Top planned communities in the Carolinas
Brilliant purples, pinks, reds, and golds greet the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean each morning on the Carolina coast make North Carolina and South Carolina among the Best Places to Live. There is nothing quite like the Carolina blue sky in the fall light. That might be why James Taylor sings, "In my mind, I'm going to Carolina..."
Retirees and younger people who are now able to work from home have not just gone to Carolina in their minds, they've been moving in record numbers. Each year, ideal-LIVING surveys our readers and finds that the Carolinas top their list of places to move to. Though North Carolina and South Carolina have distinct differences, they both share a mild, four-season climate and incredible topography, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where people can find their ideal life.
Nestled along the sparkling Intracoastal, in the growing coastal town of Hampstead, NC, Salters Haven will be the place for those who seek an active lifestyle on the water. Logan Developers, the team of visionaries who brought the acclaimed Helms Port marina community into being, is re-creating the magic once again at Salters Haven. Its spirit is very much the same: a celebration of family, community, recreation on the water and elegant coastal homes. View our disclaimer here.
Imagine for a minute you’re visiting the private club community of Hampton Hall in Bluffton, SC. You’ve gotten over the awe of the dramatic and picturesque Lowcountry landscape, and you’re starting to take in your surroundings. The first thing you’re probably going to hear is laughter. Depending on where you’re standing, it could be coming from the lakeside resort pool, or the Pete Dye golf course, or maybe one of the various dining venues. For while everything here is beautiful to look at and expertly maintained and cared for, the key component is fun and enjoyment.
We thought you should be prepared for that because, sure enough, the tennis pro will coax you on to the courts, or the threesome about to tee off will enlist you into completing their group. You see, the minute you pass through the gates at Hampton Hall, something changes. You are at once connected with this club and community. A place you may have never known existed, right up until the moment you fall in love with it.
We invite you inside the gates to tour Hampton Hall. Come see if you feel a connection with this Lowcountry private club community. Come see if Hampton Hall feels like home.
Savannah Lakes Village is on the 71,000-acre freshwater Lake Thurmond in McCormick, South Carolina with 1,200 miles of shoreline. The community boasts two championship lakefront golf courses with restaurants and pro shops, fiber-optic Internet to each homesite, a 23,000 square foot recreation center with 6 lighted tennis courts (4 HarTru and 2 hard surface), pickleball, bowling alley, indoor & outdoor pools, sauna, fitness room, private card rooms, library, 50+ social clubs, yoga studio, Rod & Gun Club, and so much more. This is active retirement in its truest form…
We are a short 45-minute drive to Augusta and a 2-hour drive from Atlanta. The community abuts three state parks and offers 100+ miles of hiking and biking trails. Our new Lakefront Condo project offers amazing views of the lake with luxurious finishings and direct access to a full-service marina and sandy beach. Boat slips are offered to all homeowners regardless of location. Come stay and play at Savannah Lakes Village for only $199 for 2 nights!
New homes from the low $200s. Pre-construction pricing on lakefront condos starting at $270,000. Visit SavannahLakesVillage.com or call 864-391-5259 to book your tour!
Encompassing 370 woodland acres, Cresswind Charlotte is a 55+ community in Charlotte, North Carolina. This active adult community is situated away from the congestion of the city, but within a 25-minute drive of Uptown Charlotte.
Cresswind Charlotte is specifically designed for those 55 and over, with resort-style amenities and a variety of activities. Miles of walking trails meander throughout the community, and the 18,000-square-foot clubhouse will feature a fitness center, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis, pickleball, and bocce courts. A full-time activities director organizes fitness programs and clubs for every hobby.
Charlotte is home to NASCAR, Carowinds Amusement Park, and U.S. National Whitewater Center. The Nantahala National Forest, Pisgah National Forest, and ski resorts at Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain are close enough for day trips and weekend getaways. Tour 9 designer model homes. Move-In Ready homes available now.
Your Latitude! You’ve earned a life where every day feels like an escape. Find your paradise at Latitude Margaritaville, the 55-and-better lifestyle where fun and relaxation meet.
Inspired by the legendary music and lifestyle of singer, songwriter and best-selling author Jimmy Buffett, this is where life rolls easy, neighbors are friends and the party never ends. Awesome recreation, FINtastic dining and entertainment will make the town center the place to be and just a golf cart ride away. Masterfully crafted new Latitude homes let you hang your hat where your heart is.
Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head is located on Highway 278, 2.5 miles east of I-95 in the city of Hardeeville, South Carolina – the scenic gateway to world-famous Hilton Head Island. The area is steeped in natural beauty, with an abundance of golf courses, pristine beaches and waterways for boating, kayaking, and fishing. Nearby are the historic cities of Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC filled with museums, cultural arts, shopping and dining.
A unique waterfront community with new homes from the $300s – $1.5M+ and available lots starting at $80k.
Located just 10 minutes north of Downtown Wilmington, NC (by boat or car) sits River Bluffs, a gated community that overlooks the Northeast Cape Fear River. River Bluffs offers a wide variety of home plans, including affordable cottage-style homes for a growing family, single-level homes with retirement-smart features, low-maintenance townhomes, and even fully-custom homes built by the area’s most prestigious builders. River Bluffs boasts a variety of luxurious amenities such as a a 2,700 foot river walk with covered gazebos, 188 slip marina, miles of walking trails and parks, a beach-entry pool, high-end fitness center, tennis and pickle ball courts, a community General Store, over 30+ resident clubs including kayaking, boating, and much more.
Enhance Your Quality of Life by Moving to River Bluffs:
• No city tax and no traffic!
• Low county & state taxes. North Carolina residents enjoy some of the lowest cost of living expenses on the Eastern seaboard!
• Enjoy low HOA dues which include yard maintenance, trash service, recycling, and access to all community amenities.
• 5.499% flat income tax and 0% estate or inheritance tax.
Beau Coast is found in the quaint coastal town of Beaufort, NC, which was named “South’s Best Small Town” by Southern Living Magazine. If you’re wondering why Beaufort deserves those accolades, the explanation is simple: it’s a small town with big character.
Historic Beaufort, NC is more than just a small coastal town, it’s steeped in a distinct history. First established in 1709, it’s the third oldest town in North Carolina and was a port town visited by patriots, merchants, and craftsmen. When you call Beau Coast home, you’ll find yourself at the center of it all. The coastal charm. The compelling culture. The stunning natural areas. And so much more.
Beau Coast’s Best Features also include:
• 365 Day Lifestyle
• Prime Location
• Beautiful Clubhouse
• Resort Style Pool
• Kayak Barn
• Event Lawn
• Onsite Deli
• Gathering Areas
• Community Day Dock
• Miles of Sidewalks
• Numerous Social Events
• Townhomes, Single-Family Homes and Homesites Available
• Low HOA Dues
• Trusted Developer
Looking for the perfect lifestyle community for retirement or to raise your family? Keowee Key has more of what you love. Golf, tennis, fitness center, swimming, boating and pickleball are just a few of the amenities this active, gated, lakeside community offers.
Located at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Salem, SC, and surrounded by the pristine waters of Lake Keowee, Keowee Key is a 1,600-acre community carved out of a forest of hardwood and pines. You’ll find a wide variety of home styles and price points available in a natural setting with mild seasons and an abundance of local adventure.
All homes in Keowee Key are custom-built, including lakefront, mountain or golf-course views. For a maintenance-free lifestyle, you’ll find ample condominiums, town homes and cottages. Choose a lakefront home with private dock or use one of 5 community docks with 324 boat slips, pontoon and kayak rentals, and a supply store.
The challenging 18-hole, par 72 George Cobb Golf Course, features four tee boxes to match all skill levels. A clubhouse with award-winning chef, lakeside leisure trail, three swimming pools, and a dog park, contribute to Keowee Key’s country club lifestyle.
Summerhouse on Everett Bay – Ideal Coastal Lifestyle
Summerhouse on Everett Bay, a North Carolina coastal community less than ten minutes from Topsail Island, is a breath of fresh air. It’s that community where neighbors are like family. Full-timers are the norm. And, the pace barely vacillates from season to season.
Life at Summerhouse revolves around the water. Whether you’re fond of sailing, boating, kayaking along the Intracoastal Waterway, or hanging out by the community’s spectacular pool complex, it’s every water-lover’s paradise. And, nearby Topsail Island, called the “Best Little Beach Town in the USA” by TripAdvisor.com knows how to keep things interesting. Seafood restaurants, boutique shops, and miles of expansive beaches abound.
Coastal Casual Meets Luxury
Summerhouse residents can kayak and paddle board on the Intracoastal Waterway in the mornings eight months out of the year, then join friends by the pool or at the clubhouse in the afternoons. In summer, a trip to the crab traps before dinner is a must. A coastal North Carolina summer evening just isn’t complete a sunset cruise coupled with an incidental wildlife tour.
Are quick trips to town important to you? Perfect. Surf City and Downtown Wilmington are less than 45 minutes away.
And, if you’re design-focused, then you’re in luck. Summerhouse on Everett Bay is also famous for its warm and welcoming signature homes. In each home, luxury blends with coastal casual and open floor plans sprawl. Equally important, (and equally sprawling) is the ocean… just beyond most front porches.
We’re such big fans of Summerhouse’s signature homes that we voted one Summerhouse Everett Bay home the 2017 Ideal Home. Check it out! Then, sign up for the Summerhouse Discovery Travel Package to get in before the crowd.
This award-winning community in Johnston County is located minutes from Raleigh, but still very much away from the urban bustle. Bordered by US Hwy 42, Buffalo Road, and the Neuse River in Clayton, this master-planned community was the first of its kind in Johnston County and was awarded North Carolina’s Community of the Year in 2013 and 2014 by the North Carolina Home Builders Association.
Flowers Plantation now features more than 40 unique neighborhood developments, over 10 miles of walking trails, 50 acres of lakes and two elementary schools. When complete, the development will total nearly 7,800 lots with prices starting at $150K to over $600K. Wherever you are on your housing and life spectrum, Flowers Plantation has a place for you to call home.
“You don’t need a car here. The streets are all golf-cart friendly,” says Reid Stephenson, Flowers Plantation’s Chief Executive. “You can get your kids to school, come home from work, enjoy our parks and recreation, and make convenient runs to the grocery store-all without leaving the community.”
Living in Flowers Plantation is ideal for homeowners who want a comfortable, relaxing lifestyle.
Gated Riverfront Living, Boundless Joy in Nature
The Bluffs on the Cape Fear is a vibrant, master-planned community perched on a pristine stretch of the Cape Fear River. Just 15 minutes from the classic waterfront hometown of historic Wilmington, NC, The Bluffs is a private, coastal haven for the families who call it home.
The unique vision of The Bluffs is realized every day: natural woodlands and the unspoiled riverfront landscape are preserved and celebrated. Classically-styled coastal homes exist in harmony with lush woodlands, and the riverfront.
Our visionary developers created The Bluffs with access and abundance in mind. Accordingly, residents here enjoy a close-knit, active lifestyle with total access to the riverfront and an impressive collection of amenities. We invite you to experience the joy of our authentic riverfront community, The Bluffs on the Cape Fear, with our 3 day-2 night Discovery Package.
– 50-Slip Marina with Scenic Boardwalk
– 2-Acre Riverfront Park with Boat & Kayak Launch
– Lakefront Clubhouse with Resort-Style Salt Water Pool
– Private Beach Club on Oak Island – with Full Ocean Access
– Winding Walking & Biking Trails
– Golf Cart Friendly Community
– Tennis & Pickleball Courts
– Fully-Stocked Lake
– Community Boat & RV Storage
– And soon, a New State-of-the-Art Fitness & Wellness Center
A Quintessential Beaufort, SC Community
Want to live in the “Best Small Town in the South”? Good choice! An even better choice? Buying at Celadon in Beaufort, SC just five minutes from downtown.
Southern Living voted Beaufort, South Carolina the “Best Small Town in the South” early in 2017 ,and U.S. News and World Reports named it the #1 place to visit later that year. More big news? Ideal-LIVING Magazine voted Celadon one of the top ten Neo-traditional communities in the country!
So, if you’re searching for South Carolina communities with classic low country charm, century-old live oaks, and a lifestyle that celebrates wellness and values of a simpler time, you’ve found it. Watching sunsets from porches and visiting with neighbors is still “a thing” at Celadon. The community’s pristine water views are mesmerizing.
A Wellness-based Community – Mind, Body, and Spirit
At the heart of Celadon is the The Celadon Club. This state-of-the-art fitness and wellness center is designed to help residents achieve optimal health. Personal trainers, sport physiologists, and nutrition experts are available to guide them through customized wellness plans. Celadon also boasts the latest in equipment technology as well a a junior olympic-sized swimming pool.
At the end of the day, wind down at the Celadon Club Spa. Peruse a comprehensive menu of luxe services. Then, treat your mind and spirit to a little wellness too by choosing your favorites.
We invite you to visit Celadon in Beaufort, SC, one of South Carolina’s most enchanting communities in the heart of the low country. Join us in the best small town in the south. Discover Celadon!
*Single-family home prices start in the 300s, and condos start in the low 400s. Lots are available.
There is a place off the South Carolina coast, near the charming town of Beaufort, where nature and luxury share center stage. Shaped by the Intracoastal Waterway and a rich Southern history, the SC gated golf community of Dataw Island is a pristine parcel of 870 acres waiting to be discovered.
The Dataw Island Club is the perfect choice for you. Golf and Social memberships are available for island residents. If you live in the area and are interested in joining the club, call to find out about the special Country Club Membership incentives. For membership information call (843) 838-3838. Ask about their vacation memberships!
The Dataw Island Club has completed its two year renovation of their golf courses. The Cotton Dike course, designed by Tom Fazio, was completely renovated in 2011, and the Arthur Hills designed Morgan River course has also completed its renovation.
“Top 100 Amenity Communities” – ideal-LIVING Magazine
“Best in Value Golf Community” – Links Magazine
“Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary” – The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses
Dataw Island is a luxurious and private residential golf community nestled in an unrivaled South Carolina landscape. Within the gates, there is 24-hour security. There’s vibrancy there, a constant bustle of activity that reflects the area’s rich wildlife and Dataw’s collaborative culture. Residents can walk, bike or travel by golf cart to social gatherings, functions and meetings.
From deepwater slips that lead to blue waters to the manicured golf courses named for legends; from an indoor lap pool to a whirlpool spa; from tennis lessons to Spanish lessons, Dataw Island is humming with leisure. Start the day sunny side up in your Lowcountry residence. Uncover cozy, shaded nooks perfect for soaking in the coastal breeze. Join neighbors for a Yacht Club meeting or challenge friends to a game of croquet on the lawn. From a calendar of social events to thoughtful gathering spots woven throughout, Dataw Island’s connected community is inspired by you.
Located on the southeastern coast of North Carolina, only 10 minutes from Wilmington, Compass Pointe is a gated, private community that offers an unmatched resort lifestyle. Every day feels like a vacation where you can relax by our award-winning pool, float along the lazy river, join one of 100+ community clubs, or get some exercise at our fitness center, indoor pool, or golf club. Come see for yourself why Compass Pointe was honored with the 2020 Best Health & Fitness Community and America’s Best Places to Live 2021.
- Private, Gated Entrance
- The Grand Lanai
- Resort Oasis Pool
- Compass Pointe Golf Club
- Clubhouse (under construcion) & Pro Shop
- The Pointe Wellness Center & Spa
- Indoor Pool
- Lazy River
- Tennis & Pickleball Courts
- Recreation Lawn
- Putting Greens
- Latitudes Restaurant and Bar
- Dog Park
- Cardinal Lake with Canoe & Kayak Launch
- Outdoor Amphitheater
- Sidewalks Throughout for Walking and Biking
- Golf Cart Paths Throughout
- Club Member Pool & Bar
- Club Member Fitness Center
- Club Member Golf Simulator
Kingfish Bay is resort-style community with a Caribbean flare located in the quaint coastal town of Calabash, NC. The development design meanders through 62 acres of natural waterfront property, creating a tropical-themed, private-gated community consisting of bungalow homes, cottages, courtyard homes, and custom single-family homes.
Set along the banks of the Calabash River, approximately one-third of the property is maintained in its natural state. Two piers with pavilions and day docks are provided with direct access to the Intracoastal Waterway. A waterfront park with fire pits and palm trees with hammocks are available for the residents’ enjoyment, as well as nature trails with fitness stations. Fostering a sense of “community by design”, Kingfish Bay also offers a community center with clubhouse, fitness center, and resort-style pool with bath house. An exclusive oceanfront clubhouse on Sunset Beach is now under construction and due to open in June 2019.
Kingfish Bay is located within walking distance of downtown Calabash, a delightful waterfront destination known as the “Seafood Capital of the World” for it’s numerous casual-dining restaurants and boutique shopping.
Brunswick Forest, the Coastal South’s fastest growing community, is located on North Carolina’s Cape Fear coast, just minutes from historic Wilmington. This 4,500-acre retreat features a wide array of neighborhoods and lifestyles, 18 holes of golf at Cape Fear National, a Clubhouse, Fitness & Wellness Center, Hammock Lake Park & Pool, Town Creek River Launch, and more than 100 miles of walking, biking and nature trails linking residences and amenities.
Buyers at Brunswick Forest choose from a wide range of prices and lifestyle options, from low maintenance luxury town homes to home sites and spacious custom homes. Secluded neighborhoods, each with its own distinctive flavor, can be found throughout the community. This 4,500-acre retreat includes a host of amenity centers, offering golf, tennis, pickle-ball, wellness/fitness facilities, pools, parks, paths and trails, and a river launch, all thoughtfully positioned within the natural topography of the land to take advantage of spectacular views of woodlands, creeks, forests and natural areas. A commercial village just outside the entrance provides residents with easy access to shops, restaurants, entertainment, and professional and medical services.
If you would like to learn more about this vibrant, coastal community in North Carolina, offering world class amenities, you can request more information and compare this community with many others to find your ideal lifestyle, all you have to do is request more information.
Woodside is a master planned, lifestyle community located in Aiken, South Carolina, which was recently named Southern Living Magazine’s “2018 Best Small Town”, and received three other awards including “The South’s Friendliest Town”, “Second Best Food Town” and “Second Best Hotel”, which was awarded to the Willcox.
Aiken’s natural beauty, mild climate that attracts people from across the nation, strong connections to the outdoors through attractions like the 2,100 acre urban forest, Hitchcock Woods, and the cultural hub of the city, downtown Aiken all contributed to these awards. Our area is also home to six major medical providers, a college town setting that earned it Ideal-Living Magazine’s “Best College Town” in 2017, and a surprisingly low cost of living!
Woodside, Aiken’s only master-planned community, has received recognition from Southern Living Magazine as well: it is now one of only 12 Southern Living Inspired Communities! Amenities include more than 15 miles of hiking and nature trails, 3 onsite medical providers, 2 clubhouses, 4 golf courses, more than 60 member-led social groups and clubs, an abundance of landscaped parks and green space, and much more. Our dedicated team of professionals is on standby to answer your Woodside questions, or help you plan your Woodside Dream Visit to experience Woodside and Aiken for yourself.
Southeastern NC’s shimmering coast is home to St. James Plantation. This uber popular community is nestled along the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW), near the charming seaside village of Southport and historic Wilmington. Residents enjoy our over 100 million dollars of completed first-class amenities, including a private oceanfront beach club, a 475-Wet Slip/Dry Stack ICW marina and marketplace, fitness clubs including a $4 million dollar Signature Wellness Center, 4 welcoming clubhouses, 81-holes of championship golf, 36+ miles of biking, walking trails, dining, Har-Tru tennis, pickleball, parks and community gardens as well as over 100 social clubs. Our residents also enjoy a mild Carolina climate as living here means four distinct seasons, perfect for enjoying the great outdoors and exploring nearby antiques, shops, boutiques, gourmet restaurants and historical landmarks dating back to the 1700’s. Moreover, our area boasts well- supplied adult educational institutions and first-class medical centers. Real estate options range from spacious custom homes to patio homes and condominiums. Single family homes range from the $300s to $1 million plus, and homesites range from the $60s.
Grand Highlands, a North Carolina Gated Mountain Community
Grand Highlands is one of the dreamiest mountain communities in North Carolina. The most recent of a long list of awards was Community of the Year by the Asheville Builders Association (ABA). Grand Highlands encompasses 300 acres of woodlands and meadows. It offers panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, as well as proximity to downtown Asheville, Hendersonville, and Lake Lure. Sprawling wooded home sites are among its most coveted features. A spacious, lodge-style clubhouse, private parks, and adjacent nature preserves are also bonuses. All home sites are just below 4,000 feet elevation. And, each has underground utilities.
Life as a Resident
A communal spirit is embraced by residents. Finally able to live on their own terms in such an idyllic place, they come together both in celebration and in peace and solitude. Whether on trails, on Grand Lodge verandas, or at the Community Barn for events, coming together is a way of life at Grand Highlands.
Nearby Hendersonville is a charming mountain town. It provides access to all necessities, along with a vibrant restaurant and shopping scene. Theatre and music venues are also plentiful in Hendersonville. And whatever Hendersonville doesn’t offer, Asheville, just 25 miles away, does.
Grand Highlands home sites are priced from $70,000 to $650,000. Homes range from $475,000 to $3.5 million.
Discover this breathtaking North Carolina mountains community. Grand Highlands is an ideal place to call home.
On the North Carolina’s Inner Banks is a golf and marina community with a lifestyle like no other! Albemarle Plantation is perched between historic Edenton and Elizabeth City, NC, it’s an easy drive to any major city along the coast going north or south. With easy access to Tidewater Virginia and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, you will experience small town charm and big city culture at its finest. Spend days honing your game on the greens, charting a course to boating adventures and bountiful fishing or simply enjoying life amid the tranquil environment that surrounds you.
The broad blue waters of Albemarle can be right outside your door. You can put your boat in the slip and be on the Dan Maples designed golf course in minutes. Every amenity you would expect from a private waterfront community is here. All amenities are complete and owned “debt free” by the Property Owner’s Association. Homesites range from $32,500 to $425,000; Homes start at $299,900.
Callawassie Island, located in the heart of the Lowcountry, is a private, gated island community offering world-class Tom Fazio golf and a full complement of amenities including a tennis center, clubhouse, pools, fitness center, and River Club. Secluded from the noise and congestion of the highway, Callawassie lies miles from Hilton Head and is also convenient to Beaufort and Bluffton (15 minutes away); historic Savannah, GA (a 30-minute drive); and the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (40 minutes away). A half-mile causeway provides a relaxing, slow-paced approach to the island, where peace and quiet are as plentiful as vibrant activity.
The community hosts numerous social events, activities and clubs connecting members by their passions for nature, art and giving back locally. Members take full advantage of the island parks, historical sites and recreation areas for enjoying remarkable views of undisturbed nature. Island dwellers have access to four community docks providing leased slips, kayak launches and excellent opportunities for fishing, crabbing and shrimping. The River Club, overlooking the Colleton River, is a warm gathering center with a library and fireplace, family swimming pool, and offers seasonal dining.
For those seeking a golfing experience like no other, the 27-hole, Tom Fazio-designed championship golf course is truly spectacular. Voted one of South Carolina’s top 50 courses, Callawassie recently enhanced the design with a four-million-dollar renovation in 2014. This renovation resulted in a brand-new pro shop with three Class A PGA Golf Professionals. The courses meander intimately along the waterways and salt marshes in a way that environmental regulations have made difficult for newer courses; visual interest is natural not manmade.
Callawassie Island is the first South Carolina gated community to have been designated a “Community Wildlife Habitat” by the National Wildlife Federation. This coexistence brings a true community balance with nature. The island is covered with live oaks and palmettos, egrets and herons, and encompasses a thriving salt marsh ecosystem.
Today, Callawassie is one of only four South Carolina communities holding this distinguished designation. The homes and homesites, including waterfront property, are among the best values in the area.