New Bern : North carolina


What It Is Like to Retire in New Bern

New Bern, North Carolina is a historic town located where 2 rivers join to meet the Pamlico Sound on the Southeastern coast of North Carolina. The population is 30,000, with 22% aged 65 or older. It has a 56 square block tree lined historic district that appeals to many active adults who would like to live in or near a real town. The city, originally settled by Swiss and Germans, is the second oldest town in North Carolina and also one of its fastest growing. It is known as a particularly friendly and welcoming place with a lower than average cost of living. New Bern is located in Craven County.

New Bern was named a "Certified Retirement Community" by the State of North Carolina in 2015. There is ample retail shopping in New Bern with malls, large department stores, as well as specialty shops and boutiques. It is a pleasure to walk around the charming downtown where there are many excellent restaurants and shops.  On a recent visit by Topretirements there was a full-blown festival going on downtown that was thronged with happy strollers.
For a list of profiles on over 1,000 cities and towns go to best reviews of retirement communities; here is a retirement guide to North Carolina.

Watch this short Youtube video prepared by City of New Bern:


Where to Retire in New Bern and Home Prices

Many of the Federal and Georgian style homes in the historic district have been lovingly restored by people who have moved here in retirement, and there are many others that are waiting to be brought back to their former glory. Other, more modest neighborhoods such as Village Woods and Derby Park are also available in town. Outside of town there are many active adult developments to choose from (see New Bern Active Communities link at right). They offer every type of amenity from golf to tennis to marinas. For those who need more assistance in their daily living there are many assisted living and retirement homes to choose from.
Cost-of-living and property taxes in New Bern are lower than the national average. As in much of the country, home prices have been changing fast in New Bern. In mid-2021, the median home value was $186,927, up about 10% over the past year, according to Zillow.


What Is Special about New Bern

• Picturesque and historic town on the water • Tryon Palace Historic Sites and Gardens • Croatan National Forest • Historic neighborhoods and homes • Vital downtown shopping • Lively cultural scene • Friendly town with lower than average cost of living • Just a short drive to the beaches of the Outer Banks •Birthplace of Pepsi

What Is Not Special about New Bern

For those looking for a big city, it is not. The crime rate is above average although not in the neighborhoods most retirees would be living in.


Who Will Like Retirement in New Bern

Boaters, golfers, and antiquers will like New Bern's milder climate and the charming, relaxed setting of a historic town. Some of the people who live here are half-backs- northerners who migrated first to Florida and have now moved halfway back. Use this link for a page that explains the various types of retirement communities.


Local Economy Is Driven by

Construction, education, public administration, services. Unemployment rate was 8.2% in 2012, which is lower than the NC average.


Climate and Physical Environment

New Bern is located 35 miles inland from the Outer Banks in Southeastern North Carolina. The Neuse and Trent rivers meet here and empty into the Pamlico Sound. It is a tidewater savanna. The average July high is 88 and the average January low is 34. August is usually the rainiest month.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The New Bern Civic Theatre features plays and other entertainment. The Bank of the Arts, the New Bern Academy Museum, and the Craven Dance Arts Council and Gallery also provide cultural enjoyment. The Crystal Coast Civic Center is another active venue. Craven Community College is here and provides cultural opportunities. The library is part of the Craven/Pamlico/Carteret Regional Library system. There are frequent festivals that bring many people the charming downtown area that has several interesting restaurants.



The crime rate is higher than average in NC and the U.S.


Medical Facilities

Craven Regional Medical Center


The Coastal Carolina Airport in New Bern has daily service to Atlanta via American Airlines.

Valuable Links

New Bern Visitors Center


What people are saying about New Bern

Are you f... kidding me?
Yes there is some money there, but who are you kidding? The crime is unbearable, \"Historic New Bern\"? Have you ever been there? Its a ghetto with beat up houses, big wheel cars, and shootings every week! It might be a paradise for drug dealers, but I would never retire there, I rather die before retirement. The roads suck, hotels are overpriced and dirty, and there is not one good restaurant in New Bern. Even chains are pulling out. I have traveled the world as a young person, I\'ve seen it all! And let me tell you something: Within the US, New Bern is my least favorite place!
Posted by corazon on March 31, 2014
i would agree with part of what youngatheart says about New Bern - it is near the water and it is affordable. But after visiting there and then Chapel Hill-Durham, there is no comparison for me. The latter has a LOT to do with the University and all of the exciting things that it attracts. New Bern on the other hand, is a very small and very cute town. If you like quiet or you like boating, go to New Bern. To kick up your heels, head for the bright lights of Chapel Hill
Posted by madman on March 13, 2009
New Bern great for active adults
I run into a lot of people who have retired to New Bern. There is a lot to do and tons of active adult communities. It's close to the water but not too close. A great low cost place that's affordable. Check it out, it doesnt have the reputation of some other towns but has just as much to offer. Average home on zillow goes for about $215,000.
Posted by youngatheart on December 07, 2008

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