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If your ideal retirement town includes gracious pre-war mansions swathed in Spanish moss, stunning ocean vistas, mild weather and a relatively low cost of living, South Carolina may just be the ideal state for you.

South Carolina’s Low Country is situated along the state’s coastline—with plenty of picturesque seaside towns and island communities offering a laid-back southern small-town atmosphere. The Upstate area offers the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, with gorgeous vistas and plenty of opportunities for hiking, camping, and other outdoor activities. Weather is a bit cooler near the ocean and in higher western elevations.

South Carolina has many beautiful college towns with gorgeous historic neighborhoods, boutiques and cafés, artistic and cultural attractions, and a high standard of living. With all that, you’d think it would be expensive to live here—but it isn’t. Taxes in South Carolina are quite low, ranking as 37th highest in overall tax burden out of 50 states. All residents over 65 years of age can exempt their first $15,000 of income—no matter the source. There are further deductions for qualified pension incomes, and the state does not tax Social Security and most disability income.

As for property taxes, residents over 65 can deduct $50,000 of market value from their property taxes. Median home prices are a solid $60,000 below the national average, although prices can be higher in some South Carolina retirement communities.

If you’re interested in exploring retirement communities in South Carolina, there are numerous areas that are worth a closer look. These include:


Easily one of the most beautiful cities in the country, Charleston is a major tourist attraction—with surprisingly low home prices. Situated on South Carolina’s coast, Charleston was founded in 1670 and has a rich pre-Civil-War history. Its downtown is made beautiful by many gorgeous manors, churches, meeting halls, and other buildings of historic significance, as well as numerous majestic live oaks swathed in Spanish moss.  The city is home to a large, historic Jewish population and many synagogues, as well as a wide range of gorgeous historic churches of numerous denominations. It offers a vibrant theatre scene, numerous yearly festivals, museums, and other historical and cultural attractions.

Hilton Head Island

This island is a jewel sparkling off the southern coast of South Carolina—a small-town community with gorgeous white sand beaches and several outstanding golf courses. Approximately 35,000 people live on Hilton Head Island, and a large percentage are age 55 and older—a testament to its attraction as a retirement community. Summer tourist season attracts almost 300,000 people every year, and there are often plenty of part-time summer jobs available for retirees.

Myrtle Beach

If you love golf, this town is definitely worth investigating. Over 300,000 people live in Myrtle Beach, a large percentage of which are 55 and older—and there are many retirement communities to fit every need. There are over 120 golf courses here, as well as over sixty miles of uninterrupted beach. The Myrtle Beach downtown offers an amusement park that’s sure to be popular with the grandkids, as well as plenty of shopping, fine dining, and cultural and artistic events.

If the idea of gracious southern living that doesn’t cost a fortune appeals to you, a South Carolina retirement community may be the best option for you. While prices in more exclusive communities in areas such as Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head Island can be more expensive, South Carolina retirement homes are still quite affordable compared with many other areas of the country. Taxes and daily costs of living are also quite low in the state for South Carolina assisted living communities. Check out our free listing of retirement communities in South Carolina, and find your perfect retirement option today.