Virginia offers retirees a rich and rewarding lifestyle that includes the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of different outdoor recreation and other activities. The state has been at the very center of almost every period in this country's ever-changing historic eras.
This state has lots of cultural and lifestyle amenities and is considered one of the safest states today. Read on for 10 idyllic Virginian cities with a few noteworthy details before deciding on where to retire.
Table of Contents
- 1. Williamsburg
- 2. Abingdon
- 3. Roanoke
- 4. Falls Church
- 5. Winchester
- 6. Fredericksburg
- 7. Virginia Beach
- 8. Fairfax County
- 9. Martinsville
- 10. Blacksburg
- FAQs about retiring in Virginia
The small town of Williamsburg was founded in 1632, and the area is rich in history along with being a fine place for retirement.
Overall, Williamsburg has below average costs of living and housing expenses, a lower crime rate and many cultural attractions to enjoy along with stunning outdoor scenes where residents can take part in many outdoor recreational pursuits year-round.
Williamsburg lies between the James and York Rivers, and the region is famous for its historic Williamsburg with the preserved Governor's Mansion and Jamestown Settlement where life in colonial times is reenacted by actors in full period costumes.
There is an annual Christmas event here with lighted candles and hot cider. This city is home to the College of William and Mary one of the oldest colleges in the country.
There are many shopping and restaurant venues, retirement communities, access to terrific healthcare and Virginia's beautiful beaches are just a short drive away.
- Williamsburg Premium Outlets – bargain shopping
- Busch Gardens and Water Country U.S.A. – amusement parks
- Jamestown Scottland Ferry
- Williamsburg Antique Mall – vintage finds
- Raleigh Tavern – in Colonial Williamsburg
- Bassett Hall – historic mansion of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and wife Abby
- Muscarelle Museum of Art – items dated to 17th century
- Ripley's Believe It or Not – museum of eccentricities
- York River State Park – biking/hiking trails and Yorktown Sailing Charters
Abingdon is near the southwestern Virginia border a bit north of Tennessee. This small town is considered an artist's haven, and the town holds several community events and festivals such as the Virginia Highlands Festival, Washington County Fair and the Mistletoe Market.
The town also host several fiddlers' conventions and residents can go horseback riding, bike riding or hiking along the Appellation and Virginia Creeper Trails.
The local college also offers retirees continuing education classes, and the gorgeous Jefferson National Forest and the nearby Washington County Park offers spectacular nature views especially in fall when the leaves turn colors along with camping and other outdoor recreational opportunities.
- The Rain Restaurant and Bar – signature dishes
- Tavern Restaurant and Bar – historic landmark built 1779 as an inn
- William King Museum of Art
- Main Street – fabulous cuisine and shops
- Glenrochie Country Club – private golf club
- St. Episcopal Church – historic landmark with Byzantine artwork
- Abingdon Vineyards
- Art Depot – art galleries and studios
- Mallory Theater
Roanoke is a stunning, scenic larger city that still retains its original smalltown feel. This city is home to the Virginia Museum of Transportation that features largest collection of diesel train locomotives, airplanes and more.
The majestic Blue Ridge Mountains provides lovely views and plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, camping, fishing and even zip-lining. Roanoke boasts cultural attractions, and the region is a hotbed for patrons of the arts.
This Virginia city has a large and ever-growing population of seniors, and the lower healthcare and housing costs are certainly attractive to this population group. The views atop Mill Mountain at the Roanoke Star landmark are spectacular.
Roanoke has historic charm with an old-world styled downtown shopping section. There are also many enticing restaurants, nightlife venues and natural wonders like Carvin's Cove and Natural Bridge State Park.
- Mill Mountain Theater – live performances with 2 stages
- Science Museum of Western Virginia & Hopkins Planetarium – star shows
- Roanoke Valley Greenways – nature trails for hiking, biking and other adventures
- Harrison Museum of African American Culture – educational exhibits
- Black Dog Salvage – large showroom of vintage architectural and decorative items
- History Museum of Western Virginia
- Taubman Museum of Art – 11 art galleries and famous artist exhibits
4. Falls Church
Retirees who prefer a quieter lifestyle in a smaller locale but still want to be close to all that urban life has to offer should seriously consider settling in Falls Church.
Washington, D.C. is just 20 minutes away. See the historic Falls Church built in 1769 with the original congregation dating back to 1730. This still active Episcopalian church once included George Washington who served the church.
Falls Church has lots of popular shopping areas, malls and unique shops, and many of the city's original Victorian-era homes and businesses can still be seen today.
There is a thriving Falls Church Farmer's Market each Saturday selling fresh produce and local artisan crafts, and there are several fabulous antique shops to browse along with tasty restaurants, theater productions, outdoor music concerts and lush green parks to explore.
- Jefferson Park & Golf Course – golf, tennis and basketball
- West Broad Street – urban downtown area
- State Theater – attracts famous actors
- Clare & Don's Beach Shake – tiki bar with live music and karaoke
- Tyson's Corner Center – large shopping mall
- Mosaic District – unique specialty shops
- Cherry Hill Park and Farmhouse – historic Victorian-era homestead
- Rare Bird Coffee Roasters – coffee shop and Northside Social – cafe and wine bar
- Bailey's Crossroads – named for famed circus family group now shops and restaurants
People who love history, the arts and enjoy spending time outdoors can get all three by retiring in Winchester. This city was an important town during the Civil War, and some of the historic homes here can be toured today.
The city also boasts museums, nature parks, great retirement communities and access to 6 area medical facilities. Winchester hosts the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival each spring.
Winchester has many amenities from shopping to food venues and access to some of the best parks and outdoor recreational spots in the region. Retirees can find affordable housing, topnotch healthcare, art and cultural attractions and a wonderful lifestyle in a great location.
- Meadows State Park Virginia – hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking and fishing
- Bright Box Theater – small performance theater new shows weekly
- Alesatian Brewing Company – local brewery
- Tour Patsy Cline's Historic Childhood Home
- Museum of the Shenandoah Valley
- See Stonewall Jackson's Headquarters
- Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park
- Market Miller Orchards and Farm Market – fresh, seasonal produce or pick-your-own
- Rocking S. Ranch – horseback riding lessons and trail rides
- Abrams Creek Wetlands Preserve – birdwatching, trails and guided tours
- Kernstown Battlefield – museum
The quaint town of Fredericksburg has a unique historical significance especially with regards to George Washington and other notable figures from that era. This city was very important during the country's Civil War, and residents can tour several local museums devoted to these times.
This is a wonderful place to retire, and there are upwards of 45 great retirement communities and highly rated healthcare facilities.
Head across the river to visit George Washington's childhood Ferry Farm or tour other historical homes and landmarks in the area.
A must-see is the 18th century Rising Sun Tavern often featuring live music on the porch. The structure contains the original bar and kitchen.
- Take a Trolley Tour of Fredericksburg
- Go shopping on historic Caroline Street
- First Friday's Sip & Stoll – street fair monthly
- Goolrick's Pharmacy – oldest continuously operating drug store and soda fountain
- Visit Chatham Manor outside the city limits
- Tour Historic Kenmore Plantation and Gardens in downtown Fredericksburg
- James Monroe Museum – memorial library
- Liberty Town Arts Workshop – arts and crafts plus exhibits
- Washington Heritage Museums – 4 museum properties pertaining to first U.S. president
7. Virginia Beach
The coastal land where the beautiful Chesapeake Bay meets the deep, cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean is where the popular beach destination of Virginia Beach lies.
Although this region is a famous tourist spot for visitors seeking water adventures, fine dining and shopping, Virginia Beach is also a fabulous location to retire.
There are lots of amazing 55+ communities with some boasting waterfront views. There are other outdoor activities to indulge in year-round and plenty of historic landmarks and many cultural attractions to keep every personality type satisfied and engaged.
For a touristy town, Virginia Beach is still an affordable retirement option for many. The city has a gorgeous boardwalk along the beaches that offers unique boutiques and specialty shops, affordable dining venues, beach-related equipment and other entertainment options.
During the winter holiday season, the boardwalk is lit up with Christmas lights along with sailboats and other watercraft giving the entire area a post-card perfect scene ideal for pictures. The healthcare options here are superb.
- Visit the Beaches and Boardwalk
- Try Sandbridge Beach for a less commercial beach experience
- First Landing State Park – nature in a rustic setting
- Historic Cape Henry Lighthouse
- Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
- ViBe Creative District – Art galleries, unique stores and coffee shops
- Military Aviation Museum
- Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center – over 200 hands-on marine exhibits
8. Fairfax County
Fairfax County is fantastic for retirees who want to stay healthy and active. there are scores of nature parks throughout the region, and the walking trails are lovely outdoor spaces where one can engage in outdoor activities of every description.
The Fairfax County Park Authority oversees more than 400 parks in the area. This includes several nature related preserves where the local wildlife is protected.
If your retirement dream lifestyle is more cultural in nature, Fairfax County boasts more than 200 different shopping centers to try. There are also lots of topnotch hospitals and highly ranked medical practices for seniors to choose.
Best of all, Washington, D.C. is situated nearby allowing residents to enjoy the larger city amenities as well.
- Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
- Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival and Celebrate Festival
- Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts – live performances
- Arts in the Parks, Sounds of Summer and Starlight Cinema – outdoor music concerts and movies
- Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge – see bald eagles
- Great Falls National Park
- Fairfax Cross County Trail – hiking, biking and horse riding
Located in the southwestern portion of Virginia, the city of Martinsville lies close to the Tennessee border. This town boasts stunning natural wonders where it is nestled into the foothills of the pristine forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Residents here enjoy rafting, swimming, canoeing, fishing and kayaking along with other outdoor pursuits like horseback riding, hiking, hunting, biking and golfing at the Beaver Hills Golf Course.
There are lots of upscale amenities in Martinsville, lowered cost-of-living expenses and affordable healthcare and housing.
- Virginia Museum of Natural History
- Martinsville Speedway – NASCAR racing
- Beaver Creek Plantation – historic home and lands dating back to 1776
- Piedmont Arts – an art museum
- Movie Town Theatre
Home to the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, or Virginia Tech, Blacksburg is a quieter town that is both charming and friendly with safe neighborhoods and local businesses that have served the region for generations.
This city boasts some fantastic cultural draws that include phenomenal shopping along a historic downtown location, fine restaurants, historical landmarks
Cassel Coliseum provides space for a variety of sporting events like basketball, volleyball and wrestling. Tour Historic Smithfield Plantation for a step back into time, and then finish with a delicious lunch at one of the many sensational food eateries and restaurants in this area.
- Hahn Horticulture Garden
- Blacksburg Municipal Park
- Moss Arts Center – large venue for live performances
- The Lyric Theatre – founded 1929 live musical performances and films
- Lane Stadium – football
- English Field – baseball field
- Museum of Geosciences and famed OmniGlobe – unique museum including
- Annual Chocolate Festival and International Street Fair
- Beliveau Estate – historic estate wine tasting tours
- Nellies Cave Park
- The Blacksburg Tavern – historic place
FAQs about retiring in Virginia
1. What is the weather like in Virginia?
A: Virginia has a warmer climate than states to the north such as Michigan. Residents can enjoy all four seasons, and the winter months are usually shorter and on the milder side as far as temperature and snowfall.
However, coastal areas often experience strong storms that come across the Atlantic Ocean during hurricane season. This is one thing to consider if you're planning to retire in states like Florida or Delaware.
2. What are some of the benefits of living and retiring in the state of Virginia?
A: Virginia has both mountainous areas and lots of sandy beach coastal areas as well. The southern hospitality, safe neighborhoods, excellent schools and access to top medical facilities and specialists are huge advantages. It is considered one of the best states to retire in.
3. Are there any cities in Virginia that have historical significance?
A: Yes, Virginia has many cities that were important to various wars that changed the face of history. Residents and visitors can tour many different historic landmarks, plantations and other structures in just about any Virginia county and city.