Wilmington vs Myrtle Beach: Where Should You Retire?

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

Financing is the difference!

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A red line separating an image of Myrtle Beach in South Carolina and Wilmington in North Carolina.

4 minute read

What You’ll Gain From Reading This Article: Readers will learn about the attractions and amenities in both Myrtle Beach and Wilmington, from entertainment and cultural activities to health care facilities and housing options.


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. But when comparing Wilmington vs Myrtle Beach, which is better for retirees? 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.

Let’s take a look at what these retirement hotspots have to offer!

Myrtle Beach, SC

Sandy steps at Myrtle Beach State Park.

With 60 miles of coastline, countless championship golf courses, and entertainment galore, Myrtle Beach is one of the most popular vacation spots in the Southeast. However, the locale is also a desirable spot for active adults looking to settle down in a vibrant beach town.

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 at places like the Alabama Theater, Carolina Opry Theater, and House of Blues Myrtle Beach.

Additionally, the trendy Boardwalk & Promenade offers plenty of entertainment, 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, as well as lower taxes. South Carolina doesn’t tax Social Security benefits and also offers a considerable retirement income deduction.

Active Lifestyle Communities in the Myrtle Beach Area

The area has over 35 age-restricted and active lifestyle communities—13 of them are in Myrtle Beach. Some popular communities include the Myrtle Beach Golf & Yacht Club, Berkshire Forest, and Island Green.

Wilmington, NC

A wooden embankment along the River in Wilmington, North Carolina.

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 popular among 55+ adults for its 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. It also has 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 such as the North Carolina Azalea Festival and Riverfest. Wilmington’s River District is another popular attraction, 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

Additionally, the city includes two hospitals, an international airport, a free trolley, and a local university that offers continuing education opportunities. Wilmington is an ideal location for homebuyers seeking a coastal city full of charm with a small-town feel.

Active Lifestyle Communities in the Wilmington Area

There are over 20 active adult communities in the Wilmington area. New and established developments include Brunswick ForestSt. James Plantation, Del Webb Wilmington, Ocean Ridge Plantation, and Compass Pointe.

Ready to discover additional beachside havens in North Carolina and South Carolina? Let 55places transform your dream of owning a coastal home into reality! We’ll connect you with a seasoned real estate professional from your area. Our Partner Agents are committed to assisting you in locating your ideal home within the most fitting community. Reach out to us today!

Discover what’s next.

To learn more information or connect with a real estate expert, contact us today.

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

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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.

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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.

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