7 Reasons Why South Carolina is a Great Place to Retire

retirees on the beach in south carolina

Welcome to South Carolina, a state known for its lush landscapes, historic charm, and vibrant culture. As you approach retirement, you're likely considering where you can enjoy your golden years to the fullest. South Carolina, with its diverse attractions and reputation for affordable and comfortable living, stands out as an exceptional choice. Let’s explore why.

Retiring in South Carolina

South Carolina has become an increasingly popular choice for retirees, a trend backed by compelling statistics and favorable comparisons. The state’s population has surged in recent years, adding 90,600 residents from July 2022 to July 2023 alone, the highest percentage increase in the country over that period. 

Among the new residents, plenty of retirement-aged folks flocked to coastal counties like Horry County (home of Myrtle Beach, where 26.6% of residents are 65 or older) and Charleston County.

More seniors are choosing the Palmetto State for their retirement years – and who with so many compelling reasons to move here, who can blame them? (We covered the Best Places to Retire in South Carolina in a blog post last year). 

Top Reasons South Carolina is a Good Place to Live for Retirees

1. Diverse Climate & Geography

South Carolina offers a favorable and varied climate that caters to nearly every preference. On average, there are 216 days of sun per year in South Carolina. The average summer high temperature is 91.1° and the average winter low temperature is 32.6°.

The state's geography allows retirees to choose a climate and  lifestyle that suits them best. Enjoy mild winters and warm summers, perfect for year-round outdoor activities.

Want to live by the beach and soak up the sun? There’s options up and down the coast from North Myrtle Beach to Charleston to Hilton Head Island. 

Prefer to surround yourself in the stunning beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains? Upstate South Carolina offers charming towns like Clemson and Greenville teeming with forests, mountains, and waterfalls.

waterfall at lake jocassee in south carolina

2. Lower Taxes

Retirees in South Carolina benefit from some of the lowest tax rates in the country. Though there is a state income tax (ranging from 0 to 7%), the state does not tax Social Security benefits and offers a retirement income deduction of up to $15,000 for individuals over the age of 65.

Property taxes are also among the lowest nationwide, making it financially advantageous for seniors​​. Furthermore, the state has a homestead exemption for homeowners over the age of 65, which can provide additional tax relief for retirees tired of high taxes in other states.

3. Lower Cost of Living

The cost of living in South Carolina is more affordable than in many other states. Housing, utilities, groceries, and entertainment are generally less expensive here. This affordability means your retirement savings go further, allowing for a comfortable lifestyle without compromising on quality or activities​​.

The affordable cost of housing in South Carolina is a major contributor. Real estate prices here are a cool 7% below the national average. According to data from Redfin, the median sales price of a home in January 2024 was $402,000, but only $372,400 in South Carolina.

4. Endless Activities & Fun Things to Do

Whether you're an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or enjoy the finer things in life, South Carolina has something for you. From hiking and boating in any of the state’s 47 parks and lakes to exploring historical sites and attending cultural festivals, there's never a dull moment. The state's coastline offers beautiful beaches for relaxation, while cities like Charleston and Greenville provide rich culinary and arts scenes​​​​.

South Carolina was named among the top five golf destinations in the world by the The International Association of Golf Travel Operators, ranking the highest of any location in the country. The state is home to more than 350 courses across the state, including award-winning greens at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, and Congaree Golf Club.

retirees golfing in myrtle beach south carolina

5. Easy Day Trips & Vacations

South Carolina's compact size and convenient location make it easy to enjoy a variety of day trips and longer vacations. It takes only 3 hours to drive the the length of Interstate 95 from the northern end to the southern end of the state.

Whether you're visiting the scenic Lowcountry, the mountainous Upstate, or neighboring states (Charlotte and Atlanta are both within a day’s drive from anywhere in the state), you're never far from a new adventure. This accessibility ensures that retirees can easily explore all the region has to offer​​.

6. Unique Culinary Scene

The state's culinary scene makes South Carolina a great place to live for food lovers. A unique blend of Southern cooking and coastal influences means you can enjoy everything from classic barbecue to fresh seafood. Don't miss out on local specialties like shrimp and grits, Frogmore Stew, and boiled peanuts​​!

Among the state’s culinary accolades:

shrimp and grits, a signature dish in the lowcountry of south carolina

7. World-Class Healthcare

Access to quality healthcare is a priority for retirees, and South Carolina delivers. The state is home to renowned hospitals and medical centers, including the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and Grand Strand Medical Center (included on Healthgrades’ list of the America’s 100 Best Hospitals). With a focus on senior health, retirees have access to comprehensive care, specialized services, and a variety of wellness programs​​.

Finding Your Perfect Place to Retire in South Carolina

Choosing where to retire is a significant decision, and South Carolina offers diverse options to fit your lifestyle and preferences. Whether you're drawn to the charm of historic cities, the tranquility of beach towns, or the natural beauty of the mountains, South Carolina provides a welcoming and vibrant community for every retiree.

If you’re interested in Myrtle Beach, you start your search here. Interested in other communities around the Palmetto State? Contact Right Find Homes to get connected with a local expert.

Ready to explore South Carolina for yourself? Consider a discovery visit to experience the warmth of southern hospitality, the beauty of the landscape, and the richness of the culture. Discover why so many retirees are calling South Carolina their perfect place to retire.

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Provided courtesy of the Coastal Carolinas MLS. Copyright 2024 of the Coastal Carolinas MLS. All rights reserved. Information is provided exclusively for consumers' personal, non-commercial use, and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing, and that the data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the Coastal Carolinas MLS.

Listing information last updated on April 16, 2024 at 11:15 PM EST.

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