Did you know North Carolina produces more sweet potatoes than any other state in the nation?
But there’s more to North Carolina than sweet potatoes. From sandy beaches to rolling mountains to bustling cities, there isn’t much The Old North State doesn’t have.
Not to mention the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Carolina Panthers, and the mouth-watering breweries and vineyards sprawled across the state.
If you’re asking yourself, “is North Carolina a good place to live?” the answer is yes.
You’ll be glad to know that some of the best places to live in North Carolina are only a stone’s throw from the best attractions the state has to offer.
Are you looking to make a move to North Carolina but not sure where to drop your anchor?
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Find out 15 of the best places to live in North Carolina here:
- New Bern
- High Point
- Chapel Hill
Moving to Raleigh is one of the best choices you will ever make. The region has been named the best place to live in North Carolina on multiple occasions.
Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina and the second-largest city in the state. Located in Wake County, Raleigh is also known as the “City of Oaks” because its many oak trees line almost every street.
Raleigh is an educational hub with family-friendly museums and strong performing universities and colleges. The city also has vibrant nightlife and a growing arts scene.
Raleigh experiences four distinct seasons which is often cited as one of the many reasons people choose to move there.
If you enjoy shopping, eating, hiking, and experiencing history, Raleigh is the city for you.
Known as the Queen City, Charlotte boasts a low cost of living, enviable weather, and an oasis for outdoor enthusiasts.
Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina, with about 885,663 people. It’s also one of the top ten fastest-growing major cities in the United States.
The city is known as a business and financial hub and home to the corporate headquarters of Bank of America and the east coast operations of Wells Fargo.
Like Raleigh, Charlotte also has a well-educated population with three dozen higher learning institutions, including the University of North Carolina (Charlotte campus).
The affordable cost of living is a big reason why families, students, and professionals choose to move there. With the median home price at $384,762 and the median monthly rent at $1,632, it’s hard not to see why.
Better yet, Charlotte is the perfect city to settle down in if you prefer summer over snowy winters. The state sees more rain than snow and is ideal for anyone who enjoys a mild climate.
With a tight-knit community of almost 120,695 people, Wilmington is one of North Carolina’s best places to live. Wilmington offers its residents a relaxed coastal lifestyle which is currently exploding in popularity.
The city of Wilmington lies in New Hanover County, with a quality of living that is second to none. The smaller city is an economic hub that offers quality education and employment and plenty of tourism and housing.
Another reason people choose to move to Wilmington is its low tax rates. The city boasts the second-lowest tax rate in North Carolina.
The cost of living is very reasonable, sitting at 1% lower than the national average.
With a continuously growing economy, you can expect employment in health care, hospitality, and retail.
Asheville is the best of both worlds, a big city with a small-town feel. Known as the “Paris of the South,” Asheville is a vibrant community with historic architecture and rich history.
Asheville is home to breathtaking mountainous views, delicious eateries, and plenty of hiking and biking trails.
Home to 93,392 people, Asheville has a robust job economy with a low unemployment rate. You can expect to find job opportunities in the area’s significant employers; healthcare and education.
The Asheville arts scene has deep roots, with hundreds of artists occupying industry buildings along the French Broad River.
The people in Asheville are welcoming and friendly, with a strong sense of community. This is no more apparent than its primary focus on supporting independent local businesses.
More and more people are choosing to move to Greensboro. Why? Because the city has plenty of economic opportunities, an affordable cost of living, and an abundance of things to do.
Greensboro has a rich history as an important location during the civil rights movement that any history buff will look forward to discovering.
There’s also no shortage of historic Art Deco buildings in the Downtown Greensboro Historic District.
The city of Greensboro is well-known for its athletic venues, with plenty of courts, fields, stadiums, and pools scattered all around.
With nearly 300,000 residents, one of the first things you’ll notice is how welcoming and kind Greensboro people are. And not to mention how family-friendly the city is.
If you move to Greensboro, you will notice that the living cost is cheaper than other cities in North Carolina. The typical home value of homes in Greensboro is $246,904, but you can expect to pay more or less depending on the time of the year.
Home to NASCAR and sweet tea, Winston-Salem is the fifth-largest city in North Carolina. If you decide to move to Winston (as the locals call it), you’re in for a sweet treat.
One of the best parts of living in Winston-Salem is its sense of community. They say Southern hospitality is a given, and there is no doubt about that, with many festivals and events across the city celebrating its authentic Southern charm.
Speaking of, the food in Winston-Salem is out of this world. Its Southern comfort food meets authentic international flavors speaks to its diverse population. Try the local Carolina BBQ for a finger-licking foodie experience.
Education is also at the city’s forefront, with plenty of public and private schools to choose from. Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is ranked among the top ten best value colleges and universities in North Carolina.
There are plenty of different housing options to choose from, including downtown lofts, single-family homes with lots of green space, and new construction homes.
Apex is a smaller suburb of Raleigh in Wake County, North Carolina. With a population of just 69,291 residents, Apex boasts a small-town charm with all the benefits of living close to the city.
Many reasons to move to Apex include its affordability, rich history, green spaces, diverse cultural activities, and proximity to Raleigh.
Residents of Apex also enjoy low property taxes, an excellent schooling system, family-friendly neighborhoods, and a mild climate.
If you’re planning to move to Apex, you might be surprised to see a long list of social activities and cultural events planned throughout the year. There is always plenty to do, from music festivals to Easter egg hunts.
If outdoor exercise is more your style, there are plenty of green spaces currently maintained by the town, with more on the horizon. Take your pup to Apex Nature Park or test out your skateboard skills at the Trackside Skate Plaza.
8. New Bern
Small town charm meets dynamic living in New Bern, North Carolina. It’s one of the many reasons newcomers are drawn to the town.
New Bern has enough to keep you entertained for the rest of your life.
New Bern is North Carolina’s second-oldest city. The town boasts four historic districts, each listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Yes, it’s that old.
While New Bern has a small population of only 31,885, the community is still incredibly diverse. You’ll find that most people are friendly and welcoming, just like every other town in North Carolina.
If you enjoy eating out and shopping up a storm, New Bern’s historic downtown is lined with small businesses, boutiques, cafes and restaurants, and art galleries.
It is also home to Union Point Park, which offers fishing and boating access, picnic shelters, and walking trails.
Greenville is home to some of the best places to eat and things to do in North Carolina.
Once named Martinborough, Greenville was founded in 1771 and was moved three miles to where it is located now.
It is home to nearly 90,002 people. Greenville ranks highly in career opportunities and business development. It is also a hub for entertainment, education, and health.
Greenville is a mixture of urban meets rural living. The town is located on the river, meaning there are all kinds of water-based activities and great views.
If you’re moving with your family, the suburbs are your best choice with newer, larger homes. For those looking for inner-city living, you’ll find plenty of apartments and smaller homes to choose from.
The cost of living in Greenville is comparable to most areas in North Carolina. The median family income is $61,989. The typical home value of homes in Greenville is $228,359.
10. High Point
Like everywhere in the South, the hospitality is exceptional. As soon as you move to High Point, you’ll feel right at home.
High Point is the only city that extends into four different counties. It is also the ninth-largest city in North Carolina and only twenty minutes to Greensboro and Winston-Salem.
High Point is a central manufacturing hub with a rich history on display in the city’s museums and historical sites. The median house price in High Point is around $227,331, making it an extremely affordable place to live.
Most people living in High Point are young, with a mixture of families, young professionals, and college students. Over the past few years, there has been a population increase due to a significant boost in employment opportunities.
Like most cities in North Carolina, there is a major tight-knit community vibe. As soon as you arrive, you will notice the friendly and welcoming vibes.
The food scene is also hot in High Point. Choose from a variety of locally-owned restaurants, taverns, and bars.
Why do people move to Durham? Easy, the community, and incredible job prospects.
Durham has a population of over 287,794 and is a beautiful medium-sized city with plenty of character. The feeling of community is a direct result of the cities history, culture, and Duke University – the heart and soul of Durham.
Durham has a strong economy with plenty of employment opportunities in healthcare and education.
More recently, tech giants like Amazon and Google have chosen the Triangle area to set up more warehouses and offices.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll also love what Durham has to offer. Dame’s Chicken and Waffles serves the best – you guessed it – chicken and waffles in the area.
Affordability is another reason why people choose to move to Durham. The cost of living is less than the national average, making it the ideal location to set up roots.
Durham’s mild weather is enough to make you throw your winter woolies away for those who hate snow.
A t-shirt in December? Sure! In Durham, anything is possible.
12. Chapel Hill
If you’ve heard of the University of North Carolina, you would be familiar with Chapel Hill. This university town is home to Rameses the mighty ram.
But don’t be fooled. Chapel Hill has more to offer than the typical college town. Known as a Foodie’s Paradise, Chapel Hill is home to many local watering holes and Al’s Burger Shack.
Many employment opportunities are in administrative, sales, and office fields. Many of these jobs are connected to the university itself. But there is also plenty of business, finance, and material production opportunities.
There are many things to do in Chapel Hill, some connected with the university, some not. If you’re a history buff, you might like to explore the Chapel Hill Museum.
If you have kids, you might like to take them to the Coker Arboretum to explore the beautiful plants and flowers.
Boone is a quaint town and home of Appalachian State University. It is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains and has a population of almost 17,978.
One of the best reasons to move to Boone is its climate. Boone experiences four seasons. However, many agree that fall is when the town shines.
If you enjoy playing golf, Boone has its own golf club and is rated one of the best public courses in the area. After a round or two, enjoy a cold drink at the club’s cafe.
You can also enjoy a variety of water activities on the New River. They include kayaking, canoeing, tubing, and rafting.
Boone is also a town ideal for people moving with dogs. Some of the best parks, restaurants and attractions allow dogs inside.
Hickory is known for its eclectic vibes and outdoor recreation. Its population is almost 43,981, and the median home price is $286,083. This makes Hickory one of the most affordable cities to live in in North Carolina.
Technology and manufacturing are the top industries in Hickory, with plenty of employment opportunities available. Currently, Hickory is home to retirees and families. However, it is slowly becoming a hot spot for young professionals.
Move people drive to work and shops and restaurants. This makes transportation an issue if you don’t have a car. However, Greenway Public Transporation buses travel around Hickory and between counties.
For a small town, there is also plenty to see and do. Outdoor recreation is the ultimate thing to do in Hickory.
During summer, you can kayak and canoe at The Catawba River. There are also many walking and running paths and mountain biking trails for hiking enthusiasts.
Lucky last, Fayetteville. Fayetteville is home to Fort Bragg, one of the most significant military bases in the world.
Fayetteville is a thriving patriotic community with a low unemployment rate and a growing defense industry. If you’re seeking deployment in the military, Fayetteville is the town for you.
This is also another great town for golfing enthusiasts. Fayetteville is home to 19 miles of fairways created by famous course designers.
Since the Fort Bragg army base brings in most of its residents, Fayetteville is a very diverse community. This contributes significantly to the growth of the area. It also means more local festivals and community events.
If you’re not used to warmer weather, the heat in Fayetteville will take some getting used to. Lucky for you, many breweries are being built downtown to help you cool down.
Fayetteville also happens to have a very buyer-friendly real estate market. The median house price in the area is around $199,438. If you move closer to Fort Bragg, the price drops by almost $40,000.
The cost of living in Fayetteville, NC is 2% lower than the state average and 6% lower than the national average
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Looking for the Best Places to Live in North Carolina?
North Carolina has become one of the top destinations for people young and old to settle down and create a new life. With some of the friendliest people in the country, it’s hard not to see why.
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