Whether you are looking to retire in the mountains of Northern Georgia, enjoy a new life along the Georgia coast, stay close to the hustle and bustle of Atlanta, or enjoy a more rural lifestyle in Southern Georgia, this dynamic state offers a wide range of options to choose from.
Georgia offers a wide range of retirement community options, but my advice to people before choosing a community is to start with location first.
The following are some of the most popular destinations for the various types of retirement lifestyles.
The city of Athens is known for being the home of the University of Georgia, and that college atmosphere combined with its location near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains about 60 miles northeast of Atlanta creates one of the most unique destinations you will find anywhere in the country.
In addition to having a culture of learning surrounding the school and plenty of outdoor activities near the mountains, Athens also offers a vibrant blend of historic architecture, modern art galleries, and fabulous restaurants to occupy your time.
Located about 30 minutes west of Atlanta, Austell is one of the many suburban communities we will look at surrounding Georgia’s biggest city. There are less than 7,000 residents in Austell, so it is able to offer a small town atmosphere while still being just a short drive away from all of the hustle and bustle in downtown Atlanta.
Residents of Austell also enjoy close access to Sweetwater Creek State Park and the 61.5-mile Silver Comet Trail.
With old fashioned charm and a rural location just about an hour north of Tallahassee, FL, Bainbridge is a small town oasis in the middle of southern Georgia.
One of the big attractions here is the excellent bass fishing that residents can enjoy along the Flint River and Lake Seminole. And because Bainbridge is known as “The Bass Capital of Georgia,” there are plenty of local restaurants set up to serve visiting fishermen.
Bainbridge is also known throughout Georgia for putting on one of the most impressive Fourth of July celebrations in the entire state.
With a population of over 12,000 residents, Buford is one of the larger towns located along the pristine Lake Lanier about an hour northeast of Atlanta. The community offers a historic downtown district, which is anchored by the gorgeous Bona Allen Mansion.
Buford has also become a destination for local artists over the years, and residents here can enjoy taking a stroll through the Tannery Row Artist Colony just a few blocks from downtown. Here they will find more than 20 local artists displaying their creations for the public to see.
Nature lovers can enjoy stunning views of the Georgia mountains and all of the benefits that come with living near a gorgeous lake in Cumming. Located to the north of Atlanta, this small town of under 10,000 people is a perfect place for a quiet, relaxing lifestyle in Georgia.
Lake Sidney Lanier is one of the most popular attractions in Cumming. Whether you are into boating, fishing, kayaking, swimming, or just kicking back near the water, there is something for everyone to enjoy here.
Cumming is also located right next to the massive 963-acre Sawnee Mountain Preserve, which offers residents access to a nearly endless number of hiking trails.
Located just five miles northeast of downtown Atlanta, Decatur is a suburban option that offers residents a small town lifestyle with a population of just over 20,000. There is also the upside of three MARTA rails stops to help residents visit the big city of Atlanta as often as they like.
The typical retirement in Decatur will likely include frequent trips to the local farmers’ market, exploring over 200 unique local restaurants and boutiques, and regular trips into Atlanta to enjoy all of the amenities offered there.
Decatur is also located just 15 minutes away from Stone Mountain Park.
Fayetteville is a popular community in Fayette County located 22 miles south of Atlanta. With a population under 20,000 residents, there is a true small town feel to this area that weaves its way into just about every aspect of the lifestyle here.
Popular things to do in Fayetteville include exploring the historic downtown area and getting out into the local parks, and there is never a shortage of activity when you are just a short drive from Atlanta.
Gainesville is one of three popular destinations located on the beautiful Lake Lanier, but it is the only one of those destinations that was tasked with hosting the rowing events during the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Today, the city boasts a population of just over 30,000 residents that are passionate about everything from modern art and agriculture to Civil War history.
If getting out in the country is something that appeals to you, then you can’t do much better than Jesup. Located 66 miles southwest of Savannah, this rural town of just over 10,000 residents is all about keeping things simple.
Jesup offers residents the ability to experience real farm life at Poppell Farms, as well as the opportunity to catch catfish right out of the nearby Altamaha River. It is also the home of Georgia’s oldest drive-in movie theater
With a population up around 30,000 and a location about 30 minutes northeast of Atlanta, Lawrenceville offers a suburban lifestyle that feels a bit further removed from the hustle and bustle of the big city.
Cultural experiences are a huge part of the lifestyle in Lawrenceville, and those experiences revolve around local treasures like The Aurora Theatre and the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse. Then there are all of the standard shopping and dining options that you would expect from a modern suburban community.
As the home of the largest Hindu temple in the country, the town of Lilburn is a place where diversity and world cultures are celebrated. It is also a place that is only 20 miles outside of Atlanta, which makes for convenient access to all of the big city amenities.
While world cultures are definitely celebrated in Lilburn, the town itself feels like a classic American small town. And with a population just over 12,000, many residents feel that it is just the right size for their lifestyle.
Marietta is located on the other side of Atlanta and boasts a population up over 60,000. This growing community is just 16 miles outside of the city, and it also offers close access to the mountain destinations of northwest Georgia.
History is a huge attraction in Marietta, and you can get a great feel for the entire community by taking the one-hour tour on The Marietta Trolley. You can also learn more about the community by exploring the Marietta Museum of History, the Root House Museum, and the Marietta Gone with the Wind Museum.
With a population of just under 40,000 residents, Newnan is one of the largest destinations on our list of Georgia retirement destinations. It is located about 40 miles southwest of Atlanta near attractions like Dunaway Gardens and Chattahoochee Bend State Park.
History is a huge part of the Newnan lifestyle, and the entire community is filled with huge Antebellum and Victorian homes in six different National Historic districts.
Peachtree City, GA
Located just a little over 30 miles southwest of Atlanta, Peachtree City is the type of resort-style community that many retirees imagine for themselves. And with enough amenities to support a population that is pushing towards 40,000 residents, residents can always find something fun to do here.
One of the major selling points for Peachtree City is that the community offers more than 100 miles of paved golf cart paths. Residents here can access a wide range of amenities by cart without ever having to take their vehicles out of the garage.
Powder Springs, GA
With nearby attractions like the Southern Quilt Trail, the Seven Springs Museum, the Cobb County BMX Park, and the McEachern Sports and Arts Complex, Powder Springs has developed an impressive reputation for itself that revolves around its focus on outdoor family fun.
This community of about 15,000 residents is about 25 miles northwest of Atlanta, and it offers an impressive number of bike and pedestrian trails throughout the area to go along with an equally exciting list of local shopping and restaurant destinations.
Much like Atlanta, Savannah is a city that doesn’t really need an introduction. As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire south, Savannah is known around the world for its nearly perfect combination of stunning beauty and rich history.
In addition to all of the rich history and active cultural community, Savannah is also home to one of the best restaurant scenes in the entire country, and being located right on the coast doesn’t hurt either.
On the east side of Atlanta about halfway to Athens is where you will find Snellville, which is a lovely suburban community with a population just under 20,000.
Life in Snellville revolves around their City Hall and Briscoe Park. That is where you will find the Snellville Farmers’ Market, which is held every Saturday from June through Septemeber and was voted the best farmers’ market in the country.
Snellville is also just a short drive away from the beautiful Stone Mountain Park, so it is another ideal destination for anyone who is passionate about the outdoors.
Stone Mountain, GA
Located 15 miles east of Atlanta and right outside the western side of Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain is a golf-cart community of fewer than 7,000 residents that takes up just under two square miles.
While it might be a small community, there is no shortage of things to do in Stone Mountain. Residents can enjoy more than 50 shops and restaurants, and there are three Bed & Breakfasts operating in the area.
There is also a thriving cultural community based around the ART Station Contemporary Arts Center and Theatre Company, and nature lovers won’t be able to get enough of the close access to the amenities of Stone Mountain Park.
Just about an hour east of Bainbridge is where you will find the town of Thomasville and its 19,000 residents. This is another deep south town that is bursting with history all the way down to its brick-paved streets.
Thomasville is one of the best places in Georgia to get a feel for Victorian homes, and it offers the closest thing you will find to a plantation era lifestyle.
Located in the southeastern part of the state, the big attraction in Waycross is its close proximity to the Okefenokee Swamp. So if exploring the swamp is what you are looking for, this is the perfect destination.
Waycross also offers up a historic downtown district that includes three local museums, unique restaurants, and all the southern hospitality you could ever ask for.