Florida used to have little competition as the ultimate retirement destination for seniors fleeing cold winters in the Northern United States.
Its warm weather, beautiful beaches and wonderful health care options all certainly make it an appealing place to retire. But today’s seniors are increasingly recognizing the appeal of the mid-South states for retirement — or even just to spend the harsh winter months.
States like Georgia and South Carolina offer many of the same amenities that Florida does — beautiful beaches, plenty of outdoor activities, warm winters, and state-of-the-art health care — while also being just a little bit closer to their Northern homes and offering their own unique historical charm and cultural flair.
Here are just a few of the best places for modern seniors to retire in luxury in the Southeastern U.S.
Buford was founded in 1872 as a depot on the railway line between Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina. The Buford Dam was built in 1956 on the Chattahoochee River, and the resulting flooding created Lake Lanier.
Today’s Lanier Islands were formed from the hilltops of some large hills near the city of Gainesville, which were leased to Georgia Department of State Parks by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1968.
Since then, the Lake Lanier Islands have come to be recognized as a premier recreational development in the Southeast, featuring a family-friendly luxury resort and hotel set on 1,500 scenic acres.
Along with golf courses, a marina, a spa, and a luxury lodge with a saltwater lounging pool, Lanier Islands features its own lakeside entertainment district with water slides, the south’s largest wave pool, and a triple zipline. Along with golf and boating, Lake Sidney visitors can enjoy other activities, such as horseback riding, hiking, water sports and a full calendar of special events.
The city of Buford also boasts plenty of resources away from the shoreline, including easy access to local hospitals and medical centers, and plenty of shopping and dining options. Plus, you can enjoy world-class sports and entertainment just an hour north in Atlanta.
Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina
For unique, luxury living in South Carolina’s lowcountry, check out Palmetto Bluff.
According to the community’s website, the oldest artifacts from this island date back to 10,000 B.C., and Native Americans came to fish and gather in the area for years afterward. The land eventually became 21 individual plantations until Confederate forces were defeated in the Civil War.
Now, this unique region, 20,000+ acres of woods and marshfront along the May River, is being developed for modern homes. The development plan respects the land’s topography, wetlands and the miles of marsh and river edge.
Members of the Palmetto Bluff community enjoy an extensive system of secret forest trails and 32 miles of Lowcountry coastline. Other amenities include an artist-in-residence and a community chapel, plenty of fine dining and shopping options, a shooting club with 13 clay stations, a lawn and racquet club, a golf course, and an equestrian facility. There’s also easy access to water sports, such as kayaking and fishing.
The developer of this community, the Palmetto Bluff Company, works in partnership with the Palmetto Bluff Conservancy and ensures the conservation of the natural and historical world at Palmetto Bluff.
Hilton Head, South Carolina
The island of Hilton Head, South Carolina is well-known as a vacation destination, featuring miles of beautiful beaches and an array of world-class golf courses.
The island also boasts trailblazing environmental sustainability efforts. It features 60 miles of public use trails ideal for biking and walking, and the absence of bright street lights, tall business signs and brightly-painted buildings contribute to a relaxed environment that’s in harmony with its natural surroundings.
In addition to beachgoing and watersports, Hilton Head residents and visitors can also enjoy plenty of dining, shopping, and nightlife options.
As with the other communities in the Lowcountry region, Hilton Head features a mild, subtropical climate all year long.
Tybee Island, Georgia
Tybee Island, another coastal community in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, is located just 18 miles away from historic Savannah, Georgia.
This small barrier island community also boasts top-rated beaches, beautiful scenery, plenty of watersports opportunities (boating, fishing, and paddling) and the chance to observe and appreciate unique wildlife. Residents can also enjoy local art galleries, performing arts, and vibrant dining and shopping scenes.
Other attractions include the Tybee Pier & Pavilion, the Historic Tybee Lighthouse, and historic Fort Pulaski.
Of course, your retirement options aren’t limited to beachfront properties that also attract swarms of seasonal tourists each year.
Many cosmopolitan seniors are looking to retire in a city setting that has a temperate climate but also boasts historic character and a vibrant cultural scene.
Historic Savannah, Georgia checks all of these boxes. The city is enjoying a resurgence in tourism, too, as more and more people learn about the city’s top educational opportunities, gorgeous architecture, top-of-the-line healthcare, and exciting nightlife.Many cosmopolitan seniors want to retire in a city with a temperate climate, historic character, and a vibrant cultural scene. Click To Tweet
Plus, living in Savannah puts residents within an hour’s drive to many of the Lowcountry coastal communities we mentioned in this article. That makes it easy to enjoy the beach for the weekend or even for the day, then go back to city life. Living in Savannah can give you the best of both worlds.
If this arrangement interests you, you’ll definitely want to check out Upper East River, a unique new residential neighborhood being built right on the Savannah River as part of the Eastern Wharf. This live-work-play community will feature the best in dining, fitness, parks, and culture all within walking distance of your home. The development will blend the historic aesthetic of Savannah with the modern amenities of new construction.