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Retirement Communities in North Carolina


The best retirement communities in North Carolina offer plenty of amenities and the backdrop of rolling hills, mountains and pristine waterways. And you can make new friends at large clubhouses and country clubs. So you think the Tar Heel State may be the place you’d like to spend your golden years, read on for our coverage of the best retirement communities in North Carolina. We cover entertainment and recreation options as well as access to medical centers and major attractions. These retirement communities in North Carolina are listed based on general home prices, ranging from low to high. But it’s always a good idea to find a financial advisor whenever you’re looking up affordable retirement communities or planning your retirement.


Price Range: Mid $200ks – High $300ks
Number of Homes: 850 homes
Age Restriction: 55+

Award-winning builder Kolter Homes recently developed this adult community. And they definitely put their skill to use here. One of the main attractions is the 18,000-square-foot clubhouse, which is run by a full-time activities director who makes sure you’re having a good time. There, you can break a sweat at the state-of-the-art fitness center or chill by the indoor pool.

But the outdoor activities are just as fun. You can play your new friends and neighbors in a game of tennis or bocce ball.

And if you need a break, you can visit one of the many major attractions that surround the Cresswind communities. Plus, you’ll be nearby medical facilities such as the Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

Carolina Orchards

Price Range: Low $200ks – Mid $300ks
Number of Homes: 722
Age Restrictions: 55+

Another recently established active adult community, the Carolina Orchards provides its residents with plenty of amenities to stay busy. There’s even a dog park you can bring your good boys to. You can also join one of the many clubs that gather to spend quality time at the clubhouse. Outdoors, you can find tennis courts and plenty of hiking trails.

And when you want to call it a night, you can retreat to an expedition series home with two to three bedrooms. These offer about 1,655 to 1,962 square feet of living space.

Meadowlands Golf Club

Price Range: High $100ks – Low $300ks
Number of Homes: 450 homes
Age Restrictions: None

Meadowlands Golf Club serves as a luxurious retirement community for its residents. Nestled in Calabash, this hot spot provides several opportunities to stay active. Residents enjoy tennis, swimming, and golf. And there’s miles upon miles trails for the outdoor enthusiasts. Scenic ponds make for a relaxing walk as well.

Opened in 2005, the community now contains more than 400 homes. These extend from 1,430 to 2,711 square feet. Several feature upgrades like gourmet kitchens and walk-in closets.

Cresswind Charlotte

Price Range: Mid $200ks – High $300ks
Number of Homes: 850
Age Restrictions: 55+

At Cresswind, you’ll be treated to resort-style amenities. The main hub is the 18,000 square-foot clubhouse with a gym and indoor swimming pool. It also hosts a range of clubs to meet every interest. In addition, you can host parties and shindigs at the outdoor events lawn. Nature lovers can bask in the more than 370 acres of woodlands that surround the community.

A nearby shopping plaza, pharmacy, and other shops have everything you need just a few miles away in Charlotte. But if you want to give it a break, you’d be near the Douglas International Airport.

In addition, you can choose from among more than 700 single-family homes.

The Village at Motts Landing

Price Range: Mid $300ks – High $500ks
Number of Homes: 415
Age Restrictions: None

Nestled among Coastal North Carolina, residents of the Village at Motts Landing live the life you see in postcards. So if beaches and natural beauty sound like paradise to you, this may be the right fit. The competitive types will enjoy the lively games of tennis and golf. Or you can work your green thumb at the community garden. Residents are also treated to community-wide events all year.

And when you’re done having fun, you can relax at an apartment with 1,900 to 2,929 square feet of living space.

Sun City Carolina Lakes

Price Range: Mid $200s – High $700s
Number of Homes: 3,160
Age Restrictions: 55+

With thousands of residents, Sun City Carolina Lakes is one of the larger communities on our list. But there’s no shortage of amenities to take advantage of. You can work on your swing at the 18-hole golf course. You’d be surrounded by 1,512 of rolling hills. Plus, you can make plenty of friends by joining one of the 130 clubs and counting. Or you can play your neighbors at tennis, basketball, softball and more. Indoors, you can have just as much fun. The Lodge clubhouse houses an indoor pool and a ballroom.

Your home options include single-family homes, villa townhomes and carriage homes.

retirement communities in north carolina

Compass Pointe

Price Range: High $200ks – High $500ks
Number of Homes: 2,000
Age Restriction: None

Picture enjoying your golden years with a nice drink by a luxury pool lined with palm trees? Compass Pointe may be right for you. Your adult playground includes a golf club, a gym and a tennis court. You can also bring the pooches to the dog park. And when you want to get a bite, you have gourmet restaurants at your disposal.

You can also rewatch some of your favorite movies and shows at the TV area with your new friends. This is one of the many attractions at the 10,000-square-feet Grand Lanai clubhouse.

Your home options include single-family homes with 1,600 to 3,000 square feet of living space.

Fearrington Village

Price Range: Mid $200ks – Low $700ks
Number of Homes: 1,400 homes
Age Restrictions: 55+

Residents at this 55+ community enjoy a range of amenities. You’d have access to plenty of restaurants, a bookstore and even a farmers market. But it stands out on our list for its Fearrington Cares program. This non-profit organization provides free on-site healthcare. It also hosts various health-related seminars.

Residents here enjoy activities like tennis, golf and swimming. In fact, the community supports the Fearrington Swim & Croquet Club, which meets at a private outdoor recreational facility. It features a spa whirlpool and swimming pool. Moreover, this club offers swim and aerobics classes. And the fun doesn’t stop there. You’d also have the 20,000-square-foot fitness center.

And to relax, you can visit the spa. Or you can bask in nature as you’ll be surrounded by ponds, gardens, streams and walking trails.

Carolina Preserve

Price Range: High $200ks – Low $500ks
Number of Homes: 1,268
Age Restriction: 55+

The Carolina Preserve community provides adults with plenty of opportunities to keep their bodies and minds active. In fact, it’s surrounded by several institutions offering continuing education courses. These include Duke University, North Carolina State University and Wake Forest University. Meanwhile, the 34,000-square-foot Bedford Hall houses a gym as well as a dance and aerobics studio.

You can also pound miles of walking trails or pedal through bike paths. These include the historic Tobacco Trail between Raleigh and Durham. Residents also have access to the 12,000-square-foot Amberly Residents Club. This includes an Olympic size swimming pool, an event lawn and outdoor amphitheater. In addition, you can make new friends by joining one of the more than 100 clubs catering to different interests. And when you need it, you can visit one of the many medical centers that surround the area.

Real estate options span two- to four-bedroom homes that offer about 1,217 to 3,500 square feet of living space.

Carolina Arbors

Price Range: Low $200ks -Low $600ks
Number of Homes: 1,256
Age Restrictions: 55+

Situated in Raleigh, the Carolina Arbors community offers fosters a very active lifestyle. The main clubhouse serves as the community hub. It contains a gym, ballroom, billiards room and other amenities. You can access indoor and outdoor pools as as well as a demonstration kitchen. And those with green thumbs can work their magic at the botanical garden. Outdoors, you can play tennis, pickleball and bocce ball.

Carolina Arbor’s location also means you’ll never be too far from medical facilities and universities if you want to continue your education.

The community also surrounds several different housing options with a range of floor plans. The largest are part of the Pinnacle Collection which provide homes with space ranging from 2,155 to 2,562 square feet of living space.

Brunswick Forest

Price Range: Mid $200ks – Low $900ks
Number of Homes: 8,000
Age Restrictions: None

Water sport and nature lovers would be very satisfied spending their golden years in Brunswick Forest. This vibrant coastal community promotes an exciting lifestyle. Residents enjoy canoeing and kayaking on the Intercoastal Waterway as well as the Cape Fear River. They also fish and have waterside picnics at the River Club. In addition, you can also take advantage of the various walking and biking trails that surround Brunswick Forest. And golf lovers of all ranks can practice their swings at the Cape Fear National Golf Course with 18 holes of championship golf.

A 18,000-square-foot Fitness and Wellness Center And the fun continues at the 7,000-square-foot clubhouse houses the latest cardio and strength equipment. It also features indoor and outdoor pools as well as steam rooms. After breaking a sweat, you can relax at the massage room or enjoy a poolside drink from the Splash Cafe.

Your housing options span several neighborhoods. Townhomes contain master suites and at least two bathrooms as well as attached garages. These provide 1,133 to 2,254 square feet of living space.

St. James Plantation

Price Range: Low $100ks – Low $1 millions
Number of Homes: 5,000
Age Restrictions: None

This gated community nestled in Southport offers plenty of opportunities to have fun and relax. And if you enjoy living in coastal communities, you’d love it at St. James Plantation. You’d have access to a private beach with an extra outdoor swimming pool just 10 minutes away. The plantation also features a full-service marina with more than 100 boat slips. In addition, you can find the latest amenities at four different clubhouse. These are the Members, Reserve, Founders and Players clubs. Each also houses a restaurant all members have access to regardless which club they join.

However, the great outdoors offer just as much fun. For instance, you can see a concert at the Woodlands Park Amphitheater or enjoy a party at the Waterway Park Pavillion.

Your real estate options include single-family homes with at least three bedrooms. The largest span from 2,210 to 3,096 square feet.

Ocean Ridge Plantation

Price Range: High $300ks – High $900ks
Number of Homes: 3,000 homes
Age Restrictions: None

The Ocean Ridge plantation greets its residents with luxurious coastal living. For instance, the Plantation Club sits on a four-acre fishing lake. Here, you can enjoy a barbecue with friends while taking in gorgeous lake views. You can also take a dive into indoor and outdoor pools or pump some iron at the fitness center.

The community also houses the nationally-recognized Big Cats golf courses. Each offers 18 holes of championship golf behind scenic landscapes. You can also soak in the nature by taking a walk on the miles of trails that surround the community and lead into lush woodlands. In addition, you can stay healthy by taking advantage of the Ocean Ridge Plantation weight training and water aerobic activities.

Homes are situated along 3,000 acres of Coastal Carolina land. Your options include new and resale homes offering 1,600 to 2,800 square feet of living space.

Connestee Falls

Price Range: Low $100ks – High $1 millions
Number of Homes: 1,300 homes
Age Restrictions: None

Settled in Brevard, this mountain side community gives nature lovers plenty to explore. You can enjoy 13 miles of walking and biking trails that cut through aesthetic parks, lakes and waterfalls. At the heart of the community rests the 26,000 square-foot recreational center. You can find a gym, theater, dining hall and several meeting rooms. It also features a library.

Another space to enjoy a tranquil afternoon would be at the outdoor patio or community garden. You can also compete with your new friends at the tennis and bocce ball courts.

Real estate options include attached homes and single family residences. These provide about 1,200 to 3,000 square feet of living space with two-to-four bedrooms and attached one-or-two-car garages.

Winding River Plantation

Price Range: Mid $100ks – Mid $800ks
Number of Homes: 1,134
Age Restrictions: None

This low-maintenance community in Bolivia, North Carolina offers its residents a very laid-back lifestyle. It’s also home to the 27-hole Carolina National Golf Club that Fred Couples designed. Here, you can find all the amenities you’d expect from a luxury, age-restricted community. You’d have access to a modern fitness center, a catering chicken and plenty of meeting rooms. An outdoor pavilion with a wet bar and grilling area is perfect for having get-togethers with your new friends.

Housing options cover various condominiums and single-family homes. The condos feature about 1,201 to 2,196 square feet of living space with two-to-three bedrooms. Single-family homes tend to extend from 2,131 to 5,806 square feet of living space.

retirement communities in north carolina

Tips on Planning Your Retirement

  • If you’re looking at retirement communities, make sure you’re well invested in a retirement plan such as a 401(k) or an individual retirement account (IRA). But don’t fret if you don’t have one. It’s never too late to start saving. There are plenty of ways to plan your retirement in your 50s or any other age. You can also use our retirement calculator to come up with a good saving strategy.
  • Any time you’re making an important retirement planning decision, it’s important to check in with a financial advisor. We can help you find one with our SmartAsset financial advisor matching tool. It connects you with up to three financial advisors in your area. You can review their profiles and credentials. It also provides contact information, so you can set up interviews before deciding to work with one.
  • If these locations did not strike your fancy, you may be interested in checking out our study on the best places to retire in North Carolina.

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