10 Best Places To Retire In West Virginia For 2019


We analyzed over 22 places in West Virginia 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 West Virginia.

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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 West Virginia.

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

To that end, we have tried to identify the places in West 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 Grafton don’t mind us spreading the word.

Why did Grafton take the top spot? And where are Charleston and Huntington?

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

For West Virginia state reading:

Grafton, WV

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 5,156
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 11)
Median Rent: $510
Distance to Closest Airport: 80 miles
More on Grafton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Grafton is a city in – and the county seat of – Taylor County, West Virginia, USA. The population was 5,164 at the 2010 census. Both of West Virginia’s national cemeteries are located in Grafton. Mother’s Day was founded in Grafton on May 10, 1908 and the city is home to the International Mother’s Day Shrine. Grafton was one of the first places to observe Memorial Day in the United States. Grafton originally developed as a junction point for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, serving numerous branches vital to the local coal industry.

Moundsville, WV

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 8,858
Rank Last Year: 31 (Up 29)
Median Rent: $521
Distance to Closest Airport: 47 miles
More on Moundsville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Moundsville is a city in Marshall County, West Virginia, along the Ohio River. It is part of the Wheeling, West Virginia metropolitan area. The population was 9,318 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Marshall County. The city was named for the nearby ancient Grave Creek Mound, constructed 250 to 100 BC by indigenous people of the Adena culture.

Moundsville was settled in 1771 by English colonists Samuel and James Tomlinson. Fostoria Glass Company was headquartered in Moundsville from 1891 to 1986. The retired West Virginia State Penitentiary operated in Moundsville from 1867 to 1995.

Wheeling, WV

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 27,758
Rank Last Year: 45 (Up 42)
Median Rent: $583
Distance to Closest Airport: 37 miles
More on Wheeling: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Wheeling is a city in Ohio and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located almost entirely in Ohio County, of which it is the county seat, it lies along the Ohio River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Wheeling was originally a settlement in the British colony of Virginia and later an important city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Wheeling was the first state capital of West Virginia. Due to its location along major transportation routes, including the Ohio River, National Road, and the B&O Railroad, Wheeling became a manufacturing center in the late nineteenth century. After experiencing the closing of factories and substantial population loss following World War II, Wheeling’s major industries now include healthcare, education, law and legal services, entertainment and tourism, and energy.

Review Of Wheeling by HomeSnacks User

Wheeling is a relatively safe, small town located in a tri-state area of the Ohio Valley within 60 minutes of Pittsburgh, PA with the nearest international airport.

The waterfront of downtown can also be lively in the summer with various music events. The Center Market area is a cute, trendy spot with a local brewery, a wine bar, a hair salon, a coffee shop, a creperie and some antiques shops. Don’t miss Ogelbay Park, a wonderful resort with upscale dining, golf, tennis, and more and the Festival of Lights at Christmas.

New Martinsville, WV

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,255
Rank Last Year: 39 (Up 35)
Median Rent: $620
Distance to Closest Airport: 67 miles
More on New Martinsville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

New Martinsville is a city in Wetzel County, West Virginia, United States, along the Ohio River. The population was 5,366 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Wetzel County.

Weirton, WV

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 19,307
Rank Last Year: 44 (Up 39)
Median Rent: $653
Distance to Closest Airport: 18 miles
More on Weirton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Weirton is a city in Brooke and Hancock counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located primarily in Hancock County, the city lies in the northern portions of the state’s Northern Panhandle region. As of the 2010 census, the city’s population was 19,746. It is a principal city within the Weirton-Steubenville Metropolitan Area, which had a population of 124,454 residents, and by extension part of the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area.

Fairmont, WV

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 18,699
Rank Last Year: 41 (Up 35)
Median Rent: $685
Distance to Closest Airport: 70 miles
More on Fairmont: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fairmont is a city in Marion County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 18,704 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Marion County.

Oak Hill, WV

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 8,722
Rank Last Year: 21 (Up 14)
Median Rent: $591
Distance to Closest Airport: 158 miles
More on Oak Hill: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Oak Hill is a city in Fayette County, West Virginia, United States and is the primary city within the Oak Hill, WV Micropolitan Statistical Area. The micropolitan area is also included in the Beckley-Oak Hill, WV Combined Statistical Area. The population was 7,730 at the 2010 census. Country singer Hank Williams was discovered to be dead while the car in which he was a passenger was stopped in Oak Hill, and Oak Hill is generally accepted to be his place of death.

Review Of Oak Hill by HomeSnacks User

Oak hill is a cute city with Pride and the city council has been trying to engage the community lately and has been investing in outdoor adventure areas

Though the downtown areas has seen a decline the city has been getting cleaner than that of the early 2000s

Bluefield, WV

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 10,366
Rank Last Year: 19 (Up 11)
Median Rent: $549
Distance to Closest Airport: 142 miles
More on Bluefield: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Bluefield is a city in Mercer County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 10,447 at the 2010 census. It is the core city of the Bluefield WV-VA micropolitan area, which has a population of 107,342.

Morgantown, WV

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 30,364
Rank Last Year: 52 (Up 43)
Median Rent: $742
Distance to Closest Airport: 60 miles
More on Morgantown: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Morgantown is a city in and the county seat of Monongalia County, West Virginia, situated along the banks of the Monongahela River. With a permanent population of 31,073 per the 2015 U.S. Census estimates, Morgantown is the largest city in North-Central West Virginia. The Morgantown metropolitan area has a population of 138,176, and is the 3rd largest in West Virginia. West Virginia University adds several thousand seasonal residents to the city and surrounding area from September through May. Morgantown is best known as the home of West Virginia University and the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system.

Buckhannon, WV

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 5,645
Rank Last Year: 35 (Up 25)
Median Rent: $639
Distance to Closest Airport: 103 miles
More on Buckhannon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Buckhannon is the only incorporated city in, and the county seat of, Upshur County, West Virginia, United States, and is located along the Buckhannon River. The population was 5,639 at the 2010 census. Buckhannon is home to West Virginia Wesleyan College and the West Virginia Strawberry Festival, held annually on the third week of May. The city is located 115 miles northeast from the capital city of Charleston and 140 miles south of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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

To create our list of the best places in West Virginia to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Mountain State — 399 cities and towns.

We then narrowed it down to places with at least 5,000 people that weren’t townships. This left us with 22 places from across the state.

For these 22, 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 22, with the lowest number being the best.

Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Grafton, 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 West Virginia Yet…

So there you have it, the best place to retire in West Virginia goes to Grafton.

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

  1. Charleston
  2. Dunbar
  3. Beckley

For more West Virginia reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Retire In West Virginia?

Rank City Population Median Rent
1 Grafton 5,156 $510
2 Moundsville 8,858 $521
3 Wheeling 27,758 $583
4 New Martinsville 5,255 $620
5 Weirton 19,307 $653
6 Fairmont 18,699 $685
7 Oak Hill 8,722 $591
8 Bluefield 10,366 $549
9 Morgantown 30,364 $742
10 Buckhannon 5,645 $639

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.