Many prospective retirees find themselves choosing between communities near two popular North Carolina areas: Raleigh and Charlotte.

Due to the sprawling landscape diversity encompassing mountains, foothills, and breathtaking coastal towns, retirement communities in North Carolina are quickly becoming a hot spot for relocating active adults. When combined with North Carolina’s warm weather and scenic vistas, the destination fits the bill for a beautiful southern retirement - without being too far from northern hometown family and friends.

In fact, several adults who previously retired to Florida or Georgia are now choosing a second relocation to one of the many stunning retirement communities in North Carolina. These retirees are sometimes referred to as “halfbacks” because they initially relocated farther south and later moved halfway back home. But whether halfbacks or first-time retirees, many prospective residents find themselves choosing between communities near two popular North Carolina areas: Raleigh and Charlotte.

Raleigh or Charlotte?

Separated by fewer than 200 miles, there are a striking number of similarities between the cities of Raleigh and Charlotte. Both are historic areas that are undergoing substantial revitalization projects, have mild weather with four distinct seasons, and are home to a number of active adult communities featuring reasonably priced homes.

There are many job opportunities for those interested in working during their retirement, and several nearby universities provide both education and local sporting events. But while Charlotte and Raleigh are both located toward the center of the state, one large difference lies in their proximity to a variety of popular destinations.

Raleigh is situated more toward the northeast, increasing its proximity to the expansive and beautiful shoreline. From Raleigh, it is approximately a four hour drive to either Washington DC or the popular Outer Banks area. Charlotte is located more to the southeast and closer to the mountains. The picturesque town of Asheville, at the edge of the Smokey Mountains National Park, is only a little more than two hours from downtown Charlotte.


Raleigh is the capitol of North Carolina and has a population of over 380,000.

Raleigh Retirement Communities

Raleigh is the capitol of North Carolina and has a population of over 380,000. After the creation of Research Triangle Park in 1959, the area between the cities of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill has often been referred to simply as the “Triangle.” The local economy is largely driven by research and technology, which has attracted many large corporations to the area.

Located in Cary, Carolina Preserve is a Del Webb active adult community that is only 30 minutes from downtown Raleigh. This resort-style community offers amenities such as the 34,000 square foot Bradford Hall Clubhouse, a state of the art fitness center, aquatic center, dozens of social clubs, and activities.

Heritage Pines, also located in Cary, is another active adult community that provides residents with ample onsite amenities in addition to the convenience of living just outside Raleigh, and only 10 minutes from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. 

Charlotte Retirement Communities

Though Raleigh is the capitol of North Carolina, Charlotte is the state’s largest city with a population of over 600,000. This diverse metro area offers an eclectic mix of architectural design, blending historic and modern styles. Shopping, fine dining, and cultural attractions are available throughout the city. Golf is also popular in North Carolina and Charlotte has long offered many luxury golf-course neighborhoods.

In Fort Mill, Sun City Carolina Lakes is an active adult community which features a beautiful 18-hole golf course. This 7,024 yard, par-72 course was designed by Tim Freeland, and has been listed by Golf Digest as one of the Best New Courses under $75. For those who want to live closer to Charlotte,

Ridge Road Villas is only 10 minutes north of the city. While this intimate community is not age restricted, the ranch villas, with their European Country styling, and the amenity-rich clubhouse appeal to active adults.

Though each city has its own flavor, there are many benefits to living in either location. Whether relocating to Charlotte or Raleigh, the reasonably priced homes, mild climate, beautiful environment, and thriving economy come together to make North Carolina an ideal retirement destination.