Gazebo on the lake surrounded by cherry blossoms at Meadowlark Botanical Garden, Vienna, Virginia.

13 Best Small Towns to Retire in Virginia in 2024

Retirement life is about slowing down, dedicating more time to hobbies, and engaging with tight-knit communities while sailing into your sunset years. Small-town Virginia is an ideal retirement destination if you envision daily strolls through historic neighborhoods and access to outdoor recreation without the bustle of city living. The Old Dominion is home to adorable rural localities that pensioners wouldn’t think twice about settling in.

From the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Chesapeake Bay, you will find communities with abundant charm, culture, and natural attractions, sparing you from the high costs of larger metropolitan areas. Whether you enjoy southern hospitality in a marketplace town or colonial architecture in a riverside village, these low-key rural escapes let you fully embrace life after work. Read on to discover the top small towns in Virginia for retired living in 2024.


Orchard farm produce near Shenandoah National Park
Orchard farm produce near Shenandoah National Park, Sperryville. Image credit  Kristi Blokhin via Shutterstock.

This sleepy foothills town is home to less than 500 residents, offering plenty of space for new retirees to be part of its charming community. Surrounded by rolling farmlands, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Thornton River, it has beautiful natural scenery with a laid-back atmosphere that favors senior citizens. Shenandoah National Park is only 12 minutes away, promising endless outdoor adventures, from hiking and camping to wildlife viewing. The town has a bustling arts scene, with venues like Haley Fine Art giving connoisseurs something to look forward to. 

Several fresh produce markets, including Roy’s Farm Market, ensure retirees have access to healthy ingredients for their diet. Sperryville is a safe town with a crime rate significantly lower than the national average. With a median age of above 45, pensioners will easily fit in in a predominantly older adult community. 


Aerial photograph of Danville, VA
Aerial photograph of Danville, VA.

This easygoing riverfront town in southern Virginia boasts natural beauty, cultural attractions, and top-notch amenities. Scenic landscapes like lakes, forests, and mountains provide the backdrop for delightful recreational activities like the Dan Riverwalk Trail. Here, retirees can enjoy activities like hiking, fishing, and boating. Danville also hosts a diverse array of social opportunities for seniors to interact and feel a sense of community amongst other locals. The Dan Daniel Memorial Park is excellent for linking up with peers while enjoying an entertaining ball game. 

Despite its small-town charm, Danville maintains big-city conveniences, including reliable healthcare access at centers like Sovah Health. Additionally, over 20% of the population is aged 65 or older, allowing retirees to blend in with their peers easily. These factors combine to make Danville an especially retirement-friendly community.


The Woodstock Cafe and Shoppes, a typical business in the historic section of Woodstock
The Woodstock Cafe and Shoppes. Image credit Dwayne P via Shutterstock.

An easy choice for pensioners who prefer to stay connected to nature, Woodstock lies between the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains. A quiet and serene mood engulfs this small community of about 6,000, inviting pensioners to be part of the close-knit family. At W.O. Riley Park, seniors can spend quality time outdoors by walking along shaded trails, relaxing on picnic benches, and attending various community events. Several museums in town, including Woodstock Museum and Shenandoah Museum of Contemporary Art, will come in handy for those who prefer laidback indoor attractions. 

A strong sense of community ensures that crime stays at a minimum, with the area recording a crime rate almost 30% lower than the national average. The cost of living is also below the national average, and homes sell for an average of around $300K, so pensioners don’t have to burn through their savings to live a comfortable life in Woodstock. 


Historical street in Abingdon.
Historical street in Abingdon. Image credit Dee Browning via Shutterstock.

Over 25% of the Abingdon community is at least 60 years old, promising incoming retirees an easy time establishing friendships with peers. This cute Washington County village offers tranquil natural beauty, punctuated with scenic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Outdoor nature spaces like Munchkin Park and Virginia Creeper Trail provide recreation opportunities for retirees to stay active and healthy. Also, the Abingdon Farmers Market is an excellent place to interact with community members in a family-friendly atmosphere while shopping for farm-fresh produce. 

The crime rate is more than 20% below the national average, and so is the cost of healthcare. Conveniently, several assisted living communities in Abingdon provide needed support to pensioners who can no longer care for themselves, including Commonwealth Senior Living at Abingdon. With homes costing less than $300K on average, retirees don’t have to wipe out their savings to own a decent home here. 


View of Rockwood Park Nature Centre entrance
View of Rockwood Park Nature Centre entrance. Image credit Packer1028 via Wikimedia Commons.

Sitting about 15 minutes from Richmond, Rockwood is a far cry from the crowds and chaos in the capital. Its location in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley Region presents a serene setting with multiple nature areas. Outdoor opportunities abound at Rockwood Park and Rockwood Nature Center, allowing retirees to stay active through hiking, playing sports, and other activities. Despite its rural setting, residents still enjoy several urban comforts thanks to the nearby Oxbridge Square Shopping Center. With Richmond a short distance from the town, pensioners have easy access to premier social and healthcare amenities in the capital, such as the Johnston-Willis Hospital. Rockwood is safer compared to America as a whole, and the median home price is just about $380K. If you are not planning to buy a home, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom is about $1,700, which is a fair price to pay.


A crowd of people make their way through a recreated Tudor Village in Busch Gardens, in Williamsburg
Recreated Tudor Village in Busch Gardens, in Williamsburg. Image credit James Kirkikis via Shutterstock.

Over 15,000 residents call Williamsburg home, drawn to its small-town charm and relaxed pace of living well-suited for seniors. This historic Virginia town is steeped in Revolutionary roots, having served as the colony's capital from 1699 to 1780. Besides its endless historical landmarks, like Colonial Williamsburg and the Governor’s Palace, the town has scenic natural surroundings, highlighted by picturesque views of the York and James Rivers. Retirees have numerous reasons to be outside, including unadulterated entertainment with grandkids at Busch Gardens. 

While the cost of living is somewhat above the national average, healthcare costs for retirees are a notable 6% lower in Williamsburg. Additionally, the town is safer than most American cities, offering peace of mind. Thanks to retirement living communities like Verena at the Reserve, senior citizens in Williamsburg can always expect a helping hand when not sufficiently self-dependent. 


Buildings along Beverley St in Downtown Historic Staunton, Virginia. Image credit Kyle J Little via Shutterstock
Buildings along Beverley St in Downtown Historic Staunton, Virginia. Image credit Kyle J Little via Shutterstock.

Although more famous for being the birthplace of America’s former leader President Woodrow Wilson, Staunton is also a promising retiree destination. This artsy community in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley offers an impressive mix of attractions to keep pensioners engaged, including the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum and the Frontier Culture Museum. For the outdoor inclined, Montgomery Hall Park presents recreational opportunities like hiking, sports, and swimming. 

Staunton’s cost of living is 18% below the national average, and homes here sell for an average of below $200K, which goes easy on the pension and retirement savings. The rate of violent crime is 1.3 per 1,000 residents, making the town safe and affordable for senior citizens. A well-developed transport network, with the Shenandoah Valley Airport about 23 minutes away, allows retirees to readily access premium health facilities in nearby Charlottesville and D.C.


Claytor Lake, Blacksburg, Virginia view.
Claytor Lake, Blacksburg, Virginia view. 

The town of Blacksburg, with a population of around 45,000, provides a lively yet comfortable setting for retirement. While many residents are younger students attending nearby Virginia Tech, ample space remains for seniors to feel at home. The college also presents lifelong learning opportunities, and natural areas like the serene Hahn Horticulture Garden offer pensioners opportunities to stay active, mentally and physically. Blacksburg boasts a vibrant arts scene centered around venues like the Lyric Theatre. Here, residents of all ages gather for exciting live performances, cultivating a sense of community. 

Blacksburg presents an especially tax-friendly prospect for retirees, with a property tax relief program for those 65 and older. Though the cost of living is somewhat above the national average, this is balanced by lower healthcare expenses and one of the safest environments in small-town Virginia. Retirees also access several assisted living communities, such as English Meadows. 


Winchester Street in Virginia. Historic buildings on tourist routes
Historic buildings on tourist routes in Winchester. Image credit Kosoff via Shutterstock.

According to AARP Magazine, Winchester has an ideal retirement setting, which ranked it among the top small towns in Virginia. This results from a friendly environment with natural beauty, like the tranquil Shenandoah National Park. Steeped in Civil War and Revolutionary heritage, Winchester allows history buffs to explore many landmarks in the historic Old Town, such as the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Museum. The welcoming community of just over 28,000 residents has a sizeable senior population at about 16%, so incoming retirees are sure to find peers to share this life stage with. 

The community caters to its needy senior citizens through multiple independent living centers, such as Green Valley Manor. Living in Winchester also costs about the same as America’s average, and the median home price is about $350K. 


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

Martinsville’s senior citizens comprise over 17% of its population, highlighting its suitability as a retirement sanctuary. This is a credit to its picturesque natural scenery, punctuated with the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains peaks. A variety of charming outdoor spaces provide tranquil settings where seniors can unwind, exercise, or simply connect with nature, with options like the J. Frank Wilson Park. Living affordably is also achievable as Martinsville boasts a cost of living 28% below the national average. 

Furthermore, multiple assisted living communities like Hairston Home For Adults Inc. ensure comfortable senior living accommodations and support in their elderly state. While crime, at around four violent offenses per 1,000 residents, is a slight concern, healthcare costs are a notable 12% lower on average. Also, the median home price, at about $150K, is one of the cheapest in the state. 


Street view in Bridgewater, Virginia, By Idawriter, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons
Street view in Bridgewater, Virginia. Image credit Idawriter via Wikimedia Commons,

Sandwiched between the Appalachians to the west and the Blue Ridge Mountains to the East, Bridgewater presents a quiet environment with picturesque natural landscapes, ideal for retirement life. This lovely community guarantees seniors an active outdoor life, thanks to multiple nature spaces like Edgebrier Park and Wildwood Park, home to diverse recreational opportunities. Retirees can also find several venues to link up with community members and socialize, including the charming Rockingham Ballet Theater.

Bridgewater’s living cost is a little more than the national average, with the median home price around $230K, which makes it a reasonable place for retirees to establish a permanent home. The crime rate is relatively lower than the national average, while the Bridgewater Retirement Community organizes programs for a more fulfilling senior life. 


Gazebo on lake surrounded by cherry blossoms at Meadowlark Botanical Garden
Gazebo on lake surrounded by cherry blossoms at Meadowlark Botanical Garden.

Vienna delivers a rich mix of renowned attractions to keep senior citizens busy and entertained around the year. It is home to the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, a green oasis with unique native flora, nature trails, and a serene environment ideal for unwinding and meditating. It also offers the Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, where pensioners can watch exciting live theater performances in a family-friendly atmosphere. With numerous higher learning institutions in the town, seniors can access lifelong learning opportunities in Vienna. 

Although the cost of living in Vienna is over 70% above the national average, pensioners who can afford it enjoy a safe environment with a crime rate over 50% less than the country’s average.  Furthermore, the town’s proximity to Washington, D.C., assures pensioners easy access to premium social and health facilities. 


Lake Abbott under a cloud-filled sky in Autumn in Bedford, Virginia.
Lake Abbott under a cloud-filled sky in autumn in Bedford, Virginia.

Nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains and Smith Mountain Lake, the small community of Bedford is enveloped by scenic nature. Senior citizens can explore miles of trails and parks like those found at Falling Creek Park to stay active. History buffs will gravitate towards the evocative National D-Day Memorial honoring World War II sacrifices, with a chance to discover intimate American military history. Bedford's distinct Southern hospitality and charm are reflected through a strong sense of community, which you can experience at the Town Kitchen & Provisions. 

Assisted living centers like Cardinal Senior Communities also offer peace of mind for aging residents in need of extra care. Finally, the chances of being a victim of violent crime are 1 in over 440, sparing retirees the trouble of constantly looking behind their backs. 

Virginia offers an appealing variety of small towns that cater well to retirees seeking relaxed lifestyles. Each of the places above prioritizes characteristics important for active senior living. Whether drawn by recreational, natural attractions, cultural activities, historical significance, or fiscal advantages like affordable healthcare, there is a top retirement destination tailored to individual interests. These towns in Virginia maintain balanced mixes of small-town charm, supportive services, and access to amenities while preserving affordability, the perfect mix for retirement living. 

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