Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Carolina Beach, North Carolina
Laid Back Carolina Beach Sits Atop a Barrier Island and Has Miles of Beautiful Beaches and a Fun Boardwalk
Pleasure Island sits along the southern North Carolina coast and is outlined by the Cape Fear River and the Atlantic Ocean. On the island's northern end, laid back Carolina Beach makes its home.
The town started out in 1857 and for years was only accessible by boat. It was known as a party destination in the 1970s and 1980s, but the 1990s brought more residential development and a push to make the town a tourist destination. It still maintains a low key, 1950s-ambiance with modest cottages in quiet neighborhoods, although there are now also modern stilt homes and upscale condominiums. The town center has an active marina with charter fishing boats and pleasure craft. The nearby beach boardwalk has always been a Carolina Beach highlight. It has several mixed-use, waterfront projects but also an old fashioned arcade, an amusement park, Britts Donut Shop, restaurants, beach boutiques and more.
Locals enjoy miles of gorgeous beaches. Undeveloped Freeman Park is the place for boating, crabbing, and swimming, and nearby Carolina Beach State Park has nature trails and a riverside fishing pier. The entire island is illuminated with Christmas displays from mid-November through New Year's Eve.
Population: 6,500 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 47%
Cost of Living: 26% above the national average
Median Home Price: $560,000
Climate: Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 30s, 40s and 50s. On average, the area receives 55 inches of rain each year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport, 10 miles away, accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport, 10 miles away, is accredited.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Leans liberal
College Educated: 42%
Is North Carolina Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Somewhat
Cons: None, although hurricanes are always a possibility. In fact, Florence brought significant flooding in 2018.
Notes: The year-round population has grown 8% within the last decade. Summer vacationers quadruple the population. Winters are quiet. U.S. Route 421 runs through town and heads directly into Wilmington, about 12 miles away. Home prices have increased 32% since last year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
The Tar Heel State was one of the first to instruct its Continental Congress delegates to vote for independence from British rule. After the Revolutionary War, it entered the Union on November 21, 1789 and started developing an extensive slave plantation system. It became a major exporter of cotton and tobacco. North Carolina was one of 11 states to secede from the Union and to spark the American Civil War.
Bordered by South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Virginia, and the Atlantic ocean, North Carolina's geographic regions range from the barrier islands and low plains of the eastern Atlantic coast to the mountainous regions of the west. The rolling hills and waterfalls of the Piedmont lie in between. Because of a wide variance in altitudes, North Carolina's climate can be hard to predict. Winters, especially on the coast, can be warm and mild.
The state has 17 major river basins and is rich in hydroelectric power. Tobacco, sweet potatoes, hogs, trout, and turkeys are a few of its agricultural products. The arts and culture industry has become an economic driver. It supports more than 43,000 jobs and generates almost $120 million in state and local revenue.
North Carolina is the home of several firsts. Babe Ruth hit his first professional home run in Fayetteville. The Wright brothers launched the first manned, self-propelled airplane from a cliff near Kitty Hawk. Pepsi was invented and first served in New Bern. Vernon Rudolph first sold Krispy Kreme doughnuts in Winston-Salem.
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