compiled a list of the best places to retire in South Carolina. The list was calculated “based on the number of retirees, weather, and access to healthcare and entertainment. Ranking based on data from the U.S. Census, FBI, CDC, and other data sources. Read more on how this ranking was calculated. ”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that most of these locations are on the water. South Carolina is known for its grand strand and Lowcountry beaches. Some are all small-town vibes, while others are close enough to larger metros if that’s what you need! Now I just figure out how to grow my retirement fund by 100x or maybe just hit the lottery. I could handle working a fun part-time job while enjoying all these towns have to offer. Oh well, at this point I’ll just dream!

  • 22. Myrtle Beach

    Population: 33,638

    One of the larger places on this list is Myrtle Beach. The availability of golf, restaurants, activities for the grandkids, shopping, and more make this an attractive place to retire. One thing is for sure there is no shortage of things to do in Myrtle!

  • 21. Varnville

    Population: 1,832

    Varnville is a small town in Hampton County, South Carolina. It’s roughly equidistant between Charleston and Savannah making visiting one of the historic cities easy and convenient. Living in Varnville can give retirees the small town lifestyle, but proximity to more amenities.

  • 20. Forest Acres

    Population: 10,300

    This suburb of Columbia features tree-lined streets, plenty of green space, and is known for some of the best shopping and dining in the Columbia metro area. Located on the Eastern border of Columbia, Forest Acres dates back to 1935.

  • 19. Hollywood

    Population: 5,273

    With a population of over 5,000 Hollywood self describes as being filled with faith, family, and tradition.  Hollywood is part of the Charleston metro area like several other places on this list, and need I say more? It’s a short drive to Edisto Island and filled with ambiance from the live oaks and marsh that characterize the South Carolina low country.

  • 18. Mount Pleasant

    Population: 89,410

    By far the largest location on this list is Charleston suburb Mount Pleasant.  It places a large emphasis on family with numerous events throughout the year. The town is filled with parks, nature, and the best the low country has to offer.

  • 17. India Hook

    India Hook, SC 29732

    Find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps.

    Population: 3,762

    If lake life is what you’re looking for in retirement India Hook is a great option. This small suburb of Rock Hill is just across Lake Wylie from Tega Cay. You’re close to Charlotte and Rock Hill but can enjoy all the benefits of waterfront (or close) living.

  • 16. Socastee

    Socastee, SC

    Find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps.

    Population: 25,846

    You’ll find Socastee just west of the Myrtle Beach International Airport near the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge. This historic town is home to one of South Carolina’s only swing bridges.  The Intracoastal Waterway runs right through Socastee making it great for watersports and keeping that boat you’ve always dreamed of owning.


  • 15. Northlake

    Population: 3,684

    Northlake is in Anderson County on Lake Hartwell offering plenty of opportunities for recreation and outdoor activities.  Living here put you close to the Greenville area and all it’s amenities.

  • 14. Aiken

    Population: 31,428

    Aiken is rich in equine pursuits, the arts, sporting facilities, and nature. The town on the SC/Georgia border has a rich history dating back to the birth of the railroads. Here you can get outdoors, experience history, meander through beautiful parks, and participate in wonderful shopping.

  • 13. Tega Cay

    Population: 10,834

    Tega Cay is a water-front community located right on Lake Wylie between Charlotte, NC, and Rock Hill, SC. There is no shortage of things to do with parks, walking trail, and all Lake Wylie has to offer.

  • 12. Piedmont

    Piedmont, SC 29673

    Find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps.

    Population: 6,122

    Piedmont was originally referred to as the “Big Shoals of the Saluda” after the Saluda River. You’ll find Piedmont along the Saluda River in the counties of Anderson and Greenville. 

  • 11. Seven Oaks

    Seven Oaks, SC

    Find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps.

    Population: 16,743

    Seven Oaks is a suburb located about 8 miles from Columbia giving you that suburban town feel with access to the benefits of South Carolina’s capital city.

  • 10. Forestbrook

    Forestbrook, SC

    Find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps.

    Just down 31 from Myrtle Beach is Forestbrook. The prime location gives residents easy access to the beach and all that this vacation town has to offer.

  • 9. North Myrtle Beach

    North Myrtle Beach offers a quieter contrast from the area to its south. Activities such as golf and watersports are plentiful, as well as shopping, dining, and of course the beach.

  • 8. Quinby

    Quinby, SC 29506

    Find local businesses, view maps and get driving directions in Google Maps.

    Population: 1,079

    The Town of Quinby is located in eastern Florence County and it prides itself on being the safest place to live in South Carolina. Which probably contributes to its high ranking on this list.

  • 7. Sullivan's Island

    Population: 2,177

    Sullivan’s Island is right at the mouth of the Charleston Harbor near Isle of Palms.  It features wide beaches with a variety of watersports, a rich history, local restaurants and shops. And you’re just minutes from Charleston.

  • 6. Little River

    Population: 9,692

    Little River is the oldest town along the Grand Strand (it’s just 20 miles from the heart of Myrtle Beach). This quaint fishing village is renowned for fresh seafood, fishing charters,  an annual blue crab festival, and its peaceful lifestyle. All while being a short drive to Myrtle’s famous attractions, signature golf courses, variety shows, and shopping.

  • 5. Isle of Palms

    Population: 4,371

    Just 12 miles from historic Charleston between the Atlantic and Intracoastal is Isle of Palms. It’s perfect for retirees with a beautiful beach, championship golf & tennis, a marina, and endless recreational opportunities both on and off the water.

  • 4. Surfside Beach

    Population: 4,470

    Surfside Beach prides itself on being known as the Grand Strand’s “family beach.” Seven public parks make it the perfect place for a game of tennis, bocce, or shuffleboard. The beaches, with several public access points, are cleaned daily and supervised by lifeguards and police.

  • 3. Hilton Head Island

    Population: 40,000

    Hilton Head Island is known as America’s Favorite Island® (they even trademarked it). The island features12 miles of beaches, golf, dining, resorts, and relaxation!

  • 2. Murrells Inlet

    Population: 9,292

    Murrells Inlet has ties back to the pirate Blackbeard. Today,the fishing village is a haven for outdoorsmen. And if fine dining is a priority it’s known as the “seafood capital of South Carolina.”

  • 1. Garden City

    Population: 11,193

    Garden City Beach is a small beach community directly south of Surfside Beach. It’s where the inlet meets the ocean making it a prime spot for watersports and crabbing. It’s also known for fishing on the pier and surfing.

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