Retiring in North Carolina

1 min readLast updated March 30, 2023by Kate Morgan

North Carolina, located in the southeastern region of the United States, is a popular retirement destination for many Americans seeking a comfortable and diverse environment with access to outdoor activities, cultural events, and a moderate climate. With its scenic coastline, mountains, and vibrant cities, North Carolina offers a unique retirement experience that attracts many retirees every year. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2020, North Carolina had a population of approximately 10.5 million people, with over 15% of the population being over the age of 65, making it one of the top states with a large retirement population.

What age can you retire in North Carolina?

Like many states, North Carolina has no specific retirement age that is mandated by law. This means that individuals are free to retire whenever they choose, as long as they are able to financially support themselves. However, there are some age-related benefits and considerations for retirees in North Carolina: 

Why do people retire to North Carolina?

  • Diverse environment: North Carolina is known for its diversity, from its bustling cities to its scenic natural areas. Retirees can enjoy living in a diverse environment that offers plenty of opportunities for exploration and cultural experiences. 

  • Moderate climate: North Carolina's climate varies greatly depending on the region, but many areas have a moderate climate with mild winters and warm summers. This makes it an attractive destination for retirees who want to avoid harsh weather conditions. 

  • Outdoor activities: North Carolina is home to numerous national parks, forests, and beaches, providing ample opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, fishing, and boating. 

  • Cultural scene: North Carolina has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and performing arts venues. The state hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the North Carolina State Fair, the Carolina Renaissance Festival, and the North Carolina Azalea Festival. 

What puts people off retiring to North Carolina?

  • Cost of living: North Carolina's cost of living is generally lower than the national average, making it an attractive option for retirees. However, housing and healthcare costs can vary depending on the region. 

  • Natural disasters: North Carolina is prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes and flooding, which could be a concern for retirees living in certain areas. 

Best places to retire in North Carolina

If North Carolina is your chosen retirement state, here are some of the best places to retire in: 

  1. Asheville: Located in the western part of the state, Asheville offers a vibrant cultural scene, numerous outdoor recreational opportunities, and a moderate climate. The city is also known for its arts and crafts community and thriving food scene. 

  2. Wilmington: Situated on the southeastern coast, Wilmington is a charming coastal city with a historic downtown, beautiful beaches, and a mild climate. The city is home to numerous cultural attractions, including the Cape Fear Museum and the Cameron Art Museum. 

  3. Chapel Hill: Home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, this college town offers a lively cultural scene, excellent healthcare facilities, and a mild climate. The town also boasts a thriving arts community and numerous parks and recreational opportunities. 

  4. Charlotte: Located in the Piedmont region, Charlotte is a thriving city that offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities, as well as excellent healthcare facilities. The city is also known for its diverse culinary scene and numerous parks and green spaces. 

  5. Durham: Home to Duke University, Durham is a vibrant college town that offers a lively cultural scene, excellent healthcare facilities, and a mild climate. The city is also known for its historic architecture and numerous outdoor recreational opportunities. 

In conclusion, North Carolina offers a diverse range of retirement options, from charming coastal towns to vibrant college cities. Retirees can enjoy a mild climate and a thriving arts and cultural scene, but housing costs can sting. It's important to seek expert financial advice to weigh up all of the costs associated with retiring in North Carolina, including property taxes, insurance, and living expenses, in order to make an informed decision about whether the state is the right choice for your retirement. 

Content writer

Kate Morgan

Kate has written for leading publications and blue chip companies over the last 20 years.