Back in 1895, the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains, a comfortable climate and low land prices inspired the Vanderbilts to buy up 125,000 acres of North Carolina wilderness and build the Biltmore House, the largest estate in the U.S. The same factors that attracted this wealthy family continue to make North Carolina popular among retirees and second-home buyers today.
But the Tar Heel State offers a little bit of everything, geographically and culturally. Retirees who prefer to live by the sea can find 300 miles of barrier island beaches, two national seashores and idyllic villages in the state’s eastern region.
North Carolina also has some great college towns, including Chapel Hill, Davidson, and Durham. And dynamic city living can be found in fast-growing Charlotte, which has been undergoing a restaurant renaissance, and the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill-Cary vicinity, dubbed the “Research Triangle” due to its high density of high tech companies.
For anyone on a fixed budget, living costs in North Carolina can be fairly friendly. Overall, the state is 3.7% cheaper than the national average. State income taxes are also to 5.8% flat tax.