10 Best Cities to Retire in South Carolina in 2021

10 Best Cities to Retire in South Carolina in 2021

If you’re shopping around for a place to retire, you can’t go wrong with South Carolina. The warm climate, low cost of living, and abundance of attractions make it ideal for retirees... plus the taxes! If you’re considering a move, first take a look at the best places to retire in South Carolina to see how it stacks up.

Stephanie Faris

Published October 28th, 2021

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • With a warm climate and retirement-friendly tax setup, South Carolina is a popular destination for retirees.
  • South Carolina is jam-packed with history and attractions, making it easy to find the area that fits your own preferences.
  • When looking at the best cities to retire in South Carolina, determine whether you want to be close to attractions and healthcare or if long nature walks and waterfront living are more your style.

If you’re shopping around for a place to retire, you can’t go wrong with South Carolina. The warm climate, low cost of living, and abundance of attractions make it ideal for retirees.

But South Carolina retirement taxes take the state to the next level. You’ll pay no Social Security taxes and the state gives retirees a deduction on their income taxes. If you’re considering a move, first take a look at the best places to retire in South Carolina to see how it stacks up.

Fountain Inn

CITY POPULATION: 10,441
SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 10.3%
COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 5% below the national average
PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $25,940
TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

If you’re looking for a town with more of a rural feel, Fountain Inn is worth considering. The area often ranks on lists of the cheapest place to live in South Carolina, but you’ll also have plenty to do, including a museum, performing arts center, and parks.

Beaufort

CITY POPULATION: 13,436
SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 17.9%
COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 2% below the national average
PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $32,491
TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

A thriving 65+ population makes Beaufort one of the best retirement communities in South Carolina. The city not only has plenty of beautiful outdoor areas, thanks to its coastal location, but you’ll also get historic attractions and arts and culture.

Bluffton

CITY POPULATION: 25,557
SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 15.7%
COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 2% below the national average
PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $38,778
TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

Rich history and coastal living make Bluffton one of the top 10 retirement communities South Carolina. Its small-town charm and access to amenities helped put it on Southern Living’s list of the best places to retire in South Carolina 2020.

Greenville

CITY POPULATION: 70,635
SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 13.4%
COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 5% below the national average
PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $42,090
TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

As one of the most affordable places to live in South Carolina, Greenville offers access to the suburban lifestyle at a much lower cost. You can find a little bit of everything in Greenville, from picturesque outdoor areas and festivals to restaurants and healthcare.

Charleston

CITY POPULATION: 137,556
SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 14.6%
COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 4% above the national average
PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $42,872
TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

When you ask is South Carolina a good place to live, many residents will cite Charleston as an example. Although Charleston can be a bit touristy, retiring in Charleston, SC is great if you love history, culture, and access to every amenity you could want.

Hilton Head Island

CITY POPULATION: 39,861
SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 37%
COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 10% above the national average
PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $56,942
TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

If you want to take advantage of the break on South Carolina income tax for retirees but you have a little more money to spend, consider Hilton Head Island. This well-known, picturesque beach town is a popular retirement destination, with a much higher than average 65+ population.

Myrtle Beach

CITY POPULATION: 34,695
SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 21.5%
COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 7% below the national average
PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $31,219
TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

Beach-bound retirees should take a look at Myrtle Beach, which has long been one of the best places to retire in the South. The low cost of living puts it toward the top of the list when it comes to beach life.

Spartanburg

CITY POPULATION: 37,399
SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 16%
COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 5% below the national average
PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $25,570
TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

If you prefer the mountains to the beach, Spartanburg should top your list of good places to live in South Carolina. You’ll get plenty of outdoor activities, breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and a bustling downtown area packed with restaurants and shopping.

Columbia

CITY POPULATION: 131,674
SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 10.2%
COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 3% below the national average
PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $30,461
TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

If access to healthcare is your top concern, Columbia is one of the best areas to live in South Carolina. When you ask is South Carolina a good place to retire, towns like Columbia are why the answer is yes. Columbia offers top-class healthcare at Lexington Medical Center, multiple 65+ communities, and all the shopping and dining options you could want.

Greenwood

CITY POPULATION: 23,403
SHARE OF POPULATION 65+: 14.5%
COST OF LIVING FOR RETIREES: 21.8% above the national average
PER CAPITA INCOME FOR POPULATION: $18,885
TAX RATING FOR RETIREES: Tax Friendly

Another pricey option, Greenwood is one of the best towns to retire in South Carolina due to its scenic lake views. You’ll get small-town living without sacrificing access to dining, healthcare, and shopping.

Bottom Line Does South Carolina tax retirement income? No, and that makes it a great option for retirement. As you consider various areas, keep in mind the cost of living and weigh that against the benefits of living in that area. As you’re considering where you’ll spend your retirement, a certified financial planner can work with you to ensure you have enough money set aside to enjoy it.

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Author

Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris has written about finance for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2013. She spent nearly a year as a writer for a credit card processing service and has written about finance for numerous marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Her work has appeared on Money Under 30, The Motley Fool, MoneyGeek, E-commerce Insiders, and GoBankingRates.

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