Five of the best retirement communities in Charleston, South Carolina, are Del Webb Charleston, Cresswind at The Ponds, The Elms of Charleston, The Pines at Gahagan and Marrington at Cobblestone. The Charleston area is a popular retirement destination due to its warm climate, nearby beaches, many historical sites and year-round festivals.

Key Takeaways

  • Even if you're not a native South Carolinian, retiring to Charleston has become popular due to its climate, beaches, and historical sites.
  • There are many communities in Charleston that offer amenities that target retirees, such as in-house retailers, markets, post offices, pet spaces, fitness clubs, trails, community activities, and easy access to golf courses.
  • These homes that can be bought or rented within these communities typically charge fees to cover the cost of grounds-keeping.

1) Del Webb Charleston

Del Webb Charleston is a community for active seniors, ages 55 and up, containing approximately 1,000 homes that range in price from the low $200,000s to the $400,000s. The community spans 360 regularly manicured acres of land, including a preserved wetland area.

The Resort at Del Webb Charleston is a large clubhouse and recreation spot that serves as the center for all of the community’s activities. Within the clubhouse is a fitness center complete with modern exercise equipment, an indoor lap pool, an aerobics studio, studios for crafts and hobbies, a sundeck and a ballroom area. Just outside the clubhouse is a resort-style pool, a lake, a dog park and an area for tennis. Entertainment events and activities take place on the event lawn. There are also biking and walking trails throughout the community.

All of the homes within Del Webb Charleston are designed for active adults and seniors, and the homes feature open floor plans. Most of the homes for sale are newly constructed, and a limited number are pre-owned. The cost of living in the Charleston metropolitan area is moderate.

2) Cresswind at The Ponds

Cresswind is a new, much-anticipated senior neighborhood located within the master-planned community of The Ponds. The minimum age requirement to live in this community is 55. There are about 600 homes in the community, ranging in price from the mid-$200,000s to the low $300,000s.

With construction expected to be completed in early 2016, the center of this community will feature a major clubhouse with available space for games, events and other activities. It will also house a fully functioning fitness center.

There will also be further outdoor amenities, including bocce ball and tennis courts, and a large outdoor pool. An amphitheater and event lawn will provide outdoor areas for special events and performances.

Much of the community's real estate is still under construction. Two complete collections of homes will be available upon completion. These homes include spacious first-floor master suites that are expected to be some of the most luxurious accommodations available in area retirement communities.

3) The Elms of Charleston

The Elms of Charleston is another 55+ community perfect for socially inclined seniors, and it offers low-maintenance living. There are 325 homes in this idyllic community, ranging in cost from the low $100,000s to the mid-$200,000s. The significantly lower home prices make this community especially appealing to seniors who are less financially well-off.

There are a number of resort-style amenities at The Elms, and the clubhouse is the hub for all of the community's activities. Residents can interact with neighbors and utilize the facility's exercise room, lounge, ballroom, game room and catering-style kitchen.

Outdoor amenities include a pool, tennis courts and various walking paths. A community transit system transports residents, taking them on trips and tours throughout the area as well.

All the homes include single-level living with large master bedrooms on the first floor. The community was designed around cul-de-sac streets to ensure low traffic.

4) The Pines at Gahagan

The Pines at Gahagan is a neighborhood for active adults over the age of 55. This gated community was started in 2006. With a total of only 109 homes, it is one of the most intimate communities in the area. The typical cost of these homes ranges from the low $200,000s to the $300,000s. Buyers can choose from resale inventory, or they can acquire new homes.

Though it is a small community, The Pines offers a luxurious clubhouse. The clubhouse's multipurpose great room includes a kitchen, a juice bar, exercise rooms, a library and several game areas. Outside the clubhouse, there is a resort-style swimming area with a patio.

There are 11 different two- and three-bedroom models of homes within the community, ranging in size from just under 1,400 square feet to over 2,500 square feet. Some second-story loft options are available as well. The developer for the community allows buyers of new homes to modify floor plans. The homes are low-maintenance and include tankless hot water heaters and screened porches or sunrooms.

5) Marrington at Cobblestone

Marrington at Cobblestone is highly intimate, and the smallest community on this list, with a total of 98 homes. Designed with active 55+ adults in mind, the community is quiet, situated on approximately 21 acres bordered by wetlands and woods.

The central feature of Marrington is the clubhouse, which is equipped with an exercise room, a catering kitchen and a multipurpose room used for community events. Outside the clubhouse is a large resort-style swimming pool and sun deck.

The homes in this retirement community come in a variety of styles and range in size from 1,130 square feet to just under 2,000 square feet, with two or three bedrooms and bathrooms. A limited number of homes come with attached two-car garages.