The Best Places to Retire in South Carolina

South Carolina’s affordable homes and pleasant winter temperatures make the state attractive to retirees. Those who relocate from more expensive parts of the country may be able to enjoy a higher quality of life. You could retire in a coastal area, historic city or college town. Here’s a look at the best places to retire in South Carolina.

5. Columbia

Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,246 Median monthly rent: $955

South Carolina’s capital city can be a place to reinvent your life in retirement. Columbia is a college town that is home to the University of South Carolina, where South Carolina residents age 60 and older can take college classes tuition-free.

“You have access to all kinds of opportunities for people who want to do lifelong learning at the university,” says Sue Ellen Levkoff, endowed chair at the SeniorSMART Center of Economic Excellence in the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. “For people who want to have a second or third career in their retirement, Columbia is a great place to do that. There are these incubators that you can belong to for very cheap and get a lot of support for a business idea.”

[Read: The Best Places to Retire in North Carolina.]

4. Charleston

Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,567 Median monthly rent: $1,197

Charleston’s many charms include a coastal setting, historic architecture, cobblestone streets and a unique sense of southern hospitality. You could spend your retirement years exploring galleries, boutiques, scenic gardens and innovative restaurants. While housing costs far more than in other parts of South Carolina, Charleston can still feel affordable to people relocating from more expensive cities outside the South.

“The big draw for seniors to the area is the weather and the lower cost of living,” says Heather Boger, interim director of the Center on Aging at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. “There are many great senior communities in the area that offer amenities for seniors specifically.”

3. Spartanburg

Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,136 Median monthly rent: $825

Spartanburg’s low cost of housing enables retirees to live well on even a modest retirement budget. The Spartanburg community makes an effort to welcome people who are new to the area.

“I think many retirees come to the Spartanburg area for its mild climate and its location. Once here, they find it a pleasant, walkable city with friendly people and a surprisingly abundant cultural scene,” says Anne Waters, executive director of the Hub City Writers Project in Spartanburg. “As a transplant myself, I can attest that this community offers a nice balance of new, longtime and lifetime residents who are engaged, cooperative and welcoming.”

The Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve was founded in 1969 by retirees Josephine and Harold Hatcher, who relocated to the area from Indianapolis. The free garden now provides a place for retirees to exercise, enjoy nature and volunteer. The restaurant chain Denny’s moved its headquarters from California to downtown Spartanburg in 1991.

[SEE: The Best Places to Retire in Texas.]

2. Greenville

Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,223 Median monthly rent: $882

Located in northwestern South Carolina, Greenville is about halfway between Atlanta and Charlotte. Locals enjoy exploring Falls Park on the Reedy, which has a curved pedestrian bridge overlooking a waterfall, and the Greenville County Museum of Art. Retirees who plan to travel will appreciate that Greenville has an international airport.

“I find that many retirees move here to be near their kids and grandkids who have moved here for job opportunities,” says Danielle Harmon, a certified financial planner and founder of Boundless Financial Services in Greenville. “It’s very affordable, which means that retirees can spend less from their investment portfolios while still having a very comfortable retirement lifestyle.”

[See: The Best Places to Retire in Florida.]

1. Myrtle Beach

Median monthly mortgage cost: $1,296 Median monthly rent: $976

This Atlantic coastal city attracts plenty of tourists to its beaches and golf courses. “There are very few days you cannot play golf or walk on the beach,” says Joe Taylor, founder of Oak Street Advisors in Myrtle Beach. “Snow is a rarity, and when we do get some everyone is excited. It looks pretty for a few hours and then melts. No shoveling required.”

The low housing costs make it affordable for retirees to retire near the ocean. “Whether you enjoy basking in the sun, searching for shells or just a great morning walk to start your day off, we have it,” Taylor says.

Housing options for retirees include condos by the beach or a golf course, new housing developments and retirement communities. Keeping housing expenses low allows many retirees on a budget to enjoy the area’s dining and entertainment options.

More from U.S. News

The Best Places to Retire in 2022-2023

The Most Affordable Places to Retire

The Best Beach Towns to Retire in the U.S.

The Best Places to Retire in South Carolina originally appeared on

Update 02/21/23: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

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