Note: This is a 4 part series. See links to the other parts in Further Reading below.
Nov. 2014 — College towns make great retirement towns for a lot of reasons. Above all they are interesting places to live with plenty of cultural opportunities, adult education, and athletic events. The shopping, infrastructure… even the day-to-day ambiance is a lot more fun. For many retirees, having young people in the community provide a pleasant antidote to a steady diet of older people.
This article will explore some of our favorite college towns with 3 selection criteria:
– They had to be affordable (median homes below the national median of $190,600)
– Located in the sunbelt (which Wikipedia puts on a line south of mid-California through Texas to South Carolina)
– The college ambiance must be significant (more than just having a college present in the town).
Here is our list of the best and most affordable college towns in the Sunbelt:
Athens Georgia. Go Bulldawgs! The University of Georgia has helped to create an unusually liberal community with a thriving artistic, literary, musical, and intellectual scene.
Clemson South Carolina. Clemson University and its 17,000 students have a major impact. The university is the cultural center of the city. On game days the 80,000 stadium fills the town with excitement.
– Gainesville, FL. Here in central Florida the University of Florida puts a unique stamp on this town. From restaurants to the downtown campus to the Shanks Hospital, Gainesville is a special place.
– Las Cruces, NM. This town is frequently selected as a best place to retire, and one of the reasons is that it is home to 23,000 students of New Mexico State University.
–Hattiesburg, MS. There are 2 universities in Hattiesburg, the University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey. Hattiesburg makes the “best places to retire” lists because it is a college town and has lovely historic districts.
–Oxford, MS. If you love literature and music you will like Oxford as a retirement town. There’s the state university (“Ole Miss”). It was also William Faulkner’s adopted home town, and some of his books draw upon local scenes. The popular legal thriller author, John Grisham, has a home here too.
– Tallahassee, FL. Tallahassee is home to the state capitol as well as two universities (Florida State University and Florida A & M).
– Mesa, AZ. This college town (Arizona State University, East and Mesa Community College) is located near the amazing Superstition Mountains, and just close enough to Phoenix.
– Lakeland, FL. Frank Lloyd Wright’s “A Child of the Sun” project for Florida Southern College is the largest one-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world.
– Asheville NC. Asheville, in addition to being the # 1 best place to retire at Topretirements, has the UNC-Asheville campus and its Center for Creative Retirement.
– Austin,TX. The University of Texas is a cultural engine for Austin, but the local art world is as active as anywhere in the country with many museums, galleries, even open air art markets.
Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the Comments section below if you have a favorite and affordable college town in the Sunbelt.
For further reading
Part 1: Should You Be Applying to These College Towns for Retirement
Part 2: These College Towns Are Great Places to Retire
Part 4. Heading Back to Campus in Retirement: University Based Retirement Communities