ideal-LIVING
Retirement Blog
2016 Fall Issue

10 Walkable Towns – Explore These Southern Communities.

Top 10 Walkable Southern Towns by Emily Colin.

What does it mean for a town or city to be ‘walkable?’ Clearly, pedestrians need to be able to walk from one place to the next—there needs to be sidewalks and crosswalks, stoplights and signs. But walkability is about much more than infrastructure. It’s about creating a sense of community—the idea that there is someplace worth walking to, and people that you’d like to see when you get there. In a truly walkable town or city, you can satisfy a wide variety of needs within 15 minutes on foot. You can buy food, take in a play or a show, shop, and enjoy a green space such as a public park or trail. And while you’re doing all of this, you can connect with others who share your interests, even if it’s as simple as waving or saying ‘hello.’

From Millennials to retirees, we’re experiencing a tremendous uptick in the number of folks who place a high value on living in walkable communities. In part, this is because of the many health benefits that walking has to offer; in part, it’s because of the expense and inconvenience inherent in traveling by car. Beyond these tangible benefits, though, walkable communities have a sense of vibrancy, life, and charisma that is tremendously appealing. Traveling on foot, you notice things you might not have otherwise—an architectural detail here, a hidden alleyway, a used bookstore or a cozy coffee shop there. You take your time, appreciating what’s around you rather than rushing from one activity to the next, living in the moment.

Each of these 10 Southern cities and towns has a distinct personality—from quirky Asheville to stately Charleston—but they all have one thing in common: you can navigate them on foot, and what’s more, you’ll want to. Happy walking.

Charleston, SC
Top 10 Walkable Towns | Southern Towns | ideal-LIVING MagazineTravel + Leisure magazine just named Charleston the top city to visit in the world—and why not? Between its Southern charm, meticulously-preserved historic homes, beautiful harbor, thriving arts community, and burgeoning foodie scene, Charleston is a place that honors its past while embracing the future. Downtown is a pedestrian’s paradise, from shopping on King Street—home to the Design, Fashion and Antique Districts—to strolling along Museum Mile. Architectural enthusiasts will find much to appreciate on The Battery and East Bay Street, Rainbow Row, and the French Quarter. Relax at scenic Waterfront Park, with its iconic pineapple fountain, stroll through historic City Market, and then grab a bite at one of the many restaurants—you really can’t go wrong. Slightly North of Broad, FIG, and Husk are some of the best, and Kaminsky’s desserts are to die for. Cap off the night with a show at Dock Street Theatre.


Asheville, NC
Top 10 Walkable Towns | Southern Towns | ideal-LIVING MagazineIf healthy living, arts and culture, locally sourced food, and a little bit of quirkiness set your heart a-flutter, Asheville is the place for you. Located in western North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville’s nod to a history museum is their Urban Trail, a 1.7-mile, 30-station scavenger hunt that gives visitors a glimpse into the city’s past. Be sure to browse Malaprop’s Bookstore, or, if you prefer a glass of fine wine with your secondhand paperbacks, check out Battery Park Book Exchange and Champagne Bar. Culture buffs will appreciate Asheville Community Theatre, the Asheville Art Museum, and Colburn Earth Science Museum. A short drive away, you’ll find all the adventure you could ask for—zip lining, white water rafting, hiking, mountain climbing, and more. Shop at the Grove Arcade, or eat your heart out at the Over Easy Cafe, Bouchon, Farm Burger Asheville, or the French Broad Chocolate Lounge.

Wilmington, NC
Top 10 Walkable Towns | Southern Towns | ideal-LIVING MagazineWilmington was voted Best American Riverfront in USA TODAYs 10 Best Readers’ Choice Contest 2016—and small wonder. Front Street, downtown’s main thoroughfare, is jam-packed with restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, and entertainment venues. Within a few blocks you’ll find historic Thalian Hall, a beautifully-renovated venue that hosts musicals, plays, and films year-round; City Stage, an assortment of comedy clubs and music venues; and the Wilson Center at Cape Fear Community College, home to touring Broadway shows. History buffs will find plenty to satisfy, from the Bellamy Mansion and Burgwin-Wright House to the restored homes and cottages that line the shaded streets. Start your day with breakfast at the Dixie Grill, eat light with tapas at Circa 1922, stroll along the riverwalk, and wind down at Le Catalan French Café and Wine Bar, where you can savor chocolate mousse and a bottle of wine while watching ships pass down the Cape Fear River.

St. Augustine, FL
Top 10 Walkable Towns | Southern Towns | ideal-LIVING MagazinePonce de Leon made St. Augustine famous, and it claims the distinction of “the oldest city in the U.S.” Located on northeast Florida’s First Coast, St. Augustine has a thriving historic district, complete with cobblestone streets, bed and breakfasts, pubs, eateries, and plenty of places to shop. In April 2016, About.com’s AboutTravel named it Florida’s most walkable city. Bustling St. George Street, located in the center of the historic district, is for pedestrians only—no cars allowed. In search of something more low-key? Try historic Saint Aviles Street. Downtown hosts the Castillo de San Marcos, a walk-in park and fortress that’s stood since 1672. Occupying two acres in the heart of the historic district, The Colonial Quarter brings days gone by to life. Other attractions include Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, the Limelight Theatre, and the delectable food at The Floridian and the Spanish Bakery and Café.

Greenville, SC
Top 10 Walkable Towns | Southern Towns | ideal-LIVING MagazineThere’s a reason that National Geographic named Greenville as one of its top 20 “Must See” places in 2016—and it’s probably the same reason that the New York Times called it “a national model for a pedestrian-friendly city center.” Just an hour’s drive from Asheville, NC, Greenville’s downtown is an alluring blend of public art, delectable food—don’t miss The Trappe Door and the Tupelo Honey Café—unique shops, and green space. Just a few short blocks from Main Street, you’ll find Falls Park, home to a waterfall that’s nearly 40 feet tall, the pedestrian-only Liberty Bridge, and the Reedy River. Along the river runs Swamp Rabbit Trail, an old railroad bed transformed into a 21-mile greenway for pedestrians and cyclists. Downtown is also home to the Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville Little Theatre, the Carolina Ballet Theatre, and the Peace Center for the Performing Arts.

Savannah, GA
Top 10 Walkable Towns | Southern Towns | ideal-LIVING MagazineWith the country’s largest Historic Landmark District, Savannah has earned its badge as a pedestrian-friendly city. It’s organized around 22 squares, where passersby can sit a spell in the shade of giant, moss-hung oaks—but when you’re ready to get up, there’s no shortage of things to do. Home to the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), downtown has over 18 historic house museums that are open to the public, including Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home. River Street, which meanders along the Savannah River, features former cotton warehouses that house a plethora of places to eat, shop, and browse. You’ll find boutiques, galleries, the treasure-filled Paris Market and Brocante, and The Lucas Theatre on Broughton Street—as well as Leopold’s Ice Cream, known for its marble soda fountain. Don’t-miss eateries include Ms. Wilkes’ Dining Room and The Olde Pink House, both Zagat-rated as Savannah’s Best Southern Restaurants.

Fernandina Beach, FL
Top 10 Walkable Towns | Southern Towns | ideal-LIVING MagazineLocated on Amelia Island, a barrier island off northeast Florida’s Atlantic Coast, Fernandina Beach’s National Register Historic District spans over 50 blocks and boasts over 400 buildings. It’s home to The Florida House Inn—the oldest hotel in the state of Florida—as well as the Palace Saloon, the state’s oldest continually operating drinking establishment. The main drag, Centre Street, features two pocket parks where you can take in the sounds of local musicians after you’ve gotten your fill of browsing the historic district’s many antique shops, boutiques, and galleries. Storytelling aficionados will get a kick out of the Amelia Island Museum of History, the first spoken history museum in the state of Florida. Dining hot spots include the Crab Trap, David’s Restaurant and Lounge, The Happy Tomato Courtyard Café and BBQ, and Le Clos, a 1906 cottage where you can savor French cuisine by candlelight.

Sarasota, FL
Top 10 Walkable Towns | Southern Towns | ideal-LIVING MagazineIn June 2016, TopRetirements.com rated Sarasota the country’s ultimate city for retirees, booting Asheville out of the top spot for the first time since 2007. John Ringling of Ringling Bros’ fame played a key role in developing the city, and his family mansion, Cà d’Zan, still stands today. The heart of downtown Sarasota is Five Points, where Main Street, Pineapple Avenue, and Central Avenue come together. Nearby Palm Avenue is home to a variety of art galleries and antique stores, and there’s great shopping to be had on Main Street, 1st Street, and Palm. Get your fill of drama and song at The Florida Studio Theatre and the Sarasota Opera House. Just a short drive away, you’ll find The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy. Sample Peruvian food at Selva, taste fresh-caught seafood at Owen’s Fish Camp, or go local at MADE restaurant, winner of several “best of” awards.

Athens, GA
Top 10 Walkable Towns | Southern Towns | ideal-LIVING MagazineAthens is widely known for its incredible music scene—it was the birthplace of the band REM, hosts several annual festivals, and offers a self-guided, 28-stop music walking tour. But this is not all it has to offer. Forbes highlighted Athens in its “Best Places to Retire” in 2015 and 2016, and Money Magazine has also recognized it as a “Best Place to Retire.” With its restaurants, shops, boutiques, and galleries, downtown Athens is very pedestrian-friendly. Culture buffs will flock to the Georgia Theatre, located in the heart of downtown, and Morton Theatre, a performance arts space that began its life as one of America’s first African-American-built, owned, and operated vaudeville theaters. Don’t miss The Tree that Owns Itself, an oak that can lay legal claim to the ground on which it stands. Foodies surrender to temptation at Creature Comforts Brewing Company, Big City Bread Café, Last Resort Grill, Clocked, and Weaver D’s.

Beaufort, SC
Top 10 Walkable Towns | Southern Towns | ideal-LIVING MagazineCharming Beaufort, SC, pronounced ‘Bu-fort’, is home to a thriving historic downtown district and a beautiful waterfront. Southern Living named Beaufort a “small town we love,” and in 2013, Coastal Living Magazine ranked it as #1 among America’s Happiest Seaside Towns. It’s not hard to see why—Beaufort embodies the relaxed spirit, coastal vibe, and Southern hospitality that defines the Lowcountry. Wander along the downtown waterfront, shop for antiques at Lagniappe Lowcountry, browse at McIntosh Book Shop, or find the perfect piece of art at Salt Gallery. In the mood for adventure? Take a walking history tour, rent a kayak, or check out the dolphins and the salt marsh with one of Captain Dick’s River Tours. Once you’re back on land, grab a bite at Magnolia Bakery Café, Panini’s on the Waterfront, Q on the Bay, or Saltus River Grill, a contemporary seafood restaurant with a stunning view of the Intracoastal Waterway.

Request More Information from these Walkable Communities:

Vista at Bill's Mountain - North Carolina Gated Community

Vista at Bill's Mountain - North Carolina Gated Community

Perfectly shaped since the beginning of time, Bill's Mountain is your chance to experience the picturesque town of Lake Lure. Every contour...every pristine ridge of this Lake Lure property offers incomparable views Western North Carolina. Set just five minutes from Lake Lure's crystal blue waters in Rutherford County, Bill's Mountain's 800 spectacular acres invites you to reconnect with family and friends, nature and the spirit within you. Read More...

Vista at Blacksmith Run

Vista at Blacksmith Run

Nestled between Historic Hendersonville and Lake Lure's picturesque coves is Vista at Blacksmith Run-an exclusive Western North Carolina mountain property designed for residential development. Blacksmith Run's secluded mountain lifestyle and four season climate turns an ordinary day into an unforgettable experience. With convenient access to all of Western North Carolina's treasures, this quiet mountain gated community was developed for those who appreciate the best that life has to offer. Read More...

Bald Head Island Limited Real Estate Sales

Bald Head Island Limited Real Estate Sales

North Carolina's southernmost cape, Bald Head Island offers 14 miles of pristine beach, a rare maritime forest, and a 10,000 acre marsh and creek preserve protected in perpetuity. The island's proximity to the Gulf Stream provides subtropical weather conditions year round, with mild... Read More...

Savannah Quarters  - Modern Living. Historic Charm.

Savannah Quarters - Modern Living. Historic Charm.

Developed by SunCal, Savannah Quarters, Savannah Quarters is a master planned community ideally located less than 15 minutes from the center of historic Savannah, GA. Read More...

The Landings on Skidaway Island - Savannah's Choice for Island Living

The Landings on Skidaway Island - Savannah's Choice for Island Living

The Landings on Skidaway Island is a private gated community known as much for its beauty as for its personality. Located on the Intracoastal Waterway and just 12 miles from the charming and historic city of Savannah, GA, The Landings celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2012. Read More...

Waterways - Best Places to Live in Georgia

Waterways - Best Places to Live in Georgia

Waterways is a 2,300-acre master-planned community located just 30 minutes from historic Savannah, Georgia, in charming Richmond Hill. Surrounded by a 1,600 acre nature preserve, this is a place where six-and-a-half miles of marsh frontage, over four miles of winding lagoons, and more than a thousand acres of ancient oak hammocks embrace our new homes and homesites. Read More...

Brunswick Forest - A North Carolina Coastal Retirement Community

Brunswick Forest - A North Carolina Coastal Retirement Community

Brunswick Forest, the Coastal South's fastest growing community, is located on North Carolina's Cape Fear coast, just minutes from historic Wilmington. This 4,500-acre retreat features a wide array of neighborhoods and lifestyles, 18 holes of golf at Cape Fear National, a Clubhouse, River Club, Fitness & Wellness Center, parks and more than 100 miles of walking, biking and nature trails linking residences and amenities. Read More...

Compass Pointe - North Carolina Coastal Communities

Compass Pointe - North Carolina Coastal Communities

Compass Pointe is more than a community. It's a destination. Only 10 minutes from historic downtown Wilmington, NC, and 20 minutes from Wrightsville Beach, it is the very best of coastal North Carolina. Read More...

Landfall - North Carolina Premier Gated Communities

Landfall - North Carolina Premier Gated Communities

Located within Wilmington, Landfall is North Carolina's most diverse and historically interesting coastal community. A distinctive property of over 2,000 acres with lakes, ponds and four miles fronting on the Intracoastal Waterway and Howe's Creek, Landfall is only five minutes from Wrightsville Beach and the Atlantic Ocean. Read More...

Logan Homes - Home Builders in Premier North Carolina Communities

Logan Homes - Home Builders in Premier North Carolina Communities

Logan Homes offers 80+ beautiful home plans, tons of choices, quality craftsmanship, energy efficiency and the innovation that will enhance your lifestyle - all for a very smart price. Read More...

The Bluffs on the Cape Fear

The Bluffs on the Cape Fear

This waterfront community is renowned for its stunning Bluffs overlooking the Cape Fear River and offer entertainment options for every member of the family. Welcome to The Bluffs on the Cape Fear, where privacy and tranquility are joined in a setting of transcendent natural beauty. Here you'll discover the best of both worlds - a private preserve in the midst of nature, but an easy drive from everything Wilmington and the Coastal Carolinas have to offer. Read More...

Encore at FishHawk Ranch by David Weekley Homes

Encore at FishHawk Ranch by David Weekley Homes

Grab a workout buddy and hit the gym or satisfy your competitive side with a spirited game of bocce or pickle ball. Meet on the great lawn for yoga or lounge by the sparkling pool. Read More...

RiverLights

RiverLights

Enter the home of your dreams and the lifestyle you crave in RiverLights ™, Wilmington's newest waterfront community. Designed to foster a coastal, wellness-centered environment, RiverLights offers the energy of a city amid miles of tranquil beauty. Set along the naturally magnificent Cape Fear River, it's a new kind of community that celebrates family, honors nature and breathes new life into Southern heritage. Read More...

Grand Highlands at Bearwallow Mountain - NC Mountain Communities

Grand Highlands at Bearwallow Mountain - NC Mountain Communities

Unparalleled panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and pristine forests. This award winning mountain top community is removed without being remote. It is minutes from the conveniences of Hendersonville, NC and the Asheville Airport. Ideal altitude from 3,200 to 3,800 feet to enjoy cool summers without the harsh winters. Read More...

West Villages Florida

West Villages Florida

Renaissance at West Villages is a vibrant new gated community in West Villages, Florida that offers new homes and resort-style amenities. Located in the fast-growing, master-planned community of West Villages, Renaissance offers new homes that will complement this beautiful Sarasota County area. Get ready to enjoy the Southwest Florida lifestyle and great weather all year long. Choose from an array of thoughtfully-designed Paired Villas and Single Family Homes with unique curb appeal. Amenities will include a clubhouse, pool, tennis, pickleball, bocce, full-time Activities Director and events, parks and more. You'll love living just minutes to Downtown Venice, award-winning beaches and I-75. Quick move-in homes are available. Read More...

One Particular Harbour - A Premier Minto Florida Community

One Particular Harbour - A Premier Minto Florida Community

One Particular Harbour marina and residences now available in the Tampa/Sarasota area in Florida. Overlooking beautiful Anna Maria Sound, this brand new, Margaritaville-inspired deepwater marina with direct, no-bridge access to the Gulf of Mexico is under construction and will offer the fun of a restaurant, entertainment, and more! Read More...

Village Green - Active 55+ Resort

Village Green - Active 55+ Resort

Welcome to Village Green, where you'll find luxury living at an affordable price. Village Green is an active 55+ adult community with a wide selection of pre-owned homes from the $30's, a multi-million dollar clubhouse, a full-time Activities Director, friendly people, and the finest in resort amenities. Whether you're looking for the best value in retirement, or simply a place to live life a little easier near the water, you'll find it a Village Green. Visit us and see why so many of our residents say it's like being on vacation all year long. Read More...

Champion Hills

Champion Hills

At Champion HIlls you'll enjoy life in perfect balance. Our golf and tennis community and country club, situated in the mountains of Western North Carolina with breathtaking views of the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains, is secluded, but not isolated-casual yet elegant-relaxed, but with easy access to the unlimited activities and entertainment of Asheville and Hendersonville. Read More...

Lakewood Ranch | Best Places to Live in Florida

Lakewood Ranch | Best Places to Live in Florida

At Lakewood Ranch, it's all about the good life. Health, family, and fun are the focus. And, there's an activity to fit every lifestyle. The community hosts 54 holes of golf, a country club with two clubhouses, and tennis and athletic centers. Additionally, it's home to the Sarasota Polo Club and seven world-class polo fields. Lake Ranch polo tournaments attract players from around the world. Still, the list continues with a 75-acre premier sports campus, A-rated schools, and a hospital and preventative medical clinic. Read More...

Medley at Southshore Bay

Medley at Southshore Bay

Medley at Southshore Bay is designed especially for active adults who want the best life has to offer. The rich variety of amenities include a Metro lagoon by Crystal Lagoons, with 5.5 acres of crystal-clear blue waters, ideal for swimming and kayaking. Residents will enjoy private amenities including a social clubhouse, resort-style pool and tiki bar, a dog park, walking trails, golf-cart paths and more! Read More...

Your Information Request for your selected properties





By submitting this form, you agree to allow ideal-LIVING.com to provide your contact information to the selected communities.

Previously published in the 2016 Fall issue.

Share this with friends!
  • 27
  •  
  • 17
  •  
  •