Aiken : South carolina


What It Is Like to Retire in Aiken

If you like horses and an easy-going, warm weather climate you might want to think about making Aiken, South Carolina your retirement community. This town of almost 30,000 in western South Carolina’s Sand Hill country grew up as a healthy retreat where the wealthy could escape from hot weather. The “Winter Colony” as it is called has always been popular with the horsy set for fox hunting, steeplechase, and polo horses. Many people come here to either raise their horses or watch them race in steeple chases - the Imperial Cup each March and the Holiday Cup in October. Both of these steeplechase races are sanctioned by the National Steeplechase Association. The Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum is a local a tribute to the famous flat racing and steeplechase Thoroughbred horses that have trained here.

The town’s infrastructure supports active adults 55+.There are restaurants and shopping nearby. The mountains and beaches are not far away and neither are Augusta and Atlanta. Aiken won the All-America City Award in 1997. For more information about how to retire in South Carolina or towns like Myrtle Beach , Charleston, or Orangeburg. Photo of downtown Aiken courtesy of Wikipedia and Festiva76 (public domain).

Watch this short Youtube video presented by Visit Aiken SC

Where to Retire in Aiken and Home Prices

There are many active adult communities in the area with a wide variety of facilities, as well as areas within town in nice neighborhoods.
According to Zillow, the median home value was $194,174 in early 2021, with home prices on the rise the last few years. These prices can be deceptive as there are many homes and estates on the market for millions of dollars, whereas some condominium prices may be far less.


What Is Special about Aiken

Named by Southern Living Magazine as the 2018 “South’s Best Small Town.” Said Southern Living: “Spend a weekend in this town, and you’ll see what makes it so special.”

Aiken Tennis Club (court tennis);  University of South Carolina at Aiken; Steeplechase and Thoroughbred racing;  Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum at Hopeland Gardens; Aiken Polo Club's Sunday afternoon matches; Hitchcock Woods (trails); Many active adult developments. Woodside Communities has prepared an excellent article about Aiken, "101 Reasons Why We Love Aiken.


What Is Not Special about Aiken

The very large (2100 acres) urban forest Hitchcock Woods is smack in the middle of Aiken. Traffic struggles daily as commuters, service vehicles and families back and forth to school and church are forced to circumnavigate the privately-owned forestland. There will never be roads through it. The 4.8-mile portion of limited-access Hitchcock Parkway (SC Hwy 118) directly adjacent along the western edge funnels more than 15,000 vehicle trips every day, thousands more than it was constructed to handle. The location of Hitchcock Woods proximate to all of and prominent in Aiken stifles this community's growth and residents' easy enjoyment of this region.
It is not considered a walkable community. Aiken's location in the countryside, away from the coast and near the Georgia border, might not be appealing to everyone.

Who Will Like Retirement in Aiken

People who like horses and who like to be active. Many active adults here live in developments built around golf or other activities.


Local Economy Is Driven by

Savannah River Site -; Tourism; Mining; Education; Equestrian activities


Climate and Physical Environment

Aiken is located on the west-central edge of South Carolina. The average July high is 94 and the average January low is 33. June is the wettest month of the year.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

University of South Carolina;  Aiken Academy for Lifelong Learning offers many full time classes;  Outdoor concerts; Ballet and symphony; Good amateur theatre; most fast-food chains



The crime rate in Aiken is above average.


Medical Facilities

Aiken Regional Medical Center


Augusta Regional Airport is 21 miles. It is not considered a walkable community - you have to drive for most errands. I20 is just to the north.


Valuable Links

Visit Aiken South Carolina

Aiken Chamber of Commerce


What people are saying about Aiken

To Dan ref individual\'s rights
The Foundation is aware of area residents\' push-back and recognizes the resulting health complications as a potential deterrent to continued burning at will. So far, though (and for the past 25 years) the burns continue. And, because their largest neighbor burns, some residents are quick to ignite their own debris in backyard pits and drums, further contributing to the region\'s unhealthy air.
Posted by Mary Pauline on March 18, 2016
Hitchcock Woods
The Hitchcock Woods forestland controlled burn management plan causes ongoing significant adverse and hazardous health conditions, due to the smoke and particulate residue that travels and settles all over Aiken. by Mary Pauline
Posted by admin on March 09, 2016
Mary Pauline added these comments:
Hitchcock Woods Foundation, the owner of Hitchcock Woods, uses prescribed (also referred to as controlled) burning to manage their forest. Among its directors\' goals is restoration of the natural ecosystems of Hitchcock Woods, to a snapshot view of what this region looked like 10,000 years ago. The burn occurs daily, weather permitting, sometimes more than a hundred acres in one day. Smoke dispersal is a chronic concern. The resulting heavy smoke and particulate travels throughout the entire town. Occasionally, especially with an evening weather inversion, the smoke settles at ground level. The burns will continue forever. The adverse health implications of exposure to this type of air contamination are well documented. The Hitchcock Woods burn stunts the growth of Aiken.
Posted by admin on March 09, 2016

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