If you can imagine a state that has both oceans and mountains, that is dotted with beautiful pine forests and plays home to one of America's most prestigious universities, you have just imagined the state of North Carolina.
This state is fast becoming one of the most popular places in America to retire because it offers everything a retiree could want from sailing off North Carolina's Grand Banks to its hill country and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
So what are best places to retire in North Carolina?
Any list of the best places to retire in North Carolina has to start with Durham. This former tobacco town ranks at the top for retirees because of Duke University's program for lifelong-learning and the fact that it has four seasons and none of them is too extreme. The median home price of a house in Durham is an affordable $163,000. The area has many golf courses and parklands and is home to a well-respected university medical center.
The Durham Performing Arts center hosts Broadway hits such as the Lion King and Billy as well as numerous concerts. The Duke University's senior learning program has more than 1500 members and offers more than 199 courses covering topics ranging from an Introduction to China to the history of Alexander the Great. Most of these courses are offered right on the school's campus so that retirees can go to Duke's student center, libraries and dining halls to commingle with younger students.
This small town is the only full service community on the scenic Blue Bridge Parkway. It sits at 4000 feet and is literally a place for all seasons. The fall in Blowing Rock is spectacular, the winters are picturesque, the spring features an explosion of wildflowers, and the summers are cool and comparable. This may be why the town's population of 1500 swells to more than 5000 during the summer.
Despite the small population, Blowing Rock has a professional summer stock theater, ballet, outdoor drama, and concerts in the park. Art in the Part includes a series of juried art and fine craft shows that run from June through October. These shows feature furniture, paintings, sculpture, baskets, jewelry and much more.
The median cost of a house in Blowing Rock is $168,893, making housing there very affordable.
If your retirement dream is to wake up every morning, get dressed, and have your golf clubs and go play a totally spectacular course, then Pinehurst is your town.
It is located in eastern North Carolina and its name is almost synonymous with the word golf. Pinehurst has more than 30 courses. The U.S. Open was played there in1999. It is also the home of the Pinehurst Harness Track. You can watch horses trained there and watch the annual Matinee Races, polo matches and horse shows. The Sandhills Center for Creative Retirement is also in Pinehurst at the Sandhills Community College. It provides resources and programs that are geared to help the physical, intellectual and personal well being of the area's retirees.
Pinehurst's median list price for a home is $290,000-making it a bit more expensive than some of the other best places to retire in North Carolina.
This town is located on the Eastern coast of North Carolina where two rivers join to meet the Pamlico Sound. It has a population of almost 29,000 people and a 56-square block, tree-lined historical district that appeals to many retirees who would like to live near or in a rural town. As you might guess from its name, New Bern was settled by Swiss and Germans and is the second oldest town in North Carolina. It is considered to be a very friendly and welcoming place with a lower than average cost-of-living. It has small, large department stores, specialty shops and boutiques. The median sale price of a home in New Bern was $156,900 in 2010.
Hendersonville is a charming town not far from Asheville that gives quick access to the beautiful North Carolina Mountains, as well as the Great Smokey Mountains National Forest, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Pisgah National Forest. It is a wonderful place for people who love the outdoors as the activities available there include horse back riding, skiing, golf, water sports, fishing, cycling and you name it.
The city has a bustling and energeric downtown district that is truly special. Its crown jewel is Main Street that offers a quaint charm and is truly a place for people of all ages. Hendersonville's downtown received the designation of National Historic. The median sale price of a home in Hendersonville in 2010 was $170,000.
This historic city is located in the Atlantic Ocean and the Came in and in North Carolina's southeastern area. It is New Hanover County's county seat and is also the region's cultural, medical and educational center.
Wilmington's temperate climate and generally low cost of living has made it a popular place for retirees might have once considered Florida. It is known for its historic preservation, close beaches and events that are held annually such as RiverFest and the Azalea Festival. Over the past few years, the city has seen the development of a major movie studio and more and more TV shows and movies are now produced in this studio.
In 1990, interstate I-40 was completed making Wilmington more assessable than ever. This highway provides a direct way to the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill and Greensboro-Hi Point-Winston-Salem areas. It also has the Wilmington International Airport. Just as important, Wilmington plays home to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Mount Olive College, Cape Fear Community College, and Shaw University.
In 2010, the median list price of a home in Wilmington was a very affordable $187,000.
You've just read about 6 of the best places to retire in North Carolina. We cannot make the decision for you. Use these ideas as a starting point to do more research and possibly plan a short trip to a couple of these cities to see how well you like it.