Retire in Wilmington or New Bern North Carolina?

New Bern Best Coastal Towns North Carolina

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North Carolina continues to attract migrating retirees from the high tax states in the Northeast. Boomers choose North Carolina because within a day’s drive, they can quickly retreat back to where they once lived, to spend time with their children and grandchildren at the holidays and special events. The best coastal towns in North Carolina include Southport, Wrightsville Beach and the fast growing city of Wilmington. The variety of barrier island beaches, abundant new homes and rich cultural atmosphere are just a few of the attributes boomers seek.

We are seeing a rise in interest for homes in New Bern NC too. The 300 year old historic seaside city is located about 2 hours north of Wilmington. It’s more inland on the Neuse River downstream from the Pamlico Sound. New Bern was once the State Capital of North Carolina. It was originally settled by Swiss and German immigrants back in the early 1700’s. The city still has an European feel with historic bed and breakfasts, cozy cafes, authentic antique stores in the heart of downtown and influential architecture.

Like Wilmington, life in New Bern revolves around the water. Sailboats are more common than powerboats. The southern end of the Outer Banks can be reached by water in about 2 hours by land or by sea, from the New Bern waterfront. The 300 year old city does not feel like big city at all. Depending on how you look at it, that can be a plus or minus. It does not have the modern conveniences such as a large international airport, brand label shopping such as Macy’s or national sports teams such as the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Popular annual festivals include MumFest, the MS Bike Weekend, Neuse River Bridge Run.

It does have large military installation nearby. The Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point spreads across 29,000 acres and is located 20 minutes to the south. This means access to a variety of high quality medical care and businesses catering to active and retired military. The cost of living in New Bern is less. The average homes in New Bern NC last year hovered around $147,000 compared to $279,000 in Wilmington.

What are you looking for in the best coastal towns in North Carolina? Do you like big or small? Do you prefer a gated or non-gated community? If you'll share a little bit more about what you're looking for (style home, size, features, target price) I'll be better able to recommend neighborhoods to see in New Bern.

And if you’re torn between New Bern or Wilmington, why not live somewhere in between? We recently discovered a real gem. The gated community of River Landing, in Wallace, is about 45 minutes north of Wilmington. It offers traditional country club living. While golf is the obvious core amenity, there’s so much more.  Here’s a quick summary:


  • Gated Community
  • 60,000 square foot Golf Clubhouse with casual and fine dining
  • Three 18 Hole Championship Golf Courses designed by Clyde Johnson
  • Sports & Fitness Center
  • Indoor and Outdoor Swimming Pool
  • Fitness Center, Fitness Classes, Spa Services
  • 3 Har-Tru Tennis Courts
  • Sports Courts
  • Walking and Biking Trails
  • River Pavilion
  • Kayak and Canoe Storage
  • Cape Fear River Access

Approximately 460 homes are built to date of the 1,600 planned. New homes are available in the high $200’s to over $1 million. River Landing has one of the most beautiful clubhouses we’ve seen. Social club dues are around $100 a month. A full golf membership is around $370 a month or $12 a day for the everyday golfer. Let us know if you’d like more information about River Landing.

If you’re exploring homes in New Bern NC for the first time, ask for our complimentary New Bern relocation information to help you learn more about the area. It’s our pleasure to help!

Request Free Real Estate Information

Timeframe for Purchase*
General Price Range*

Request Free Real Estate Information

Timeframe for Purchase*
General Price Range*
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