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As you research, explore, and consider moving to a North Carolina community, here’s an overview of what you can expect when living in The Tar Heel State.

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Climate & Geography
Entertainment & Recreation
Cost of Living

Master-planned communities throughout the state of North Carolina offer a lifestyle tailored to many different preferences, whether you crave mountain vistas or calming ocean breezes.

From the scenic Appalachian Mountains in the west to the sunny Outer Banks of the Atlantic Coast, North Carolina is a diverse and exciting state that features something for everyone—natural beauty, history, arts, culture, and adventure. Home to almost 600 golf courses and 3,300 miles of shoreline, residents of North Carolina communities enjoy year round outdoor recreational opportunities for fishing, boating, golf, tennis, hiking, skiing, and equestrian pursuits.

No matter your lifestyle, there's a perfect fit. Seeking an active-adult community for retirees? Or a family-friendly environment with top-rated schools? Many North Carolina communities even offer gated options for added security. Ideal for a second home escape or your forever home, the master-planned communities in The Tar Heel State encourage a sense of connection with amenities like swimming pools, sports courts, clubhouses, and regular social events.

North Carolina Climate & Geography

North Carolina's diverse geography plays a significant role in shaping its climate. The state offers a range of experiences, from the cool, crisp mountain air to the warm, humid embrace of the coast. This variety makes North Carolina an attractive destination for those seeking a particular climate or simply wanting to experience all four seasons within a single state.

North Carolina can be divided into three distinct regions, each with its own character:

The Appalachian Mountains: This western region features the highest elevations east of the Mississippi River, including the iconic Blue Ridge Mountains. Think rolling hills, lush forests, and breathtaking vistas. This region has the coolest climate with the most significant variations throughout the year. Summers are mild with pleasant temperatures, while winters can be cold and snowy.

The Piedmont Plateau: The central region is a rolling plateau with fertile soil. This is the most populous part of the state and is known for its hills, farmland, and foothills. This area has a more moderate climate with warm to hot summers and mild winters. Precipitation is spread evenly throughout the year.

The Coastal Plain: The eastern region is a low-lying area with sandy beaches, barrier islands, and sounds. It offers a classic beach experience and is home to the Outer Banks, a string of islands known for its natural beauty and unique wildlife. The eastern coast experiences the warmest temperatures and the highest humidity. Summers are hot and muggy, while winters are mild. The coastal region also receives the most significant amount of rainfall.

North Carolina Entertainment & Recreation

Families, outdoor enthusiasts, and history buffs have no shortage of options for things to do when living in North Carolina.

Mountain Activities: Hike or bike the scenic trails of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, or kayak on the serene waters of Fontana Lake. Winter brings opportunities for skiing and snowboarding at resorts like Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain.

Coastal Delights: North Carolina boasts over 3,300 miles of stunning coastline. Relax on the pristine beaches of the Outer Banks, a string of barrier islands known for its wild horses and lighthouses. Explore the vibrant ecosystem of Cape Hatteras National Seashore, a haven for surfers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Piedmont Playground: Go whitewater rafting on the French Broad River or explore the numerous state parks, like Umstead State Park near Raleigh, perfect for hiking, camping, and picnicking.

Historic Charm: Immerse yourself in history at colonial towns like Wilmington or explore the Biltmore Estate, the grand mansion of George Vanderbilt in Asheville. Visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk, where aviation history took flight.

Vibrant Cities: North Carolina's cities offer a thriving arts scene. Catch a Broadway show or explore the museums in Charlotte, or delve into the music scene in Asheville, known for its many breweries and live music venues.

Family Fun: The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro allows visitors to encounter a diverse range of animals from around the world, while SEA LIFE Charlotte Aquarium lets you explore the underwater world. And there’s the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill with interactive exhibits and educational programs for all ages.

But Wait, There’s More: North Carolina offers experiences beyond the mainstream attractions. Explore the unique culture of the Outer Banks with its Outer Banks Oyster Festival or visit the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Gastonia for a stunning display of flowers. Hike to the top of Looking Glass Rock for breathtaking panoramic views or get lost in the Biltmore Estate's gardens during the Christmas Candlelight Tour.

North Carolina Cost of Living

  • Overall: The cost of living in North Carolina is 5% lower than the national average.
  • Housing: 14% lower than the national average.
  • Taxes: 
    • Income tax: Flat rate of 4.75%
    • Property tax: .82% of homes assessed value
    • Sales tax: 4.75% (also subject to the 2.25% local rate)
    • No tax on Social Security benefits

North Carolina Healthcare

North Carolina's healthcare landscape offers a mix of public and private options, ensuring access to essential medical services for a diverse population. With top-notch medical centers strategically located throughout the state, residents can find quality care suited to their needs.

Public Programs: North Carolina offers NC Medicaid, a program that provides health insurance to qualified residents, including low-income adults, children, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities. There's also the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for children whose families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance.

Private Insurance: Most residents obtain health insurance through private companies. You can shop for plans and see if you qualify for financial assistance through the state's health insurance marketplace, Get Covered NC.

Top medical centers in North Carolina include:

Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (Winston-Salem): Renowned for its cancer treatment, cardiac care, and organ transplantation programs.

Duke University Hospital (Durham): A leading academic medical center with expertise in various specialties, including heart disease, cancer, and neurosciences.

UNC Medical Center (Chapel Hill): Part of the University of North Carolina system, this center is known for its patient-centered care and research programs in areas like cancer, heart disease, and pediatrics.

Carolinas HealthCare System (Charlotte): A large healthcare system with multiple hospitals across the state, providing a comprehensive range of medical services.

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