5 Best Towns to Retire in East Tennessee


Retiring in East Tennessee offers a beautiful blend of natural beauty, southern charm, and an abundance of recreational and cultural opportunities. From the Great Smoky Mountains to the rolling hills of the countryside, East Tennessee is home to a wide variety of towns that are perfect for retirees. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the best towns to retire in East Tennessee and highlight what makes each town unique and appealing to retirees.


Known as the “Marble City” due to its many marble quarries, Knoxville is the largest city in East Tennessee and offers retirees a vibrant and bustling place to plant their roots. The city is home to the University of Tennessee, making it an intellectually stimulating place to live – plus a great place to cheer on the Vols athletic teams! It also offers access to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and nearby lakes and rivers for boating, fishing and other recreational activities.

But Knoxville is not just a college town, it has a dynamic downtown area with a variety of local shops, farmers markets and a growing food scene. The city also boasts an impressive collection of museums, including the Knoxville Museum of Art, the Tennessee Theatre, and World’s Fair Park. For outdoor enthusiasts, Knoxville has over 50 parks and greenways, including the Urban Wilderness, a 1,000-acre natural area with over 50 miles of multi-use trails. Whether you are looking for arts and culture, outdoor activities, or simply a comfortable place to call home, Knoxville is one of the best towns to retire in 2023.

Are you retiring in Knoxville? Check out these eight places to explore on your next outing.


Located just south of Knoxville, Maryville is a small town with a charming downtown area, a variety of community events, and is close to several colleges and universities. It is known for its quality of life and excellent schools, making it a great place for retirees with grandchildren. But Maryville is also a retirement-friendly town with plenty of recreational activities, top-rated healthcare facilities and a low crime rate.

The city boasts a large number of walking trails, parks and greenspaces, including the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains. The town offers a wide range of shopping and dining options, as well as growing arts and cultural scene. Maryville is home to the Clayton Center for the Arts, which offers theater productions, concerts, and other events. The town is a great option for retirees who want to enjoy a quiet, small-town life while still being close to the amenities of a larger city like Knoxville.


Jonesborough is the oldest town in Tennessee and known for its traditional southern charm and well-preserved historic downtown area. The town is home to the International Storytelling Center and the National Storytelling Festival, which is held every year in October. It also offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and recreational activities.

But Jonesborough has much more to offer than just its history and charming downtown. It’s a welcoming community with a strong sense of tradition, where residents take pride in preserving the town’s heritage. It’s an active town with events and festivals happening throughout the year, such as the Jonesborough Days Festival and the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre. In addition to this, Jonesborough is surrounded by the natural beauty of East Tennessee, with easy access to the Cherokee National Forest.


Cleveland is a small city located in the foothills of the Appalachians and offers retirees a relaxed pace of life with an affordable cost of living – making it one of the best towns to retire in East Tennessee. It’s nestled between the Cherokee National Forest and the Ocoee River, making it a great location for outdoor enthusiasts. It also offers easy access to hiking, fishing, and boating.

Cleveland is also home to Cleveland State Community College and Lee University, which offers opportunities for lifelong learning and cultural activities. The town also boasts its own art museum, the Museum Center at 5ive Points, which houses a vast collection of art and artifacts from the region. It also had a growing downtown area with a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options, as well as several parks and green spaces.

The town of Cleveland is a great option for retirees who are looking for a laid-back and affordable lifestyle, close to nature and with opportunities for both cultural and educational activities.


Crossville, known as the “Golf Capital of Tennessee,” is one of the best towns to retire for golfers. Home to 9 premier golf courses, many of which are open to the public, Crossville is particularly appealing to retirees who are avid golfers, but it offers much more. It is also known for its natural beauty, including the Cumberland Plateau and Big South Fork, both of which provide ample opportunities for hiking, fishing and boating.

Crossville is also a great place for those who enjoy the arts and culture scene. The town is home to the Cumberland County Playhouse, which is one of the oldest continually operating community theatres in the country and offers a variety of productions throughout the year. The Plateau Creative Arts Center, a non-profit organization, offers classes in arts and crafts, as well as displaying local art.

The town is a great option for retirees who are looking for a community with a relaxed pace, an abundance of recreational opportunities, and a low cost of living.



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