These Are The 20 Best Small Towns In North Carolina For 2018


We used science and data to determine which small towns in North Carolina are the best of the best.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Data updated for 2018.

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You’ve seen these lists before: Best places to live in North Carolina, Most Beautiful Downtowns, etc., etc. But all of them focus on major cities and towns in the Tar Heel State and no one pays attention to the little guy.

Well, that’s all about to change as we put together a list of the best small towns in North Carolina based on numbers–not opinions or hearsay.

We’ll dive right into our methodology in the next section; but first, we thought you might just want to know which places in North Carolina ranked the based–you know, based on science.

Before we get to the top 20, here’s a look at the 10 Best Small Towns To Live in North Carolina for 2018:

  1. Wrightsville Beach (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Royal Pines (Homes For Sale)
  3. Biltmore Forest (Homes For Sale)
  4. Trent Woods (Homes For Sale)
  5. Avery Creek (Homes For Sale)
  6. Fearrington Village (Homes For Sale)
  7. Weaverville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Bermuda Run (Homes For Sale)
  9. St. James (Homes For Sale)
  10. Jame (Homes For Sale)

If you live in one of these small towns like Wrightsville Beach, chances are, you’re not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it.

But for the rest of you–keep reading and we’ll get to just why these small towns made our list.

For more reading on the Tar Heel State check out:

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How We Determined The Coolest Towns In North Carolina

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent data from the Census’s 2012-2016 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Lowest Unemployment Rates
  • Housing costs (Higher is better. More demand.)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Higher is better)
  • Highly Educated Adults (Higher is better)
  • Insurance Rates (Higher is better)
  • Commute Times (Lower is better)

We looked at places with populations lower than 5,000 people and greater than 1,000, of which, there were a lot – 295 to be exact.

We then ranked each place in each category with scores from 1 to 295, averaged them out, and the lowest scores went to our Best Small Towns in North Carolina. Top of that list — Wrightsville Beach.

Keep reading to find out more about our top 20 best small towns in North Carolina.

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1. Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach, NC

Source: Public domain

Population: 2,546
Median Income: $77,232 (10th Best)
Median Home Value: $742,100 (2nd Best)
More on Wrightsville Beach: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

2. Royal Pines


Population: 4,751
Median Income: $61,902 (42nd Best)
Median Home Value: $215,300 (48th Best)
More on Royal Pines: Data| Homes For Sale

3. Biltmore Forest


Population: 1,516
Median Income: $141,458 (1st Best)
Median Home Value: $821,700 (1st Best)
More on Biltmore Forest: Data| Homes For Sale

4. Trent Woods


Population: 4,194
Median Income: $76,890 (11th Best)
Median Home Value: $203,200 (55th Best)
More on Trent Woods: Data| Homes For Sale

5. Avery Creek


Population: 2,716
Median Income: $73,750 (13th Best)
Median Home Value: $193,900 (61st Best)
More on Avery Creek: Data| Homes For Sale

6. Fearrington Village

Source: Public Domain

Population: 2,984
Median Income: $70,136 (21st Best)
Median Home Value: $293,000 (19th Best)
More on Fearrington Village: Data| Homes For Sale

7. Weaverville

Weaverville, NC

Population: 3,886
Median Income: $53,072 (73rd Best)
Median Home Value: $241,000 (37th Best)
More on Weaverville: PhotosData| Homes For Sale

8. Bermuda Run


Population: 2,556
Median Income: $79,570 (8th Best)
Median Home Value: $240,400 (38th Best)
More on Bermuda Run: Data| Homes For Sale

9. St. James


Population: 4,438
Median Income: $103,382 (2nd Best)
Median Home Value: $444,600 (5th Best)
More on St. James: Data| Homes For Sale

10. Jame

Source: Public Domain

Population: 3,718
Median Income: $63,482 (35th Best)
Median Home Value: $229,200 (43rd Best)
More on Jame: Data| Homes For Sale

11. Laurel Park


Population: 2,633
Median Income: $55,045 (68th Best)
Median Home Value: $261,500 (30th Best)
More on Laurel Park: Data| Homes For Sale

12. Southern Shores


Population: 2,827
Median Income: $91,850 (4th Best)
Median Home Value: $444,000 (6th Best)
More on Southern Shores: Data| Homes For Sale

13. Lake Park


Population: 3,678
Median Income: $69,926 (23rd Best)
Median Home Value: $182,800 (73rd Best)
More on Lake Park: Data| Homes For Sale

14. Northlakes


Population: 1,521
Median Income: $89,677 (5th Best)
Median Home Value: $193,000 (62nd Best)
More on Northlakes: Data| Homes For Sale

15. Flat Rock


Population: 3,254
Median Income: $72,583 (15th Best)
Median Home Value: $377,300 (10th Best)
More on Flat Rock: Data| Homes For Sale

16. Blowing Rock


Population: 1,213
Median Income: $54,688 (69th Best)
Median Home Value: $556,900 (3rd Best)
More on Blowing Rock: Data| Homes For Sale

17. Westport


Population: 3,923
Median Income: $102,225 (3rd Best)
Median Home Value: $437,000 (7th Best)
More on Westport: Data| Homes For Sale

18. Pine Knoll Shores


Population: 1,420
Median Income: $69,688 (24th Best)
Median Home Value: $372,400 (11th Best)
More on Pine Knoll Shores: Data| Homes For Sale

19. Whispering Pines


Population: 3,125
Median Income: $71,731 (18th Best)
Median Home Value: $285,200 (20th Best)
More on Whispering Pines: Data| Homes For Sale

20. Belville


Population: 2,473
Median Income: $62,321 (39th Best)
Median Home Value: $175,800 (81st Best)
More on Belville: Data| Homes For Sale

Science Can Tackle Any Issue, Even Small Ones

We said it once and we’ll say it again — this list: it’s just science. We did the research, we crunched the numbers, and it turns out, these 20 small towns in North Carolina are the best, in which to live.

And who can argue with that?

If you’re curious, here are the worst small towns in North Carolina:

  1. Stony Point
  2. Rich Square
  3. East Spencer

For more North Carolina reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Small Towns In North Carolina

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Value
1 Wrightsville Beach 2,546 $77,232 $742,100
2 Royal Pines 4,751 $61,902 $215,300
3 Biltmore Forest 1,516 $141,458 $821,700
4 Trent Woods 4,194 $76,890 $203,200
5 Avery Creek 2,716 $73,750 $193,900
6 Fearrington Village 2,984 $70,136 $293,000
7 Weaverville 3,886 $53,072 $241,000
8 Bermuda Run 2,556 $79,570 $240,400
9 St. James 4,438 $103,382 $444,600
10 Jame 3,718 $63,482 $229,200
11 Laurel Park 2,633 $55,045 $261,500
12 Southern Shores 2,827 $91,850 $444,000
13 Lake Park 3,678 $69,926 $182,800
14 Northlakes 1,521 $89,677 $193,000
15 Flat Rock 3,254 $72,583 $377,300
16 Blowing Rock 1,213 $54,688 $556,900
17 Westport 3,923 $102,225 $437,000
18 Pine Knoll Shores 1,420 $69,688 $372,400
19 Whispering Pines 3,125 $71,731 $285,200
20 Belville 2,473 $62,321 $175,800
21 River Bend 3,164 $60,859 $179,500
22 Nags Head 2,858 $56,707 $341,800
23 Highlands 1,144 $65,375 $534,200
24 Cove Creek 1,014 $46,786 $189,500
25 Seven Lakes 4,727 $70,000 $276,000
26 Boiling Springs 4,650 $56,758 $151,800
27 Creedmoor 4,353 $66,818 $153,900
28 Cramerton 4,292 $66,953 $182,000
29 Cedar Point 1,393 $78,750 $317,800
30 Swepsonville 1,348 $68,047 $191,100
31 Claremont 1,455 $57,237 $151,200
32 Bayshore 3,956 $49,586 $242,900
33 Manteo 1,638 $44,153 $277,000
34 Holden Beach 1,135 $73,068 $406,100
35 Foxfire 1,102 $65,104 $242,500
36 Sunset Beach 3,762 $55,223 $264,500
37 Northchase 3,461 $51,731 $161,500
38 White Lake 1,363 $46,875 $154,000
39 Dortches 1,016 $60,833 $175,600
40 Kitty Hawk 3,403 $57,522 $305,200
41 Southport 3,291 $56,042 $260,300
42 Emerald Isle 3,709 $61,106 $363,700
43 Brices Creek 3,857 $85,382 $242,600
44 Cape Carteret 2,267 $72,308 $262,000
45 Mars Hill 2,620 $42,941 $191,200
46 Kure Beach 2,335 $68,819 $378,600
47 Fairfield Harbour 2,913 $60,734 $211,800
48 Fairview 3,016 $61,010 $194,600
49 Valley Hill 1,816 $42,921 $263,300
50 Moyock 3,368 $83,889 $265,700
51 Forest Oaks 3,502 $71,320 $221,300
52 Red Oak 3,432 $66,081 $197,900
53 Neuse Forest 1,730 $74,511 $202,200
54 Rockwell 1,891 $50,000 $121,400
55 Bent Creek 1,305 $47,470 $221,000
56 Clyde 1,226 $45,156 $146,400
57 Mountain Home 3,961 $41,997 $169,600
58 Lake Junaluska 2,930 $51,316 $245,300
59 Hoopers Creek 1,352 $51,765 $187,100
60 Lowesville 3,089 $59,974 $247,200
61 Lake Lure 1,363 $60,921 $323,400
62 Sea Breeze 1,886 $53,590 $239,100
63 Wilkesboro 3,552 $35,550 $168,300
64 Banner Elk 1,256 $69,107 $320,400
65 Rockfish 3,736 $62,500 $149,100
66 Oakboro 1,958 $57,596 $154,500
67 Lake Waccamaw 1,491 $52,708 $266,700
68 Archer Lodge 4,614 $63,308 $150,800
69 Horse Shoe 2,441 $58,578 $221,900
70 Atlantic Beach 1,671 $47,875 $327,400
71 Carolina Shores 3,714 $49,345 $179,900
72 Pittsboro 4,058 $51,563 $209,700
73 Swansboro 3,046 $44,805 $188,800
74 Tryon 1,568 $35,688 $189,500
75 Wallburg 3,068 $56,548 $157,800
76 Midway 4,712 $54,063 $156,100
77 Balfour 1,540 $31,763 $156,900
78 Stanley 3,633 $49,375 $131,500
79 Tobaccoville 2,549 $57,986 $144,000
80 Granite Quarry 2,966 $50,054 $146,300
81 Sylva 2,599 $37,434 $134,900
82 North Topsail Beach 1,104 $62,238 $273,200
83 Louisburg 3,530 $27,269 $120,600
84 Drexel 1,966 $37,404 $111,400
85 Stedman 1,205 $50,987 $142,400
86 Newport 4,666 $41,156 $151,600
87 Lake Royale 3,414 $43,103 $174,500
88 Pleasant Garden 4,684 $57,059 $144,900
89 Murfreesboro 2,951 $42,625 $131,900
90 Maggie Valley 1,767 $40,727 $178,300
91 Beaufort 4,181 $38,825 $203,700
92 Randleman 4,140 $35,600 $115,700
93 Wingate 3,798 $36,062 $135,600
94 River Road 4,035 $48,241 $179,000
95 Carthage 2,644 $36,842 $141,600
96 Stem 1,023 $67,778 $148,600
97 Richlands 2,637 $52,532 $168,900
98 Mount Pleasant 2,133 $60,469 $183,800
99 Hudson 3,733 $44,464 $138,600
100 Pumpkin Center 1,700 $46,793 $150,300

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