Discover the 5 Safest Places to Live in North Carolina

Closeup Selective Focus Of North Carolina State On A Geographical And Political State Map Of The USA.
© BestStockFoto/

Written by Jennifer Geer

Published: February 4, 2024

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North Carolina is known for beautiful weather, gorgeous beaches, scenic mountains, college basketball, and mouth-watering barbecue. Its temperate weather, abundance of outdoor activities, and lower-than-average cost of living make North Carolina an ideal place to call home. If you’re wondering which areas have the lowest crime rates, read on to discover the five safest places to live in North Carolina.

We compiled our list using data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Census Bureau. Our list includes the five cities with the lowest crime rates per capita in the state.

1. Lake Lure

Beautiful clouds over Lake Lure, in Lake Lure, North Carolina.

Many of the scenes from the famous movie, “Dirty Dancing,” were filmed around Lake Lure.

©Jon Bilous/

The city with the lowest crime rate per capita than any other in North Carolina is the small town of Lake Lure. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, In the year 2018, the town had five crimes in total (one was a burglary, and the other four were theft.) With only around 1,300 permanent residents, the town sees an influx of visitors every summer. 

The main attraction is the man-made 720-acre Lake Lure. The coast isn’t the only place in North Carolina to go to the beach. Lake Lure boasts soft, sandy beaches and a resort community in the western part of the state.

If pictures of Lake Lure look familiar, it may be because much of the 1980s hit film “Dirty Dancing” was shot in Lake Lure. Today, many people come to Lake Lure for water sports, golfing, hiking, and rock climbing. The region is also teeming with wildlife, including black bears, white-tail deer, groundhogs, wild turkeys, and red-tailed hawks.

2. Trent Woods

Sunset at the Deck New Bern North Carolina

Trent Woods is minutes away from New Bern, the second oldest town in North Carolina.

©Alex Gutierrez/

Situated along the banks of the Trent River is the small town of Trent Woods. It comes in second place for the top safest places to live in North Carolina, according to FBI data. This friendly little town offers high-end waterfront properties amid the natural beauty of eastern North Carolina.

Aside from a low crime rate per capita, Trent Woods offers parks, recreation areas, and plenty of outdoor activities such as boating, kayaking, hiking, and fishing. The Trent River is popular among anglers for catching largemouth bass, striped bass, channel catfish, and red drums.

Additionally, there are many walking trails, bike paths, picnic areas, and playgrounds around town. For history buffs, Trent Woods is just minutes from New Bern, the second oldest city in the state. Trent Woods is also only about 45 minutes from the sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast.

3. River Bend

portrait of happy senior couple playing golf enjoying retirement

The city of River Bend is a popular spot for retirees.

©Joshua Resnick/

Adjacent to Trent Woods and also situated along the Trent River is the small town of River Bend. The city of River Bend gets its name from being located along the banks of the Trent River as it winds across the land on its way to the Neuse River. A popular area for retirees, River Bend, is a residential community centered around a private golf course. The median age of River Bend is 56.8 years, and 57% of those over age 16 are “not in the labor force.” In addition to the golf course, River Bend has recreational amenities, including playgrounds, dog parks, walking trails, and fitness trails.

4. Laurel Park

Jump Off Rock in Hendersonville, NC

Jump Off Rock, with its scenic mountain view, is a popular destination in Laurel Park, just outside of Hendersonville.

©JillLang/iStock via Getty Images

Coming in at fourth on our list of the safest places to live in North Carolina is Laurel Park. Laurel Park is located just outside the larger city of Hendersonville and in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area in western North Carolina. The town began as a summer vacation retreat. Visitors could hop on a trolley from the Hendersonville train stop to get to Laurel Park. Today, it’s less of a tourist locale and more of a neighborhood community. 

Some of the highlights of Laurel Park include a famous scenic overlook called Jump Off Rock, Rhododendron Lake and Rhododendron Lake Nature Park, and various shops and restaurants. There are plenty of opportunities in the area for picnicking, walking trails, hiking, fishing, and biking.

5. Southern Shores

Colorful sunrise on a North Carolina beach, waves breaking on a sandy shore framed by dune grass. Duck, NC

The small town of Southern Shores is situated along the Atlantic Coast in North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

©Jeremy Tyree/

Located on North Carolina’s famous Outer Banks and last on our list of the safest places to live in the state is the small community of Southern Shores. Southern Shores has a year-round population of around 3,000. However, many visitors flock to the area, especially in the summer.

It’s easy to see why Southern Shores is such a popular vacation destination. The area is full of natural beauty with its sandy private beaches, dunes, maritime hardwood forests, and canals. Less busy and crowded than many of the other more touristy spots on the Outer Banks, Southern Shores offers a more relaxing vibe for those looking for solitude amid the North Carolina coastal atmosphere.

Summary of the 5 Safest Places to Live in North Carolina

1Lake LureRutherford County1,373
2Trent WoodsCraven County4,004
3River BendCraven County2,881
4Laurel ParkHenderson County2,233
5Southern ShoresDare County3,175

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About the Author

Jennifer Geer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on animals, news topics, travel, and weather. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Tulsa, and she has been researching and writing about news topics and animals for over four years. A resident of Illinois, Jennifer enjoys hiking, gardening, and caring for her three pugs.

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