Clemson, South Carolina

Best Places to Retire in South Carolina


The city of Clemson (approximately 14,000) is located in the northwestern part of the state in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and at the shores of Lake Hartwell. It is also home to Clemson University with 16,000 students.

Cherokee Indians first inhabited the Clemson area and many natural landmarks carry Indian names. Names like Issaqueena Falls, Lakes Keowee and Jocassee, and Table Rock Mountain. After the American Revolution, the Cherokees, who had sided with the British, surrendered the land and the early settlers began to move in and establish their farms. In later years, a number of wealthy plantation owners and statesmen began to build second homes in this region because of its moderate summer climate. One such individual was John C. Calhoun, former Vice President of the United States, and the town was originally named Calhoun in his honor. The university was named for his son-in-law (Thomas Green Clemson) who bought the plantation and later deeded it to the state in order to establish a college.

The Clemson area is characterized by beautiful rolling hills, large hardwoods and dense pine forests, and a string of crystal clear lakes. The rugged beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains with wilderness areas, abundance of wildlife and dramatic waterfalls is the backdrop, only a short distance away. The landscape is ablaze with colors in the fall.

There is a busy events calendar with music and performing arts programs throughout the area, festivals, special events, and big-time college sports teams. There is good medical care just minutes away in Seneca, and there is good local shopping and numerous choices for dining out. Greenville (population 57,000), the nearest resource city, is just 30 miles away.

Arts & Culture

The Brooks Center for the Performing Arts at the University is a 997-seat state-of-the-art theater which opened in 1994.

The Department of Performing Arts at the University produces choral, instrumental, and theatre production for public audiences.

Rudolph E. Lee Gallery, Clemson University.

Bob Campbell Geology Museum is located in the South Carolina Botanical Garden on the campus of Clemson University.

The Clemson Little Theatre.

Alverson Center Theater, Anderson, SC. (864) 375-0072

South Carolina Botanical Garden is a 295-acre garden on the Clemson University campus.

Easley Foothills Playhouse (18 miles).

Pickens County Museum of Art & History in Pickens, SC.

Oconee Community Theatre, just a few miles out of Clemson.

Southern Wesleyan University Fine Arts Series. (864) 644-5294

Greenville Little Theatre (30 miles).

Bi-Lo Center in Greenville is the largest sports and entertainment complex (16,000) in South Carolina.

Flat Rock Playhouse/Vagabond School of the Drama in East Flat Rock, NC, (66 miles) produces professional theatre while teaching drama and the performing arts. Between May and December it produces a nine-show professional series of comedies, musicals, and dramas. Flat Rock Playhouse, by act of the State’s General Assembly became designated “The State Theater Of North Carolina.” It offers a summer and fall college intern program, a two-show season and a cabaret series by Theatre for Young People, plus year-round classes and workshops for students from kindergarten through high school.

Internationally known Brevard Music Center (53 miles), stages more than 80 public performances annually during its eight-week summer season. Its primary stage is Whittington-Pfohl Auditorium which seats 1,800, and has lawn seating on either side of the hall. During its performance season BMC attracts tens of thousands to its performances. BMC has three orchestras, two wind ensembles, piano, composition, jazz and chamber music programs.


Pickens County and the foothills region has great natural beauty and offers outstanding opportunities for people who love the out-of-doors. There is hiking, biking, backpacking, mountain climbing, camping, boating, sailing, kayaking, trout fishing, horseback riding, golf, tennis, and more. There is also some great history to explore in the area dating back to the Cherokee Indians and the period of the American Revolution. Clemson University brings big-time college athletics programs for both men and women athletes.

The Clemson Parks & Recreation Department provides activities, events and athletics for nearly all ages. There are 10 parks on 85 acres. Facilities include five lighted tennis courts, lighted softball fields, a fitness trail, picnic facilities, including shelters, and playground structures.

The T. Ed Garrison Arena, owned by the state and operated by Clemson University, is devoted to the needs of horse and cattle events. This football field-size arena is year-round host for exhibitions, contests, rodeos and sales.

Central-Clemson Recreation Center.

Table Rock State Park is a 3,083-acre site that offers challenging hiking trails, two lakes, camping, mountain cabins, meeting facilities and other activities.

Gorges State Park in Sapphire, NC, is a 10,000-acre wilderness area with plunging waterfalls, rugged river gorges, rock walls and one of the great concentrations of rare and unique species in the eastern U.S. The elevation rises 2,000 feet in four miles and there is in excess of 80 inches of rainfall per year creating a rain forest that supports the many waterfalls.


Clemson University has a student body of more than 16,000 students, both undergraduates and graduate students.

Southern Wesleyan University, Central, SC (5 miles)

Senior Programs

Senior Meals-On-Wheels program, 397 College Avenue, Clemson, SC. (864) 654-2347

Central/Clemson Senior Center, 120 Commons Way, Central, SC. (864) 859-1588

Senior citizens (60 years and older) may enroll in courses at Clemson University as an auditor or for credit – at no charge.


Oconee Memorial Hospital, Seneca, is a 160-bed acute care facility.

Greenville Spartanburg (GSP) International Airport –


Average temperatures for January are a high of 50 degrees and low of 30 degrees. The July averages are a high of 88 and low of 68 degrees. The average rainfall is 47 inches per year and the growing season averages 224 days. Clemson gets an average of six inches of snow each year.


The Tiger –
The Greenville News –

Property Taxes

Pickens County Taxes –

State Taxes

Chamber of Commerce

State Aging Agency


Seneca – 8 miles
Anderson – 18 miles
Greenville – 30 miles
Brevard – 53 miles
East Flat Rock, NC – 64 miles
Hendersonville, NC – 66 miles
Asheville, NC – 91 miles
Columbia – 138 miles
Atlanta – 129 miles
Charlotte, NC – 141 miles

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