Small Cities: Charleston, S.C.
Small Cities: Charleston, S.C.
Population: 120,100
Median home price: $199,300
2011 price change: -2.9%

Small cities are becoming a big draw among retirees who crave the culture and scale of a metropolis without the breakneck pace. For this group, Charleston is a godsend. Nicknamed the "Holy City" for its many churches as well as its religious tolerance in the 1600s, Charleston's rich history has made it a popular destination for history buffs. Centuries-old townhouses line its pleasant streets, while its Magnolia Cemetery holds five Civil War generals. Residents can also frequent the city's bustling farmers' markets, sip its famous sweet tea (with or without vodka), and sample the best in low-country cuisine. Natural attractions include sandy beaches, palm trees, and temperate weather give or take the occasional hurricane.

Retirees who want to relive their university days can head to the College of Charleston, where adults age 60 and older can enroll in most classes tuition-free for a $25 fee. Indeed, this city might be one of the best places for boomers hoping to keep feeling young: During the past decade, the Charleston metro area clocked the seventh-biggest increase in the number of residents under age 45, who now make up 35% of the total population.

By Anne VanderMey, reporter @FortuneMagazine - Last updated June 20 2012: 10:44 AM ET
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