Sylva : North carolina


What It Is Like to Retire in Sylva

Tucked between Plott Balsam Mountain Range and the Blue Ridge Parkway, Sylva, North Carolina, is a small but quaint town lined with cafes, galleries, bookstores, breweries, and antique shops. It is known for its outdoor recreation, especially fishing, and has been recognized as the state's premier trout fishing destination. With a population of just 2,700, Sylva is the county seat and social center of Jackson County, and is about 50 miles southwest of Asheville. The town celebrates several festivals and events, and is home to Southwestern  Community College.  The movie "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing" was filmed here. Photo of Dr. D. D. Hooper House (1906), and photo of Main Street, courtesy of Wikipedia and Warren LeMay (public domain).


Where to Retire in Sylva and Home Prices

Sylva is made up of several neighborhoods and has very low property taxes.  Zillow reports the median home value to be $213,324 in early 2021.


What Is Special about Sylva

Unlike some small mountain towns you don't have to be an outdoors person to enjoy living here.  Although Sylva is a fishermans haven, and does offer much outdoor recreation, the town also has antique shops, book stores, a library, a historical district, and hosts many events and festivals.


What Is Not Special about Sylva

Sylva is a little isolated with the nearest big town (Asheville) about an hour away, and the nearest large airport is in Atlanta, about 160 miles away; the crime rate is high.


Who Will Like Retirement in Sylva

Retirees who want a small, mountain town with a low cost of living and a walkable and vibrant downtown would enjoy living here. Sylva has galleries, restaurants, three bookstores, breweries, a hospital, great fishing, and is close to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. 


Local Economy Is Driven by

Sales, Food Service, Management, Construction


Climate and Physical Environment

The average January temperature is about 40 degrees, and July's average is 73 degrees. The town gets a little over 50 inches of rain each year, but under 10 inches of snow.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The Courthouse is a historical site and home to the towns library; there are several parks that offer outdoor activities and summer concerts;  Greening Up the Mountain celebrates the arrival of spring with a downtown street Festival, and Sylva is considered one of the top Christmas towns to see in western North Carolina; Sylva does not have museums or many cultural venues, but you can head to Asheville for events, entertainment and many restaurants.



For a small town, Sylva has a high crime rate, well above the national average, which mainly involves theft.


Medical Facilities

Harris Regional is an 86-bed hospital located in Sylva.



Asheville Regional Airport is about 55 miles away, and the nearest international airport is in Atlanta over 150 miles from Sylva.


Valuable Links

Sylva, North Carolina


What people are saying about Sylva

Another Plus for Sylva
I find it amazing that this article talks about Sylva and the fact that it\'s about 50 miles or one hour from Asheville, but never mention that it is also about 15 minutes from Cullowhee, NC -- home of Western Carolina University. Sylva is definitely a small town with small town environment and limitations, but having access to other (also relatively small and comparably remote) places like Cullowhee and Highlands (another TopRetirements highlight town) adds to its attractiveness for those who might like this kind of retirement location. Also not to be ignored is the relative ease of access from Sylva to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Nantahala National Forest with its outdoor recreational options in/near Bryson City and the Nantahala River. (As an aside, one of the most remarkable and beautiful views I have ever seen in all my travels was from the top of Thunderhead Mtn., in the Great Smokies, looking out south over the Natahalas as sunset approached. On another tack, I found it sad that a small mining town north of Knoxville in recent years chose to rename itself \"Rocky Top\" -- if you ever have the privilege of reaching the top of Thunderhead by foot or horseback, you will know the true \"Rocky Top\".)
Posted by richlife on September 28, 2016

Leave a Comment

To comment you must be a registered member of

Login Here


Create Your Free Membership Account

Suggest a community we want to know about your top retirement spots
Please note that all contributions to Topretirements may be edited, altered, or removed by other contributors. If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly, then don't submit it here. By submitting content and/or photographs here you agree to give the rights to use them in any manner without cost or attribution.You are also promising us that you wrote this yourself, or copied it from a public domain or similar free resource (see Project:Copyrights for details). DO NOT SUBMIT COPYRIGHTED WORK WITHOUT PERMISSION!

Copyright © 2006-2022 All Rights Reserved.