Retirement in North Carolina

Planning for retirement can be stressful. There are so many options to choose from and spending your money wisely is essential. Carolina Living Choices is your guide to exploring the top retirement communities for active seniors and the best continuing care retirement communities for people in search of all inclusive services and amenities. Retiring early? Let us help you find neighborhoods and master planned communities that offer a variety of choices from single family homes to townhouses and condos to apartment complexes for people over 55. Experience the joy and beauty of living in the NC mountains. Experience the quality of life you’ve always dreamed of having as you transition to your next great adventure - retirement!

Why People Love to Retire in North Carolina

Life in Western North Carolina provides the best of all worlds. Surrounded by the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky mountains you are certain to discover new friends, hobbies, events, and passions, as well as enjoy all the perks of living near the city of Asheville. Historically people have always loved and travelled to this region. It has been considered a uniquely special place by tourists and residents for hundreds of years and was sacred to the Cherokee for thousands of years before that. So, what makes WNC different from other places? We have listened to our community and here is what they say:

Top Reasons to Retire in North Carolina

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A mild climate with 4 distinct seasons.


Unforgettable scenery and access to nature


Nationally ranked healthcare and wellness providers


Broad cultural and creative history

How to Evaluate Retirement Communities in North Carolina

Questions You Need to Ask

  • Where do you want to live? 
  • What community amenities matter most to you? 
  • What services do you believe you want in the future? 
  • What level of access to social engagement do you prefer? 
  • What size home do you need?

We understand the importance of lifestyle, location, comfort, and amenities when it comes to renting a place to live, buying a home, or finding the right retirement community or CCRC. As you begin to plan the next phase of life it can be overwhelming as you realize the sheer number of options to choose from. The key is to take your time and investigate everything. Learn about patio homes, cluster homes, master-planned communities, 55+ living, what it means to have an active retirement, and more. Knowing what is possible allows you to truly design the life you want.

Our Favorite Cities and Towns in Western North Carolina

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Asheville, known as the “Paris of the South,” is home to a variety of vibrant and innovative scenes, including  arts, crafts, music, food, brewing, entrepreneurial, outdoor sports, and wellness communities. Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the Smokies, where the French Broad and Swannanoa rivers meet Asheville is a unique city where small town, local business vibes merge with a bustling tourism economy. Asheville provides access to many different activities, attractions, educational opportunities, groups, events, and volunteer positions. If you are passionate, creative, and want to spend your retirement connecting, growing, and trying new things then you are guaranteed to find something you love

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Hendersonville, North Carolina is centrally located between Asheville, NC and Greenville, SC in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Known as “the city of four seasons,” Hendersonville offers a walkable and historic downtown full of restaurants, bars, and shops, all in close proximity to outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking, ziplines, rafting, kayaking, and more. It is also home to unique museums, wineries, breweries, cideries, apple orchards, live music venues, and multiple downtown festivals. If you are looking to get to know your neighbors, participate in local events, escape the stress of city life, and enjoy the simple pleasures of the mountains then this may be the perfect place to retire in North Carolina.


Weaverville, North Carolina is a picturesque mountain town located just North of Asheville. Residents can easily access all of the metropolitan perks of being near a city, while living a peaceful, country lifestyle. Weaverville’s charm comes from its creative spirit, natural beauty, and kind people. Despite its small size, Weaverville is home to a thriving Main Street culture that features delicious flavors, local shops, live music, and the chance to meet your neighbors. Downtown is very walkable and just down the road from Main Street is the lovely Lake Louise, gifted to the town by local residents in 1936. Looking to retire in the country, but close to all kinds of services and activities? Then look no further!

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Hickory, NC is the largest city in the Hickory-Morganton-Lenoir region with a rich history connected to the American railroad and manufacturing. Situated close to Highway 40 in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, halfway between Asheville and Greensboro, Hickory is home to a NASCAR Motor Speedway, over 25 parks, a beautiful lake, art studios, community theatre performances, boutique museums, and more. Whether you want peace and quiet, access to kid-friendly activities, the chance to go on romantic getaways, or an interest in scenic camping you will have a variety of things to do when you retire in Hickory. Discover what retirement can be and design the lifestyle you’ve always imagined!

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Brevard is a scenic hidden gem in Western North Carolina. Located one hour from Asheville in the  “land of the waterfalls” Brevard is where outdoor recreation meets the arts, music, and local business. Build a life deep in the gorgeous, captivating beauty of the North Carolina mountains, but still enjoy the creativity, flavors, and excitement from around the state and the country. Your retirement will be enhanced by your close proximity to Brevard College, Brevard Music Center, The White Squirrel Festival, Pisgah Forest, and a wide variety of galleries, restaurants, and breweries. If you’ve dreamed of retiring surrounded by flora, fauna, and the special magic of the forest, if you want to spend your golden years in nature, then Brevard may be the place for you.

Types of NC Retirement Communities

Active Independent Senior Living

If you believe independent retirement communities are in line with the vision you have for the next stage of your life there are many different types and styles of housing to choose from including: planned residential communities, single family home communities, villas or cluster homes, and apartment communities. All of these options give you the chance to live an active lifestyle full of new experiences, friendships, and passions. Discover new opportunities for joy. 

Rental Retirement Communities

Rental retirement communities are an excellent choice for active seniors that desire freedom and independence, without the burden of completely caring for themselves. These communities generally offer amenities such as daily meals, social and recreational activities, transportation, housekeeping, emergency call service, and continuum of care. Make life easier as you enter into retirement.

Retirement Communities with Service Options

Similar to rental retirement communities and the amenities you’ll find there, these properties offer different housing options from homes to villas; from condominiums to apartments; from rentals to leases to purchase. They also often have an assisted living facility on the property. Consider what services you want carefully and in advance so as you explore different locations you are clear on what your long term goals are.     

CCRC / Continuing Care Retirement Communities / Life Care

CCRC’s and Life Care facilities offer a continuum of care for active seniors and beyond. These communities offer a free and independent lifestyle within a private home or apartment. Many of your basic services are included in the community fees. As future medical needs arise, increased care options are available onsite such as assisted living, skilled nursing and long-term care. Know that you and your home are protected no matter what happens in the future. 

Assisted Living / Assisted Services

Assisted living retirement communities are for individuals who need various levels of non-medical assistance in daily routines in an atmosphere of privacy and respect. If these types of services are necessary but you still prefer separate living units  assisted living communities are ideal. These facilities provide services such as daily meals and social activities, assistance with medication, and housekeeping.

Types of Homes You Can Choose for Retirement

When it comes to renting or buying real estate for retirement there are a wide variety of choices in North Carolina. If you have answered the questions above about how you want to live and where you want to live, the next question is what properties make the most sense for your budget and lifestyle. Many retirement communities in NC provide multiple options so people from all walks of life can become part of their neighborhood, complexes, and social networks.

Single Family Homes

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Patio Homes


Cluster Homes

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