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10 Best Places to Retire in South Carolina

Category: Best Retirement Towns and States

September 20, 2016 — So maybe you have been thinking about retiring in The Palmetto State – but wondering where are the best places to retire in South Carolina. Here is our 10 Best Places list, formed from 10 years of experience in evaluating places to retire across the world.

As always, it is important to recognize that this is our list with our criteria – your ideal list of SC places to retire might not be the same. Here are our criteria:
– High “Popularity” ranking on our annual “100 Most Popular Places to Retire” list
– Be an interesting place to live in retirement – is it pretty, have an interesting history, or have a vital downtown?
– Things to do there – are there a lot of activities, restaurants, or cultural resources?
– How about places to live – are there different neighborhoods or communities suitable for a retirement lifestyle?

Should you retire in South Carolina
SC is increasingly a popular choice for retirement, and for many good reasons:
– Mild winter climate
– Varied places to live – from beautiful beaches to lakes to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Charming little towns and some interesting mid-sized cities
– Lower cost of living and taxes. South Carolina is a very tax-friendly state with the 9th lowest tax burden in 2011 according to the Tax Foundation. Social Security is not taxable, and people over 65 enjoy favorable tax status (see our Guide to Retiring in South Carolina).

Our Top 10
Here is our list. All of them made our annual Top 100 list – 6 of them were in the top half (ranking on that list shown in parentheses). Most of these towns have at least 10 active adult or 55+ communities to choose from. To see all of them check out our SC 55+ and Active Adult Community Guide.

Charming home in Beaufort

Charming home in Beaufort

1. Beaufort, SC. The Old South lives on in the quaint seaside charm of Beaufort, Known as the “Queen of the Carolina Sea Islands”. It lies in the Sea Islands or “Low Country” area of South Carolina, just north of Hilton Head. 304 acres of the town have been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Horse-drawn carriages roll along streets in the town’s charming historic district that are overhung with Spanish moss. The area offers a laid back atmosphere that most people find very relaxing. Beaufort is #6 on our 2016 list.

2. Charleston. “The Holy City” is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S. as well as being one of its top tourist attractions. Located on the coast of South Carolina, until the mid 1800’s it was one of the 10 largest cities in North America. The city and the surrounding area up to Hilton Head is developing rapidly with many upscale communities aimed at retiring baby boomers and others looking for vacation homes. The 55+ housing choices are as ample as anywhere in the country. Charleston is #7 on our 2016 list.

3. Myrtle Beach. Myrtle Beach is a favorite beach and golf resort community as it is home to The Grand Strand – one of the world’s longest sections of perfect beach, and boasts over 120 golf courses. There is always something to do for active adults 55+ in Myrtle Beach – from golf to fishing to shopping to more than 1800 restaurants. It also has a reputation as a hot spot for live family entertainment, music, and celebrity concerts. #11 on the 2016 list.

4. Bluffton. Bluffton, located near Hilton Head Island and the coast, is a charming, walkable, old town on the May River. The area is famous for its Bluffton oysters, and in town the oldest continuous oyster-shucking facility in South Carolina is a local attraction. The University of South Carolina Beaufort-New River campus was a welcome new addition to this area. The area is developing rapidly with many upscale communities aimed at retiring baby boomers and active adults 55+. (#22)

Scene near Summerville

Scene near Summerville

5. Summerville. Summerville, “The Flower Town in the Pines”, has a charming downtown with many restaurants and unusual shops. Tourists flock to the area to see its azaleas in season. The popular town of 45,000 has grown by 62% since 2000, it is fast becoming a city and suburb of Charleston. It is near the coast and many tourist attractions. (#26)

6. Aiken . This town of almost 30,000 in western South Carolina is known as the “Winter Colony”, and has always been popular with the horsy set for fox hunting, steeplechase, and polo horses. The town’s infrastructure supports active adults 55+. The mountains and beaches are not far away and neither are Augusta and Atlanta. (#49)

7. Clemson. This town of 13,000 is nestled in the extreme Northwestern corner of South Carolina. Clemson University and its 17,000 students have a major impact as the university is the cultural center of the city. The city has a comprehensive plan with an historic preservation component comprised of two historic districts. The Clemson (train) Depot, built ca.1916 has been rehabilitated and is now occupied by the local chamber of commerce. (#54)

8. Greenville. Greenville has an interesting and walkable downtown and several great neighborhoods. It is also home to a number of colleges and is a thriving community for the arts. Greenville has many wonderful neighborhoods for families and people of all ages. Some retirees are buying condos near the downtown and its 100 restaurants. It also has many developments which are suitable as active adult communities. (#60).

9. Hilton Head. Known for its beautiful beaches and fabulous golf courses, the area tends to be quite exclusive and most of it comprised of planned developments. Of its almost 34,000 population, the majority are active adults 55+ who choose this island and the surrounding area as their ideal retirement community. The Island swells to almost 300,000 during the busy summer tourist season. (#69)

10. Lake Keowee. *Lake Keowee is a very large reservoir in north-central South Carolina, just west of Greenville. It is not a town, but a beautiful region which is a relatively unspoiled area with plenty of water and parks for recreation. It is immediately south of Sumter National Forest, and one of the nicest things about Lake Keowee and surrounding towns is the proximity of Clemson and Clemson University, which is just a few miles away.

Comments? Do you have a favorite retirement town in South Carolina we have overlooked? What do you like or dislike about where you have retired in SC? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on September 19th, 2016


  1. This is unbelievable! I’m leaving tomorrow on an exploratory 2-week visit to South Carolina, and with the exception of Myrtle Beach, your list is my exact list.

    by Judith — September 20, 2016

  2. You knocked this one out of the park! We moved to Summerville in June. We searched many of you areas of NC, GA, FL, AL, TN. All had keen interest for us. Chose Summerville because of closeness to downtown Charleston, the beaches, the island towns, taxes, 3 hours to mountains and general pleasantness. Yes, it is hot in the summer, but because Summerville is “higher” ground than the ” Low Country” surrounding us there are no mosquitos. Always a breeze and blows them away.
    We moved from Virginia which is a wonderful retirement state to be closer to kids/ grandkids.

    by Jack — September 21, 2016

  3. Judith, be sure to report back!

    I drove over to Greenville after visiting my daughter in Birmingham back in August. I was very impressed with the downtown even though I encountered rain all weekend. I did find traffic to be more than I had hoped for.

    by Marianne — September 21, 2016

  4. Lake Keowee is a beautiful lake surrounded by Nothing. The lake is about an hour drive from route 85 and one hour plus from Greenville the nearest civilization.
    I do not like the huge Nuke plant in the center of the lake area but maybe that is just me.

    If you like rural living far away from civilization this is the place.

    by Ron — September 21, 2016

  5. Judith, please leave feedback when you return from your two week exploration.

    Jack, did you move to the Del Webb community?


    Admin Note: To help keep the discussion on the 10 Best Places to Retire in South Carolina, we have moved discussion of Carol’s question concerning the Del Webb community to the Blog “Is an Active Adult Community Right for You?”

    by Carold — September 21, 2016

  6. My wife and I spent about 4 days in the Greenville, SC area a few months ago. Greenville is a great city that has a beautiful downtown area. Several businesses lining the streets along with the trees. The city spent 13.4 million to create the Falls Park where the Reedy River runs through. Walking paths and flowers add to the beauty of this area while you can enjoy the beautiful falls views. The downtown seemed easy enough to navigate through. Several cultural opportunities, and other things to do. If you go to the outskirts of town, you will find anything, and I do mean anything you would want concerning businesses, stores, restaurants, etc. We loved it! however, we are looking at some of the smaller communities outside of town, but within close distance of Greenville. We are not city folk but would like to be within reach of all that Greenville has to offer.

    by Brad DeBusk — September 22, 2016

  7. Brad, try Travelers Rest. Also, go up hwy. 25 toward Asheville and look at Flat Rock, NC and Tryon, NC. Very nice. Landrum SC is also worth a long look. Excellent new library. Exquisite downtown area and a foodie haven as well.

    by Jack — September 23, 2016

  8. Brad, Take a look at Greer, east of Greenville.

    by DeyErmand — September 24, 2016

  9. I have lived and worked in twelve cities in S. Carolina, while having  a home in NE Ohio to return to after each job assignments. Sometimes it was months, most times it was a year at a time. I found S. Carolina to be a charming place to live due to the warm and friendly people. There is always a variety of affordable things to do year round in the state. They have kept historic sites and old traditions intact, where you can visit these places and experience the beauty of the cities cultural activities and historic sites. South Carolina doesn’t tax social security benefits.  State income taxes are also very low. When you factor in housing, taxes, utilities, and daily expenses, this is the place to retire with ease. South Carolina has a 34th ranking in Medical care, so do some research on the area you want to retire. The state has gone to great lengths to improve statewide medical care since I have last been there.The climate is warm, humid subtropical. Summer days are warm and humid but moderated along the coast by sea breezes. Due to the warm marine influence and the Gulf Stream, winters are very mild . Yet don’t be surprised that the Northwest of the State gets snow for a few days. I have noticed in the “snow” areas, that the summer humidity is a bit more taxing then I like. Only 5 of the places listed above were on my list of 10 choices. Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, Myrtle Beach, Summerville, and Beaufort. Nice to narrow it down to 5, thanks.

    by DeyErmand — September 25, 2016

  10. Does anyone know the conditions in Charleston following Hurricane Matthew? I was planning a visit the last week of October.

    by D. Franke — October 18, 2016

  11. D. Franke, in downtown Charleston everything is pretty well back to normal. Outlying areas are struggling a bit though

    by Carole — October 19, 2016

  12. I did a two week tour of South Carolina from Sept. 21 to Oct. 6, and it’s taken me two more weeks to get on top of all my home chores after such a long absence. Laundry, email, you know. But it’s a quiet Saturday morning now, and I have time to put down my thoughts, for those who asked.

    Travelers Rest: I entered the state of South Carolina on the freeway from Asheville, NC, which allowed me to pass through Travelers Rest. I was charmed! Loved the tall pines and rolling hills. Just beautiful. I must return for a second look.

    Greenville. Would have been perfect perhaps 10 years ago, but it’s gotten so big now and so complex. Success has been not only a friend but also an enemy. If only there were a magic wand to go “POOF!” and erase everything built over the last few years. I’m just too late to the party on Greenville. And I’m sad, because I can see what it used to be.

    Clemson was a side-trip from Greenville. I loved the college campus and little town. Really liked it a lot. I’m going to go back when I make another trip to the state.

    Lake Keowee: This was a side-trip from Clemson. I was really disappointed. I expected to see lots of waterfront properties and pretty lake views, but instead I saw a man-made reservoir that just was not attractive. Drove as far as White Harbor and cut my losses. Waste of time. If you know differently, please educate me. Keep in mind, this was only a quick look.

    Aiken: Absolutely loved Aiken. Rolling hills, pretty vistas, very adorable old-timey main street downtown. Also has all the shopping and medical I would want. I’m not a horse person, but nonetheless felt I could fit in there. I didn’t see a single soul walking around in riding gear, and I had been led to believe it was that kind of town. My main objective in Aiken was to explore the Woodside Plantation community, which I could not have entered unless with a realtor. I stopped at Coldwell Banker and a lovely woman (Patti) spent two hours driving me around W.P. and Aiken. I could be quite content to live in this town. Negatives? Well, I’ve thought about it, and here’s what I think. It’s isolated. Is that good or bad? Both. Will friends and family go “Ugh!” at the thought of just getting there? Or would I feel that way when wanting to fly anywhere? Worth thinking about. But the good part about being isolated is that there’s less chance of rapid growth like what happened to Greenville.

    Summerville: Way more spread out than I had imagined for a town that size. With the exception of the area around the freeway interchange, it’s pretty, with tall trees everywhere. There was an Italian festival going on downtown, where I hear there’s always something interesting going on. Wide variety of housing types and prices. My budget is in the 300’s or less, so no problem finding lots of candidates. Seems like a real nice community. I lean towards living in a community where I would be a “member.” That might be a 55+ place like Cresswind at the Ponds, or an all-ages like Summers Corner or Carnes Crossing on the other side of I-26. Or even a more middle-class neighborhood like Trillium (around 200K), where the houses all have front porches and the garages are in a rear alley. There’s a community pool, but I don’t know if there’s clubs and activities for seniors. I really liked Summerville. A top contender.

    Beaufort: On the drive from Summerville to Beaufort, all of a sudden the terrain switched very dramatically. I came out of the forest and into the swamp. From tall trees to low scrub. Visually I found that lacking in appeal. And I’m not interested in sailing. I toured Celadon, a new-traditional development in Ladys Island just a few minutes from central Beaufort. The homes are like those in Summers Corner– love this style and will try to buy this type of home. What concerned me about Celadon is that the neighborhood is entirely shrouded by a mossy tree canopy. I like a lot of light in my home, and as much as I loved this neighborhood I feel that I’d become depressed with all the shade. I know it would be a plus with summer heat, but I fear the gloomy feeling the rest of the year. Hated to cross this one off, but I know myself. Took a quick drive through CitiWalk and it’s just too small. Would not offer anything for seniors looking for a feeling of community.

    Bluffton: Big boulevards, you drive for miles and miles to get anywhere. I made time to drive through Hampton Lake, and it was probably a good fit for me in terms of lifestyle. (I loved the fantastic pool and clubhouse facilities.) Homes more expensive than comparables in Summerville, but about the same as Celadon in Beaufort. I spent the evening in old town Bluffton, which was a lot smaller than I’d expected. I got the feeling that it’s a tourist kind of downtown. Overall, it was hard to figure out where I’d fit in Bluffton. I liked the look and feel of the town, but didn’t see enough to even know what I’m talking about here. So don’t put much stock in my opinion here. I liked it enough to go back, I’ll say that. One thing to note is that it’s only 30 min to the Savannah airport. Also, the new branch of Univ South Carolina Beaufort is right there in Bluffton. I wanted to drive through Del Webb Hilton Head, so I tailgated my way through the security gate and drove through really quickly (I felt guilty!!). It’s pretty, and I’d definitely make time on a return trip to give it a proper look. It’s also pretty large, meaning there’d be tons of activities for seniors. One negative I see online quite a bit is the heavy, heavy traffic heading in and out of Hilton Head island. They say it’s only getting worse. Something to consider.

    So that’s it, folks. I knew as soon as I got to SC that I really liked it and that this would just be a quick survey of the towns I’d discovered and liked on and I’ll come back in about a year for round 2. I’ll rent a furnished apartment or long-term airbnb (which is what I stayed in every night of this trip) and I’ll stay at least 6 weeks. I want to return to Travelers Rest, Aiken, Clemson, Summerville, and Bluffton. A long stay will allow me time to visit Charleston and Hilton Head, places I avoided on this first trip because I’m not considering living in either one.

    by Judith — October 22, 2016

  13. Judith,
    Thank you for sharing your tour of SC. We are very interested in Summerville and Bluffton. Will be visiting soon. Also taking a look at New Bern NC.

    by Carol — October 23, 2016

  14. Carol, Consider a short side trip to Beaufort, NC too. (BO — not Byu)

    by Rich — October 24, 2016

  15. Moved to Sun City Carolina Lakes Fort Mill SC…this place is gorgeous. Area is wonderful with an abundance to do if you are active. Community is the friendliest place on earth.

    by sunlovingal — October 25, 2016

  16. Also one more note regarding Fort Mill area SC from above…you are only an easy drive 2 1/2 hrs to beaches, Charleston, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach ect. and 2 hours to Ashville and mountain area. Perfect location. This Del Webb Sun City has it all.

    by sunlovingal — October 25, 2016

  17. Sunlovingal – Small world – I live in a neighborhood close to you! It takes me about 3 to 3-1/2 hrs to get to Myrtle Beach, and nearly 4 hours to get to Hilton Head though, I could be a slow driver :-). Great weekend destinations. I’m heading to Ashville this weekend for the first time. My only major negative about this area (and it’s a really big one) is the traffic. I’m still working, and my approx. 25 mile commute sometimes takes more than 1-1/2 hour each way due to stop and go traffic. Even getting to the Walmart on a Saturday morning (9 miles) can take 40+ minutes depending on traffic. All the new construction can only make it worse. I look forward to retiring so I don’t have to deal with the traffic so much! Two other smaller negatives for me are the political conservatism of the area and the weak local newspapers. I love the weather and low real estate taxes though!

    by Kate — October 26, 2016

  18. Kate: Well hi Neighbor!! We just came back from North Myrtle..traveled down through Darlington to Florence to NMB..2 1/2 hrs sister lives in Sun City HH..takes us 2 hr 45 min. 77 to 26 to 95 easy drive. We go to Ashville also..2 hrs. tops. We love the area and all the things to do. No grass grows under our feet..LOL. Lovin’ SC weather and life here.

    by sunlovingal — October 26, 2016

  19. You missed the greatest active retirement community of all–Sun City Carolina Lakes which is in South Carolina but basically a suburb of Charlotte, NC. It is a Golf Course community with at least 200 additional clubs in the event that you prefer another activity. My husband and I have lived in three active adult communities but this one is the friendliest and most talented group of people from around the entire country all gathered in one place that we have experienced or could have ever hoped to experience. Because it is so close to a metropolitan area, you have the opportunity for professional sports, theater, etc. And yet, with the talent within the community, there are shows and entertainment available constantly with an eager Performing Arts Club as well as musicians who are willing to (and do) perform at any time. The great part is you don’t have to participate if you choose not to. The choice is yours!!! The size is perfect.

    by Bev — November 10, 2016

  20. Sun City is great! And growing I heard. Do you know any more details on the area, Bev?

    by DeyErmand — November 11, 2016

  21. Bev, if you don’t mind, what are the two active adult communities you apparently did not like, and maybe why?

    by Carold — November 11, 2016

  22. Bev, I was not impressed with the quality of construction when we visited. Has it improved?

    by Dick — November 11, 2016

  23. It is sad how trees and land is being destroyed due to Greed. Aiken would be great if developers would stop cutting trees and cleari g land. Enough there is no scenery .Stop the animals have no place to live nor hide from man. This is sad.God did not give man authority to destroy the earth nor the inhabitants.

    by Jacqueline Gilbert — June 8, 2017

  24. Would love to live at The Haven at Riverside, next to Sun City. Bluffton seems to be the place we eventually retire

    by Drb — December 21, 2017

  25. South Carolina has a number of lovely places but after spending a few years here we have decided to move. The low low local taxes explain the lack of services, etc. Couple that with relatively high state income tax and small retirement income exclusion and you have a nice place to visit but……. We are now exploring states with higher local taxes ( NOT CT, NY, or NJ high) and more retiree friendly state taxes. The reason is as much to find a town or city with more services, better library, etc. as it is to find a tax friendly location. As seniors we are also checking places close to hospitals with good stroke centers.

    by jean — December 22, 2017

  26. Try Chattanooga – no income tax in TN but sales tax is high. Outside the city, in the county, the property taxes are very low and you have to pay to join the library but friends of mine have found lots of things to get involved with. Downtown has Erlanger Hospital which prides itself on cardiac expertise. The Chattanooga campus of Univ. of TN is also downtown and the Chatt. State College has lots to offer. No senior communities per se, except an older one run by the Alexian Brothers at the top of Signal Mountain. Beautiful views but those “S” curves going up and down the mountain make it difficult to get to anywhere else. Perhaps its worth a look if you don’t want cooler weather.

    by Holly — December 22, 2017

  27. My husband and i are planning on retiring to South Carolina but are unsure where. We had thought about somewhere near the Myrtle Beach area but now are reconsidering. We want to be within a 1/2 hr of the beach and in a quiet community but near attractions. Any advice would be appreciated.

    by anna chiaravalloti — December 23, 2017

  28. My husband and I have been renting a house in a 55+ community in the greater Myrtle Beach area for over a year. We love the weather and golf here and also the beach. There are two SC state parks right on the beach in the area and seniors can get an annual pass for $37 that gives you and everyone in you car free access to all state parks. ANd the people we’ve met at great! Mostly transplants from the northeast and midwest. There is a very nice airport here and if you like road trips it is about 1/2 way between south Florida and the northeast and there are lots of places within a few hours for weekend trips. The central location is why we decided to rent here and we have spent the years taking “scouting” trips to Fl., Ga., SC and NC mountains, Hilton Head, Charleston, etc. What we aren’t crazy about is the traffic – the area is booming and roads haven’t kept up! We are now considering moving back north to be closer to family and will spend Winters here. While the temps can dip below freezing for a few days they do right back up within a few days.
    If you can, consider renting here first and look around the entire Grand Strand. There’s about 60 or 70 between the NC boarder and Georgetown and each town is different.

    by jean — December 24, 2017

  29. We are looking for the perfect affordable place for retirement, with warmer winters than the north. We are considering SC and TN but not being religious or conservative we feel out of place in the south. We love the beauty of the area. Any ideas for an affordable area in the south that is more progressive?

    by Julie — January 1, 2018

  30. Good luck! I hope you get a nice response . . . I’d like to find that place, too.

    by Ellen — January 2, 2018

  31. Julie, Look for places with lots of transplants, just because a state is red or blue doesn’t mean everyone (or every town or city) in that state is the same. And check out the groups on for the areas you are interested in. You’ll find groups for every political, philosophical, hobby, sport, etc. and can sign up. you don’t have to go to any meet up but once you sign up for a group you’ll be notified when and were they meet. some met at restaurants, some at parks, some at a members home. It’s a great site to meet people with similar interest or even explore new hobbies.

    by jean — January 2, 2018

  32. I dnk if this helpful but considering St. Mary’s GA!

    by Bob — January 2, 2018

  33. Julie & Ellen,

    We did quite a bit of looking around, too. We decided on the Asheville, NC area, which is very progressive. Prices have gone up considerably in recent years so we’re settlimg in the Hendersonville, NC area just to the south. It’s charming & still affordable!!! Most people we have met are new here, too. So many activities to do & places to see. Although traditionally red in the past, purple seems to be coming up fast! Very energetic committed progressive folks. This is where we are having our house built.

    Of course Nashville, TN is quite progressive. Areas east of there, not so much.

    Like many others, we have found Greenville, SC very surprising in what it has to offer. We have spent the last month here while our home is finished near Hendersonville. Greenville’s downtown is hopping!! Lots of beautiful brand new condos, amazing shops & restaurants, and plenty of parks & trails make this area vibrant & youthful. That being said, it is beginning to feel more purple, but SC is still a VERY red state!

    Good luck to you both!

    by Donna Gross — January 2, 2018

  34. Julie,
    My liberal sister lives in Savannah and is very happy there. A miniature Charleston,you might look there. Our coastal area here in Charleston and the Mt Pleasant area is a a mix but affordability is questionable.

    by C — January 2, 2018

  35. Agree with the above comments – definitely look for an area of transplants – if not a retirement community, at least an urban or suburban area for more “purple” leanings. Also, if you do not want a gated community, there are towns that are retirement friendly and many transplants there – Bluffton, Beaufort, Greenville, Aiken in SC are three that I am familiar with and there are many new residents from all over the country who are active and open minded. Good luck! It seems that our former Maine winter has found us in Beaufort – snow tomorrow!!!!

    by SandyZ — January 2, 2018

  36. Not all Southerners are conservative and religious.

    by Debra — January 3, 2018

  37. Debra . . . I’m in a haystack here. Where are the needles? Thanks!

    by Ellen — January 3, 2018

  38. Please, pleaee, please… enough with the broad generalizations. Not all conservative religious folks are knuckle dragging neanderathals just as not all secular progressives are altruistic and cultured.

    As the adults in the country we should all be modeling more civility and purple thinking. As others on this site have said look for meet ups with those who have similar interests and keep an open mind – you may be pleasantly surprised!

    by Susan — January 3, 2018

  39. Susan,
    I agree. Our daughter married and moved to Cape Cod and this has given me, a southerner, another chance to examine my own assumptions about Northerners. Some folks are friendly, some are reserved just like here. My former profession exposed me to a wide range of people…. generally very nice. I detect a loss of fellowship in the country and am not a fan of the tribal blue /red division. Retirement location for us is driven by looking for a cooler climate in a rural area.

    by C — January 4, 2018

  40. I didn’t mean to suggest the divide is not real, especially after the last election.

    by Debra — January 4, 2018

  41. We are just starting to look into a good place to retire in SC/NC. We do not want to be on the coast, but rather somewhere in between the foothills of the mountains and the beach. We are used to the amenities of what a big city has to offer, but not too close to deal with every day traffic headaches. What is most important for us is being close to good medical care, a friendly and welcoming community with a wide range of activities. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    by Kathy Mahoney — April 2, 2018

  42. Moved to Pawleys Island area four years ago. Best decision we have ever made. Community is vibrant, diverse and fun. Well developed for seniors and retirees with wonderful beaches, golf, fishing, and cultural pursuits. Located at the extreme south end of the Grand Strand, we have found we travel to Charleston much more often than we go to Myrtle Beach. The area has a very comfortable small town feel which fits our life choices well.

    by Steve — April 5, 2018

  43. I’m surprised no mention of Columbia (Cola)…I came for a job a few years ago from New England but have decided to retire here. I’m two sheets past left of liberal and was surprised to find a democratic stronghold (Jim Clyburn’s district) in Richland County, a fantastic university, Lexington Medical is great health care, the arts scene is thriving, great music and festivals, A revitalized cute Main street with top notch restaurants, Five Points and Devine street shoppoing and the Vista for everything cool, etc. And it’s not full of fossil life…the census reports it’s a top destination for millenials and I like the mix, plenty of us old farts around to make it comfortable for aging but it’s vital and fun.
    O the negative side It has a reputation of being a hotter part of the state but it’s only a couple degrees difference from one spot to another and my pool loves the heat and the long season. It is not highly walkable and they could really seriously use more bike paths (they just started a bike rental service around town). It’s growing in sophistication but it’s also growing more than I’d like in population.
    Back to positives…just about two hours to Charleston and little more to Savannah, about two and a half to Asheville and surrounds, hour to Charlotte and about 3 hours to modest skiing at Beech or Sugar Mountain.
    Check it out. We’ve looked at all the places noted here but it will be a hard sell to leave Cola.

    by Doug — June 29, 2019

  44. Any opinions about Conway? We are looking to retire and have friends in murrells inlet and noticed Conway when we’ve been searching online. We’re coming from New Jersey.

    by Jacqui — March 27, 2021

  45. Would enjoy reviving this topic, or even one about dueling coastal Carolinas. Relatives very recently moved to Murrells Inlet SC, and others to Oak Island NC, but have not accumulated any data yet, other than both happy with their choice. Only 70 miles and a state line separate both locales, but I’d love to hear opinions of people who live there on the differences and their preferences.

    by Daryl — March 28, 2021

  46. We moved from western NY to New Bern, NC 9 years ago, and love it! City of 35,000, no traffic issues, 45 minutes to the beach,and located on the confluence of 2 rivers,so lots of great sailing and boating. Mild winters, hot summers, but SO many beautiful sunny days with deep blue “Carolina blue” skies. Many transplants, active Newcomers group, and plenty of activities (pre Covid!).

    by Jane — March 29, 2021

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