We’ve been to all the hot spots of North Carolina’s Piedmont Region, took a detour to the coast of South Carolina, and just last week ended up on the beautiful white sandy dunes of the North Carolina Coast.
Wow, we’ve covered a lot of ground over the last couple of months or so.
We started looking at what I consider are the best small towns and cities in North Carolina and South Carolina with populations under 30,000.
This week we’re still on the North Carolina Coast but not the one most people think of.
North Carolina has two coastlines, an outer and an inner, and since we’ve already looked at the Outer Bank, today we’re going to visit a few of the communities on the inner coast.
A place of great river estuaries, miles of white sandy beaches, crystal blue waters, nature reserves, cool breezes and one of the most pleasant climates around.
Today we’ll look at an area often referred to as the “Crystal Coast. ”
The Crystal Coast contains not only some of the faster growing areas in the state of North Carolina but a lot of our best small towns and cities on the North Carolina Coast so saddle up and let’s get started.
New Bern NC has it all.
A multitude of historic landmarks and neighborhoods, near perfect weather, a dazzling array of outdoor happenings, and a lot of natural beauty from the Pamilco Sound to the nearby Croatan National Forest.
A lot of people are into New Bern’s small town feel and are amazed you can find so many of the amenities of a much larger town.
New Bern residents enjoy a lot of green spaces and I particularly love walking around the various historic neighborhoods marveling at their many colorful gardens; in fact I don’t think I’ve seen so many crepe myrtles in my life!
New Bern NC has long drawn a lot of retirees, especially from the northeast.
The downtown has a variety of quaint shops, restaurants, antique stores and other businesses but the general atmosphere is calm and laid back.
Housing is quite affordable in New Bern NC with the median home value being around $105,000 and the average monthly rent starting at $520 a month.
A few years ago, the estimates were a yearly influx of 2000 retirees many of whom are sold on New Bern’s pleasant climate, affordable housing and the growing number of planned retirement communities in the area.
New Bern NC is truly one of the gems of the Crystal Coast.
If you head south from New Bern NC on NC-70, just before you hit the water of the North Carolina Coast you’ll run into Morehead City NC, population 9,513.
Morehead City NC has a long history as sea port with an active fishing industry and a lot of the best features of the town draw you close to the water.
The waterfront is amazing with wide boardwalks.
All sorts of public art, new docks and a public park with a gazebo.
If you cross over Arendell Street which is the main drag downtown you start to get into little neighborhoods with refurbished old homes many of which are now shops and restaurants.
For fun and sun, some of North Carolina’s best beaches are just across the Bogue Sound and there’s always fishing, crabbing, golfing, boating and whatever else you can think of doing outside.
Your median home value is only $154,000 and monthly rentals start at $524 making Morehead City NC an even greater place to live for its affordability.
Last but not least this week along the North Carolina Coast is one of my favorites, the sleepy little fishing village of Oriental NC, population 815 .
Oriental’s location at the southern tip of the Pamlico Sound has left if free of most automobile traffic but its natural harbor has also made it the “Sailing Capital of North Carolina”.
Oriental NC isn’t just a haven for sailors and its laid-back harbor lifestyle has attracted a multitude of artists and free spirits over the years.
In the last decade or so it’s also attracted a fair amount of development. In comparison to other small neighboring communities, housing is not cheap in Oriental NC with the median home value sitting around $285,000 but rentals start at a more reasonable $562 a month and up.
Come back next week and see where we end up next as we continue to hit all the best small towns and cities in North Carolina.
See you next week!
Bob Bencivenga is a professional site locator and location analyst for major corporations. Bob researches the growth of NC and SC to find the Best Places to Retire or Relocate that are still affordable.
Bob Does Not Sell Real Estate!
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