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The Best Places to Live in North Carolina in 2024

By Alex Moretti


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If you’re on the lookout for a new home, away from the hustle and bustle of big cities, you should definitely consider moving to the state of North Carolina because it is by far one of the most diverse, peaceful and surprising places you could live in.

What makes North Carolina so special is that there is always a place for you, from small villages to charming towns, that will surely fit your lifestyle, no matter who you are or what your budget and requirements are.

North Carolina Beach
Photo by Parsa Mahmoudi / unsplash.com

There are so many amazing places to consider here though that make it hard to choose which one’s the best for you.

That’s why for today we decided to bring you our very own list of the top 20 best places for you to live in the gorgeous state of North Carolina, starting off with:

20. Mills River

20 Best Places to Live in North Carolina – Mills River
Photo by Town of Mills River, NC / Facebook.com

This small community of 7,000 people can be found smack dab into the middle of the Henderson County, and oh boy trust us when we say that this is one of the better choices on this list.

Take for example the fact that this rural community is set around 20 minutes from downtown Asheville, and on top of that it has a very proficient farming community which makes it perfect for those looking to clean up their lifestyle a tad bit.

While it used to be a lot smaller and more reserved in the past, as of today you’ll find it to be a very welcoming and affordable place that you can live in for as little as $688 per month on average.

If you’re looking for something a bit more permanent, you’ll be happy to hear that a home here only costs around $216,200, and when coupled with the strong education system and the low crime rate, it’s no wonder that so many people have started to move in Mills River as of late.

19. Fayetteville

20 Best Places to Live in North Carolina – Fayetteville
Photo by City of Fayetteville, NC Government / Facebook.com

Fayette is the home of Fort Bragg, by far one of the most important military bases in the world. As such it’s no wonder that Fayetteville is considered to have one of the most patriotic communities in the country.

So, if you are seeking military deployment, or if you just want to feel more protected you can always just move into Fayetteville and that’ll clear out any and all of your fears.

There are plenty of amazing local festivals and community events here too, and the best part about it is that owning a house here will only cost you a measly $120,000. If you want to really save up on your payments you could always just drop down to $40,000 per house by moving closer to Fort Bragg.

18. Hickory

Hickory, North Carolina
Photo by hickorync.gov

If you’re looking to move into a place that favors the outdoor lover, you should definitely consider moving into Hickory.

Hickory has a total population of almost 80,000, and that number’s slowly increasing as the years roll on by due to the median home price being only $168,000.

But that’s not all that there is to Hickory as you also get access to some top-notch technology and manufacturing job opportunities, so if you’re on the lookout for something fresh, this may be the right choice for you.

Let’s not forget about the plethora of shops, restaurants and an amazing public transportation service that is provided by the Greenway Public Transportation buses here, making Hickory a top choice for sure.

17. Wesley Chapel

Wesley Chapel
Village of Wesley Chapel, North Carolina / facebook.com

Wesley Chapel can be found in the Union County, only around 10 miles away from Waxhaw. This fairly new neighborhood came about around 1998, after the locals noticed the rapid growth in what used to be just your average rural area.

Nowadays you’ll find a good 8,000 people living here in the Wesley Chapel area, and right off the bat you can tell just how closeknit the community is.

While it is not a big city per se, it does have a decent selection of nightlife options. But what really shines in Wesley Chapel is the restaurants and shopping malls that are always nice to see.

The average income per household here is of around $106,407 per year, which is nothing to scuff at either, so if you play your cards right you may find yourself loving your new life here in Wesley Chapel.

16. Holly Springs

20 Best Places to Live in North Carolina – Holly Springs
Photo by Holly Springs, NC – Town Government / Facebook

You can find Holly Springs in Wake County, where the sky is always blue and the sun is always shining. But other than that sales pitch, how else can we advertise this gorgeous place for you?

Well, how about this, the population has nearly tripled in between the years 2000 and 2015, reaching a total of 28,640 right now.

That is because while the cost of living is definitely up there, the average household income is of around $94,452 per year which is not too bad to say the least.

It is the perfect small town to live in, especially if you are just starting a family and you want to make sure that they’re set for the future thanks to the amazing school system here.

15. Boone

20 Best Places to Live in North Carolina – Boone
Photo by Town of Boone North Carolina / Facebook.com

Boone is a very quiet and friendly town that hosts the renowned Appalachian State University. It can be found in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with a total population of almost 20,000 and rising.

By far its best selling point is its climate, as you will be able to get the best of all four of the seasons, although the general consensus is that fall is by far the best one all year round.

It is the state’s capital for golf lovers as it has its very own golf club alongside one of the best public courses in the state.

On top of that you can also just go and enjoy a cold drink at the club’s café if you feel like it, and let’s not forget about the plethora of water sports varieties you can take part in, including kayaking, canoeing, tubing and rafting.

14. Durham

20 Best Places to Live in North Carolina – Durham
Photo by Discover Durham / Facebook.com

The community here in Durham is stellar and let’s not forget about the tons of job possibilities you’ll encounter too.

With a total population of well over 260,000, this is the perfect medium-sized city for you to move into if you want to get the best deal around.

That is because the city has a wide variety of history, culture and of course, it is the resting place for the Duke University, one of the most esteemed universities in the area.

The healthcare and education here is amazing, and if you want to live your best life, we recommend you check in with Dame’s Chicken and Waffles because that’s where you can get the best breakfast and lunch in the state.

13. Marvin

Marvin, North Carolina
Photo by Marvin Town Centre / Facebook.com

This small suburb is the home of around 6,000 people in total, already giving it a very small and closeknit community feel.

Just keep in mind though that the cost of living here is nothing to shun at, being one of the highest in the entire state.

The homes here are also quite expensive, costing you around $571,000 or so, and if you are looking for something a little more temporary you can also get yourself a home for around $3,029 per month.

The average family brings in around $181,452 per year, which is triple the national average, so if you are a bit more well off and you want to live in a safe environment where you can raise your children, this may be the best option for you.

12. Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Photo by Visit Winston-Salem / Facebook.com

Being the fourth-largest city in the Old North State, it shouldn’t come off as a surprise just how sought after a place here really is.

Winston Salem has a total population of around 236,642 people, and while it may not seem like it, it does have strong ties with two major industries, specifically the furniture making and the tobacco industry. As such, you can easily find a job in those avenues, but that’s not all.

If you happen to be a wine lover, this place will basically be your personal Valhalla, as there are around 35 wineries in the town which are all absolutely stellar to say the least.

An average home here will rake up to around $141,100, and rent will cost you around $724 per month if you want a three-bedroom single-family home.

11. Stallings

Stallings, North Carolina
Photo by Stallings Parks and Recreation / FAcebook.com

Stallings can be found right outside of Charlotte, and what makes it special in the first place is the fact that it has some of the best big city attractions on this list.

The Stallings Fest is by far the best place to be if you want to enjoy your life, regardless of if you’re old or young, and what’s best about it is the fact that it is all free of charge.

You can get yourself a home here for around $215,700 too, and while you are here you’ll get to take advantage of some really amazing schools and the low unemployment rate which is always a nice thing to see.

10. High Point

High Point, North Carolina
Photo by travellens.co

High Point is the only city that pretty much extends into four counties, and if that’s not good enough of a reason to move in here, we don’t know what is.

But if you want more, just keep in mind that the average home price here rests at around $200,000, and on top of that the cost of living is incredibly low, making this a perfect place to live in as a student.

The food scene is pretty much top notch too, and since most of the restaurants and diners here are locally-owned, you’ll definitely enjoy your Friday nights here in High Point.

9. Greenville

Greenville, North Carolina
Photo by ColeHernandez2013 / Wikipedia.org

Greenville is easily one of the best places you could live in, especially if you’re just looking for an affordable city with plenty of career opportunities and a wicked food scene.

A total of 120,000 people currently live here, and what makes it so great in the first place is the fact that it offers you a ton of opportunities in terms of entertainment, education, health, work and whatnot.

The typical family income here is of around $45,000 or so, and the average home rests in between the $250,000 and $290,000 mark which is not too shabby considering the living conditions and the low cost of living.

8. Apex

Apex, North Carolina
Photo by Town of Apex Government / Facebook.com

Apex is a smaller suburb that can be found in the Wake County.  It has some ghastly low property taxes, a brilliant schooling system and a very friendly neighborhood. That is all topped off by the mild climate and the plethora of social activities and cultural events you can take part in.

Just take a quick gander at the Easter egg hunts events, they’re always fun to take part in, and don’t even get us started on the music festivals.

It is the perfect place to walk around in thanks to how many green spaces there are around the town, just check up on the Apex Nature Park if you want or better yet, dust off the old skateboard and visit the Trackside Skate Plaza if you feel like it.

7. Greensboro


Considered one of the best cities out of the “Triad” region, Greensboro is always a good choice to make.

With a total population of just under 300,000, the city is quite popular amongst millennials, especially thanks to the fact that it is the home of five different colleges and because it is only three-hours away from the coast at all times.

On top of all of that, Greensboro is often times referred to as one of the “Greenest Cities in America”, so if you love the idea of living in a safe and clean environment, there’s nothing quite like Greensboro.

6. Waxhaw

Waxhaw, North Carolina
Photo by waxhaw.com

Being a suburb of Charlotte and by far one of the fastest growing places in the state, Waxhaw is nothing short of a utopia for anyone looking to settle down.

It fares quite well in terms of education and family friendliness, and while it is not the most affordable option on this list, it’s not that far off from it either considering the fact that a home costs around $259,500 per average.

The average home income here is also not too bad, reaching a total of $84,294 on average, and considering the low cost of living here, it’s pretty clear why so many people move in here as of late.

5. Wake Forest

Wake Forest, North Carolina
Photo by Rysnap1024 / Wikipedia.org

The Wake Forest can be found in the Wake County, just north of the state capital. It has a total population of 34,786 residents, and it is the home of the renowned Wake Forest University.

It is a perfect place to move into, especially thanks to the average home price for a single-family home being as low as $267,300. If you are lucky though you can also get yourself a four-bedroom mansion for as little as $273,000 too which is not too bad of a deal to say the least.

Just keep in mind that the Wake Forest has a very high cost of living, although this does come with an elevated lifestyle which not a lot of other places can match.

4. Asheville

Asheville, North Carolina
Photo by Visit Asheville / Facebook.com

The best way that we can describe Asheville is by simply saying that it is perfect, but at a certain price tag that not everyone can afford.

This is because while the quality of life is definitely up there, the average home does get as high as $435,000 in most cases which is a bit out of some people’s budget.

On top of that you do happen to be very close to the Blue Ridge Mountains, which means that you’re always a short drive away from some stunning views alongside the Appalachian Trail.

3. Raleigh

Raleigh, North Carolina
Photo by raleighnc.gov

Raleigh’s often times regarded as one of the best options for anyone out there simply because it is perfect for any and all ages due to its low cost of living, its educational opportunities and having one of the best job markets is definitely not a bad thing either.

No matter if you are a young professional looking for a job that can last you a lifetime, a first-time home buyer, a retiree or anyone for that matter, you’ll definitely find your calling here in Raleigh.

On top of all of that, this is where the Wake County Public School District can be found. Why is that important you ask? Because that’s one of the state’s best school districts, making this a perfect place to move into for students and young adults looking to learn a new trade.

2. Wilmington

Wilmington, North Carolina
Photo by James Willamor / Wikipedia.org

If you happen to work from home, why settle for less than a morning coffee while looking up at the stunning Atlantic sunrise?

That is but one of the many advantages that Wilmington offers you, alongside a very thriving job market, a very safe neighborhood and access to the beautiful Gary Shell Cross-City Trail?

Everything about Wilmington screams perfection, and considering the fact that the average home price very rarely surpasses the $406,250 count, there’s nothing quite like it out there, with the exception of our number one pick of course.

1. Charlotte

Charlotte, North Carolina
Photo by Charlotte NC / Facebook.com

Charlotte is the perfect place to live in if you’re craving for the big-city vibe. But what makes it so special to begin with?

Well, for starters, it is the home of the Bank of America, Truist, Atrium Health and Honeywell, amongst other big-time companies that are always looking for devoted workers to add to their mix.

On top of that though, you also get access to a ton of amenities and there is no shortage of museums for you to visit in your spare time.

It is an affordable, safe and thriving place for you to live in, made all the better by the fact that you get to be a part of a community of young entrepreneurs that are very welcoming and friendly.


Best Places to Live in North Carolina
Charlotte, NC / Photo by Daniel Weiss / unsplash.com

North Carolina truly is the place for anyone and everyone, regardless of who you may be or what your current financial disposition may be.

So, if you’re still looking through your options, just remember that it doesn’t matter which one you settle on at the end, since they’re all top choices that you can’t go wrong with.

For more interesting places to live in, check out North Carolina’s neighboring states: Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina.

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About Alex Moretti

Adventure junkie, content creator and storyteller, Alex left his nine-to-five career lifestyle to become a full time world traveler. He started his journey to the unknown 5 years ago and visited more than 30 countries and 400 cities ever since. Learn more about Placeaholic's Editorial Process.

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