The landscape of Columbia is truly amazing. Its rivers are the reason it was chosen as the capital (as boats were a major form of transportation back then). Historical roots run deep, and it was even one of the cities Sherman Burned on his way to the ocean during the Civil War. Today, it still has a military presence with Fort Jackson on the east side of the city. Fort Jackson is now the largest basic combat training camp in the United States. There is a great distance between Columbia and other major cities. Atlanta, Savannah, Charleston, and Charlotte are all a 2 or 3 hour drive away. This leads to most of the senior amenities in the area (assisted living facilities, and home health organizations) to be right there in Columbia.
Columbia has been called one of the best places to retire, based on it affordable median housing price and the amenities the city provides. It is possible to live a retiree's life on about $1,000/month. The public buses only cost 75¢ for seniors. There are loads of senior centers around town, including the Lourie Senior Center, to keep you active and part of the community. The Palmetto Health Heart Hospital is a new, state-of-the-art cardiology hospital dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart disease. The Sisters of Charity network is a group of 4 non-profit hospitals in Columbia that have a limited number of Medicaid beds available.
The downtown area has undergone some changes, and now features art galleries, shops, and trendy restaurants. There are lots of Churches of every denomination and faith, making this a great place of worship. Columbia has historic theatres, orchestras, and even an art museum. The city has Lake Murray where you can go boating and fishing. Classes are available at the university for free or reduced prices for seniors. For the sports fans the University of South Carolina is here, and tickets are available for all of their great teams. The temperature during the summer can be a little oppressive, with hot and humid days and nights. However, the winters are pleasant and mild.
Please consider before retiring in Columbia is a tolerance of kids. Between Fort Jackson and the university, there are always lots of exciting youthful things to do about town, but this type of environment is not for everybody. Only the Young at Heart need apply.