When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.
But 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 Virginia.
But where exactly in Virginia? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.
To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Virginia 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 Martinsville don’t mind us spreading the word.
Here are our top ten places in the Old Dominion to retire for 2018:
- Martinsville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Staunton (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Poquoson (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Hopewell (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Danville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Falls Church (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Williamsburg (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Petersburg (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Leesburg (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Winchester (Photos | Homes For Sale)
How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Old Dominion
To create our list of the best places in Virginia to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Old Dominion with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.
This left us with 36 places from across the state.
For these 36, 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 36, with the lowest number being the best.
Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Martinsville, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.
Population: 13,551Median Rent: $629
Distance to Closest Airport: 81 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,907
More on Martinsville: Homes For Sale | Data
Martinsville was founded by American Revolutionary War General, Indian agent and explorer Joseph Martin, born in Albemarle County. He developed his plantation Scuffle Hill on the banks of the Smith River near the present-day southern city limits. General Martin and revolutionary patriot Patrick Henry, who lived briefly in Henry County and for whom the county is named, were good friends.
Population: 24,234Median Rent: $799
Distance to Closest Airport: 102 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,347
More on Staunton: Homes For Sale | Data
The area was first settled in 1732 by John Lewis and family. In 1736, William Beverley, a wealthy planter and merchant from Essex County, was granted by the Crown over 118,000 acres (48,000 hectares) in what would become Augusta County. Surveyor Thomas Lewis in 1746 laid out the first town plat for Beverley of what was originally called Beverley’s Mill Place. Founded in 1747, it was renamed in honor of Lady Rebecca Staunton, wife to Royal Lieutenant-Governor Sir William Gooch. Because the town was located at the geographical center of the colony (which then included West Virginia), Staunton served between 1738 and 1771 as regional capital for what was known as the Northwest Territory, with the westernmost courthouse in British North America prior to the Revolution. By 1760, Staunton was one of the major ‘remote trading centers in the backcountry’ which coordinated the transportation of the vast amounts of grain and tobacco then being produced in response to the change of Britain from a net exporter of produce to an importer. Staunton thus played a crucial role in the mid 18th century expansion of the economies of the American Colonies which, in turn, contributed to the success of the American Revolution. It served as capital of Virginia in June 1781, when state legislators fled Richmond and then Charlottesville to avoid capture by the British.
Population: 12,068Median Rent: $1,140
Distance to Closest Airport: 10 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,582
More on Poquoson: Homes For Sale | Data
The name of the city is a Native American word which roughly translates to ‘great marsh.’ The term pocosin, with its varied spellings, was a term used by the area’s inhabitants to describe a low, marshy, woody place covered by water in the winter, but dry in the summer. These Native Americans were Algonquians, a tribal group affiliated through the Powhatan Confederacy, and were hostile to the early settlers. A petition to have the name of the parish and river changed was an attempt to rid the language of all vestiges of Indian terms. However, ‘poquoson’ has survived through the centuries and has become a proper noun used to designate the present city.
Population: 22,332Median Rent: $820
Distance to Closest Airport: 14 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,331
More on Hopewell: Homes For Sale | Data
The city was founded to take advantage of its site overlooking the James and Appomattox Rivers. City Point, the oldest part of Hopewell, was established in 1613 by Sir Thomas Dale. It was first known as ‘Bermuda City,’ which was changed to Charles City, lengthened to Charles City Point, and later abbreviated to City Point. (At this time, Bermuda, the Atlantic archipelago, was considered part of the Colony of Virginia and appeared on its maps.) Hopewell/City Point is the oldest continuously inhabited English settlement in the United States, Jamestown no longer being inhabited.
Population: 42,360Median Rent: $602
Distance to Closest Airport: 59 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,400
More on Danville: Homes For Sale | Data
Numerous Native American tribes had lived in this part of the Piedmont region since prehistoric times. During the colonial period, the area was inhabited by Siouan language-speaking tribes.
6. Falls Church
Population: 13,597Median Rent: $1,569
Distance to Closest Airport: 15 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,809
More on Falls Church: Homes For Sale | Data
The first known government in the area was the Iroquois Confederacy. After exploration by Captain John Smith, England began sending colonists to what they called Virginia. While no records has yet been found showing the earliest colony settlement in the area, a cottage demolished between 1908 and 1914, two blocks from the city center, bore a stone engraved with the date ‘1699’ set into one of its two large chimneys.
Population: 14,988Median Rent: $1,093
Distance to Closest Airport: 15 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,701
More on Williamsburg: Homes For Sale | Data
Prior to the arrival of the English colonists at Jamestown in the Colony of Virginia in 1607, the area which became Williamsburg was within the territory of the Powhatan Confederacy. By the 1630s, English settlements had grown to dominate the lower (eastern) portion of the Virginia Peninsula, and the Powhatan tribes had abandoned their nearby villages. Between 1630 and 1633, after the war that followed the Indian Massacre of 1622, the English colonists constructed a defensive palisade across the peninsula and a settlement named Middle Plantation as a primary guard station along the palisade.
Population: 31,997Median Rent: $857
Distance to Closest Airport: 21 miles
Crime Per 100k: 4,097
More on Petersburg: Homes For Sale | Data
Archaeological excavations at Pocahontas Island have found evidence of a prehistoric Native American settlement dated to 6500 BCE. This is in the early third of the Archaic Period (8000 to 1000 BCE). Varying cultures of indigenous peoples lived in the area for thousands of years.
Population: 49,401Median Rent: $1,446
Distance to Closest Airport: 12 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,880
More on Leesburg: Homes For Sale | Data
Prior to European settlement, the area around Leesburg was occupied by various Native American tribes. John Lederer (1670) testified that the entire Piedmont region had once been occupied by the ‘Tacci, alias Dogi’, but that the Siouan tribes, driven from the northwest, had occupied it for 400 years. In 1699, the Algonquian Piscataway (Conoy) moved to an island in the Potomac in the environs of Leesburg, and were there when the first known Europeans visited what is now Loudoun.
Population: 27,349Median Rent: $937
Distance to Closest Airport: 41 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,060
More on Winchester: Homes For Sale | Data
Indigenous peoples lived along the waterways of present-day Virginia for thousands of years before European contact. Archeological, linguistic and anthropological studies have provided insights into their cultures. Though little is known of specific tribal movements before European contact, the Shenandoah Valley area, considered a sacred common hunting ground, appears by the 17th century to have been controlled mostly by the local Iroquoian-speaking groups, including the Senedo and Sherando.
Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…
So there you have it, the best place to retire in Virginia goes to Martinsville.
If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:
For more Virginia reading , check out:
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Virginia
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Virginia
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Virginia For 2018
Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Virginia