New Bern, North Carolina

Best Places to Retire in North Carolina


Founded in 1710 by the Swiss, New Bern is located at the confluence of the Trent and Neuse Rivers in eastern North Carolina.  It takes its name from Bern, Switzerland.  Rich in history, New Bern is the second oldest town in the state and it was one of the earliest cities in the nation — after Boston and Philadelphia — to recognize and celebrate Independence Day.  It is the site of North Carolina’s colonial capital, and its first state capital. Royal Governor William Tryon chose this seaport community for his colonial capital and residence.  Tryon Palace and its magnificent gardens, as well as a number of other restored historical buildings offer visitors an opportunity to experience over 200 years of American history.  A new visitorís center and museum will be added to this site at a cost of $50 million. (City site); (Tourism site)

A major port and trading center in the 1800’s, New Bern was captured and occupied by the Union Army after a fierce battle on March 14, 1862. New Bern has three historic districts with homes, stores, and churches dating as far back as the early 18th century.  There are 150 sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

A city with a population of 30,000, it “seems a bit larger.”  It is the county seat for Craven County, a major tourist destination, and it has a number of adjacent residential communities that seamlessly link to the city.  The downtown offers a number of museums, shops, galleries, restaurants, historic attractions, waterfront hotels, bed and breakfast accommodations, marina’s, parks, historic homes and churches, and a new waterfront convention center.  Royal Governor William Tryon made this seaport community his colonial capital and residence.  Tryon Palace and its magnificent gardens, as well as a number of other restored historical buildings offers visitors an opportunity to experience over 200 years of American history.

New Bern, midway along North Carolina’s network of navigable waterways, is the ideal spot for sailors and power boaters alike.  The Neuse River is more than a mile wide at New Bern and continues to broaden until it intersects the Intracoastal Waterway at Oriental, just 22 miles away, where the river is nearly six miles wide as it enters Pamlico Sound.

Arts & Culture

New Bern has an active civic theater, a community chorus, Craven Arts Council, and Craven Concert Series. The concerts typically bring in excellent small musical groups and one performance by an orchestra.  Each year a combined choir from area churches, together with professional musicians, perform Handel’s Messiah.


There are a number of quality golf courses in the area, and one members-only country club.  There is a large waterfront with two major marinas right at the downtown location.  The Neuse River is excellent for sailing and powerboat cruising, either locally or to connect to the Intracoastal Waterway.  New Bern is also a stop on the Bass Masters fishing tour each year.  It is 35 miles to the “Crystal Coast” beaches along Bogue Banks on the Atlantic.  Fort Macon State Park, located at the inlet to Morehead City offers more than a mile of pristine sand beach, and fishing areas along the inlet. Croatan National Forest is located six miles east of New Bern on US 70.  It has 157,000 acres of natural forested lands that you can explore. There are deer, black bears, eagles and many other forms of wildlife.


Craven Community College, located in New Bern, is a public two-year college that provides a wide variety of programs on campus, and distance education.  It offers adult education courses, training for the workforce, basic skills and literacy education, occupational and college transfer programs, and partnerships with business and industry to promote economic development.

East Carolina University, located in Greenville, NC, is one hour away.  It is a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina and offers baccalaureate, masters, specialist, and doctoral degrees in the liberal arts, sciences and professional fields, including medicine.  It has a student population of approximately 20,000 and competes in Conference USA, which is a Division I league.

Senior Programs

The city offers a variety of programs for seniors run by its parks and recreation department.


Craven Regional Medical Center, located in New Bern, is a 313-bed full-service acute care facility that houses a full compliment of inpatient services. The medical center has dedicated units for neurosurgical care, intensive and intermediate care, cardiac care, womenís care, pediatric care and cancer care.  Crossroads, a unit of the hospital, offers adult psychiatric care for inpatients on a private unit and outpatients through its partial hospitalization program.  There are over 180 physicians on staff.

Pitt County Memorial Hospital, a large teaching hospital in Greenville, is about one-hour away —  Duke University Hospital in Durham has a Comprehensive Cancer Center —, and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center of UNC is at Chapel Hill —  Both are about 130 miles from New Bern.


Craven Regional Airport is located two miles southwest of New Bern. US Airways is the only scheduled commercial carrier.

Raleigh-Durham International Airport is 130 miles away.


New Bern enjoys an average of 214 sunny days per year.  Its average temperature is 62 degrees and annual rainfall averages 53 inches.


New Bern Sun Journal –
News and Observer (regional paper based in Raleigh –

Property Taxes

New Bern Tax Office: 252-636-4082 –

Craven County Tax Assessor –

Chamber of Commerce

State Aging Agency

State Taxes


Raleigh – 130 miles
Greenville – 60 miles
Atlantic Ocean beaches – 35 miles
East Carolina University – 60 miles
Wilmington  – 100 miles

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