Both Fredericksburg and Charlottesville offer a charming Colonial setting, but which is better for retirement?

Fredericksburg and Charlottesville are two historic college towns in Virginia. But while Fredericksburg is located along the Interstate 95 corridor south of Washington, D.C., Charlottesville is in the Shenandoah Valley at the doorstep of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Both cities have a lot to offer adults looking for an active lifestyle. Here’s how the two locations compare as retirement destinations.

Fredericksburg, Virginia

It’s easy to see why Fredericksburg is popular. With easy access to I-95, Dulles Airport, and Amtrak train service, active adults can easily enjoy all the east coast has to offer. About an hour south of Washington, D.C. in Northern Virginia, Fredericksburg is also home to the University of Mary Washington.


Fredericksburg is a charming historic city with the amenities of a college town. The University of Mary Washington is a small, private college that offers theater, concerts, and live music, all open to the public. The area is also great for those who want to live near the water, located just 15 minutes from the Potomac River. Parks and recreation areas along the river offer places to canoe and kayak, while many marinas provide wet and dry docks.

Cost of Living

Fredericksburg offers a good value for active adults who want to stay close to the D.C. metro region. While home prices outside D.C. in places like Arlington average over $500,000, home prices in Fredericksburg are just under $300,000. The cost of healthcare is also less than the national average.

Fredericksburg Communities

The greater Fredericksburg area is home to ten active adult communities. Within these ten, prospective homebuyers can find large resort-style communities of over 1,000 homes and small communities with under 100 homes that feel like more intimate neighborhoods.


Celebrate is Virginia’s largest age-restricted community. Del Webb is still building new homes, and prospective residents can choose from single-family and attached styles. The amenities include what many active adults have come to expect from an age-restricted community including pools, a fitness center, tennis courts, and many spaces and activities for socializing with neighbors.

Regency at Chancellorsville

Regency at Chancellorsville is a smaller community of only 255 homes, yet still offers varied amenities for its residents. The single-family homes range from and sell in the high $300s to mid $500s. Residents enjoy the 5,000 square-foot clubhouse with indoor pool, fitness room, and social spaces.

Charlottesville, Virginia

Charlottesville is in many ways a quintessential southern college town. Home to the University of Virginia, boutique shops and restaurants line the walkable Downtown Mall. Visitors love the history combined with quaint charm. Year-round residents take pleasure in this small-town feel but enjoy the amenities of a college town, like art shows, live music, and concerts. Charlottesville also hosts the Virginia Film Festival and the Virginia Festival of the Book.

Attractions & Activities

In addition to the attractions of the city, Charlottesville is a gateway to the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Active adults can enjoy the scenery on nearby Skyline Drive, or hike and camp in the Shenandoah National Park. The farmland around Charlottesville offers some of Virginia’s best wineries and lots of smaller towns with great antiquing and cute shops.

Cost of Living

Even though Fredericksburg is located on the dense I-95 corridor and not far from Washington, D.C., Charlottesville is actually more expensive than Fredericksburg. The average home cost is just under $300,000. And while housing prices are only slightly higher than Fredericksburg, healthcare costs can be up to 55% more expensive in Charlottesville.

Charlottesville Communities

Communities in Fredericksburg are more densely located around the city than those in the Charlottesville area. Active adults wanting to live close to downtown have fewer choices in Charlottesville, but other communities offer peaceful countryside living and easy access to the entire region.

University Village

University Village is the only age-restricted community in the city of Charlottesville. These condos are offered for resale only. Although a small community of just 94 homes, it includes a club, dining room, and card rooms for eating and socializing with neighbors. Residents can also stay active at the indoor pool, aerobics classes, and exercise room.

Four Seasons at Charlottesville

Four Seasons at Charlottesville offers a resort-style experience in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley. Located north of town in Ruckersville, this community includes 144 homes, currently offered for resale. The single-family homes range from two to three bedrooms and attached two-car garages.

The 23,000 square-foot clubhouse is a place for socializing and staying fit. Residents can get together for classes, clubs, and planned activities, or stay active at the indoor pool and state-of-the-art fitness center.