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.

According to federal data, South Carolina and North Carolina are the third and fourth most popular retirement destinations in the United States, trailing only behind Florida and Arizona which rose to number one and two respectively in 2019.

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 260 homes in total. With home prices ranging from the $200,000s to around $300,000, 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 only 225 homes. The homes in this community range from the high $100,000s to low $300,000s 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.

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/barbershop, 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.