May 1, 2018 — Many baby boomers are headed to a South Carolina retirement. The State is considered fairly tax-friendly for retirees and offers a mild winter climate (see our Retirement Guide to South Carolina). Some of the big draws are towns with multiple communities designed for active baby boomers, attractive real estate prices, and a lower cost of living. South Carolina has also gained attention for attracting “halfbacks”, the so-called retirees who moved from the north to Florida, only to become disillusioned and move “halfway back” home to the Carolinas. This article highlights the 10 most popular active adult and 55+ communities in South Carolina, as measured by visitor interest at Topretirements.com. A few weeks ago we published a list of the 10 Most Popular Active Communities in North Carolina.
A geographically diverse state
South Carolina has some very different geographic areas, particularly between east and west. The state goes from beach towns on the Atlantic coastal plain… to the Piedmont… and ultimately ends high up in the west’s Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains. While towns on the coast have winters that are quite mild, the western areas near the mountains are cooler. We encourage people who are interested in South Carolina to spend some time exploring these different areas, or better yet, rent for a season. South Carolina does not have the big urban centers that its northern sibling, North Carolina has; SC has only three with a population over 100,000, and then only barely so (Charleston, Columbia, and North Charleston). Myrtle Beach is another area is quite large and has many neighboring towns with a fair number of people.
Why these communities were so popular
There are many possible reasons why these 10 communities sparked the strongest interest among Topretirements’ members and visitors. Some are new communities and thus were listed in our Daily Alert or weekly Community newsletters. A few are advertisers. Some others are located in Greenville, which is popular right now as a livable city. And others… we are just not sure why… perhaps because they were the first community listed alphabetically under a popular town. Somehow people heard about them and wanted to find out more. We encourage you to use our South Carolina Directory of Active Communities to explore more. There we have reviewed over 150 communities in 34 towns in the Palmetto State (to compare, North Carolina has reviews of 235 communities and 58 towns). You can also use our Advanced Search to find communities by state, size, expense, type of community, amenities, etc.
Top 10 in South Carolina
A development has to really stand out to make it into the top 10 in such a competitive environment. We were pleased to see the winners represent a wide variety of communities – from giant master planned developments with multiple neighborhoods and every amenity like Sun City Hilton Head, to two CCRCs. Five of the top 10 are located in the Greenville area, which we reviewed in greater detail last fall.
1. Cresswind Charleston. This gated community is integrated within the thriving community of The Ponds. It features a full list of resort-style amenities in this Low Country setting. Residents can enjoy the 12,000-square-foot clubhouse, pickleball, tennis, or participate in activities at the event lawn and amphitheater.
2. Woodside. Located in in Aiken, known for its stately mansions and still-flourishing equestrian and polo traditions, Woodside provides a range of active and social opportunities at the community’s social hub – The Reserve Club. Those include golf at a Nicklaus Design course, swimming, USTA certified racquet pavilion with a dedicated pickleball court, elegant clubhouse with fine and casual dining facilities, and miles of walking paths and nature trails.
3. Cascades Verdae, Greenville. This luxurious community is the one of two Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) on this list. Sidewalk-lined streets and porches offer a pedestrian-friendly design. Amenities include an indoor pool, fitness center, golf, gardens, and trails.
4. Cherokee Valley. Located near Greenville in little Travelers Rest, this golf community offers Blue Ridge Mountain and championship golf course views. The Dye designed golf course is the centerpiece of the community, with many other amenities including outdoor kitchen and picnic area, swimming pool, tennis, clubhouse with dining, and fitness center.
5. Keowee Mountain (Pickens, in the Greenville area). Keowee Mountain is located on the Mile Creek estuary at the north end of Lake Keowee, a beautiful 18-mile long lake encompassing 18,500 acres. Amenities include lodge, boating, and hiking trails.
6. Sun City Hilton Head (Bluffton). Long established, this is a community for active adults age 55. It offers an array of amenities and activities and boasts three championship golf courses, an executive course, driving range, and three clubhouses. The community also features three amenity centers, an entire sports complex, and over 100 clubs and resident community groups.
7. The Woodlands at Furman in Greenville. This CCRC is located adjacent to the beautiful Furman University campus and all of its amazing resources. Locally owned, it is not-for-profit.
8. Swansgate (Greenville). An independent living community that offers 55+ housing options include condos, patio homes, and some single family homes. It is moderately priced, with homes starting in the $100s.
9. Del Webb Nexton, Summerville. A brand new 55+ active adult enclave that just opened within the master-planned community of Nexton. The gated community will have a beautiful clubhouse with a fitness center that offers classes, a variety of clubs and social organizations, and an indoor pool. Home owners at Del Webb Nexton will also enjoy an outdoor pool, tennis, pickleball, and bocce.
10. Alston Park at New Riverside, Bluffton. This community of single family homes in Bluffton is made up of about 130 homes. There are miles of walking and biking trails. Amenities include a swimming pool and a clubhouse that is the hub of the community for activities, and which also houses the fitness center.
How we compiled this list
To come up with this list we reviewed our site logs from October, 2017 through the first half of April 2018. The 10 South Carolina communities that were viewed the most times by visitors at Topretirements.com made the list. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are the “best” communities, but they did succeed in attracting the most visitor attention on this site.
Comments? Do you have a favorite South Carolina active adult or 55+ community you think should have made this list? Do you think there is a Carolina retirement in your future? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.
For further reading:
Dueling Carolinas: Which Carolina Is the Best for Retirement?
15 Most Popular Active Communities in Florida
15 Most Popular Active Communities in Arizona
100 Top Active Communities for 2016
Affordable Places to Live on the Waterfront
The Southwest: 10 Great Places to Retire That Won’t Break Your Budget