Best Places For Military Retirees To Live In North Carolina

​As you and your family look for a place to call "home" after military service, we hope you will consider a community that blends ample opportunity with serious connectivity to major markets and extensive outdoor recreation on our lakes, greenways and trails.

This is just but a small sampling, but we invite you to learn more about living and growing in our community through this website.

“We are at the doorsteps of the mountains, and we’ve got rivers and lakes. We just have beautiful outdoor scenery.” – Catawba County Resident


​“Catawba County is a place with a great location to a market like Charlotte and getting to live near the mountains.” - Catawba Resident

Location, Location, Location

Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and bordered by the Catawba River, Catawba County offers the hospitality of a mid-size community with reach that extends across a highly populated and fast-growing region. Situated between Charlotte and Asheville at the juncture of Interstates 77 and 40, Catawba County is an easy drive to major cities, the mountains, and the coast. Thanks to this ideal location, Catawba County provides the unique opportunity to live and work in a connected, inclusive and knowable community with convenient access to major amenities and the amazing wonder of the region’s natural spaces.

Fun Stuff To Do

Catawba County offers an exceptional amount of arts, culture, recreation and entertainment experiences for people of all ages. From quality family time to a date night on the town, there’s no shortage of things to do here. Consider just a few of your options:

  • Grab a pint of craft beer at one of our local breweries

  • Sit behind home plate and root for the Crawdads

  • Hunt for one-of-a-kind treasures in our homegrown retail shops and boutiques

  • Stock up on locally-grown and locally-made goods at one of our many farmers markets

  • Take in live music at a variety of outdoor venues or a local pub, symphony hall or renovated mill

  • Have a blast with your kids at one of our many playgrounds and splash pads

  • Attend a film festival or spend an evening at a community theatre

IT Site Support Analyst @ CommScope
E-5 Battery Field Operator (Army)

“Our favorite thing about living here is that any day you can leave the house, go do something, and you can never get tired of doing things because there's so much…. There's endless things to do and time to do them, which has probably the greatest impact on our lives because it's creating memories.”

Play Time

From rolling green pastures to sunlit foothills, the natural landscape in Catawba County is something to behold. A mild climate provides for a striking change of seasons and varied outdoor recreation opportunities year-round. Because of that, play time isn’t hard to find in Catawba County.

Bordered along the north and east by 186 miles of Catawba River shoreline and three lakes, Catawba County’s extensive waterways are a natural playground boating, fishing and watersports enthusiasts. Prefer to play on dry land? More than 50 parks and greenways offer miles of hiking trails, mountain biking trails, and walking paths. These are complemented by a secondary network of urban and suburban walking, running, and cycling routes throughout the County.

Making The Grade

With three K-12 public school systems, numerous private and charter schools, an active homeschool community and significant pre-K programming, children can get a great start in Catawba County. Our local private university and community college provide a variety of pathways to earn advanced certifications and degrees right here at home.

Learn more about area educational and training opportunities for learners of all ages on our dedicated pages.

The best way to get to know our schools is to visit our classrooms and talk with school administrators, parents and students. If you can’t do that, is a helpful online resource that compiles a variety of school data related to academics, safety, and other factors.To learn more about our collaborative local educational system, visit the following websites: Catawba County Schools, Newton-Conover City Schools, and Hickory Public Schools.

The VA's Outpatient Clinic in Hickory provides primary care, general mental health, audiology and optometry services.


The George VAMC 5-star quality medical center provides the full spectrum of health services to nearly 50,000 veterans in the area. This facility is located in Asheville, a 1 hour drive from HKY.

Taking Care Of Yourself

With two large medical centers and a high concentration of physicians, specialists, and healthcare resources, Catawba County serves as a medical hub for the surrounding region. Through them, residents have access to the newest technologies and treatments available, along with direct links to regional trauma units and specialty care centers in Charlotte and Winston-Salem. Residents have many options for selecting the medical providers who best meet their needs.

Pick Your Place

Catawba County is home to a variety of communities and neighborhoods that provide great places to live, raise a family and retire. Whether you’re seeking city life, suburban connectivity, historic character or a few quiet acres in the countryside, you’ll find it in Catawba County.

Check out our "Finding a Home" page for more information about real estate in the area.


If you moved to (or from) one of the cities listed below and received the same salary you earn in the Hickory Metro (example: $50K), it would cost you the following to maintain the same basic lifestyle:

  • Charlotte - $56,519
  • Atlanta - $62,018
  • Charleston - $62,245
  • Fort Bragg - $46,485
  • Camp Lejeune - $46,995