10 Best Places To Retire In South Carolina For 2019


We analyzed over 32 places in South Carolina to identify the ones that offer the most to retirees.

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the best places to retire in South Carolina.

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When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.

But not not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of South Carolina.

Where exactly in South Carolina is the best place to retire? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data — which returns Gaffney as the best place to hang up your cleats.

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in South Carolina that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.

What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Gaffney don’t mind us spreading the word.

Why did Gaffney take the top spot? And where are Columbia and Charleston?

Read on to see see all the golden parachute level details.

For South Carolina state reading:

Gaffney, SC

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 12,859
Rank Last Year: 26 (Up 25)
Median Rent: $593
Distance to Closest Airport: 41 miles
More on Gaffney: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Gaffney is a town in and the seat of Cherokee County, South Carolina, United States, in the Upstate region of South Carolina. Gaffney is known as the “Peach Capital of South Carolina”. The population was 12,539 at the 2010 census, with an estimated population of 12,597 in 2014. It is the principal city of the Gaffney, South Carolina, Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Cherokee County and which is further included in the greater Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, South Carolina Combined Statistical Area.

Myrtle Beach, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 30,106
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 16)
Median Rent: $824
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
More on Myrtle Beach: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Myrtle Beach is a coastal city on the east coast of the United States in Horry County, South Carolina. It is situated on the center of a large and continuous stretch of beach known as the Grand Strand in northeastern South Carolina.

Review Of Myrtle Beach by HomeSnacks User

I loved Myrtle Beach. It was like something out of a movie. It is a tourist destination for sure, but there’s an ambience and a magical quality to it that is simply unmatched by other places I have been to.

The beach, of course. The food. The emptiness of the off season. The beauty of its location.

Conway, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 20,631
Rank Last Year: 26 (Up 23)
Median Rent: $723
Distance to Closest Airport: 13 miles
More on Conway: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Conway is a city in Horry County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 16,317 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Horry County and is part of the Myrtle Beach metropolitan area. It is the home of Coastal Carolina University.

Fort Mill, SC

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 13,181
Rank Last Year: 50 (Up 46)
Median Rent: $857
Distance to Closest Airport: 14 miles
More on Fort Mill: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fort Mill, also known as Fort Mill Township, is a town in York County in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It is a suburb of the city of Charlotte, North Carolina and is located north of Rock Hill. As of 2015, approximately 13,662 people live inside the town’s corporate limits with a total of 36,119 people residing within the entire township. Some businesses and residents in the Indian Land community of neighboring Lancaster County often use Fort Mill as their city address as it is the nearest incorporated area, but the official town boundary is located only in York County.

Florence, SC

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 38,221
Rank Last Year: 37 (Up 32)
Median Rent: $713
Distance to Closest Airport: 59 miles
More on Florence: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Florence is a city in Florence County, South Carolina, United States. It is probably best known for being the intersection of I-95 and I-20, and the eastern terminus of I-20. It is the county seat of Florence County and the primary city within the Florence metropolitan area. The area forms the core of the historical “Pee Dee” region of South Carolina, which includes the eight counties of northeastern South Carolina, along with sections of southeastern North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population of Florence was 37,056, and the estimated population in 2015 was 38,228.

Newberry, SC

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 10,338
Rank Last Year: 21 (Up 15)
Median Rent: $658
Distance to Closest Airport: 74 miles
More on Newberry: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Newberry is a city in Newberry County, South Carolina, United States, in the Piedmont 43 miles northwest of Columbia. The charter was adopted in 1894. The population was 10,277 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Newberry County; at one time it was called Newberry Courthouse.

Charleston, SC

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 129,888
Rank Last Year: 53 (Up 46)
Median Rent: $1,052
Distance to Closest Airport: 7 miles
More on Charleston: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Charleston is the oldest and largest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina, the county seat of Charleston County, and the principal city in the Charleston-North Charleston-Summerville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city lies just south of the geographical midpoint of South Carolina’s coastline and is located on Charleston Harbor, an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean formed by the confluence of the Ashley and Cooper rivers. Charleston had an estimated population of 134,385 in 2016. The estimated population of the Charleston metropolitan area, comprising Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester counties, was 761,155 residents in 2016, the third-largest in the state and the 78th-largest metropolitan statistical area in the United States.

Review Of Charleston by HomeSnacks User

I noticed very little crime while I was there, and the education is superb!! From colleges to elementary schools, the education in first rate with lots of real world experience. I Love this place!

What stands out to me is the classic Southern Charm of the place. Everything is peaceful and quiet. And the beauty stands out. The entire city is just beautiful!! The coast is also super nice along with the history of the area.

Hanahan, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 20,710
Rank Last Year: 51 (Up 43)
Median Rent: $952
Distance to Closest Airport: 3 miles
More on Hanahan: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Mount Pleasant, SC

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 77,907
Rank Last Year: 61 (Up 52)
Median Rent: $1,403
Distance to Closest Airport: 12 miles
More on Mount Pleasant: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Mount Pleasant is a large suburban town in Charleston County, South Carolina, United States. It is the fourth largest municipality and largest town in South Carolina, and for several years was one of the state’s fastest-growing areas, doubling in population between 1990 and 2000. The population was 67,843 at the 2010 census, and the estimated population in 2014 was 77,796. Mount Pleasant is the third largest city in the Charleston- North Charleston- Summerville metropolitan area, behind Charleston and North Charleston.

Sumter, SC

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 40,760
Rank Last Year: 32 (Up 22)
Median Rent: $748
Distance to Closest Airport: 74 miles
More on Sumter: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Sumter is the county seat of Sumter County, South Carolina, United States. Known as the Sumter Metropolitan Statistical Area, the namesake county adjoins Clarendon and Lee to form the core of Sumter-Lee-Clarendon tri-county area of South Carolina, an area that includes the three counties in the east central Piedmont. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city’s population was 39,643 at the 2000 census. The 2010 census puts the city at 40,524.

Review Of Sumter by HomeSnacks User

Sumter, SC is a wonderful community. There is a homey, southern charm about this city. Known for some great BBQ, Swan Lake-a beautiful park with a well know art show in May, and Shaw AFB. Built around a lowland swamp, you will find beauty in the many lakes and ponds, which are surrounded by Spanish moss covered trees.

Swan Lake is a very pretty place to visit. There is a fabulous art show in May. There are some “depressed” areas outside of town, but the city looks as if they are trying to revamp those older run down areas.

How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Palmetto State for 2019

To create our list of the best places in South Carolina to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Palmetto State — 394 cities and towns.

We then narrowed it down to places with at least 10,000 people that weren’t townships. This left us with 32 places from across the state.

For these 32, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:

  • Low cost of living as measured by rent
  • Low crime
  • Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
  • Nice weather
  • Distance to the closest international airport
  • Other retirees (High median age)

We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 32, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Gaffney, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.

Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire In South Carolina Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in South Carolina goes to Gaffney.

If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:

  1. Cayce
  2. Port Royal
  3. Columbia

For more South Carolina reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In South Carolina?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Gaffney 12,859 $593
2 Myrtle Beach 30,106 $824
3 Conway 20,631 $723
4 Fort Mill 13,181 $857
5 Florence 38,221 $713
6 Newberry 10,338 $658
7 Charleston 129,888 $1,052
8 Hanahan 20,710 $952
9 Mount Pleasant 77,907 $1,403
10 Sumter 40,760 $748

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.