Chapel Hill is a particularly beautiful (population just over 53,000) college town in the gentle hills of central North Carolina. The University of North Carolina (24,000 students) is the centerpiece of this charming small town with a cosmopolitan flair that makes it appealing as a retirement community. This entire area is highly educated, with Duke University nearby in Durham and NC State just 30 miles away in Raleigh. The three towns are sometimes referred to as the Research Triangle in reference to the research park, Research Triangle Park, formed in 1959. The area has grown so explosively that surrounding towns like Carrboro and Durham have in effect merged into Chapel Hill.
The university and the downtown are intertwined to create a classic college town atmosphere that will appeal to many active adults 55+. The downtown is widely used by students and residents for dining out (it is famous for pop-American cuisine), entertainment, coffee bars, and artistic performances. Photo of UNC's wooded campus buffers the town center, courtesy of Wikipedia and Bad thorn (public domain).