Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Southport, North Carolina
With an Idyllic Coastal Setting, the Little Working Fishing Village of Southport Boasts Marinas, a Well-Worn Waterfront and Nearby Gorgeous Beaches
In 1749, Fort Johnston was erected by British settlers along the mouth of the Cape Fear River in southeast North Carolina. Southport grew up around the fort and was for years a steamship port. Fort Johnston was decommissioned in 2004, but Southport carried on, and its idyllic landscape has been the location for numerous TV shows and movies, including Dawson's Creek and Crimes of the Heart.
Riverboat crewmen, shrimpers and Civil War blockade runners have all left their mark on this fishing village over the years, and the town still reaches out to Intracoastal Waterway boatmen with its tall Pilots River Tower. The air smells like salt, the waterfront dock is worn and seagulls fly over head. The charming downtown boasts colorful storefronts and painted benches, but Southport is not a fancy, resort-like community (at least not yet). It is a working town and always has been, although these days more people manage shops than manage fishing boats. Several marinas offer everything from deli sandwiches to laundry services. Oak Island oceanfront beaches are about 12 miles away.
Tourists swell the population every summer. In fact, nearly 60,000 vacationers come during 4th of July just to watch the fireworks over the water. Golf courses have popped up in recent years, and a large gated community, St. James Plantation, just outside of town, has brought in a lot of new residents.
Population: 4,200 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 55%
Cost of Living: 7% above the national average
Median Home Price: $440,000
Climate: This area has hot, humid summers with temperatures in 80s and 90s and and mild winters temperatures in 40s, 50, 60s. On average, it receives 55 inches of rain per year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? Yes
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? Yes
Public Transit: Yes, Brunswick Transit Service provides an on demand, dial-a-ride service.
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Conservative
College Educated: 29%
Is North Carolina Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Somewhat
Cons: Homeowners' insurance is expensive.
Notes: Southport has grown 25% during the last decade. Home prices have increased 10% since a year ago.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
With its wide range of elevations and its three distinct geographic regions, the Tar Heel State is an inviting place to live or visit.
Its Atlantic Coastal Plain offers two national seashores and more than 300 miles of barrier island beaches. The Chowan, Roanoke, and Neuse rivers find the Atlantic here and provide endless opportunities for sailing, fishing, and kayaking. Seven coastal lighthouses help mark a history of pirates, wild horses, aviators, and Revolutionary War heroes. Downtown Wilmington buzzes with fine dining and nightlife.
North Carolina's Piedmont Region shelters some of the state's biggest cities. Metropolitan Charlotte is packed with galleries, furniture factories, breweries, and gardens. Winston-Salem harbors a a living history museum and sponsors the RiverRun International Film Festival. Barbecue flourishes in Lexington. For those looking to play golf, Pinehurst and the Sandhills beckon. The jewel of the region may be "The Triangle," a triumvirate of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill. World-class universities, museums, and college athletics are everyday occurrences.
The state would be nothing without its Mountain Region. Mount Mitchell, the highest point in North America east of the Mississippi is here. Asheville, the foothills, and the Blue Ridge Parkway are here. Biltmore, the nation's largest home, is here. Visitors might boat at Lake Lure or find their way to the top of Chimney Rock and a stunning 75 mile view. Summer in the high country means the Great Smoky Mountains, camping, hiking, biking, and fishing. Winter means skiing at the Appalachian, Beech, or Sugar Mountain ski resorts.
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