Senior Living
The Best Places to Retire in Virginia Are Expensive – Here Are 5 Affordable Options

The Best Places to Retire in Virginia Are Expensive – Here Are 5 Affordable Options

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Best places to retire in Virginia

With the cost of living rising gradually higher than sea levels, it can be a worrying sign for retirees all over the U.S. to find an ideal retirement destination without breaking the bank. For those deciding on Virginia, how does it fare in 2024?

Last year, we covered some of Virginia’s best retirement communities for retirees to consider. Today, let us zoom out and examine the Old Dominion better and why Virginia can be the best location to retire to, even if it is relatively costly!

Is Virginia a good place to live in 2024?

What is Virginia like to retire in? Many retirees ask this question as they consider their golden years. Virginia has a lot to offer, and as with any state, it comes with its own set of pros and cons. Listed below are some of the best and worst Virginia has to offer!

Pros and cons of retiring to Virginia


  • Virginia is tax-friendly for seniors. Seniors can keep more of their nest egg! Social Security and some retirement -income are exempt from state taxes.
  • Virginia offers something for everyone. Its various attractions and activities include mountains, hiking trails, beaches, and cities. Hike the Appalachians or explore bustling Richmond.
  • Virginia is a piece of history: Civil War sites, Colonial Williamsburg – Virginia is a living history museum.


  • The cost of living is high, which means the cost of goods is not dirt cheap, especially near cities (this includes assisted living communities as well).
  • Traffic troubles can be frustrating for retirees. Prepare for congestion, particularly around major metro areas.
  • Virginia has mood swings regarding weather. Hot, humid summers and occasional winter storms are the norm.

The best cities to retire in Virginia will surprise you!

Instead, towns or smaller cities are the ideal places to be if you want to cut down on costs and grow your wallet. A widely known fact is most seniors prefer a quieter retreat when it comes to retirement. Here’s why towns and smaller cities can be a better option for retirement in Virginia:

  1. Stretch your savings: Smaller towns mean lower costs for housing, food, and everyday living, letting your retirement savings go further.
  2. Scenic change: Ditch the city frenzy! Smaller towns offer a relaxed pace with less traffic and noise, perfect for unwinding.
  3. A close-knit community: Smaller communities foster a strong sense of belonging and connection – say hello to friendly neighbors!
  4. Nature’s playground: Many smaller towns are nestled near mountains, lakes, or beaches, offering easy access to outdoor adventures.
  5. Safer streets: Smaller towns typically have lower crime rates, providing peace of mind for retirees seeking Security.
  6. Less stress, More Fun: Lower costs, a slower pace, and a friendly community contribute to a more stress-free and enjoyable retirement.
  7. More time for you: With less commuting and city demands, you’ll have more time to pursue hobbies, explore interests, and truly enjoy your golden years.

Where can you retire in Virginia if you are on a budget?

Towns, or rural areas are often the ideal places to get away from the city atmosphere, which proves costly. By prioritizing finance (and peace of mind), seniors should look for towns when it comes to retirement. Listed below are some examples:

  • Williamsburg
  • Chesapeake
  • Abingdon
  • Rockwood
  • Norfolk

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Best places to live in Virginia for retirees

While Norfolk may be the perfect location if you are looking for an affordable assisted living situation, consider the following:

  1. Virginia Beach (Population: 451,590): If you want the feel of Florida but without the overdose of color, then Virginia Beach is one of the best places in Virginia to retire to. The pristine beach paradise with miles of coastline, a budding craft beer scene, and a surprisingly affordable cost of living.
  2. Richmond (Population: 231,782): Senior history enthusiasts will love Richmond’s cobblestone streets, museums, and moderate climate (average highs in the 70s and 80s). Active adults can enjoy biking on the Capital Trail or exploring Maymont Park’s 100 acres of gardens.
  3. Roanoke (Population: 95,811): Carved naturally in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Roanoke offers stunning scenery, low crime rates (18.4 per 1,000 residents), and a thriving arts scene. Hikers will love the challenging trails, and outdoor enthusiasts can explore nearby natural wonders.
  4. Charlottesville (Population: 44,281): Home to the University of Virginia, Charlottesville offers a vibrant intellectual atmosphere, award-winning wineries, and a walkable downtown (Walk Score: 72). The moderate climate (average low in the 40s) is perfect for year-round enjoyment.
  5. Arlington (Population: 236,007): Just outside D.C., Arlington offers easy access to world-class museums and historical sites. Active adults will appreciate the extensive bike trails and walkable neighborhoods. However, the cost of living is higher than the state average.
  6. Hampton (Population: 138,798): Retirees will enjoy Hampton’s maritime museums and the USS Eisenhower, a decommissioned aircraft carrier turned museum ship. The city has a tranquil coastal vibe, beautiful beaches, and a significantly lower cost of living than Virginia Beach.
  7. Falls Church (Population: 14,326): This charming city offers a strong sense of community, a variety of restaurants, and a convenient location near D.C. Retirees will enjoy a peaceful atmosphere and lower crime rates (13.2 per 1,000 residents). Housing costs, however, are higher than in most of the cities listed earlier.

Best coastal towns in Virginia to retire in 2024

Virginia has a beautiful coastline with various towns to choose from for retirement. But as we focus more on the best places, the list below can help you narrow your choices!

  1. Norfolk: Along the coastline, with a strong naval presence, Norfolk, home to 228,252 residents, has incredible beaches and harbors for a day tour attraction.
  2. Virginia Beach: Highly popular as a resort town, Virginia Beach is a stretching beachfront with plenty of opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing.
  3. Cape Charles: A charming small town on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, with a population of around 1,225.

Cost-effective care options for disabled retirees

Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) are a great option that provides help with daily living activities to seniors who want to reduce institutional care requirements. HCBS allows older retirees, particularly those suffering from disabilities, to live in their own homes/or with families while receiving the following care services:

  • Day programs: adult day care/health care
  • Meals on Wheels/senior center dining
  • Home health aide
  • Housekeeping
  • Personal care
  • Respite care
  • Transportation
  • Visiting nurse

The best place to retire in Virginia was Richmond.

With nearly 1/ 6 American seniors carrying medical debt and more than a quarter owed amounts equal to three months or more in living expenses, retirees must prioritize affordability when choosing a retirement destination.

Richmond may have been one of the best places to retire in Virginia in 2023, but as we enter 2024, rising living costs may have put a nail in that coffin.

Why Norfolk trumps Richmond

They are considering that the average couple can expect to spend around $315,000 to cover medical expenses in retirement. Since Medicare does not generally cover (assisted living facilities or nursing homes), retirees must carefully weigh their options to ensure their healthcare needs are met without draining their life savings.

That is why Norfolk is one of the best cities in Virginia to retire to, and we cannot stress enough why! If you consider affordable healthcare, low cost of living, budget-friendly retirement services, and access to cost-effective care, then the coastal city of Norfolk is the best place to move!

Final thoughts

Whether you choose Norfolk, Richmond, or Chesapeake as your retirement destination, Virginia will ultimately be your next home during the golden years. And that is okay because no place is perfect. Virginia may be relatively costly, especially today, but think of the opportunity it presents to your retired phase.

However, if budget is the issue, Norfolk is the place to be when seeking a retirement destination in Virginia.


What are the downsides of retiring in Richmond, Virginia?

Living in Richmond can be pretty expensive, especially for retirees. Consider that the city is almost a two-hour drive to and from Washington D.C. Given the proximity to the U.S. capital, Richmond’s cost of living is reasonably high. The cost of assisted living and home care is $6,677 and $5,872, respectively. Traffic congestion is also another downside of retiring in Richmond, VA.

Is Roanoke, Virginia, an excellent place to retire to?

Roanoke, VA, was once touted as one of the best cities to retire to. Today, however, retirees looking at affordable senior living options, especially those looking at nursing homes or rehabilitation, may find that Roanoke is expensive.

Is Virginia a good state for retirees?

Certain advantages to retiring in Virginia include healthcare facilities and tax-friendliness for retirees. Tax brackets on low-income households are only 2% (for income between $0 and $3,000).

What are the disadvantages of living in Virginia?

One of the most talked-about disadvantages of living in Virginia is the cost of living and traffic situation. One of the major cons of living in Virginia is taxation. Those with higher incomes are taxed 5.75% (over $17,000).

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