Located in Coastal North Carolina, Wilmington is a midsize city on the Atlantic Ocean. Pleasant weather all year, combined with its proximity to the ocean, make this a popular destination for active adults looking to retire on the water. Besides this, retirees enjoy the strong sense of community with local amenities like boutique shops, craft breweries, and community festivals.
Climate & Geography
Wilmington is located on a peninsula on the eastern coast of North Carolina. Its eastern edge is Hewletts Creek, and its western edge is Cape Fear River. Both bodies of water lead to the Atlantic Ocean.
Though the city experiences a humid subtropical climate typical of the state, its proximity to the ocean helps moderate temperatures all year. Summers are warm and humid, and winters are mild. Snow is rare but can occur, while rainfall is higher than average, especially in late summer. Residents experience 216 days of sun on average.
Recreation, Culture, & Entertainment
A largely historic city, Wilmington places a strong emphasis on community and history. The Cape Fear Museum, Wilmington Railroad Museum, and Cameron Art Museum are popular for history buffs, as well as the hundreds of historic homes throughout the city.
Residents seeking outdoor recreation have several choices. The Airlie Gardens, Halyburton Park, Bluethenthal Wildflower Preserve, Greenfield Park, and Hugh MacRae Park all offer trails, self guided tours, and natural areas for picnicking. The Whiteface, Lookout, and Esther Mountains, as well as the Catamount Mountain Trail all have a variety of hiking trails. Golfers can enjoy the holes at Beau Rivage Golf and Resort, Porters Neck Country Club, and Wilmington Municipal Golf Course.
In addition to outdoor recreation, residents can shop the local boutiques of the Riverwalk and Downtown Wilmington, both located on Cape Fear River on the western side of town. The downtown area also hosts community events like art walks, holiday festivals, and a Saturday farmers market. There are also several breweries and wineries, including the Wrightsville Beach Brewery and Noni Bacca Winery.
Cost of Living & Taxes
Wilmington’s cost of living is nearly the same as the national average. This is mainly because housing is more costly than the rest of the state, while groceries, utilities, and transportation are all lower than average. Health care tends to hover above the national average.
North Carolina taxes all forms of income at a flat rate of 5.5 percent except for Social Security. The state’s property taxes are low, and Wilmington’s 7 percent sales tax is average. Unlike many states, North Carolina taxes groceries, but at a lower rate.
According to Gallup’s Well-Being Index, North Carolina’s highest ranking is in the community index, indicating that residents feel safe and have a sense of pride in their community.
The only general hospital in Wilmington, New Hanover Regional Medical Center, is rated by U.S. News as high performing and is the No. 10 hospital in North Carolina. J. Arthur Dosher Memorial Hospital and Pender Memorial Hospital are also within 25 miles.