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Virginia continues to be one of the most interesting states to watch in retirement. Actually, it seems to us to be three states combined

First, there are the Northern Virginia suburban sprawl counties within driving distance of DC, which are growing very rapidly. Of the 250,000 net new residents in Virginia from 2000-2005, 60 percent of the growth came in Northern Virginia. In other words, the growth rate is at least twice as fast as the rest of the state. The coastal region of Hampton Roads/Virginia Beach is also showing strong growth, especially because of the strong Navy and military presence in that area. Also Colonial Williamsburg is not only a top tourist spot, but a retirement hotspot as well.

The slowest growth in the state comes in the true retirement areas of the state in the mountainous western and southwestern parts of the state. There you find find quaint college towns like Roanoke (Hollins College), Charlottesville (UVA), Lynchburg (Sweet Briar/Liberty) and Lexington (Washington & Lee/VMI). All are great places to retire because of the many amenities they offer. Other Virginia towns like Blacksburg (Virginia Tech) and to a lesser extent, Danville and Bristol have small town charm.

An emerging hotspot is the Smith Mountain Lake area. Near the lake are Franklin County and Roanoke, an increasingly popular choice for its economy and its schools. One of our top picks is a small historic mountain town of Abingdon (population 8,000) near the Tri-Cities area of Johnson City/Kingsport/Bristol, Tennessee- Virginia.

Interestingly, neither the state or towns in Virginia appear to be actively recruiting retirees, so information is not as available as in other southern states.

Featured articles:
- Virginia Offers Many Options for Retirees
- Mountains, lakes highlight western region
- Williamsburg has become a mecca for retirees
- Northern Virginia has a little of everything