The 11 Most Beautiful Places to Live In North Carolina That Are Still Affordable

Written by Alanna Davis
Published: March 21, 2024
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There are several qualities people look for in a city when deciding where they should move. Many people concern themselves with convenience, local culture, job market opportunities, and safety. However, the two most important qualities of all are often low cost of living and aesthetics. Let’s explore 11 of the most affordable places in the state of North Carolina where the natural beauty is rich.

1. Winston-Salem

Winston-Salem North Carolina NC Skyline Aerial.

Winston-Salem has an eclectic, unique atmosphere that locals can’t get enough of.

©Kevin Ruck/

You can really get a bang for your buck living in Winston-Salem, as it is the perfect blend of being affordable and beautiful. This city is a short drive from both Stone Mountain and Pilot Mountain. This provides hikers and nature lovers with a quick and easy getaway, but it also gives this city a beautiful backdrop for those who’d rather stay in urban areas. In addition, it is part of the Triad, which is a cluster of three cities known throughout the state for their convenient transportation, cleanliness, access to education, and job opportunities.

2. Greensboro

Drone Aerial of Downtown Greensboro North Carolina NC Skyline

People tout Greensboro for its wealth of entertainment, delicious food, and rich history.

©Kevin Ruck/

Greensboro is another North Carolina city that is part of the famous Triad. Housing and cost of living prices are similar to those of Winston-Salem. However, the average cost of rent here is slightly cheaper. The national average rent price across the United States is roughly $1,300, while the average apartment in Greensboro comes in at just over $1,000. Although this city is quite modern, it remains green and well-kept.

3. Lewisville

Town Of Lewisville North Carolina Local Town In USA

Lewisville is located in Forsyth County.


Unlike Winston-Salem and Greensboro, Lewisville is the perfect place for those seeking a more rural atmosphere. According to the Affordable Housing Hub, this town is home to both Section 8 housing units and low-income housing units. Lewisville is naturally beautiful and generally safe, the school systems are high-quality, and the cost of living is low. What more can you ask for?

4. Eden

Welcome to North Carolina sign along a beautiful country road.

While Eden is very affordable and rife with natural beauty, it might not be everyone’s cup of tea.

©StacieStauffSmith Photos/

With a name like Eden, it’s no surprise that the cost of living is very affordable here. Living in Eden is nearly 30% cheaper than the average place in America. While this location is very affordable, it doesn’t lack in beauty either. Residents praise Eden for its pleasant weather, abundant wildlife, and friendly culture. It is important to mention that although Eden is beautiful and affordable, petty crime and drug use are somewhat common here.

5. Rutherfordton

Rutherfordton. North Carolina. USA

Rutherfordton is well known for its old-town charm.


Do you love the quaint charm that small towns exude? If so, then Rutherfordton might just be the place for you. People are generally friendly, wildlife is abundant, and the cost of living is very reasonable. Houses, rent, food, and necessities here are all priced below the national average. Rutherfordton is a very rural location, so this town is best for individuals who enjoy this lifestyle. If you plan to commute to local cities, be prepared for a long drive.

6. Kernersville

Beautiful outdoor fall trees located on Broad Street in Kernersville North Carollina MyRealHoliday

Kernersville is a short driving distance from Winston-Salem.

©Dan and Ruth Photography/

For many, living in Kernersville provides residents with the best of both worlds. This town has developed significantly throughout the past few decades and has become more modern. Despite this, it retains that small-town feel that so many locals adore. The cherry on top is the affordability of this town, and those interested in moving here can expect to pay well below the national average for housing, food, and entertainment.

7. Durham

Durham Skyline

About 300,000 people live in Durham, North Carolina.

©SeanPavonePhoto/iStock via Getty Images

Durham has been a popular city in North Carolina for quite some time, and this is for a very good reason. This city offers its occupants all the conveniences of a big city while remaining humble, friendly, and clean. Although the cost of living in Durham has been on the rise recently, it is still affordable when compared to other places in North Carolina.

8. Winterville

Winterville. North Carolina. USA on a map

The population of Winterville is comprised of roughly 11,000 individuals.


Locals love Winterville for a variety of different reasons, but the reasonable housing prices are certainly at the top of their lists. In fact, this town was listed as one of the most desirable places to live in North Carolina. According to WITN, “Winterville boasts low property taxes, low homeowner’s insurance, and a low average annual mortgage payment relative to a high median income.”

9. Mooresville 

Lake Norman, at McCrary Access Area, in Mooresville, North Carolina.

Outdoorsy folk are sure to fall in love with Mooresville.

©Jon Bilous/

Mooresville has attracted quite a few residents over the years because of its beauty, safety, high-quality education, abundant nature, and affordability. With so many wonderful qualities, it’s not a surprise at all that the population of this town has more than tripled in the last two decades.

10. Hickory

Hickory, NC | Viewmont | Aerial | HDR

Hickory is about an hour’s drive from Charlotte.

©Brandon Pope/

If you’re the type of person who wants to escape from the big cities, Hickory is the place for you. This town is clean and pleasant and the people living there are generally friendly. In addition, it offers a wealth of natural beauty. Lake Hickory is a little oasis beloved by locals and the backdrop of this town is mountainous and grand. Some people might call this North Carolina town sleepy, but others argue that this town is affordable, quiet, and quaint.

11. High Point

High Point of North Carolina of United States flag waving on the wind in front of sun

People travel from far and wide to attend the High Point Market, which is a famous furniture trade show.


High Point is the third and final North Carolina city that is part of the Triad. That being said, living here comes with many advantages. This city offers entertainment, education, beauty, convenience, and affordability all at once.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Kevin Ruck/

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About the Author

Alanna is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering insects, animals, and travel. In addition to writing, she spends her time tutoring English and exploring the east end of Long Island. Prior to receiving her Bachelor's in Economics from Stony Brook University, Alanna spent much of her time studying entomology and insect biology.

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