Asheville, North Carolina, consistently ranks among the most popular retirement destinations in the United States. Five of the best retirement communities in the area are French Broad Crossing, Smoky Mountain Retreat, Givens Estates, the Creston Community, and Reynolds Mountain.

Located in the valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains and nestled next to the Great Smoky Mountains, the Asheville area is popular with retirees for its natural beauty, low cost of living, and a mild, four-season climate. This area is close to “The Yosemite of the East,” which is home to large granite domes, waterfalls, and rare high altitude bogs. Asheville is the largest city in western North Carolina, and it acts as the regional hub for business, health and human services, the arts, and other cultural activities.

1. French Broad Crossing

French Broad Crossing is western North Carolina’s only private riverfront mountain community. Nestled on a mountain alongside the French Broad River, one of the oldest rivers in the world, this gated community offers unmatched panoramic views. Many active residents take advantage of exciting activities, such as white water rafting, tubing, and kayaking on the longest river in North Carolina.

The grounds feature a river lodge and fitness center with a pool and hot tub, a riverside park, and even a custom-built treehouse with an outdoor fireplace, all with magnificent views. Mountain homesites rest on a scenic 750 acres, with more than one-third of the property set aside for conservation. Surrounding the community is hundreds of acres of legally-protected public land, ensuring the future of this unique area. French Broad Crossing is perfect for those choosing a retirement community where the outdoors is the main attraction.

2. Smoky Mountain Retreat

Smoky Mountain Retreat features a private country club where residents enjoy year-round golf, tennis, swimming, and fine dining. The 1,000-acre Smoky Mountain Retreat gated community, dotted with $1+ million log homes, also features a 60-acre village of more modestly-priced log cottages on three-quarter-acre lots in a heavily wooded mountain setting. There are several log home floor plans to choose from with plans ranging from 2,000 to 5,700 square feet. As of 2020, prices range from the low $300k for small cabins and cottages to over $2.5 million for luxury estates, depending on the community within the Smoky Mountain Retreat. Furnished rentals are also available.

3. Givens Estates

Givens Estates offers many options to accommodate the needs of almost any retiree. The award-winning assisted living community offers cottages, duplexes, and apartments on its campus, and all of the grounds maintenance services are included.

Numerous planned activities are regularly scheduled to satisfy the most active of retirees. Residents can create pottery, paintings, and crafts in the art studios, or satisfy their green thumb in the greenhouse and arboretum. There is even a well-equipped woodworking shop.

The property also features several restaurants, a computer lab, and many hiking trails. Residents can take advantage of many volunteer opportunities on campus, and scheduled transportation is also provided to the surrounding areas.

4. The Creston Community

A private gated community, Creston’s mountainside homesites feature magnificent views and walking trails to creeks and waterfalls. A community center featuring a library, stone fireplace, and an open floor plan is perfect for socializing and entertaining.

Design options include 1,500 to 2,700 sq. ft. cottage sites and 2,000 to 4,800 sq. ft. traditional sites. The 135 homesites, ranging from one to twenty-one acres, are scattered across 1,100 acres of an entire mountain, ensuring the highest of privacy.

5. Reynolds Mountain

Reynolds Mountain is comprised of three connected communities: Reynolds Mountain, with serene mountain views, Reynolds Village offering luxury urban living, and Reynolds Park, a favorite of recreation enthusiasts. Located in the fastest growing and most vibrant areas of western North Carolina, Reynolds Mountain Communities are designed to be pedestrian-friendly for easy exploring.

Featuring such a wide variety of choices, Reynolds Mountain Communities offer many options for those who have excelled at retirement planning. Between the three properties, Reynolds Mountain offers houses, townhouses, and condominiums from between $500,000 and $2.5 million, and land for sale between $117,000 to $400,000 depending on the parcel.