendly community of just over 28,000 comprises approximately 16% of retirement-age residents, ensuring incoming pensioners will find welcoming peers to grow old together with. They can also access reliable home and senior health care services, thanks to several providers in the town, such as Green Valley Manor. 


Little River Dam near Radford, Virginia.
Little River Dam near Radford, Virginia.

Radford is a cute little location encircled by nature with over 200 species of bird calling the town home. Several recreational opportunities, including boating, fishing, hiking, and picnicking, allow seniors to stay active while surrounded by lush nature in open spaces like Bisset Park. Nicknamed the "New River City," it is a recreation hub for the New River Valley, and enthusiasts often gather here to take advantage of its biking and hiking trails. 

There are ample healthcare services for retirees in Radford, with almost 4 hospitals within 25 miles and multiple senior home care services charging an average of about $15 to $25 per hour. However, the crime rate is relatively higher than the national average, with 178 incidents reported per 1,000 residents annually. 

Colonial Heights

A cafetaria in a mall in Colonial Heights, Virginia.
A cafetaria in a mall in Colonial Heights, Virginia. Image credit: Mike Kalasnik via

With approximately 20% of its population in the retirement age bracket, Colonial Heights provides an inviting scenery for pensioners hoping to spend their golden years happy and fulfilled. It also has a charming backcountry with green natural surroundings that seniors can enjoy while hiking along the Appomattox River Trail System. Several museums and American Revolutionary War memorials put the town on the map, and quaint eating spots like the Boil Bay Cajun Seafood and Bar serve the best Southern-style cuisine. 

This family-oriented community favors elderly living and offers reliable healthcare services, with almost 10 health institutions within 25 miles. Although the crime rate is considerably higher than the national average, public safety authorities remain proactive in the communities to keep them from harm. 


Main Hall at Averett University in Danville, Virginia.
Main Hall at Averett University in Danville, Virginia.

Danville is a charming small locality defined by beautiful natural spaces, ranging from scenic lakes and pristine trails to picturesque mountain views. This culminates in delightful recreational opportunities, especially along the popular Danville Riverwalk Trail, where pensioners can go hiking, fishing, or boating to enjoy the scenic outdoors. The town is also home to a diverse cultural scene, delectable dining experiences, and exciting social amenities like the Dan Daniel Memorial Park, where senior citizens can join other locals to feel a sense of community. 

Despite being a small town, Danville boasts big-city amenities and reliable access to healthcare, with 3 hospitals within a 25-mile radius. Also, more than 20% of the population is 65 and above, allowing older people to blend in with their peers. 


Beautiful countryside near Blacksburg, Virginia.
Beautiful countryside near Blacksburg, Virginia.

Blacksburg has a healthy population of around 45,000, including a sizable youthful demographic attending Virginia Tech. Nevertheless, there is enough room for senior residents to feel at home and live their retirement years comfortably. Thanks to serene natural spaces like the Hahn Horticulture Garden, outdoor opportunities abound to ensure they remain active. The town also hosts a vibrant arts scene, with venues like the Lyric Theatre allowing residents to converge for exciting live performances, fostering a sense of belonging. 

Blacksburg is also a tax-friendly location with a tax relief program that subsidizes the tax for real estate and utility charges for residents 65 years or older. Although the cost of living is a tad higher than the national average, Blacksburg is among the safest small towns in Virginia. It also impresses with lower healthcare costs. 

South Boston

A shopping area in South Boston, Virginia
A shopping area in South Boston, Virginia. Image credit: Mike Kalasnik via

This storybook town in south-central Virginia has plenty of indoor and outdoor opportunities for seniors. The Paul C. Edmunds Park is an excellent spot to experience open spaces in the village while adrenaline-inducing attractions like the South Boston Speedway allow pensioners to remain young at heart. The town also has a strong sense of community, which is evident when residents converge at South Boston Farmers Market to vend and shop for fresh produce and handcrafted wares. Furthermore, over 20% of the around 8,000 residents in the town are 65 and above, meaning seniors won't have to look far or wide to find a peer. Newcomers will also appreciate the low living cost, several points lower than the national average, and overall safe neighborhoods in the town. 


Buildings along Beverley St in Downtown Historic Staunton, Virginia
Buildings along Beverley Street in Downtown Historic Staunton, Virginia.

This quaint community of about 25,000 is surrounded by scenic natural landscapes, offering panoramic vistas of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. One of the best places to visit when stepping outside is the sprawling Gypsy Hill Park, rife with recreational opportunities to keep retirees agile. The town's lively downtown features an array of art galleries, shopping venues, and museums, highlighted by the historic Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum. The cost of living here is 3% lower than the national average, and seniors will easily find like-minded peers, thanks to the 20% senior population in the town. Meanwhile, housing is 8% lower than the American average, but utilities are 8% pricier.  

Wrapping Up

Finding a comfortable place to reside after years of work goes a long way to improving the quality of life during your sunset years. It takes a peaceful environment devoid of urban chaos with access to necessary social amenities to guarantee a stress-free retirement. These small towns in Virginia offer all that and more for pensioners looking for a permanent home. 

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