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South Carolina


Best Places To Retire In South Carolina


Have you ever heard that old battle cry, "the South will rise again?"

Well the South has risen again-at least in terms of the best places to retire in South Carolina.

South Carolina has a lot to offer as a retirement area. It has mild winters, beautiful beaches and lovely, old historic homes.

Here, according to many experts, are 6 of the best places to retire in South Carolina.


Charleston is without question one of the most beautiful cities in the US and one of our top tourist attractions. It is located on the Atlantic coast and has a population of about 112,000 people with a total of 600,000 in the Charleston Metropolitan Statistical Area. Two institutions of higher education are located in Charleston, the Citadel and the College of Charleston.

The city sports streets lined with majestic and Spanish moss-draped live oaks. Dotting its waterfront are historic, pastel-colored homes. The city is also an important port and is, in fact, the second largest container seaport on the east coast.

Charleston and its surrounding area up to Hilton Head is a popular retirement area and is developing rapidly with many upscale prosperous areas designed for retiring baby boomers. The national Association of Realtors said that the median selling price of a home in the Charleston Metro area in 2010 was $211,000.


While you may never have heard of Beaufort, South Carolina, it is known as the "Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands." It's a community of 11,000 that has become a very popular retirement community. Beaufort lies in the low country area of South Carolina just north of Hilton head. The town is known for its quaint seaside charm and its history is reflected in the horse-drawn carriages that you will see gracing the streets in the town's charming historic district. Beaufort has a solid economic foundation as it is near three large military bases, including the US Marine Corps Recruitment Depot at Parris Island, a Naval Hospital and the Naval Air Station.

Beaufort has a number of upscale communities aimed at retirees looking for homes. Many of them are planned communities that are golf-oriented. However, the downtrn in housing sales has had an adverse effect on home building in Beaufort considerably. The reported that the home value Index in 2010 for Beaufort was $181,800.


On the coast of South Carolina just off of Hilton Head Island is Bluffton, a relatively small town. It is the home to many retirement communities and, not surprising, is located on a bluff overlooking the May River. The town is full of art and antique galleries and has the Riverfront Pocket Park and Garden. Bluffton is famous for its oyster's. The town originally was just one square mile but has since annexed more than 32,000 acres for future development. Bluffton is home to the new University of South Carolina Beaufort-New River campus for those interested in continued learning and Savanna is just18 miles away. says that in 2010, the median sales price of a home in Bluffton' was $227,000 which is down from 2008 levels. had the median selling price a bit lower at about $170,000.

Hilton head

Hilton Head is located on Hilton Head Island on the extreme southern edge of South Carolina. It is a retirement community of just under 35,000 people and is world-renowned for its fabulous golf courses and beaches. During the busy summer tourist season, Hilton Head's population swells to almost 300,000 people.

Hilton Head is fairly exclusive and most of the housing available there is comprised of planned developments, which are usually referred to as "plantations." It is developing rapidly with a number of upscale communities oriented towards golf.

According to, the median selling price of a Hilton head home was about $350,000 in 2010. An area just off of Hilton head (toward Bluffton) is also growing rapidly but sometimes offers better deals on real estate for less money.


If you pay any attention at all to college football, you know about Clemson, as its football team was this year's National Champion. The town has a small town environment, in addition to a major university. It has a population of 13,000 and is in the extreme southwestern corner of South Carolina near the North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia borders.

The area's tax structure is very retiree tax friendly.

Clemson University numbers 17,000 students, which has a major impact on the city. The university is the city's cultural center. Clemson University's cultural and sporting facilities provide cultural and recreational opportunities for active adults. On the days when Clemson plays football, 80,000 people are added to its population. One good feature is that seniors can audit classes at Clemson University at no charge.

Lake Hartwell runs through the town and Lake Keowee is close by. reports that the median 2010 selling price for a home in Clemson was about $140,000. Of course, just like everywhere else, prices vary by neighborhood and the size and condition of specific houses.


Do like the idea of an easy-going, warm weather climate and love horses? Then you should think about retiring to Aiken, South Carolina. This town is in Western South Carolina's Hill country. It grew up as a place where the wealthy could escape from hot weather. Its area called the "Winter Colony" has always been popular with the horsy set for polo horses, steeplechase and foxhunting. It is the home of two famous steeplechase races, the Imperial Cup held each March and the Holiday Cup that happens in October.

The town's infrastructure is great for active adults 55+. There is excellent shopping and great restaurants. Beaches and mountains are not far away and neither is Atlanta. In 1997, Aiken won the All-America city award.

There are a number of active adult communities in the Aiken area that offer a wide variety of facilities. According to, the average price of a home in Aiken in 2010 was about $155,000. However, said the average was closer to $146,000. These prices can be misleading, as there are many estate homes on the market in the Aiken area for millions of dollars.

Now you have an idea of 6 of the best places to retire in South Carolina. Your next step could be to request an information packet from each city's tourist board. You could also check out flight and hotel prices and see how much a vacation would cost so you could get an up close look at a couple cities.

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