Navigation - Living HerePlaying HereRetirement AreasMountainsPiedmontCoastCertified Communities
There are plenty of facts, articles and rankings that make it clear North Carolina is a wonderful place for retirement, with a reasonable cost of living, diverse climate and geography, and sophisticated healthcare and transportation systems. But beyond these tangible details is the seductive sensation noted by many who retire here that life in North Carolina produces a calming state of mind, a sense of well-being and a comfort that says home. This makes our state the ideal spot not just to retire, but rejuvenate.
Elodie Farms, near Durham, hosts a popular "Dinner on the Porch" series
Escape to a slower pace of life in one of our coastal towns on the Outer Banks
Views of the North Carolina mountains can be in your backyard
Find your favorite beach along 300 miles of barrier island coastline
“Near” and “far” take on different meanings when you retire in North Carolina, thanks to a sophisticated and well-engineered transportation system that makes travel simple. We have the largest state-maintained highway system in the nation (anchored by interstates 26, 40, 77, 85 and 95), four international airports, daily Amtrak passenger service and an unrivaled coastal ferry system. And our state’s ideal location provides easy access to surrounding cities and states, making it a perfect jumping-off spot for business and leisure travel.
Show me -
/ Welcome Centers
There are a number of compelling reasons to choose North Carolina as your retirement destination. We can entice you with facts and figures, impress you with our scenic beauty, and point proudly to a host of awards and accolades. But absolutely nothing can replace visiting North Carolina and experiencing for yourself why this is a truly special place to retire.
Condé Nast Traveler - May 24, 2016
Asheville (No. 1)
Forbes - April 4, 2016BrevardMount Airy
U.S. News & World Report - March 2, 2016
Raleigh-Durham (No. 4)
Charlotte (No. 15)
Winston-Salem (No. 39)
Greensboro (No. 51)
Bankrate.com - March 1, 2016
North Carolina ranks No. 16, moving up eight spots from the previous year, and is the second-highest ranked state in the South.
SmartAsset.com - Nov. 16, 2015
Cary (No. 4)
U.S. News & World Report - Oct. 13, 2015
Durham: The article touts free transit rides for seniors, and favorable median housing costs for homeowners and renters.
FindTheHome.com - Oct. 8, 2015
Orange County (No. 3)
Money magazine - June 16, 2015
Asheville (College-Town Life Runner Up): "The University of North Carolina’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers more than 200 courses a year along with a 'life transition' program with seminars and workshops on how to make retirement fulfilling."
Forbes - March 17, 2015AshevilleRaleigh
TopRetirements.com - Feb. 21, 2015
Asheville (No. 1)
Plus, ten other North Carolina cities and towns made the list
Reuters - Dec. 18, 2014
“Best Florida alternative on the southeastern coast: Wilmington, North Carolina”
MarketWatch - July 29, 2014
“Retire like a Vanderbilt without spending like one”
CBS News - May 10, 2014
Oak Island (No. 2)
Forbes - Jan. 16, 2014
Money - Nov. 2013
Raleigh (No. 1)
Council On State Taxation - July 2013
North Carolina offered the No. 1 lowest state and local tax burden on businesses in 2012
USA Today - June 4, 2013
Hendersonville (No. 1)
Boat U.S. - June / July 2013
New Bern (No. 6)
Forbes - Feb. 25, 2013AshevilleCharlotteWinston-Salem
TopRetirements.com - Feb. 18, 2013
Asheville (No. 1)Chapel Hill (No. 25)New Bern (No. 51)Beaufort (No. 52)Brevard (No. 57)Murphy (No. 58)Mount Airy (No. 72)Winston-Salem (No. 73)Hendersonville (No. 76)Southport (No. 87)Charlotte (No. 91)
United Van Lines news release - Jan. 2, 2013
North Carolina is No. 1 in the Southeast and No. 4 in the nation for inbound migration
Ideal Living - Winter 2013
Great Smoky Mountains National ParkOuter Banks: Kill Devil HillsWilmington, Hike the Blue Ridge ParkwayChristmas Lights at BiltmoreThe Omni Grove Park InnChimney Rock State Park
Forbes - June 6, 2012
CNN Money - 2012
Winston-Salem (No. 6)
Kiplinger - November 2011
U.S. News & World Report - Oct. 17, 2011
CNN Money - 2010Durham (No. 1)Asheville (No. 22)
When you retire to North Carolina, it’s reasonably certain you’ll find yourself debating which is your favorite time of year. Our state is blessed with four distinct seasons – never too chilly or hot – with plentiful rainfall that keeps our beautiful natural settings healthy and lush. With our scenic mountains, rolling central region and more than 300 miles of coastline and barrier island beaches, retirees always find a special place that fulfills needs and desires, along with an ideal climate that’s refreshing and keeps everyone active.
For more on average seasonal temperatures and rainfall across the state, click on the links below:
Boone & the High Country
Great Smoky Mountains
Greensboro & Winston-Salem
Raleigh, Durham & the Triangle
There’s no reason to pay a premium price for the privilege of retiring and living well. If you like to work the numbers, you’ll discover the cost of living in North Carolina is below the national average, while ranking high in personal satisfaction and fulfillment. The ACCRA Cost of Living Index is an ideal place to research and compare your retirement options by city and state, based on analysis of everything from housing and utilities, to health care and transportation, to everyday living expenses.
For even more information about the quality of life and cost of living in North Carolina, visit EDPNC.com.
For information about our state's tax structure, visit the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
North Carolina is a place where retirees can be assured of benefitting from affordable and expert health care. With some of the country’s finest health care facilities and four respected medical schools producing skilled professionals, the cost of care in the state ranks as the 14th lowest in the country. In addition to quality medical attention, personal safety is heightened by effective and dedicated law enforcement, supported by progressive government and an efficient legal system.
Per capita personal health care expenditures
North Carolina: $6,444 (14th lowest in the nation)
United States: $6,815
Source: StateHealthFacts.org 2009 data
Per capita expenditures for hospital care
North Carolina: $2,280 (14th lowest in the nation)
United States: $2,475
Source: StateHealthFacts.org 2009 data
Health professionals per 10,000 people
Registered Nurses: 98.6
Source: North Carolina Health Professionals Data System, 2011 Data Book
Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina
Request your Travel Guide
Subscribe to our E-Newsletter
Featured Travel Partner