South Carolina is known for its beautiful landscapes and farming communities. The state offers pockets of rural towns that have been recognized in major magazines as some of the best places to live! With the cost of living over 11% lower than the national average and zero tax on social security income, it’s really no wonder South Carolina is a prime retirement destination!
Here are the best cities for retirement in South Carolina!
The small town of Beaufort has 11,800 residents and is one of the most prized coastal communities in the state. The town has been recognized as being the most romantic and most affordable place to retire in the country. The area is rich with culture, landscape, and good southern home-cooking! We recently visited Beaufort, South Carolina, and here are some things we enjoyed about our trip:
Located along the northern border of South Carolina lies the small town of Bennettsville. The town is an old farming community that was placed on the map by cotton manufacturing decades ago. A small and historic downtown offers plenty of shops to get lost in and down-home cooking from some of the finest restaurants. A number of small businesses are located in town and you won’t find large retail chains located here.
The community of Greenwood is located in the southwest corner of the state and has a population of 22,500 residents. The beautiful small town sits among pine trees and exquisite bodies of water. The Sumter National Forest provides outdoor fun and adventure with a number of activities taking place all year round. Visitors and residents take part in hiking, biking, and boating throughout the warmer months, and during the winter head over to ski resorts and recreational parks located nearby.
Laurens is home to just under 10,000 residents and has many small-town benefits for its residents. The community is situated near many large metro areas such as Greenville and Columbia but is far enough away to maintain the peace that only small-town living brings. Big city jobs and entertaining nightlife are only a stone’s throw away and the median home price is affordable. If you are looking to rent, there are a number of areas and home rental prices are anything but expensive.
With a population of 7,044 residents, Moncks Corner is a small and quiet community where life is sweet. The town is located approximately thirty miles from Charleston and is a beautiful mix of quality of life, small-town living, and a naturally picturesque landscape. There is a lot to do in terms of outdoor adventure including hiking, walking, biking, fishing, and more.
Mount Pleasant, South Carolina is home to around 68,000 residents and is appealing for three reasons – it offers miles of beachfront, a mild to moderate climate, and a strong school system. The town is located just 10 miles from Charleston and offers convenient access to the city. The area is known for its shrimp industry and hosts an annual spring event known as Blessing of the Fleet, in which the residents of Mount Pleasant join together to enjoy freshly caught shrimp and plenty of live music.
There are approximately 100,000 people living in the Greenville metro area, which includes Spartanburg. This means there are just enough people to have a “big city” feeling, but the city is not congested. The city’s economy is a mixture of commercial manufacturing and industrial businesses. The sports, entertainment, and arts are all alive and well here too! In addition, Greenville is centrally located between Atlanta, GA, and Charlotte, NC. This means you can make it to either area in no time.
For the active adult in Greenville, there is much to do! Take a nice bike ride at GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail or a hike on the natural trails at Falls Park on the Reedy. If the Arts is more your thing, then there are several venues you can visit regularly. For example, there is The Peace Center, Centre Stage, Sargent-Wilson Museum & Gallery at Heritage Green, Art Crossing at River Place, and Carolina Ballet Theatre, plus many others!
For the sports enthusiast in Greenville, there is Fluor Field at the West End, Greenville Road Warriors Hockey, and more. There are also several culinary and history tours and museums available in the city such as the Upcountry History Museum and Greenville Culinary Tours. In addition, there are entertainment venues around the city like the Downtown Trolley, Horse Drawn Carriages, Miniature World of Trains, the Kilgore-Lewis House, and so much more. You and your guests will never be bored if you decide to retire in Greenville with all this in and around the city to keep you occupied.
Old town charm is one way to describe the community of Bluffton, South Carolina. The town is rich in history, bustling with community arts and alive with retail shopping venues. The lifestyle is slow-paced and offers a peaceful and tranquil state of mind with all the modern amenities of a big city.
Bluffton’s quiet and tree-lined streets greet walkers heading to town for fresh produce or local seafood. Within the historic district, one will find a wide array of antique shops, galleries, and cafes serving local fare. Long-time residents meet frequently at the outdoor bistros and welcome newcomers with warm Southern hospitality. The May River in Bluffton offers a host of recreational opportunities including kayaking, boat tours, and cruises.
The annual Historic Bluffton Arts and Seafood Festival is held in late October. It’s a week-long event offering a myriad of activities, showcasing the locally harvested seafood, delicious Low Country cuisine, rich history, culture, and art of the area and Southern hospitality found only in Bluffton. The highlight of the festival is the Streetfest featuring over 90 artists displaying and selling their art with food provided by the area’s premier restaurants and caterers and great music and entertainment.
The Heyward House Historic Center is a museum and welcome center located in the heart of Bluffton’s National Register Historic District at 70 Boundary Street. The Heyward House is open to the public and offers docent-guided tours.
Farmers Market of Bluffton is located in historic downtown Bluffton along Calhoun and Lawrence Streets and through Carson Cottages. This family-friendly market is open seasonally and showcases local growers, local food vendors, local entertainment, local community causes, and local information about the Bluffton area.
Hilton Head Island offers sight-seeing adventures and outdoor activities such as crabbing, fishing, and boating. Local parades and cultural events make this area popular with those who love community and fun-loving fellowship. Beyond the outskirts of town, visitors will find more local farmers’ markets, immaculately manicured golf courses, and one of the region’s most prized outlet shopping malls. Bluffton has become popular among retirees looking for a more convenient way of life.
Sun City Carolina Lakes is located in Lancaster County, South Carolina just 5 miles from the North Carolina border and only a short distance from the Charlotte metro area. Just minutes away are shopping, dining, entertainment venues, the Charlotte Douglas International airport, and award-winning medical facilities. The community rests on more than 1,200 acres of rolling, green forests filled with pine, maple, oak, and purple plum trees and includes 10 pristine lakes and ponds.
Del Webb Charleston lifestyle is coming to the desirable historic area of Charleston, South Carolina! Located just 25 miles from downtown Charleston, this newest Del Webb community to grace the Carolinas, will serve adults 55 years of age or better who are interested in enjoying an enriching lifestyle full of unlimited social, recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities. Whether you are rekindling an old passion or exploring new pursuits, Del Webb Charleston is the perfect home for you to inspire, redefine and facilitate your new life ahead!
Sun City Hilton Head is located in the beautiful South Carolina Lowcountry. This active adult community for adults age 55 and over boasts a range of opportunities and events, including golf courses, tennis courts, softball fields, walking trails, a sports complex, four swimming pools, clubs, classes, and activities.
The Haven at New Riverside is an active adult Del Webb community for adults age 55 near Historic Bluffton, SC. The community encompasses 348 acres with 500 home sites, many homes and lots have wooded or lagoon views, and residents may choose from eight, single-story floor plans.
Hilton Head Plantation, located on the North end of Hilton Island, SC, offers the ultimate active lifestyle for retirement living or second home ownership. Residents enjoy over 4000 acres of parks, lagoons and marshes, bike trails, and a private beach. Within the gates are four championship golf courses, a wildlife conservatory, miles of bike trails, a full-service marina, tennis courts, and a community pool in addition to the Country Club of Hilton Head’s multimillion-dollar facilities.
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Originally published July 19, 2022
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