A Guide to 55+ Active Living Communities in North Carolina
Experience the Natural Charms of North Carolina
As one of the most popular locations for retirement-age seniors on the East Coast, North Carolina appeals to active 55+ adults who want to spend time outdoors year round.
The state offers retirees an opportunity to enjoy all four seasons! Temperatures remain fairly mild even in summer and winter with heat waves and cold fronts a rarity.
The climate makes North Carolina well suited to a variety of outdoor activities. The state's mountainous western regions have rivers and lakes perfect for boating, fishing, and hunting. Summers allow for hiking, swimming in community pools and spending time at the beach while colder months offer seniors a chance to ski and ice skate.
In addition to its more rural and agricultural areas, North Carolina has metropolitan cities like Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Cary, and Charlotte, offering seniors sporting events, live concerts, shopping, and entertainment. Areas near North Carolina’s top cities for retirement also offer empty nesters casinos, fine dining at 5-star restaurants, golf courses, and more!
Cultural gathering places are common in the relatively conservative state of North Carolina, with Christian churches and temples being the most abundant. The growing population of South Asian residents is contributing to the cultural diversity of the state and adding a welcoming introduction to exotic festivals and traditions.
If you’re looking to travel during your retirement, North Carolina’s major cities serve as travel hubs. The largest airport, Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT), has dozens of flights each day traveling to destinations around the world.
North Carolina offers seniors an array of move-in ready single story housing options. Popular community types for active 55+ seniors include age restricted communities, golf course communities, and both lakeside and oceanside waterfront communities.
Where to Retire in North Carolina
From the cities of Charlotte and Raleigh to the quiet rural towns in the Appalachian Mountains, North Carolina offers variety to 55+ active adults looking for a place to call home.
Blue Ridge Mountains
North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains region covers much of the western half of the state. The area is defined by its connection to nature. Hiking trails and mountain bike paths crisscross the forests, the myriad of lakes are perfect for fishing and boating. The diversity of wildlife in the forests beckon hunting enthusiats. All of this is either at your back door or within a few hours drive.
Nestled among the mountains, Asheville has a thriving art and cultural scene complete with local craft breweries and lively shopping districts. There are also many local parks and nature preserves waiting to be explored by active seniors.
Central North Carolina, known as Piedmont, is a rural agricultural area. Southern charm and history can be felt in residential towns like Unionville and Franklinton, historic Denver, the shopping center of Apex, and lakeside Cornelius.
Piedmont is home to Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest metropolitan city and the primary travel hub in the state. Suburbs such as Iron Station are perfect for retirees looking to retire near the city.
Durham is nicknamed the ‘City of Medicine’ for its exceptional healthcare offerings. The nearby suburb of Wendell, a satellite area of Raleigh, offers a friendly, small-town feel to seniors.
Additional popular retirement locales in Piedmont include Fuquay Varina and Mount Holly which feature outdoor parks and hiking trails.
The Coastal Plains of North Carolina lie along the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding area. Beach towns like Ocean Isle Beach offer waterfront property and easy access to beaches and coastline.
The port city of Wilmington has historic landmarks ranging from Civil War sites and antebellum-age plantations to World War II-era relics and navy ships. Greenville is a college town full of dining, shopping, and live entertainment. It’s also known as a medical hub with top-notch health services for seniors.
Staying Active in and Around North Carolina’s 55+ Communities
North Carolina is known for its outdoor activities and access to lakes, beaches and mountainous forests.
Whether you’re looking for fun things to do around the state or you’d prefer to see what’s available within senior communities, there are an abundance of ways to stay active and healthy in North Carolina during your retirement.
Things to Do in Your 55+ Active Adult Community
Seniors can stay on-property in the best retirement communities, enjoying hobbies, exercise, and other pastimes. North Carolina’s master planned 55+ communities offer access to a range of activities that make it easy to stay active, no matter the weather.
Visit the Clubhouse
Community clubhouses promote fellowship with like-minded neighbors, frequently hosting live entertainment and educational seminars for seniors. Interest groups meet for hobbies like knitting and cooking as well activities that keep 55+ active adults in motion at community recreation and fully-equipped fitness centers.
Swim in the Community Pool
Many 55+ communities in North Carolina feature private, on-site outdoor pools, while others have heated indoor pools you can swim in year round!
Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for seniors, as it’s easy on the joints. Hydrotherapy can relieve pain and improve your range of movement.
Play Tennis or Pickleball
Active 55+ adult communities in North Carolina often have sport courts for activities such as tennis and pickleball. Pickleball courts are commonly located indoors offering seniors a perfect way to stay active rain or shine!
Venture Off-Property for Popular Senior Activities
North Carolina is filled with things to do for empty nesters, from playing games like slots and blackjack at one of the states’ casinos to attending a race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the famous venue for NASCAR. Rural areas also offer hiking and hunting to nature loving seniors.
If professional sports is your passion, North Carolina has a teamto cheer on in every season. It’s home to professional teams in the NFL ( Carolina Panthers), the NBA ( Charlotte Hornets), the MLS ( Charlotte FC), and the NHL (Carolina Hurricanes). It’s also home to some of regions most prestigious professional Arena League indoor football clubs. Every region of North Carolina hosts a minor league team, whether it’s baseball, basketball, hockey, or soccer , there’s a clubs near you.
If you’re looking to travel, the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT) is the busiest in the state, flying millions of passengers to exotic destinations around the world. Domestic options for travel include regional airports and the Amtrak train, departing for major cities like New York, Chicago and Dallas.
Golf at Ocean Ridge Plantation
There are picturesque golf courses throughout North Carolina. Practice your swing at the driving range or spend the afternoon on the course with fellow retirees.
One standout North Carolina golf course for seniors is Ocean Ridge Plantation. It doubles as a golf and beach community, with four golf courses and miles of white sand.
Fish North Carolina’s Lakes
If you don’t own a new home in a master planned waterfront community, take a trip to one of the state’s lakes for a day of boating and water sports. Fishing is popular for seniors in North Carolina hoping to hook black bass, bluegill, perch, catfish and crappie!
Head to the Beach
North Carolina borders the Atlantic Ocean, which means there are many beaches within a short drive from many 55+ active adult communities.
Spend time relaxing in a beach chair or stroll along the shore and boardwalk. Fish off the pier, or stay active with water sports like swimming and paddle boarding.
Reasons to Retire in North Carolina
North Carolina is popular with retirees for its low cost of living. Taxes are lower than many states, and Social Security income is not taxed at the state level.
North Carolina’s four mild seasons, year round temperate climate, and minimal snow for a low-maintenance lifestyle, is perfect for active oldr adults looking for a place to retire.
For those who want to stay active in retirement, North Carolina is ideal. Its lakes, rivers, and ocean are hubs for hunting, fishing, hiking, and boating!
Senior Living Communities in North Carolina
North Carolina has senior housing options to suit all budgets and lifestyles. Consider affordable options like manufactured homes or condominiums (condos) communities where HOA dues handle property maintenance outside of resident’s units.
Luxury 55+ apartment rentals offer downsizing empty nesters. One, two and three bedroom floor plans with outdoor space, updated interiors, and elevators to top floors offer residents convenience and security. Luxury apartments also frequently offer gated-access, covered parking and an on-site pool!
Country clubs in master planned golf course communities often include tennis and pickleball courts, an on-site swimming pool, and fitness facilities. Perks of membership can be resident only access, a putting green and driving range, upscale dining and access to a bar and lounge.
If safety and comfort within your neighborhood is a priority for you, consider living in a gated 55+ community, where only residents and their guests are allowed to enter. Community amenities support an active lifestyle, such as pools, tennis and pickleball courts, golf courses, and fitness clubs and classes.
Healthcare Options in North Carolina
North Carolina has many top-notch healthcare options for seniors including specialists, chronic pain management services, assisted living communities, and general practitioners.
There are also quality hospitals and other healthcare facilities such as the headquarters of Novant Health and the Carolinas Medical Center hospital. North Carolina features leading universities like Duke University and UNC teaching the world’s future doctors, ensuring that local healthcare will be available and affordable for years to come!
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