New Bern, North Carolina – Retirement Guide

New Bern, North Carolina   Retirement Guide

Take a step back in time to the idyllic South in New Bern, a genteel coastal town that embodies the very definition of hospitality. With dozens of 18th century homes on the National Historic Register and a waterfront locale along the Neuse and Trent rivers, the town is perfect for retirees seeking a lifestyle where historic charm meets water-based activity.

Indeed, in addition to the 2 rivers, a number of meandering creeks are in New Bern’s vicinity, and boating, fishing, canoeing and kayaking are all popular pastimes for locals. If the state’s sandy Atlantic shores are more up your alley, New Bern lies less than an hour from the coast. Outdoors fans will also enjoy the hiking and bicycling trails at Croatan National Forest.

New Bern’s history runs deep; North Carolina’s second oldest town is more than 300 years old.

In New Bern’s walkable waterfront district, when retirees aren’t perusing the marina’s vessels or wandering through the park, they can explore Tryon Palace, historic churches and houses, unique shops and the North Carolina History Center.

Pros: Charming historic district, rivers and creeks provide opportunities for boating and fishing
Con: Small town without multiple medical centers

At a Glance
Best For: Water lovers
Population: 29,899
Cost of Living: 14% lower than national average
Median Home Cost: $141,500
Unemployment: 9.6%
Top State Income Tax: 7.75%
Crime Rate: 47.8% higher than national average

Shopping enthusiasts will find an array of stores to meet their needs, from large chain stores to locally-owned boutiques, antiques shops, art galleries and artisan jewelry stores. Meanwhile, culture lovers will find themselves attending performances at venues such as the New Bern Civic Theatre.

New Bern serves as an affordable retirement destination, with a cost of living 14 percent below the national average, and a median home price of $141,500. While some retirees choose to buy and renovate the town’s historic homes, others prefer a less “hand-on” approach, living in one of the many retirement communities in the area. Some of these communities are rich with amenities, including golf courses, tennis courts and even marinas.

While New Bern is no doubt a charm-filled enclave, it does lack some of the greater amenities of a large city, such as a variety of hospitals (there is only one medical center in town).

Top Retirement Cities in North Carolina:  Asheville | Chapel Hill | New Bern | Pinehurst | Winston-Salem

Photo by Ron Jones via Flickr. All statistics were up to date as of publication. See these sources for the most current data.