Carolina Beach Boardwalk with shops and restaurants, Carolina Beach, North Carolina

6 Towns Perfect for Retirement in North Carolina

North Carolina might not have the same notoriety as some other destinations such as California or Florida, but this hidden gem of a state has plenty to offer. North Carolina has gained mass appeal in the last few years thanks to its low cost of living and affordable housing. Retirees have especially taken notice and are strongly considering making the move.


Main Square in downtown Hickory, North Carolina. Editorial credit: Nolichuckyjake /
Main Square in downtown Hickory, North Carolina. Editorial credit: Nolichuckyjake /

Hickory is a small town roughly an hour's drive north of Charlotte. Far away from the hustle and bustle of the big city, Hickory is a calm and peaceful community that makes a great place to retire for those searching for a slowing pace.

With a population of roughly 44,000 people, Hickory is outfitted with all the amenities of a city but without the stress and endless traffic. There are dozens of hospitals and well-respected doctors located in town making any medical appointments a breeze.

Hickory is only 30 minutes away from the famed Appalachian Mountains making this a great choice for any accustomed to outdoor fun. North of town is the tranquil Lake Hickory and the Lake Hickory Country Club Springs Clubhouse, a great place to play a round of golf and relax. The average home price in Hickory is $338,000.

Carolina Beach

Bright pastel color houses in Carolina Beach, North Carolina
Bright pastel color houses in Carolina Beach, North Carolina

Just south of Wilmington is the quiet town of Carolina Beach. Located right along the coast, newcomers can expect to be greeted with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. The beachfront extends for miles making it the perfect place for long walks.

The Carolina Beach Boardwalk is outfitted with a varied selection of restaurants. Uncle Vinny's Pizzeria & Ristorante and the Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar are a few of the standout spots.

Being along the ocean, it should be no surprise that Carolina Beach has dozens of marinas and yacht clubs. If sailing is something you are already into or want to try out, this is the perfect place to do so. The average home in Carolina Beach is $699,000.


John Blue House in Laurinburg, NC. Credit: Corydjhughes
John Blue House in Laurinburg, NC. Credit: Corydjhughes

Laurinburg can be found only 45 minutes southwest of Fayetteville, just a stone's throw away from the South Carolina border. The nearby Lumber River offers ample opportunities for hiking and fishing. If the outdoors is not to your taste then there are various museums and wineries to explore as well.

There are a handful of outstanding golf courses that serve as the perfect way to get out and experience the fantastic North Carolina weather during the summer months. Day trips to the coast are not out of the question either.

The cost of living in Laurinburg is quite reasonable relative to other parts of the United States. Rent is quite affordable and buying a home will only cost an average of $210,000. With a population of only 15,000, this small town is a perfect getaway from the big city.


A line of homes in Reidsville, NC.
A line of homes in Reidsville, NC.

Reidsville can be found just a few minutes north of Greensboro. Despite having a small population, Reidsville is best known for having a robust culture and history that is spurred on by frequent street festivals and other public gatherings.

There are two fantastic public lakes and hiking trails nearby making it an attractive destination for retirees that are looking to join in on a vibrant and active lifestyle. Walking around town and exploring the various vintage homes and street murals serves as a great weekend activity.

Living in Reidsville comes at a discount as well. The average home price here is $212,000 and rent is just as affordable. If you want to retire into an upbeat and exciting small town Reidsville should certainly be taken into consideration.


Bridge crossing river just outside of Marion, NC.
Bridge crossing river just outside of Marion, NC.

Marion is located deep within the Blue Ridge Mountains that run across the eastern half of North Carolina. Residents of Marion tend to be quite active going on routine hikes and camping trips into the vast wilderness that surrounds the town.

Marion is only a few minutes away from the lovely Lake James State Park and the Pisgah National Forest. Marion is the perfect getaway for retirees who want to live their lives in the great outdoors. If you are an avid hunter, hiker, or camper, Marion was meant for you.

Housing in Marion is somewhat expensive relative to other towns in the area. However, the price is certainly worth it. The average home in Marion is going to cost around $335,000. If the price tag is not too much, Marion is a must.


One of the many fine golf courses with Pinehurst.
One of the many fine golf courses with Pinehurst.

Pinehurst is a great town to settle down in if you plan on spending your free time out on the golf course. There are a handful of stellar courses either within town or just a short drive away. Pinehurst Resort, Mid Pines Inn, and Pine Needles Lodge are just a few of the many great options nearby.

Pinehurst is central to many of the things that make North Carolina so attractive. Just a few hours away from the coast and the Blue Ridge Mountains, taking day trips to go see the natural beauty of the state is no hassle.

The cost of living in Pinehurst is expensive by North Carolina standards, however, if it is not out of budget, the few extra dollars that you might spend on a home here are worth every penny. A home in Pinehurst will set you back around $624,000.


North Carolina is a criminally underrated part of the United States. Home to both the tranquil Atlantic coast and the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains, the small towns of North Carolina make an ideal place to retire. Especially considering how affordable housing is compared to other parts of the country.

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