North Carolina is rapidly growing in popularity as a retirement destination. Many retirees favor the state because it features all four seasons with relatively mild winters. North Carolina is also becoming the retirement destination for Florida transplants, as many retirees find summers in the extreme south to be too severe and the cost of living too steep. A survey conducted in 2010 determined that North Carolina and South Carolina are the two most popular retirement destinations in the United States, beating out Florida and Arizona.

Key Takeaways

  • If you're thinking of retiring to North Carolina, you're in good company - the state consistently ranks as a top retirement destination.
  • Its central location, temperate climate, proximity to beaches and bigger cities, and relatively modest cost of living make it a great place to settle down.
  • Here we profile just three of the highest rated retirement communities in the state.

The Gables at Kepley Farm

The Gables at Kepley Farm is located in Salisbury, North Carolina, and it is restricted to active adults aged 55 and over. The community is relatively small, with just over 250 homes. With home prices ranging from $100,000 to the low $200,000s, the community is one of the most affordable in the state. The low-maintenance homes at the Gables come with four different floor plans and range from 1,500 square feet to just under 2,000 square feet. All homes feature two bedrooms, two bathrooms and an attached two-car garage. Each home is also designed for one-level living to accommodate retirees.

At the heart of the Gables at Kepley Farm is a 4,000-square-foot clubhouse, where residents can find nearly all of the community's activities and amenities. The clubhouse features an entertainment room with a large-screen television, expansive hobby and game rooms, an exercise room, and a catering kitchen. Outdoors, residents may grow their own vegetables in the community garden or utilize one of several barbecue areas on the clubhouse's covered veranda.

Knollwood Village

Knollwood Village is arguably the most affordable retirement community in North Carolina. Located in the Pinehurst area, Knollwood Village's real estate consists of 240 homes. These homes start below $100,000, with the most expensive selling for less than $250,000. Buyers may purchase a condominium or townhome. All floor plans are designed around single-level living and feature exteriors that require little to no maintenance. The condominiums range from studio layouts to those with two bedrooms, all of which include one bathroom and easily accessible parking. Condos generally range from 560 square feet to over 1,000 square feet. Attached townhomes typically have two or three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and either an attached garage or a covered carport. These homes range from 1,450 square feet to nearly 2,000 square feet.

Knollwood Village offers residents a variety of amenities with a major focus placed on the 22-acre nine-hole golf course, complete with practice facilities that include a driving range and an all-grass practice tee. Residents may also enjoy the community's wooded walking trails or go for a swim in the outdoor pool.

Memberships to the Midland Country Club, two miles west of Knollwood Village, are also available to residents. The 12,000-square-foot clubhouse includes a well-stocked library, meeting rooms, an activity center and a modern exercise room. The clubhouse also features a full-service restaurant, a pro shop and an outdoor pool.

Pinehurst Trace

Pinehurst Trace is also located in the Pinehurst area and is one of the most intimate communities, with less than 200 homes. The homes in this community range from the mid- to high-$100,000s and typically feature two or three bedrooms, two bathrooms and an attached garage. In general, the homes range from approximately 1,300 square feet to over 2,400 square feet. Residents looking for new construction homes may purchase available lots in the community and choose an outside builder to construct a custom-built home, as long as it adheres to the community's specifications.

The 7,000-square-foot clubhouse at the center of the community houses amenities to rival those in the most expensive retirement communities. This clubhouse provides residents with access to several multipurpose rooms, a beauty parlor/barber shop, a game room and an exercise room. Outdoors, residents can swim in the pool or enjoy a game of horseshoes, tennis or shuffleboard on one of several courts.