Wilmington or Myrtle Beach: Where Should You Retire?

Do you want the excitement of Myrtle Beach or the relaxed vibe of Wilmington for your retirement?

It’s no secret that North and South Carolina are highly sought-after destinations for 55+ adults. Both states offer moderate temperatures year-round, affordable costs of living, reasonably priced homes, incredible sights to see, and plenty to do. Also, there’s absolutely no shortage of charming towns to choose from between the two Carolinas.

Among some of the states’ top retirement destinations are the towns of Wilmington and Myrtle Beach. Although the two beach towns are less than two hours apart, they each have their own character and charm and offer residents a variety of different amenities to suit all sorts of lifestyles and budgets.

Myrtle Beach, SC

A row of colorful beach rentals on a summer day in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Myrtle Beach is one of the most popular vacation spots in the southeast.

With 60 miles of coastline, countless championship golf courses, and entertainment galore, Myrtle Beach has certainly made a name for itself as one of the most popular vacation spots in the southeast, but the locale is also a desirable spot for active adults looking to settle down in a vibrant beach town that always has something going on.

Plenty of Entertainment

The area’s sandy beaches and fishing piers offer residents plenty of opportunities to stay active and have fun in the sun year-round. The Grand Strand is also a hub for entertainment with shows and live performances happening nightly at places like the Alabama Theater, Carolina Opry Theater, and House of Blues Myrtle Beach.

Additionally, the trendy Boardwalk & Promenade offers plenty of entertainment with everything from an aquarium and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville restaurant to dueling piano bars and local boutiques. Shopping is another big draw with plenty of retail options that range from upscale specialty shopping to outlet malls.

Daily Conveniences

Beyond the beaches, entertainment, and shopping, Myrtle Beach has several award-winning medical facilities, an international airport, and residents pay lower taxes. South Carolina doesn’t tax Social Security benefits and offers a considerate retirement-income deduction on state taxes.

Active Lifestyle Communities in the Myrtle Beach Area

There are over 50 age-restricted and active lifestyle communities in the area, with 19 of them being in Myrtle Beach itself. Some popular communities include the Myrtle Beach Golf & Yacht Club, Berkshire Forest, and Island Green.

Wilmington, NC

View from Riverwalk along the historic waterfront in downtown Wilmington, North Carolina
Wilmington has an abundance of Southern charm and tranquil scenery.

Across the state line in North Carolina is the city of Wilmington, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Fear River. The small city is a favorable location among 55+ adults for its abundance of Southern charm, rich history, tranquil scenery, and laid-back atmosphere.

Cultural Amenities and Historic Sites

Known for its picturesque tree-lined streets and stately antebellum homes, Wilmington offers residents a wealth of recreational and cultural amenities as well as plenty of historic sites and museums to explore, including one of America’s oldest theaters—Thalian Hall, the World War II Battleship North Carolina, and Cape Fear Museum.

The town is also well known for its many local festivals that draw large crowds and take place throughout the year, such as the North Carolina Azalea Festival and Riverfest. Wilmington’s River District is another popular attraction that’s packed with award-winning seafood restaurants, cafes, and local shops. The area’s 30 miles of beachfront and 40 golf courses are also top attractions.

Daily Conveniences

Additional conveniences in the city include two hospitals, an international airport, a free trolley, and a local university that offers continuing education opportunities. Wilmington is an ideal location for someone who wants to settle down in a coastal city that’s affordable and full of charm with a small-town feel.

Active Lifestyle Communities in the Wilmington Area

There are 26 active adult communities in the Wilmington area that are a mixture of new and established properties that include Brunswick ForestSt. James Plantation, Del Webb Wilmington, Ocean Ridge Plantation, and Compass Pointe.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

Financing is the difference!

Get the details in The 62+ Loan Homebuyers Guide.

55places Mortgage is a joint venture between Mutual of Omaha Mortgage and 55places.com.
Details here.

We're here to help! (800) 928-2055

Call us to speak with a customer service representative.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get Weekly Updates

I agree that 55places and its affiliates, partner providers or agents may call, text, or email me about my inquiry, which may be made with automated means. I understand that my consent is not a prerequisite for buying a property. I may revoke my consent at any time by contacting optout@55places.com. Message/data rates may apply. I also agree to 55places.com’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

The Best Places to Snowbird in 2021

We’ve gathered 25 of the best places for snowbirds, including cities in Florida, Arizona, California, Texas, South Carolina, and Nevada. For each entry, we’ve also provided a list of recommended 55+ communities in the area. If you’re ready to find your own winter retreat this season, here are some of the best places to consider.

Retired woman enjoys swimming in her active adult community.

Your Guide To Exploring Types of Active Adult Communities

If you’re considering downsizing and upgrading to a more carefree lifestyle, you may be surprised to find how many types of active adult communities there are. Explore the right active adult communities for you with our guide.

A boat pier at sunrise in Lake Placid, Florida.

Lake Placid Living: A Look at 55+ Communities in This Central Florida Gem

8 minute read Located in the heart of Central Florida, Lake Placid offers the best qualities of small-town America. Surrounded by scenic lakes, nature preserves, and cultural attractions, the “Town of Murals” is perfect for active adults. With two 55+ communities in Lake Placid—Covered Bridge and Tomoka Heights—the area’s affordability makes it an appealing option

About 55places

We’re changing the way people 55 and older are searching for their perfect next place. With a national network of hand-selected real estate experts, plus comprehensive information, unbiased content, and on-the-go insight about thousands of communities across the country, we’re a trusted resource paving the way from here to home. Whether you’re interested in a low-maintenance single-level residence, an active lifestyle or age-qualified community, an intimate enclave, or anything in between, we can help you make your next move the best one yet.

Scroll to Top