19 Best Places to Live in Charleston, SC for Retirees

South Carolina is a southeastern state with fabulous islands and beautiful beaches (including Myrtle Beach), and Charleston is one of its top cities. But where are the best places in Charleston, SC for retirees?

That’s what we’ll be exploring today.

Suppose you are interested in moving to this state and considering an affordable city. One of the benefits of moving to SC is the low rate of property taxes.

Charleston, also known as “the holy city”, is one of the most affordable places. This city is a great choice for retirees because they do not have to pay state tax on Social Security benefits.

Here are the 19 best places to live in the city of Charleston, SC. Enjoy!

19. Radcliffeborough

Radcliffeborough is an urban neighborhood with a population of 1,406. The average rental price is $2,473. The community is safe and close to the Medical University of South Carolina. It is a popular destination among MUSC students and young professionals.

The Charleston City Market and Mace Brown Museum of Natural history are exciting places in Radcliffeborough. In addition, you can dine at Italian, American, Seafood, and Korean restaurants. Vegetarians are also covered in the provision of food.

At night, Radcliffeborough transforms into mesmerizing scenery. The cocktail and taverns witness an influx of people who want to have fun.

18. Riverland Terrace

Riverland Terrace is a historic neighborhood with a population of 2,659. The median age is 50 years old, and about 80% of residents own their homes. This neighborhood is safe and LGBTQ-friendly. Riverland Terrace is home to more same-sex couples than about 90% of areas in the United States.

The median monthly rent is $2,376, and the home price is $427,509. Riverland Terrace real estate consists mainly of family homes. Therefore, it is a great location for retirees and families.

Riverland Terrace offers a public boat landing, a playground, restaurants, antique shops, and Charleston Municipal Golf Course. Plymouth Park is a family-friendly outdoor recreational spot. Additionally, you can enjoy Italian, Mexican, or American cuisine in Riverland Terrace.

17. Harleston Village

Harleston Village is a charming neighborhood in downtown Charleston. It is home to over 2000 people. Historical places in Harleston village include The College of Charleston (founded 1770) and the first golf club in America (founded 1786).

The Colonial Lake Part is at the center of Harleston Village. Other historical places of interest include Cannon Park and Old Charleston Jail.

Harleston Village offers markets, coffee shops, and restaurants within walkable distance. From 18th-century buildings to modern condo buildings, a wide range of housing options are available.

Other exciting places are the Charleston Library Society, Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art, Christophe Artisan Chocolatier-Patissier, and the Wentworth Mansion.

16. Wagener Terrace

Wagener Terrace is a large neighborhood with a population of 6,181. About 71% of residents own their homes. The median home price is $651,000, and the monthly rent for a single bedroom is $1,867. Wagener Terrace is safer than 67% of SC cities; therefore, it is one of the best cities for young professionals, retirees, singles, and families.

Wagener Terrace is a vibrant Charleston area that manufactures beer locally. You can also enjoy tasty American Cuisines at various restaurants. For outdoor recreational activities, you can walk the majestic trails in Hampton Park or have a picnic near the wildflowers. Friday troop parades is another public event that residents and tourists look forward to watching.

15. Hilton Head Island

Hilton Head Island is one of the barrier islands southwest of Charleston, South Carolina. The population is 39,930, with an average household income is $125,731.

Hilton Head Island is one of the most affordable South Carolina cities. Renting an apartment costs about $1,271, and the median home value is $483,600. Unfortunately, the property crime rate on this island is more than the national average.

Hilton Head Airport, Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue, and Breeze Public Trolley Service serve the island. In addition, Hilton Head Island is home to many parks, restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.

14. Daniel Island

Daniel Island is a Charleston Island town in a central location. It is situated in Berkeley County with a population of over 2000. This town offers a simple and comfortable life.

One good reason to raise a family here is its safety. In addition, the quality of schools is incredible. It is home to outdoor sports like tennis, hockey, soccer, baseball, lacrosse, basketball, etc.

There are lots of job opportunities for people living on the island. This Picturesque Island has streets lined with impressive oak trees. In the winter, the island is beautified with Spanish moss and wisteria.

13. West Ashley

West Ashley, named after the Ashley River, borders Downtown Charleston. It has a population of 82,341 with a median household income of $64,189. West Ashley is the oldest suburb in Charleston, such that you can expect interesting historical architecture. The median value of housing is $269,700.

The largest indoor shopping mall, Citadel Mall, is situated here. Residents have access to good transportation, medical facilities, and schools. You can also visit the zoo, some historic plantations, gardens, four tennis courts, and aquariums.

12. Seabrook Island

Seabrook Island is one of the coastal towns that serve as a barrier island. This island experiences mild winters. This sparsely populated town is home to 1,874 people. The “white race” makes up about 98% of the population.

The average household income is $152,083, and the median house value is $606,400. In addition, the average age on Seabrook Island is 67.9. This town is safe. Hence, a good place to live and retire. Seabrook Island has a beautiful landscape with miles of nature trails. It is home to top-notch outdoor recreational activities such as fishing and horse riding.

11. Sullivan’s Island

Sullivan’s Island is an affluent suburb town in the Charleston Metropolitan area. It has a population of 1,924, with an average household income of $244,808. Sullivan’s Island has a rural feel with highly-rated public schools, drawing in families.

The cost of renting a single bedroom is $2,167. There are lots of family-friendly outdoor activities. Irrespective of the rural setting, health and fitness facilities, good transport links, and employment opportunities are available.

In addition, the crime rate is low here. However, the overall cost of living and housing is high. Sullivan’s Island covers the entrance of the Charleston Harbor.

10. Folly Beach

Folly Beach is a coastal town with a population of 2,699. The average household income is $90,361. In addition, the cost of housing is affordable. Renting single-family homes cost $1,046, and the average house value is $569,900.

Young professionals are particularly enthusiastic about living here because of job opportunities and transport links. In addition, this city has good public schools. Hence, an excellent place to raise families.

Although crime rates in this town are extremely low, the cost of living is very high. Folly Beach Public Beach, Fishing Pier, County Park, and Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve are top tourist attractions.

9. French Quarter

The French Quarter is a historic district in downtown Charleston. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Parks. In addition, it is home to many fine historic buildings like the Pink House Tavern and the old slave mart. The cost of renting a one-bedroom is $1,859, and the home price is $300,000 and above. Single-family homes may cost about $2,000,000 and above.

This town is popularly called the most romantic part of Charleston. Initially, it served as a haven for religious persecutions. French Quarter is famous for its architecture, art, food, and historic churches.

One of the many charms of the French Quarter is its cobblestone streets. Chalmers Street is arguably the most famous Cobblestone Street in the French Quarter.

8. Lincolnville

Lincolnville is a sparsely populated town in Charleston County. It is home to about 2,751 people of mixed races. The average household income is $38,077, and the median home value is $99,900. However, renting a single-room apartment costs $775.

Lincolnville is one of the retirement communities with good schools suitable for raising a family. The cost of living in this town is lower than the average value for Charleston County. In addition, the crime rate is very low. However, there are limited employment opportunities and a poor transport network. Therefore, it is an affordable place for single-family homes.

Despite the rural vibes, the town offers lots of outdoor activities like bars, cinemas, nightclubs, museums, and parks.

7. Johns Island

Johns Island is situated in Charleston County. Additionally, it is the fourth largest island on the United States east coast. It has a population of 12,175, with a poverty rate of 5.42%. The average household income is $98,432. In addition, the median house price is $300,600, and the rental cost is $1,374. Johns Island is an excellent retirement destination.

This historic island offers new home communities with gorgeous waterfronts. A noteworthy mention is that it is home to the “Angel Oak”, Charleston’s famous live oak tree. It is the largest island in South Carolina, yet it is beautiful, peaceful, safe, and affordable. Other attractions include golf courses, farms, and the Johns Island Library.

6. Isle of Palms

Isle of Palms is a city in Charleston County. It is a small town with a population of 4,408. The average household income is $175,009.

This small city is an ideal destination for retirees and vacations. Large beachfront homes, local restaurants, and resorts are features of this community. A popular sport in Isle of Palms is beach volleyball. This is one of the safest cities in South Carolina.

The vibrant nightlife attracts young professionals who want to ease stress. Isle of Palms offers a dense suburban feel with excellent public schools for kids. However, the cost of living here is above average. Renting an apartment per month costs $1,994, and the median house value is $852,700.

5. James Island

James Island is a town situated in Charleston County. It has a population of 12,175, and the average median household income is $98,432. Additionally, the monthly rent of an apartment and median home value are $1,374 and $300,600, respectively. Therefore, James Island is a safe and affordable town to retire or live with the family.

It is one of the small towns in Charleston with natural beauty. Additionally, the weather and food are great. Notable features in James Island are the abundance of parks and restaurants.

There are also outstanding public schools. James Island is only a few minutes from Folly Beach. In addition, residents have access to basic amenities without the loudness of the cities.

4. North Charleston

North Charleston is one of the fastest-growing cities of Charleston, located along the Cooper River. It has a population of 122,297. The poverty index in North Charleston is 20.96%, with an average household income of $60,738. Additionally, the median housing value is $174,800, and the monthly rent for an apartment is $1,051.

The low cost of living and house prices attracts Young professionals and singles to this city. It is one of the major industrial centers in the state. Hence, there are adequate means of transportation. In addition, it is a top option in gross retail sales. Residents have access to quality schools and health care services. North Charleston offers lots of outdoor activities, family-friendly parks, restaurants, and nightlife activities.

3. Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant is a large suburban town in Charleston County with a population of 97,129. There is a poverty rate of 4.58%, with the average household income at $138,416.

Residents have easy access to retail shopping, grocery, and drug stores. In addition, Mount Pleasant is home to highly rated schools. The median rent per month is $1,629, while the average housing cost is $461,000.

The farmers’ market and the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum are the top sights to visit. It is a short distance to Palms and Sullivan’s Island beaches. It is also home to about five family-friendly parks and the Palmetto State Armory.

2. Kiawah Island

Kiawah Island is located in Charleston County on the Atlantic coast of the United States. It has a population of 1,784. The average household income is $324,624. However, the average monthly cost of an apartment is $2,056, and the median home price. Although the cost of housing is a bit expensive, Kiawah Island is one of the best retirement neighborhoods.

Kiawah Island is one of the best golf locations on the East Coast. It is home to many award-winning golf courses. In addition, many family-friendly parks are available for fishing, biking, hiking, and boating. It is also home to pristine beaches, good public schools, and top-notch diners. Children can also attend Kamp Kiawah in the summer.

1. Summerville

Summerville is a town in Dorchester County. It has a population of 54,556. The average rental cost per month is $1,108, and the home price is $207,800. In addition, the median household income is $79,699.

Summerville is on the National Register of Historic Places. This town is a great stop for retirees as it offers all the amenities of the big cities. It is a friendly neighborhood with beautiful scenery and affordable housing.

There are great employment opportunities here, especially for tech and military personnel.

The Colonial Dorchester State Historic Sites, Summerville-Dorchester Museum, Azalea Park, and Summerville Antique Gallery are exciting places to visit.

"Ask Bob" - Retirement in Charleston SC


South Carolina is a US state located at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains and home to Charleston. A significant advantage for living in South Carolina is the Homestead Exemption Law which offers housing property tax relief for individuals 65 years and above, blind, or disabled. Overall, Charleston is a fantastic place for retirement.

Planning for retirement may involve saving money for purchasing a home in a safe, quiet, rural, and friendly neighborhood like the ones in Charleston. Suppose you have not started making adequate plans. You can read a recent article on the best ways to save for the golden years.

Photos that require attribution and are licensed under CC2.0 (or as noted) and may have been edited, cropped, or had text or graphic overlays added.

The great divide, 101-103 Bull Street (1853), Charleston, SC by Spencer Means

George W. McDaniel Education Center, Drayton Hall, West Ashley, Charleston, SC by Warren LeMay (public domain)

Broad Street, French Quarter, Charleston, SC by Warren LeMay (public domain)

DSC_0346 by mogollon_1

Image by 1778011 from Pixabay

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