18 Best Places to Live in North Carolina

North Carolina (NC) is a southeastern US state and home to the famous University of North Carolina. The state is a beautiful blend of historic coastal villages, booming metropolitan cities, and miles of forest terrain that define the Appalachian Mountains.  

When you pick the best places to Live in North Carolina, you’ll be spoilt for choice — from skiing in Western NC to river rafting or hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway — a two-lane road that runs almost 500 miles between Cherokee and the Great Smoky Mountains National Parks — it has everything. No matter where you go, you’ll find loads of natural beauty and some of the best places for living that offer great amenities and plenty of fun things to do. 

North Carolina has approximately 9.8 million residents and offers tremendous opportunities due to its lower cost of living and easier work regulations. It has several incentives designed to attract companies and entrepreneurs interested in starting a business in North Carolina.  

The state has a lot to offer residents who want to live a more relaxed life. Here, we take a look at some of the best places to Live in North Carolina.  


If you love the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, Cary is a town you’ll want to visit. Cary has a population of about 2000 people. Located along the Black River, there are many walking and hiking trails through the lush green forest in Cary. If a country setting appeals to you, this might be your kind of place.  

Also, Cary has breathtaking views of the Cascade Mountains. Cary offers ski trails, rivers, and lakes for outdoor sports. It’s a great place for a vacation and for those wanting a move to the country. Many outdoor activities come with living in a country setting that people crave. The median home cost is also less here.  

Cary NC Amtrak Station.jpg
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One of the best cities to Live in North Carolina, Morrisville is located in the western part of NC, nestled between Seattle and Tacoma. If you are looking for a place with great schools, quiet suburbs, and a wonderful place to raise children, Morrisville maybe that place. 

Morrisville is situated in the heart of the eastern side of Lake Washington between Seattle and Bellevue. This pretty little community is sure to lure aspiring residents. 

Morrisville consists of several communities, including Allandale, Hamelin Bay, Tahoma, Camelot, Campbell Hill, Albion Hills, Los Cerritos, Ridgetop Group. There are plenty of parks, open grassy areas for your dogs to roam free and for your kids to play soccer. 

Morrisville, North Carolina (2014).jpg
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Wake Forest

Wake Forest in Randolph County has a population of about 70,000 people. The town owes its name to the story of two brothers, Jonathan and William Wake, who settled in the area near the present city in 1754.  

Wake Forest is the place where none other than Winston Churchill stayed and wrote his famous book Marlborough: His Life and Times.  

On the whole, Wake Forest is a quiet town, where everyone seems to know each other. It’s safe, and the people are polite. Another advantage of Wake Forest is that it has an affordable cost of living, and the median home price is also less. 

Wake Forest, North Carolina

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Chapel Hill

The glorious Chapel Hill! This quaint yet lively college town is located just 20 minutes from Raleigh and is home to one of the best universities in the country — the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It has a ton of things for people of all age groups to enjoy — be it Chapel Hill’s famous basketball team, the legendary tailgates, or its vibrant cultural scene. It has some exceptional schools as well. 

Chapel Hill is one of the most unique communities in NC, offering something for everyone! It is full of rich history and culture and in its heart nestles some great universities. Chapel Hill draws people from all over the country who want to live in a small town but have access to big-city amenities. Looking to settle down here? Well, the median home cost is less.  

Franklin Street Chapel Hill NC.jpg
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Waxhaw, which is 2.5 miles long and 1.25 miles wide, has about 30,000 residents. It is located along the Tuckasegee River in western Charlotte County. Waxhaw owes its name to the wax myrtle that grew in the suburbs. Most houses here were built during the early 20th century, and they are either in Colonial Revival or Tudor Revival style. 

The name Waxhaw is derived from an Indian tribe of the same name. Waxhaw is a cozy city that is a part of Union County in North Carolina.  

It’s often called a part of the Charlotte metro suburbs. This cozy town packs a lot of variety and a bustling nightlife into its 0.3 square miles. The median home cost is slightly high here. 

Welcome to Historic Waxhaw

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Raleigh is a beautiful place, and it hasn’t been overshadowed by the larger cities around it. It has many unique features — a bustling downtown, farmland in Fuquay-Varina, a famous university, and many brilliant minds working at best places like IBM and Google. This uniqueness makes Raleigh one of our favorite cities. The area also has some good schools. 

A buzzing metropolis, Raleigh has a thriving economy. The Raleigh-Durham Suburb is seen as a growing market in financial services and is often called Silicon Valley South. Given the buzzing job market, many young professionals migrate from across the state and from other states to Raleigh. 

Raleigh has been selected as one of the best places to stay in the United States by many publications. The city is also well known for its thriving nightlife. Because of its popularity, the median cost of homes is also a bit high here.

Raleigh, North Carolina

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Harrisburg is the county seat of Harnett County. The city owes its name to Robert Harris, who was among the earliest settlers here. He was also a renowned patriot who donated in cash and was kind to develop the area.  

The first courthouse that was built in Harrisburg is intact even today. The city’s Capital hall was built around 1908, and it was designed by the famous architect Willian Preston.  

The hall is famous for its collection of photographs, which was taken by over 70 different photographers. These photographs were sourced from around 1910-1930. Harrisburg is also home to many historical sites. It has a rich Civil War history, one of the reasons why Harrisburg will charm first-time visitors.  

The big cities on the East Coast attract most tourists with their famous monuments and museums, but Harrisburg has some of the best places that are still untouched by travelers. Want to revel in America’s Rural past? Visit this place. 

The area has some good schools offering quality education, and its median cost of homes is also affordable. 

Harrisburg nc.jpg
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Apex, a cozy rural town located in the Piedmont Triad region of the state, shares its boundaries with three counties: Wake, Durham, and Orange. Apex has around 71 neighborhoods, which consists of 12,000 homes.  

One of the best places, this area is still witnessing rapid growth. New businesses and industries are being set up in Apex. Residents and visitors can find a lot to do and see in Apex, and the place has some great food joints as well. The variety of cuisine available here will surely satisfy everyone’s cravings.  

This quaint town, which is a neighbor of Chapel Hill, is also very conveniently located, as it’s very close to an international airport. The median cost of a home is slightly high here. 

Downtown Apex, NC.jpg
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Among the good Places in North Carolina to live, Winston-Salem is a city that is located in the Piedmont Triad region. With a population of nearly 200,000 residents, Winston-Salem is the second-largest municipality in the state.  

It attracts many major corporations because of the beautiful weather and low taxes. The cost of living, too, is not very high here.  

Thanks to the city’s rich history and cultural heritage, one can easily spend an entire weekend exploring it. The best way to learn about Winston-Salem is through its architecture. Winston-Salem is a city with a rich history and a vibrant present, which makes it an irresistible combination.  

In short, Winston-Salem provides the perfect blend of the old and new. With awesome architecture, spectacular dining and shopping venues, and outdoor recreation areas, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in Winston-Salem.  

There are some good schools here. The area also has some spacious homes with huge bedrooms and backyards.  

Winston-Salem skyline.jpg
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Stallings in Union County is the 10th largest community in the state of North Carolina. The city of Stallings is estimated to house a population of 13,000 residents.  

It shares its borders with Sanford in the north, Osteen in the west, and Middletown in the south. However, Stallings has become more connected to Sanford following the construction of new subdivisions, which includes areas like Pebble Creek, which has witnessed population growth of over 50% in the ten years from 2000 and 2010. 

Stallings is undoubtedly a beautiful place to live. It is a small city where the cost of living is affordable, and the median cost of homes is also less. At the same time, it’s a good location for families with children as there are good schools offering quality education nearby.  

Last but not least, the people are friendly, and there are activities for everyone to enjoy. 

Stallings Stadium at Elm Street Park.jpg
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UpTown is a street in Charlotte, NC, that is 2 miles long and connects with Queens Road and Irwin Street. UpTown Charlotte is vibrant and one of the best places for people to work, play and eat. 

Charlotte’s UpTown area is at the northern side of the triangular suburb and is home to several major institutions, including Symphony Park, which opened in 2006 and hosts outdoor concerts and events; the Mint Museum; and Discovery Place, which is an interactive science museum. 

It also has several restaurants and eateries; North Carolina’s only “Museum of the New South” is home to the offices for Bank of America, BB&T, Duke Energy, RBC Wealth Management, Wells Fargo, Ericsson, The Friars Foundation and a branch of The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. While it’s an amazing place, the median home cost is slightly high. 

Fourth Ward- located in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina.jpg
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First Ward 

First Ward is located about three miles northeast of Charlotte. It is considered among the best areas to Live in North Carolina. Many of the streets here are named after trees and shrubs. It has both apartments and single-family homes. In fact, First Ward was one of the five original residential wards in Charlotte, and has many old homes. 

This charming neighborhood was built in an era when its residential buildings were occupied by rich people. But, over the years, it has undergone many changes over the years. Also, First Ward is known for having the first streetcar suburb in North Carolina. 

First Ward Park Above (2015-10-30).jpg
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Dilworth is a family-friendly community located in the heart of Charlotte. With most of its population being young and families, you will feel safe and protected while living here. It’s an ideal place for families and young people. The area has homes, townhouses, condominiums, and many facilities for the convenience of senior citizens and children. 

In short, Dilworth is the perfect suburb for those looking for a quiet and cozy town. Its population is only a few thousand, and it’s just an hour’s distance from Charlotte.  

It offers its residents the best of country living. Here, homes stand on large plots of land. With charming restaurants, family-friendly activities, great nightlife, and more, Dilworth is one of the best places in North Carolina to Live. 

Dilworth, Charlotte - panoramio.jpg
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Ballantyne West 

Many people are surprised when they come to Ballantyne West for the first time. This area has a more rural feel, with wide-open spaces and luxury homes with beautiful kitchens and bedrooms. For this reason, Ballantyne West is perfect for families.  

Ballantyne West is one of Charlotte’s most prestigious neighborhoods. It is known for offering some of the most unique home designs in the area. Each home is slightly different from the rest.  

So, if you are looking for luxury apartments for rent in Charlotte, Ballantyne West is where you should be heading. The spacious one-and two-bedroom apartments here are what you need after a hectic day at work. That’s not all; Ballantyne also has an exciting nightlife. 

Ballantyne Village.jpg
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One of the best towns to Live in North Carolina, Davidson is situated just outside Charlotte. It boasts many unique shops and restaurants, which lends it a modern vibe. Davidson is the county seat of Mecklenburg County, and it is located in the center of the state of North Carolina. Its population is around 10,000. 

The local residents will vouch that Davidson is one of the best places to call home. And why so? Well, because it is a perfect combination of rural, small-town charm and big-City amenities. 

20110925 02 Davidson, NC

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Sharon Woods 

Sharon Woods city is in Forsyth County, just outside the Capital, Charlotte. It derives its name from its proximity to the Shearon Harris Lake. This quiet town has a population of only a few thousand people, but it has good schools offering excellent education. Sharon Woods is also referred to as the Music City.  

The place is also named after a 17th-century native American princess who resided in the area. Sharon Woods is known for Paddy’s Creek Landing State Park and Black River Country Scenic Byway. It offers numerous outdoor activities like hiking and mountain biking. The area has a rural vibe despite being close to large cities such as Fayetteville and Wilmington. 

Sharon Woods is also rich in Civil War history, and the city is quite serene. It is one of North Carolina’s tiniest towns but offers quality education with some good schools.  

Though less than 500 people reside here, the area is home to the Yadkin Valley Winery and also boasts three golf courses. It’s not surprising that many people leave behind their hectic city lifestyle to enjoy a peaceful existence here.  

The area is only accessible through old-fashioned bridges, which have been built across the Yadkin River. Needless to say, Sharon Woods offers some phenomenal views. So, if you are a nature lover, head here. 

Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/ja5oF91BpkZsVoEU9 

Fourth Ward 

Fourth Ward is, without doubt, one of the best places in North Carolina to call home. Like many of its neighborhoods, recent development efforts have placed these areas in focus. Fourth Ward, too, can be added to the long list of places that are sure to witness even more growth.  

There’s something extremely special about visiting this neighborhood, which will make you nostalgic. Street lamps, cobblestone streets, cafes… Fourth Ward indeed deserves to be counted among the best places! It is located between South Tryon Street to the north, InterState 85 to the south, Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to the west, and Stonewall Street to the east. The name of the place owes its origin to being one of Charlotte’s four political wards in 1851. 

Fourth Ward is one of the fastest-growing areas in America. It’s only a stone’s throw away from the center of UpTown. Its origins can be traced back to the turn of the 19th Century, when it emerged as a mill village for textile manufacturing.  

The neighborhood is now the oldest residential community in Charlotte and one of the oldest in the state. It has an affordable cost of living.  

Fourth Ward, Charlotte, NC, USA - panoramio.jpg
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Carrboro is a small town in the state, which is considered to be among the top Places to Live in North Carolina. And why not? Not just in the state, the town is among the most beautiful in entire America. 

Carrboro is a key commercial center, with loads of business people visiting the area. It was founded by Alexander Fry in 1874. Tradeville Avenue is the main thoroughfare to several of these business activities.  

Right from the beginning of this century, Carrboro was known for its fine churches and schools. The early promoters envisioned a great future for this town and planned it beautifully. The result can be seen in beautifully laid out streets and roads.  

That’s not all. Carrboro is a great place for a variety of other reasons, too. It’s home to two amazing universities. No wonder then that the city has a growing workforce and jobs are available in these fields. 

Carrboro is a beautiful and quiet place to reside in, with spacious homes featuring huge bedrooms and gardens. If you’re looking for a relaxed lifestyle where you can just bike or walk to work every day, this is where you should be heading.  

Not only is the scenery gorgeous, but the people, too, are loving. Carrboro has a strong artistic and environment-friendly community—everyone is really down-to-earth. 

The Station, Carrboro, NC

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North Carolina is a beautiful place with an amazing history and some of the best specimens of southern cuisines you can find. It’s a developing state that is rapidly gaining popularity and has a lot to offer to its residents, especially if you like to be outside and enjoy the great weather.  

The state is one of the best places for a vacation and also a long-term move. Staying here permanently or setting up a business is a good idea. As we said, it has a lot to offer its residents and visitors alike.  

It is also rich in history. The state has witnessed battles during the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and the Vietnam War. It was also made the capital for the Confederacy after Virginia’s capital city was changed. This state has what many others lack: a rich history.  

If you feel like a time traveler when you visit this place, you are not alone. This place is indeed a tourist haven. Kids love to learn about North Carolina through books and school teachers carry the state’s history from classroom to classroom. 

This state has a wide variety of cozy towns and cities that offer all the things you need in a community: Education, cultural and historical institutions, and shopping and dining venues. Some of the best places to live in North Carolina are located outside of the state’s biggest cities. These communities all have their own unique flair, advantages, and opportunities.