Real Estate Ranks Orlando 7 of Top 10 Best College Towns in the South to Live at Retirement

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Real Estate Scorecard Reveals Top 10 Best College Towns in the South to Live at Retirement

Real Estate Scorecard is the industry leader of online real estate reviews, keeping buyers informed about what’s happening at the most popular gated communities and best cities to live in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and Central America.


Baby Boomers with an insatiable thirst for knowledge are exploring the best college towns in the south for retirement. In addition to the exciting colleges and universities, many towns cater to individuals over the age of 55 by providing lifelong learning courses at local museums and community centers to enhance their quality of life during retirement. The towns also offer a wide array of inexpensive restaurants, shopping venues and cheap transportation in the best places to live in the south. After analyzing the 42 ‘best cities to live’ that Real Estate Scorecard focuses on, here are the Top 10 Best College Towns in the South for retirement. Read the full news story on Real Estate Scorecard’s website to learn more details about the colleges in these cities.


With the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville’s average elevation of 2,000 feet provides the perfect place to enjoy the fall foliage from the picturesque Blue Ridge Parkway that runs through the heart of Asheville. Named as “America’s Happiest City” by Self Magazine, residents enjoy street festivals, cafes, street performers and abundant art galleries with views of Mount Mitchell State Park (the highest peak in North America at 6,684 feet) clearly visible from downtown. Another major draw to the region is America’s largest private home, The Biltmore Estate built by business tycoon George Vanderbilt and The Grove Park Inn which features unique Hansel and Gretel architecture. It is in the ‘Land of the Sky’ that folks will find the award winning University of North Carolina Asheville.

With Asheville’s diversity and charm, residents range from affluent retirees to “hippie clad” college students which creates a unique environment that is full of environmentally conscious and creative people. Asheville was named as the #1 Best Small City by American Style Magazine for its Art Deco architecture, art studios and galleries. The City of 1,000 Easels created by Asheville Arts Council is a walking tour of art displays downtown. For cultural enrichment there is also the Asheville Art Museum, the Asheville Symphony Orchestra and the Asheville Lyrical Opera. For college students and “rock-n-roll” Boomers, The Orange Peel was named by Rolling Stone as one of the top 5 rock clubs in America and the venue draws headline bands from around the world and is a funky and fun live entertainment venue. For dance and theatrical performances, there is The Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre and the Asheville Community Theater which has been voted the Best Theater Group in Western North Carolina. For history buffs, there are a number of historic museums near the university to visit.


Athens is highly cultural and rich in history providing an eclectic blend of the “old and the new” located about 1.5 hours northeast of Atlanta. Neighborhoods found here reflect a combination of Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian architectural style and downtown is highly active and energetic due to those who attend the University of Georgia found here. Fine dining, shopping and cultural events keeps this location happening and makes this one of the best college towns in Georgia. With a blend of rock bands like REM and the B-52’s and the Athens Symphony, individuals of all ages can enjoy the free concerts offered by the symphony for the last 35 years. Rolling Stone magazine named Athens Georgia as the “Number 1 College Music Scene in America”.

Since the 1980’s, Athens has been preserving its rich history by restoring homes to the Victorian era and notably has 15 neighborhoods on the National Register of Historic Places. There are also great museums and art galleries for all residents and visitors to enjoy. Nicknamed “The Classic City”, Athens is also the birthplace of America’s first garden club, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia and is also rated as one of “America’s Top 25 Art Destinations.” Athens is the northern gateway to Georgia’s Antebellum Trail which is a 100 mile journey through 7 cities used in Sherman’s March to the Sea in 1864. Athens is also ranked the “Number 1 Place to Retire” by Fortune Magazine and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named Athens as the “Best College Towns for Retirees.” The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute found on the campus of the University of Georgia has 19 special interest groups on campus where ambitious seniors can take lifelong learning courses.


Another historic destination we applaud is in the Low Country of South Carolina. The colorful southern charm of Charleston is apparent when folks drive down Rainbow Row which showcases 14 pastel painted homes that date back to 1740. Charleston is 300 years old and filled with a vibrant culture combining history with the luxury of having some of the country’s most beautiful beaches nearby. Charleston is made up of several barrier islands connected by statuesque bridges and is on the list of America’s Best Beaches. The islands of Isle of Palms, Kiawah and Seabrook Islands make Charleston one of the best college towns combining 19th century architecture with academia. It is the perfect place to attend college and enjoy this quaint and vibrant destination. Whether it’s a stroll on one of the pristine beaches or relaxing at White Point Gardens, the city’s waterfront park, folks of all ages can enjoy all the happenings this town has to offer. Forget dieting. It’s a foodie’s paradise. Here you’ll find the freshest seafood and local cuisine and top chefs from around the country. Charlestown is also home to an excellent higher learning institution, the College of Charleston which draws students not only all over the country, but worldwide as well.

Charleston has two rivers that frame its downtown and the harbor found here is one of largest cargo seaports on the East Coast. For boaters, there are two deepwater marinas off the Intracoastal Waterway, The Isle of Palms Marina and St. Johns Yacht Harbor which gives easy ocean access. For cultural enrichment there is Charleston’s Museum Mile with multiple museums and historic sites. The Gibbes Museum of Art and Charleston Museum feature Low Country history while The Confederate Museum and Old Slave Museum provide historical recounts of living in the South. There is also Charleston’s Magnolia Plantation, Boone Hall Plantation and Middleton Place which have beautiful gardens to admire. The North Charleston Performing Arts Center hosts concerts and sporting events and the Opera Charleston provides world-class entertainment. Charleston is America’s list and ours of “Best Places to Live in the South.”


One of the fastest growing college towns and a great place to retire is the city of Greenville, South Carolina. The beautiful surroundings of the Blue Ridge Mountains make this region a popular spot for those who love outdoor activities. The intellectually chic town is home to The Swamp Rabbit Trail and amazing mountain fed lakes at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. There are 3 lakes to enjoy in the region, Lake Keowee, Lake Jocassee and Lake Hartwell. Whether it’s hiking, fishing or boating there is plenty of things to do in the Upstate. Named as one of the best art towns by Southern Living Magazine, Greenville is home to numerous art galleries, studios, lifelong learning opportunities and music festivals. The city has a rich history from civil war times and the revitalized downtown is “happening” with excellent restaurants lined along the Reedy River. For career minded adults and college grads, there are excellent businesses based in Greenville, the likes of BMW, General Electric and Michelin Tire. The economy is booming as more than 44 companies expanded or relocated to Greenville in 2010.


Pet lovers will fall in love with Knoxville Tennessee located in the Appalachian Valley. Known as the Most Dog Friendly City, it is also nicknamed the “Lakeway to the Smokies” due to its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains. Folks drawn to a high quality of life in Eastern Tennessee will find beautiful properties on Tellico Lake, Fort Loudoun Lake and Norris Lake. Forbes Magazine ranked Knoxville on the list of the Top 25 Best Bang for the Buck Cities which appeals to parents raising college-aged children and retirees on fixed incomes. Downtown residents and visitors can enjoy the 26 story bronze glass Sunsphere icon which accessorizes the city built as the symbol for the 1982 World’s Fair. The University of Tennessee offers affordability and an excellent education for youngsters pursuing a rewarding and challenging career.

Since Knoxville is home to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, there is ample employment for hundreds of scientists and Ph.D’s and the town is full of highly educated individuals. As such, culture is rich here offering ballet, opera and theatrical performances. Knoxville also draws hundreds of thousands of people to attend their annual indoor and outdoor festivals held year round and provides entertainment for the whole family. During football season at the University of Tennessee, the town is active with “Vols” fans celebrating with tailgate parties and collegiate team gatherings. There are more than 15 theaters and staging companies in Knoxville with the Bijou Theatre being the largest. There is also the Clayton Center for the Arts, a world class Knoxville Symphony Orchestra as well as the Knoxville Jazz Orchestra. The Knoxville Museum of Art features rotating exhibits, live musical performances and educational classes and The Art Gallery Market showcases original art and crafts from local artists. The energy in Knoxville is enthusiastic and makes it one of the best college towns in Tennessee.


The college town on our list can be found in the Music City, Nashville, Tennessee. With a rich music and art scene, Nashville has become one of the best college towns in the America. Nashville is the home to several recording studios and distribution centers and was rated the Best Music Scene by Rolling Stone Magazine. Students and parents have the choice to attend a wide array of music concerts, art exhibitions, theatre performances and festivals that take place downtown and in the suburbs of the city year round. It has been estimated that over 10 million people visit Nashville annually. Honky Tonk Row on Broadway provides endless free entertainment as musicians hoping to gain national recognition showcase their talent to local bars and restaurants along main street. The city also has an NFL football team, the Tennessee Titans and a hockey team with the NHL the Predators to keep young and old sports fans entertained year round. In the center of the city, the Cumberland River makes its course and adds a beautiful backdrop for both residents and visitors. The river leads to 2 scenic lakes, the Old Hickory Lake and the J. Percy Priest Reservoir and provides additional entertainment for folks living in the region. In addition to all the cultural events annually, there are over 1,000 eateries and Nashville is a pet friendly city with 3 dog parks in Nashville. Nicknamed the “Buckle of the Bible Belt”, Nashville has over 700 places of worship in the area. This progressive town also built Greenways which are linear parks and trails connecting Nashville neighborhoods, shopping and restaurants along scenic rivers, streams and roadways. Vanderbilt University is found in Nashville and it is a premiere educational facility which attracts students from around the world.


The next city that made our list is the popular vacation destination of Orlando, Florida listed as “America’s Most Visited Cities” by Forbes Magazine in 2009 and as the 4th most popular city that Americans want to live by The Pewter Institute. With warm memories of their childhoods at Disney, it’s no wonder students and their families choose the best college town of Orlando for retirement. Orlando does well at carving a name for itself. The Orlando Sentinel is the 2nd largest newspaper media circulated in Florida and The University of Central Florida is the second largest college campus in the country. With over 59 million visitors in 2013, Disney brought in 33 billion dollars and helps make Orlando a thriving city by a strong economy.

Orlando has plenty on the “to do” list including Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and waters parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Universal Studios and the Island of Adventures round out the endless options folks will find in Orlando. Orlando also has the 7th largest technology park in the country and hosts the world’s largest model and simulation conference known as I/ITEC (Interservice/Industry Training Simulation and Education Conference). In addition to the theme parks, Orlando also is culturally enriched with the Central Florida Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Mad Cow Theatre and The Bob Carr Performing Arts Center which features local artists performing original plays and Broadway shows.


Sarasota, Florida is home to the most beautiful beaches in USA. Surrounded by the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico and fine white sandy beaches, this “piece of paradise” is the perfect place to retire. There are multiple beaches found in Sarasota including the #1 beach on Siesta Key which has been named the Best Beach in America multiple times. Each beach found here has a distinctive personality and there are several choices including Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Casey Key and Lido Key. The winter weather is ideal and a perfect place for Boomers to retire to escape harsh winters. Sarasota is also considered one of the Best Art Towns in Florida and it is highly cultural due to the affluence and age of its residents. With unique boutiques, fabulous restaurants, Broadway performances, opera and professional ballet, St. Armand’s Circle on Lido Key is the place to be. It is here in paradise that ocean dwellers find The University of South Florida.


Another choice location for living the good life after retirement is the historic southern town of Savannah, Georgia. It’s a city filled with history and personality. A place of cobblestone streets and 22 park-like squares in the heart of downtown. In 2012, Forbes magazine named Savannah as one of the Best Cities to Retire In and Money Magazine rated it one of the Top 100 Places to Retire. What makes it special? Savannah combines rich history, brand label shopping, eclectic restaurants and waterfront neighborhoods along the Savannah River. Even magnate Henry Ford chose Savannah for his winter getaway. With streets lined with massive oak trees draped with Spanish moss and antebellum homes, a walk along the city’s Riverfront after an evening concert attracts individuals from all over the country. It is here that ambitious art students flock to study at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).

Known as one of the best art towns in Georgia, those seeking a career in art and design can attend the largest and best art school in the county, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). There is plenty to do in the Hostess City, for both young adults and parents. Southern comfort foods, jazz and blues, and over 200 festivals take place annually in downtown Savannah. The Savannah St. Patrick’s Day parade is a premier event annually. The Telfair Museums add culture to the formula with 3 art museums; the Telfair Academy has historic art, the Owens-Thomas House is a preserved mansion that still displays slave quarters, and the Jepson Center which is an interactive children’s museum.


The last city on our list is hardly in last place. It’s the historical town of Wilmington, North Carolina where young adults and parents can enjoy a blend of the “old and new” with access to some of the best North Carolina beaches in the state. Beaches here include Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Holden Beach, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach. This quaint town (often compared to London, England) has been named one of the 100 Best Art Towns in America and the town reflects this passion with displays of artwork on buildings and throughout the 39 galleries and store fronts downtown. The Cameron Art Museum (CAM) offers art classes for all ages and exhibits from emerging artists are inspirational to say the least. The Bellamy Mansion of History and Design also hosts exhibits and community events as well. Culturally, people can enjoy symphony orchestras, theatre at The Thalian Center for performing arts where over 400 events take place annually and street festivals take place year round. Performing venues in the city include By Chance Productions, Opera House Theatre, Willis Richardson Players, Theatre Exchange and the Stageworks Youth Theatre for enhancing cultural enrichment. It’s no surprise to us that Money Magazine named Wilmington as the “Best City to Live in North Carolina”. The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) is located here and offers a great program for ambitious students.

Baby Boomers seeking the perfect place to retire with opportunities to experience lifelong learning would be smart to start with the best college towns in the south.

About Real Estate Scorecard:

Real Estate Scorecard writes unbiased real estate reviews providing in-depth information about popular gated communities in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and Central America, all in an effort to help people discover where to retire in the South.








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