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Living a College Town Lifestyle in Clemson, South_Carolina

A small town environment along with a major university awaits those who choose Clemson, South Carolina in which to live or explore. This town of 13,000 is nestled in the extreme Southwestern corner of South Carolina near the Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee borders. The Blue Ridge Mountains stretch into the distance. Atlanta is a mere two hours away via Interstate 85.

Clemson University and its 17,000 students have a major impact. The university is the cultural center of the city. The university’s cultural and sporting facilities provide cultural and recreational opportunities. On game days the 80,000 stadium fills the town with excitement. There is plenty to do and see. Lake Hartwell runs through town, and Lake Keowee is nearby. Clemson is in the Greenville/Spartanburg metropolitan area. The city has a comprehensive plan with an historic preservation component comprised of two historic districts. The Clemson (train) Depot, built ca. 1916 has been rehabilitated and is now occupied by the local chamber of commerce. Photo of downtown Clemson courtesy of Wikipedia and blahedo.

Where to Retire in Clemson and Home Prices

The college campus is on the north and west ends of town, these neighborhoods are going to be a little noisier. The nearby town of Pendleton and the Lake Keowee area offers additional planned developments for active adults 55+.  We are not aware of any 55+ communities in Clemson; most retirees live in town or nearby developments.
Zillow reported the median home value to be $313,686, in early 2022.  As everywhere, prices vary by neighborhood and size/condition of house.

What Is Special about Clemson

• Known as a friendly town that is easy to enter as a newcomer • Clemson University  brings vitality and youth• South Carolina Botanical Garden • Lake Hartwell • Up until recently this part of the state has been growing rapidly • Tax base is favorable for attracting retirees • Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

What Is Not Special about Clemson

• Not for those who might object to a frequently boisterous college crowd • Growth pressures are intense • Traffic is very heavy near Greenville • University dominates • Faculty and retired faculty can be obnoxious

Climate and Physical Environment

Clemson is located in western South Carolina in an area called the “upcountry”. This rolling country in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains is heavily forested.  The average July high is 91, the average January low is 30, and the wettest month is typically March.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Clemson University is a major source of cultural activities. The Brooks Center for the Performing Arts, the Clemson Little Theatre, and the South Carolina Botanical Gardens are just some of the local cultural attractions. Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers classes to older adults through Clemson.


The overall crime rate in Clemson is low - 22 vs. the U.S. average of 301.  In the 2012 reporting year there was 1 murder and 4 rapes.  Crime may differ by neighborhood.

Medical Facilities

Nearby Oconee Memorial in nearby Seneca has 160 beds. Anderson (20 miles) and Greenville (30 miles) have larger hospitals.


A major plus is Clemson's Amtrak service. Greenville / Spartanburg Airport is a convenient 44 miles. Clemson Area Transit operates a free bus service on the campus and in town.

For more information about how to retire in Hilton Head

Valuable Links

Visit Clemson

Don't miss our retirement duel article: "What is the Best State for Retirement:  SC or NC"?

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