Vibrant eateries along a street in St. Simons, Georgia. Editorial credit: Darryl Brooks /

6 Towns Perfect for Retirement in Georgia

Georgia is both a classic southern state and one of the fastest-growing states in the nation, making it a great option for all kinds of retirees. From the bustling suburbs around Atlanta to quieter towns in the mountains or along the sea, the “Peach State” is full of senior-friendly small communities. These towns offer amazing activities and amenities, from healthcare to transportation. So, whether you are about to retire or are just planning ahead, check out six small Georgia towns that are perfect retirement spots.


Mauldin House in Clarkesville, Georgia.
The historic Mauldin House in Clarkesville, Georgia. By ТимофейЛееСуда - Own work, CC0, Wikimedia Commons.

The seat of Habersham County in northeastern Georgia, Clarkesville has just short of 2,000 residents, more than 20% of whom are above age 65. The neighborhoods are quiet and safe, and the historic downtown has rebounded nicely from a devastating 2014 fire. Atlanta and several Georgia and South Carolina beaches are within about an hour’s drive from Clarkesville, offering easy access to both entertainment and urban facilities.

Even so, housing is still relatively affordable, with a median home value of around $360,000, which is slightly higher than the state average of $330,000. Closer to home, Moccasin Creek Park offers hiking and biking, and nearby waterways like the Soquee River are known for great trout fishing.


View of Savannah Street in Clayton, Georgia.
Buildings and cars lined along Savannah Street in Clayton, Georgia. By Thomson200 - Own work, CC0, Wikimedia Commons.

If breathing in fresh mountain air each morning is your idea of retirement, Clayton is the place for you! This little gem is tucked away in northern Georgia’s spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains, providing its 2,000 residents with breathtaking vistas and endless options for enjoying the outdoors. Clayton sits at the base of Black Rock Mountain, which soars at over 3,000 feet high and includes a state park. Here, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, and camping are among the most popular activities, perfect for retirees who plan to stay active.

Despite feeling like it is a world away from big city life, downtown Atlanta is only about two hours away—close enough for a day trip but far enough to keep Clayton's median home values under $360,000. Moreover, many amenities are available in town, such as healthcare services at the Mountain Lake Medical Center.


Aerial view of downtown Dahlonega, Georgia.
Aerial view of buildings along the downtown area in Dahlonega, Georgia. Editorial credit: Kyle J Little /

Northern Georgia was the site of America’s first gold rush, and Dahlonega was at the center of the action back in the 1820s. The old county courthouse is home to a museum that recounts the Gold Rush as well as its tragic connection to the Trail of Tears. While seniors cannot come expecting to find gold, Dahlonega now anchors Georgia’s burgeoning wine country. Those interested can head to Wolf Mountain Vineyards & Winery or the Cavender Creek Vineyards for scenic views and delicious wine.

The town of about 7,500 residents is only 65 miles from all that Atlanta has to offer, yet remains quiet and affordable. An average home costs less than $360,000, which is a steal for the beauty on offer. Additionally, a new, state-of-the-art medical center, NGMC Lumpkin, just opened in 2024.


Starr's Mill near Fayetteville, Georgia.
Starr's Mill, a historic landmark located 15 minutes from Fayetteville, Georgia.

Fayetteville is located 22 miles south of Atlanta, and its population has grown nearly tenfold (to about 19,000) since 1980 with the expansion of the metroplex. The town is home to one of the Atlanta area’s favorite amusement parks, Fun Spot America. This park is full of fun attractions, from go-karts and roller coasters to a quirky eatery with great food. Even if roller coasters do not overly appeal to you as a retiree, Fayetteville has laid-back options, such as the McCurry Park South, where nature shines. It is also home to the largest film studio in Georgia if you are hoping to become a movie star in retirement!

That said, the town has a reasonable tax burden and cost of living for being so close to Atlanta, with a median home value of $425,000. Those who find this too steep can opt for one of many seniors living facilities such as Azalea Estates of Fayetteville which offers great staff and a sense of community.

North Decatur

North Decatur Road busy with cars in North Decatur, Georgia.
North Decatur Road busy with cars in North Decatur, Georgia. By Thomson200 - Own work, CC0, Wikimedia Commons.

North Decatur is an unincorporated community in Atlanta’s eastern suburbs with a population approaching 18,000. There is no traditional downtown but three major commercial districts loaded with local and national retailers and eateries. To this end, the possibilities are endless, whether grabbing a bite at the Golden Corral Buffet & Grill or taking a stroll in the Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve.

North Decatur’s neighborhoods include a relatively affordable mix of single-family homes from the 1950s and 60s, creating a classic slice of post-World War Two American suburbia. World-class healthcare is also close at hand in North Decatur, with Emory Decatur Hospital located in neighboring Decatur.

St. Simons

Historic lighthouse in St. Simons, Georgia.
Historic lighthouse in St. Simons, Georgia. Editorial credit: SR Productions /

St. Simons sits on a barrier island of the same name, about halfway between Savannah, Georgia, and Jacksonville, Florida. As one of the most popular oceanfront communities in Georgia, St. Simons is undoubtedly a pricey retirement destination (the median home value is $664,000), yet there are pockets of comparatively affordable housing on the island. There are also several retirement communities on the island, including the luxurious Marsh's Edge. For those who can afford St. Simons in retirement, the island offers great weather, pristine beaches, many dining and shopping options, and outdoor activities ranging from charter fishing to kayaking to horseback riding. Moreover, spots like the Sea Palms Golf Club and the Ocean Forest Golf Club are popular with local seniors, as one can tea off amidst stunning scenery.

Georgia has good weather, a growing economy, increasing cultural diversity, ample entertainment and recreation options, and comparatively affordable housing, making it a popular retirement destination. While some people dream of retiring in the heart of a major city like Atlanta, Georgia also has dozens of retirement-friendly small towns that offer a somewhat slower pace of life. But there is still plenty to do and see no matter where you end up in the Peach State!

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