The Best Places to Retire in the South

Check out some of these great retirement locations down south. / photo by

When it’s time to decide on where to retire you may consider factors like cost of living, climate, and quality of life. A majority of baby boomers typically flock to southern states to escape freezing temperatures or expensive real estate common in most northern states. Fortunately, Florida isn’t the only southern state that offers a great place to retire, which means you have more options.

Other places like Texas, Tennessee, and North Carolina are becoming more popular retirement destinations because of their affordability, climate, and recreational opportunities. Proximity to metro areas also draws retirees to these southern spots so they can enjoy big-city entertainment and attractions that are less expensive than New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Check out our list of best places to retire in the south, listed in alphabetical order.Asheville, NC

Retirees love Asheville, NC, because of its mild four-season climate, strong economy, and scenic landscape. Asheville’s cost of living is 3 percent below the national average, which is great for Boomers living on a fixed budget. This city also has excellent healthcare with plenty of doctors available in the area. Active adult communities like Biltmore Lake and Crowfields offer residents picturesque views of the Blue Ridge Mountains as well as outdoor natural spaces for hiking, biking, fishing, camping, and rafting.

Charlotte, NC

Charlotte is a thriving hub of financial institutions and businesses, but still offers some old-fashioned southern charm that attracts people from around the world. The city has a diverse population with residents relocating to Charlotte because of its business district, motorsports, and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Charlotte has plenty of 55+ communities like The Polo Club at Mountain Island Lake as well as other age-targeted developments that provide reasonably priced homes, luxurious amenities, and beautiful landscapes.

Gainesville, GA

Lake Lanier’s scenic beauty is a major attraction that brings in retirees from across the country. Active adult communities like Cresswind at Lake Lanier, which is situated along the lake, offers plenty of outdoor recreation and water activities for those who love to boat, fish, kayak, canoe, or sail. Gainesville is also near the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests, offering miles of nature trails for outdoor enthusiasts. Downtown Gainesville provides small-town charm with brick sidewalks and quaint shops for a tranquil, relaxed environment. Retirees favor Gainesville because of its affordability and the state doesn’t tax Social Security income.

Nashville, TN

Not only is Nashville a music lover’s paradise and the home of the Grand Ole Opry, it’s also one of the best places to retire. Nashville has no state income tax and offers a reduced tax burden to retirees. Combined with a low cost of living, moderate weather, and access to medical care, Music City is a prime retirement destination. The Nashville area has plenty of active adult developments that offer baby boomers affordable homes along with a vibrant and social lifestyle.

Port Charlotte, FL

It’s no surprise to find Florida on a retirement list because it is one of the most popular and tax-friendly states for retirees. Port Charlotte, which is located along the Gulf of Mexico and less congested than other coastal areas, offers active adults a low cost of living as well as affordable homes. Retirees also love having easy access to scenic beaches as well as Sarasota and Fort Myers for big-city entertainment. Besides the favorable tropical weather and low crime rate, Port Charlotte also has established 55+ communities like Kings Gate that offer resort-style amenities and plenty of social clubs to keep residents active and feeling young at heart.

Raleigh, NC

Raleigh continues to be a favorite retirement spot for Boomers because of its big-city vibe and low cost of living. Other factors beneficial to retirees in this city include a mild, four-season climate, a thriving economy, world-class healthcare options, and cultural attractions. The Raleigh-Durham Area in North Carolina is full of age-targeted and age-restricted communities that appeal to retirees looking for affordable homes and resort-style living.

San Marcos, TX

San Marcos is a tranquil and friendly suburban town. With Texas State University in its backyard, the city has enjoyed steady economic growth and cultural diversity. San Marcos is also becoming one of the premier areas for retirees in Central Texas because of its close proximity to Austin and San Antonio for big-city entertainment and attractions. The cost of living in San Marcos is 8 percent below the U.S. national average and median home prices are around the mid $100s. Boomers can find new 55+ developments like Kissing Tree that will offer affordable, modern home designs and plenty of indoor and outdoor amenities.

Tulsa, OK

Don’t underestimate all that Tulsa has to offer. The city has a small-town vibe as well as an impressive lineup of museums, art exhibits, attractions, and outdoor recreation. Retirees can spend time outside biking, walking, or hiking the 26 miles of trails that wind through the city’s natural spaces. The Arkansas River flows through Tulsa so water activities are readily available. Tulsa doesn’t tax Social Security income and the sales tax is 5.5 percent. Baby boomers can find affordable homes and great amenities in 55+ communities like Hyde Park at Tulsa Hills for an active and social lifestyle.

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