Known for its pristine nature – the stunning Appalachian Mountains, temperate weather, and over 300 miles of coastline – North Carolina holds a special place in the hearts of those who discover its charms. From young singles to older folks enjoying their golden years, the Tar Heel State offers a delightful mix of affordable living, southern hospitality, and great opportunities for work, recreation, education, and more.

Captivated by North Carolina’s magic? If you’re planning on moving here, you need to prepare. That’s why we’ve created the following guide. Below, you’ll find practical info on the following:

  1. Things to Know Before Moving to NC
  2. Best Places to Live in the State
  3. Interstate Relocation Checklist
  4. Moving Services

We hope these tips, including our ranked list of top-rated North Carolina movers, will help you experience a smooth transition. Good luck with your move to the great state of North Carolina.

Find out how much your move costs!

Living in North Carolina: What to Know Before Moving to North Carolina

Moving to North Carolina soon? Before you start packing up, there’re a few things you should know about the ninth most populous state, with 10.5 million residents and covering 53,819 square miles.

Pros and Cons of Living in North Carolina


  • Climate: The weather is great here. The average temp in January hovers around 50° F and 60° F along the coast. Summers rarely exceed 100° F but can be hot and humid (see cons).
  • Cost of Living: Overall, the state is reasonably affordable. With a cost of living index lower than the national average, your dollar goes further here.
  • Outdoor Activities: From the Great Smoky Mountains to the stunning coastline, nature enthusiasts have an endless variety of experiences and activities at their fingertips.
  • Hospitality: Life in the Tar Heel State is rooted in southern charm and hospitality, where folks are warm and welcoming. Of course, this is a generalization, but for the most part, it’s true.
  • Slower Pace: If you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of other parts of the country, the state offers a nice change of pace with a slower way of life.
  • Food & Drink: NC barbeque is some of the best in the nation. Also, top restaurants can be found throughout the state, particularly in the Raleigh metro area, along with 170+ breweries.
  • Higher Education: Home to a handful of prestigious universities, including Duke University, Wake Forest, and UNC-Chapel Hill, North Carolina offers stellar educational opportunities.


  • Crime Rate: Due to higher crime in places like Lumberton and Oxford, the overall crime rate in North Carolina is higher than the national average.
  • Tax Rate: Slightly higher than the national average, the state currently ranks #24 with an effective total state & local tax rate of 10.61%.
  • No Four Seasons Along the Coast: The temperate weather is a big selling point for many people, but if you love four distinct seasons, you’ll want to live in or near the mountains.
  • Test Scores: Though it may be home to some great colleges and universities, K–12 students test slightly below average. High school graduation rate is lower than the US average, too.
  • State Rating: According to recent polls, many North Carolinians rate their state more poorly compared to other states. NC offers a lot of benefits, but it’s not without its challenges.
  • Hot & Humid Summers: Even though the summer temperature typically stays under 100° F, summer weather can be extremely humid with sustained high temps in some areas.

Is North Carolina a Good Place to Live In?

North Carolina is known as one of the best states to live in because of its incredible education system, strong economy, and robust job market. The Tar Heel State is also home to four prestigious medical schools and a couple of state-of-the-art hospitals. And if you’re looking for recreation, NC has a lot to offer from over 600 amazing golf courses to the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.

Housing Market

Is it cheaper to own a home or rent in NC?

Like most other states, it depends on location. Overall, it’s quite affordable to own. In several cities, including Charlotte, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Raleigh, it becomes a better financial option to own if you live there for at least four years. According to a recent study, it’s more affordable to buy (average mortgage of $1,294/month) versus rent (average rent of $1,493/month) in Raleigh over 48 months.

  • Median Home Value: $184,200 (the market is currently hot)
  • Average Rent: $1,179 per month (apartment in Charlotte)

Most Affordable Places to Live:

  1. Sawmills
  2. Hamlet
  3. Nashville
  4. Marion
  5. Trinity
  6. Archdale
  7. King
  8. Cherryville
  9. Lewisville
  10. Williamson

Cost of Living

According to PayScale, the cost of living in North Carolina is 5% lower than the national average.

Here are some cost comparisons to the rest of the country:

  1. Housing = 30% lower
  2. Utilities = 4% lower
  3. Groceries = 13% higher
  4. Transportation = 8% lower

Here’s a breakdown of median costs:

  1. Median Home Value = $184,200
  2. Median Rent = $757
  3. Energy Bill = $162
  4. Phone Bill = $172

Let’s take a look at the cost breakdown for two NC cities. Using the Family Budget Calculator, we can compare the average monthly expenses of a typical family of two adults + two children.

First, we’ll start with Greenville in Pitt County. A family of four pays the following expenses: $758 for housing, $744 for food, $1,071 for child care, $1,073 for transportation, $1,675 for health care, $606 for other necessities, and $992 for taxes. These expenses add up to $6,920 per month or $83,038 a year.

Next, we have the Raleigh metro area. The same size family pays the following expenses: $1,026 for housing, $787 for food, $1,227 for child care, $1,201 for transportation, $1,353 for health care, $731 for other necessities, and $1,114 for taxes, totaling $7,439 per month or $89,271 a year.

Weather & Natural Disasters

The weather in North Carolina varies considerably between the three main regions: the Appalachian Mountains in the west, central Piedmont, and the Atlantic Coastal Plain in the east. North Carolina has a humid, subtropical climate, except in the higher elevations of the Appalachians, where the climate is subtropical highland.

The central and eastern regions have a distinct fall and spring, with mild winters and hot, humid summers that rarely exceed 100° F. You’ll experience four seasons if you live in the Appalachians. July is the wettest and hottest month, with average highs in the 90s. The coldest month is January with average highs in the low 50s and lows of 26 – 39 depending on where you live.

The average rainfall is about 48 inches, and the average snowfall is about five inches. Coastal areas will see around 2″ of snow while the Piedmont can get up to 9″ during the same storm.

North Carolina has experienced virtually every type of natural disaster, except a volcanic eruption. According to World Atlas, NC is the 30th state most prone to natural disasters. Here’re the top 10:

  1. Tornadoes
  2. Floods
  3. Hurricanes
  4. Tsunami
  5. Thunderstorms
  6. Snow and Ice Storms
  7. Wildfire
  8. Earthquake
  9. Extreme Heat
  10. Drought

Traffic and Transportation

North Carolina has six main types of public transportation:

  1. Human Service Transportation (55 human transit systems)
  2. Community Transit Associations (80 community transit systems)
  3. Urban Transit (22 urban transit systems)
  4. Regional Transit (the Research Triangle Regional Transit Authority + the Piedmont Triad)
  5. Carpool / Vanpool Services (NCDOT Central Office and private carpools / vanpools)
  6. Intercity Bus Services (privately owned and operated transportation systems)

Notable Highways and Routes:

  1. Blue Ridge Parkway
  2. All American Highway
  3. Great Smoky Mountains Expressway
  4. Bryan Boulevard
  5. Cary Parkway
  6. Wendover Avenue
  7. Charlotte Route 4
  8. Cherohala Skyway
  9. Wade Avenue
  10. Greensboro Urban Loop

Bicycle Routes:

  1. US Bicycle Route 1 (Carolina Connection)
  2. North Carolina Bicycle Route 2 (Mountains to Sea)
  3. North Carolina Bicycle Route 3 (Ports of Call)
  4. North Carolina Bicycle Route 4 (North Line Trace)
  5. North Carolina Bicycle Route 5 (Cape Fear Run)
  6. North Carolina Bicycle Route 6 (Piedmont Spur)
  7. North Carolina Bicycle Route 7 (Ocracoke Option)
  8. North Carolina Bicycle Route 8 (Southern Highlands)
  9. Sandhills Sector

How’s driving/traffic congestion in North Carolina?

The state ranks among the least congested in the United States. Raleigh was recently ranked #1 city for driving in America. Other cities in the top 10 include Greensboro, Durham, and Winston-Salem.

Tax Rates

  • Property Tax: North Carolina’s effective property tax rate (0.85%) is ranked 30th in the United States. Per capita property taxes ($952) is the 10th
  • Sales Tax: Combined sales, county, and local taxes average 6.75–7%. The highest overall rate is 7.5%.
  • Income Tax: The individual income tax rate is 5.25% (2019).

Economy & Job Market

According to a 2019 state economy ranking, North Carolina came in #29. Rank was calculated by a non-farm payroll job growth rate of 2.3% (11th in the nation) and a GDP growth rate of 3.4% (10th highest), among other factors.

Top Industries:

  1. Aerospace & Defense
  2. Automotive, Truck & Heavy Machinery
  3. Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals
  4. Business & Financial Services
  5. Corporate Headquarters
  6. Energy (Nuclear, Cleantech, Smart Grids)
  7. Food Processing & Manufacturing
  8. Furniture
  9. Information Technology
  10. Plastics & Chemicals
  11. Textiles
  12. Tourism

Major Employers:

  1. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  2. Queens University of Charlotte
  3. Merrill Lynch & Co.
  4. Spectrum
  5. Sylvan Learning Center – Fayetteville
  6. House of Raeford Farms Inc.
  7. WakeMed Health and Hospitals
  8. Smithfield Foods
  9. Comprehensive Cancer Center
  10. Back of America Corp.
  11. Wake Forest Baptist Health
  12. East Carolina University
  13. Wells Fargo Bank
  14. Rex Health Care, Inc.
  15. Duke Children’s Hospital
  16. Duke Energy Corp.
  17. Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital
  18. Novant Health Forsyth Med Center
  19. Charter Communications
  20. Cape Fear Valley Medical Center

How to Find Out-of-State Jobs:

  1. gov page: Find a Job in North Carolina
  2. Resume: Monster, ResumeRobin, TopResume
  3. Job search sites: CareerBuilder, CollegeRecruiter, Indeed, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter

Things to Do

Main Attractions: Biltmore Estate & Gardens (Asheville), Chimney Rock (Chimney Rock State Park), Great Wolf Lodge (Concord), Great Smoky Mountains Railroad (Bryson City), Hunger Games Film Sites, Sarah P. Duke Gardens (Duke University in Durham), Discovery Place (Charlotte), Elijah Mountain Gem Mine (Hendersonville), Lexington Glassworks (Asheville)

Kid Friendly Activities: Canton Recreation Park, Cataloochee Ski Area, Cataloochee Valley, Cold Mountain Corn Maze, Fantasy Golf & Game Room, Ferguson’s Trout Pond, Folkmoot USA, FUMC Pumpkin Patch, Graveyard Fields Hiking Trails & Waterfalls, Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, Independence Day Celebration, Love Lane Flower Farm, Maggie Valley Carpet Golf

Food: Casey’s Buffet, Brookwood Farms BBQ, He’s Not Here, Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar, Poole’s Diner, The Dirty South Burger at Chuck’s, Imperial Garden, French Broad Chocolate, Jubala, Simply Cakes, Britt’s Donut Shop, Durham Farmer’s Market, Papi Queso, Kill Devil’s, Beasley’s Chicken + Honey, Harris Teeter, J.S. Pulliam Barbeque, The Asbury, The Parlour, Mama Ricotta’s

Music Venues: 185 King Street, The Orange Peel, The Grey Eagle, The Evening Muse, The Fillmore Charlotte, Cat’s Cradle, Lincoln Theatre, Rusty Nail Saloon, The Backstreet Pub, Cataloochee Ranch, Bogart’s Restaurant, Colonial Theatre, Maggie Valley Opry House, Southern Porch, Stompin’ Grounds, The Classic Wineseller, The Strand at 38 Main Lounge

Shopping: A Cat in the Attic Treasures & Treats, Affairs of the Heart, Balsam Ridge Gallery, Blue Owl Gallery, Blue Ridge Books, Bosu’s Wine Shop & Gourmet Retailer, Cabbage Rose, Canton Woodworking Shop & Gallery, Carolina’s Readiness Supply, Cedar Hill Studio, Chris and Friends Antiques & More, Church Street Art & Craft Show, Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon

Museums, Zoos, and More: Marbles Kids Museum (Raleigh), Morehead Planetarium & Science Center (Chapel Hill), North Carolina Zoo (Asheboro), NASCAR Hall of Fame (Charlotte), Charlotte Motor Speedway (Concord), North Carolina Aquarium (four locations), NC Museum of Natural Sciences, NC Transportation Museum (Salisbury), Museum of Life and Science (Durham)

Wineries & Microbreweries: Biltmore Winery, Childress Vineyards, The Country Squire, Duplin Winery, Laurel Gray Vineyards, Medaloni Cellars, Old North State Winery, RagApple Lassie Vineyards, BearWaters Brewing Company, Boojum Brewing Company, Elevated Mountain Distilling Company, Frog Level Brewing, Mad Anthony’s Taproom & Restaurant

Historic: Old Salem Museums and Gardens, Carolinas Aviation Museum, NC Museum of History, Wright Brothers National Memorial, Battleship North Carolina, Grove Park Inn, Mordecai Historic Park, Tweetsie Railroad, Reed Gold Mine, International Civil Rights Center & Museum, High Hampton Inn, The Elizabethan Gardens, Guilford Courthouse National Military Park

Outdoor Exploration: Pullen Park (Raleigh), Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain (Linville), Sliding Rock (Pisgah Forest), Blue Ghost Fireflies (Hendersonville), Jordan Lake State Recreation Area (Apex), Clingman’s Dome (Gatlinburg), JC Raulston Arboretum (Raleigh), Outer Banks Beaches, Capital Area Greenway Trail System, Skiing & Snow Tubing (NC Mountains)

Cool & Unusual: Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky, Blue Ghost Fireflies, Cryptozoology & Paranormal Museum, Abandoned Henry River Mill Village, Judaculla Rock, Land of Oz Theme Park, Castle Mont Rouge, Whirligig Park (formerly Acid Park), Sliding Rock, The Road to Nowhere, Devil’s Trampling, The Last Shell Oil Clamshell Station, Helen’s Bridge

Schools and Universities

North Carolina is home to several esteemed institutes of higher learning, the most notable being the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (aka UNC-Chapel Hill) and Duke University. The state also has several highly rated public school districts.

Top 20 NC Colleges:

  1. Duke University
  2. Wake Forest University
  3. University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
  4. North Carolina State University – Raleigh
  5. East Carolina University
  6. University of North Carolina – Charlotte
  7. University of North Carolina – Greensboro
  8. Davidson College
  9. Salem College
  10. University of North Carolina – Asheville
  11. Elizabeth City State University
  12. Elon University
  13. Fayetteville State University
  14. Gardner-Webb University
  15. Greensboro College
  16. Guilford College
  17. High Point University
  18. Johnson C. Smith University
  19. Lees-McRae College
  20. Lenoir-Rhyne University

Top 10 NC School Districts:

  1. Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools (Chapel Hill)
  2. Watauga County Schools (Boone)
  3. Union County Public Schools (Monroe)
  4. Polk County Schools (Columbus)
  5. Wake County Schools (Cary)
  6. Asheville City Schools (Asheville)
  7. Elkin City Schools (Elkins)
  8. Mooresville Graded School District (Mooresville)
  9. Henderson County Schools (Hendersonville)
  10. Dare County Schools (Nags Head)
See the 10 Best Movers Nearest You
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Best Movers in North Carolina


Raleigh, NC

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Best Places to Live in North Carolina


Population: 92,200
Median Home Value: $126,400
Region: Eastern North Carolina (the Coastal Plain)

Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Pitt County, Greenville has transformed from an industrial textile town into a lively metropolis. Known as the capital of East Carolina, Greenville is the 10th largest city in the Tar Heel State. The city is a hub for industries such as education, health care, and entertainment, and the public school system is above average. Offering a suburban feel, a majority of residents rent their homes and tend to be politically liberal.

Like many communities throughout Eastern Carolina, Greenville has seen a revitalization to its downtown. This revival has led to a spike in local entrepreneurship, shops, art galleries, museums, restaurants, festivals, and nightlife. Coupled with growth from major employers (Vidant Health, for instance) and a college presence, there’s a vibrant and welcoming vibe here. Dubbed ‘Sportstown USA,’ Greenville is also considered the top town in North Carolina for athletics. Sports are big here.

When it comes to academics, Greenville offers several great options. For K–12 students, top public schools include Hope Middle School, Junius H. Rose High School, Wintergreen, Intermediate School, D.H. Conley High School, and Ridgewood Elementary School. If you’re looking for private schooling, choices include Greenville Christian Academy and Trinity Christian School, among others. As for colleges, there’s East Carolina University and Pitt Community College.

Life still has a relatively slower pace here. People enjoy sitting on their porches or taking advantage of all the outdoor activities and city amenities available. If you’re looking for a great blend of country and growing city, Greenville should be on your list.


Population: 119,000
Median Home Value: $227,800
Region: Eastern North Carolina (the Coastal Plain)

As a coastal city situated in Hanover County, Wilmington is the 8th most populous city in the state. Offering an attractive mixture of urban and coastal living, this city of less than 120,000 has a bustling yet relaxed vibe. Most people rent their homes, and they tend to be politically moderate. Public schools here are exceptional.

Between beach life and a college-town atmosphere, there’s always something fun to do. For those into the outdoors, there’s surfing, fishing, boating, sunbathing, and visits to the countryside to escape the hustle and bustle. For those looking for a lively time, Wilmington has a great downtown filled with clubs, bars, restaurants, shops, and more.

Top public schools include Isaac M. Bear High School, John T. Hoggard High School, Wilmington Early College High School, Wrightsville Beach Elementary School, and Walter L. Parsley Elementary School. If you’re looking for a private school, options include St. Mark Catholic School, St. Mary Catholic School, and Friends School of Wilmington. As for higher education, Wilmington is home to the University of North Carolina – Wilmington, Cape Fear Community College, and the College of Wilmington.

Overall, the city offers a reasonable cost of living, great schools, and lots of activities. On the downside, the local economy is reliant on tourism, which limits career options. It also has one of the highest crime rates in the state, and traffic can be horrendous.

If you’re looking for a beautiful port city to raise a family or retire, Wilmington offers an ideal coastal lifestyle suited for anyone.


Population: 165,900
Median Home Value: $372,700
Region: Central North Carolina (the Piedmont)

Moving on to the Piedmont region of North Carolina, we have the city of Cary. Located in Wake County and a small section of Chatham County, it’s the 7th largest municipality in the state. Residents are overall politically moderate, and the public schools are exceptional. Known for its stellar quality of life and diversity, many families are proud to call Cary home.

Though it has higher-than-average incomes and education levels, the city’s population is relatively low. Lower population density affords residents great urban amenities while not feeling overcrowded. Speaking of amenities, there’s a delightful list that includes: green spaces like Bond Park, popular music venues such as Koka Booth Amphitheatre and Sertoma Amphitheatre, festivals including the Chinese Lantern Festival, art & theater including The Cary Arts Center and Page-Walker Arts & History Center, and historic places such as the Veterans Freedom Monument.

Are you looking for highly-rated K–12 schools? Cary doesn’t disappoint. For public education, there’s Green Hope High School, Panther Creek High School, Cardinal Charter Academy, Wake Early College of Health & Sciences, and Wake NC State University STEM Early College High School. Top private schools include Cary Academy, Cary Christian School, St. Michael the Archangel School, Heartwood Montessori School, and Chesterbrook Academy Elementary School.

In the market for a top-ranked Central North Carolina city that still retains a small-town charm? Cary may be just the place for you to set down roots and raise your family.

Chapel Hill

Population: 59,900
Median Home Value: $378,300
Region: Central North Carolina (the Piedmont)

Next on our list of great places to live in the Piedmont is Chapel Hill. Known as a popular college town, Chapel Hill is in Durham, Chatham, and Orange counties. More than just a college town, however, Chapel Hill offers a plethora of opportunities and attractions. Residents tend to rent here, and the public school system is one of the best in North Carolina.

Part of the Research Triangle with Durham and Raleigh, Chapel Hill offers great educational and job opportunities. Also ranked as one of the best foodie cities in America along with a strong arts & culture scene, it’s home to fantastic restaurants, museums, festivals, safe neighborhoods, college basketball, excellent health care, and a thriving economy (with 170+ companies, including Lenovo and Cisco).

Education here is simply extraordinary. Home to some of the best public schools in the state, examples include East Chapel Hill High School, Carrboro High School Chapel Hill High School, Durham School of the Arts, and Glenwood Elementary School. For private education, there’s St. Thomas More Catholic School, Montessori Community School, and Montessori Day School. Last but certainly not least, the town is home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Aveda Institute – Chapel Hill.

Pining for a smaller community that offers the perfect environment for a great college experience, climbing the corporate ladder, or raising a family? Come check out why Chapel Hill is nicknamed the “Southern Part of Heaven.”


Population: 859,000
Median Home Value: $224,800
Region: Central North Carolina (the Piedmont)

As the most populous city in North Carolina (and 17th largest city in the nation), Charlotte is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. Known as a millennial magnet, young people have been flocking to the Queen City in recent years. Though more people have started moving here, which has driven up rent and housing prices, the city still offers living costs that are lower than the national average. Young professionals and families alike call the city home, and residents tend to be liberal.

Need some reasons to move to Charlotte, NC? Here’re a few of the best: booming job market with high demand in computer science and several other fields; temperate climate with little snowfall with mild year-round weather; reasonable cost of living; nature and outdoor fun with close proximity to the Smoky Mountains; growing arts scene includes NoDa Arts & Entertainment District; top restaurants & breweries including Stoke Charlotte, City Barbeque, and NoDa Brewing Company; great central location  — only hours away from South Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia; and sports — home of Charlotte Hornets and Carolina Panthers.

Charlotte is also home to a stellar school system. Top public schools include Ardrey Kell High School, Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy, Central Academy of Technology & Arts, and Weddington High School. Private schools include Charlotte Country Day School, Charlotte Latin School, Providence Day School, and Charlotte Christian School. As for higher education, there’s the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Queens University of Charlotte, and Johnson & Wales University – Charlotte.

Want to live in a vibrant, growing city that offers a great mix of affordability, amenities, and opportunities? The Queen City is a tempting choice.


Population: 464,800
Median Home Value: $275,400
Region: Central North Carolina (the Piedmont)

Last but not least, on our list of top places to live in Central North Carolina, we have the capital city of Raleigh. Located in Wake County, the City of Oaks, nicknamed for its magnificent oak trees, is the 2nd largest city in North Carolina and consistently ranks as one of the top 25 cities to live in the US. Most residents own their homes and tend to lean liberal. The public school system is awesome here, too.

What makes Raleigh so great? Many say it’s the amazing job opportunities, first-rate health care, affordable cost of living, world-class arts & culture, college sports, topnotch academics, youth & diversity, vibrant nightlife, fabulous food & drink, year-round outdoor activities, and gorgeous weather. Live entertainment is also huge here, especially when the main streets close for live concerts.

The top public schools are Raleigh Charter High School, Green Hope High School, Panther Creek High School, William G. Enloe High School, and Quest Academy. The top private schools are Ravenscroft School, Saint Mary’s School, St. David’s School, St. Thomas More Academy, and Cardinal Gibbons High School. The top colleges are North Carolina State University, Meredith College, Living Arts College, Wake Technical Community College, and William Peace University.

Raleigh is another prime example of a big city with a small-town feel. If you’re in search of a welcoming place with great job opportunities, endless things to do, and some of the cheapest living compared to many other US cities, Raleigh should be at the top of your list.


Population: 91,900
Median Home Value: $285,700
Region: Western North Carolina (the Mountains)

Located in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains in Buncombe County, this artsy yet outdoorsy city has something for everyone. The western city of less than 100,000 attracts tourists and outdoor enthusiasts year-round with its picturesque nature and four distinct seasons  Residents tend to rent their homes, and public schools are above average.

No matter your passions, or best-loved activities, there’s something for everyone: hiking (3,000 miles of trails), music (venues like The Orange Peel), awesome food (top U.S. foodie destination), vegetarians/vegans (top vegan city), brew enthusiasts (winner of “Beer City USA” title), pet lovers (top 5 pet-friendly cities), intellectuals (one of the smartest cities in the US), bookworms (home of Thomas Wolfe), architecture/history buffs (the Biltmore is a must-see attraction), and art lovers (home to 180+ studios and the River Arts District).

Are you looking for great schools? For K–12 students, the top picks include F. Delany New School for Children, T.C. Roberson High School, Hendersonville Elementary School, Glenn C. Marlow Elementary School, and the School of Inquiry & Life Sciences. For private education, we have Asheville School and Odyssey Community School. Rounding out the list are colleges, which include the University of North Carolina at Asheville and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.

Looking for a quirky, super-friendly city that embraces both the outdoors and urban living? Asheville checks all of the boxes.


Population: 2,700
Median Home Value: $166,900
Region: Western North Carolina (the Mountains)

Though North Carolina is full of small towns, Sylva stands out from the crowd. As a western North Carolina town in Jackson County, this tiny mountain community is just an hour’s drive west of  Asheville. Residents here tend to be conservative, and the public school system is above average.

Snuggled between the Plott Balsam and Great Balsam Mountains, Sylva draws tourists that flock to the mountain views, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and outdoor activities. A destination spot, Sylva has a host of popular places to explore, including Heinzelmannchen Brewery, Sneak E. Squirrel Brewpub, City Lights Book & Café, and Friends of the Library. The community is close-knit, and life moves at a slower pace here. On the downside, the town lacks diversity, and locals are known to be a bit cold to people from the North. Everyone knows everyone, which can be a good or a bad thing.

Top public schools include Jackson County Early College, Smoky Mountain High School, Fairview Elementary School, Scotts Creek Elementary School, and the School of Alternatives (The HUB). Local higher education is limited to the single choice of Southwestern Community College, but Western Carolina University (WCU) is less than seven miles away.

Those in search of arguably the best small town in North Carolina will find a quieter, more pleasant alternative to city life in the rural community of Sylva.

How to Move to North Carolina

No matter the scope, moving is stressful. We’ve created this interstate moving checklist to help you experience a more manageable relocation to or from North Carolina.

Start Early:

  • Procrastination + moving = a miserable experience. Give yourself at least 8–12 weeks to plan your North Carolina relocation. Trust us; it’s worth the effort.
  • Now that you’re ahead of the curve, it’s time to create a plan of attack. Grab an organizer file folder to carry moving details, receipts, and any other relevant documents.
  • Delegate duties (packing, cleaning, so on) to family members, significant other, friends, etc. Make sure everyone understands their respective roles.
  • Create a list of things to do and post it in the kitchen or another high-traffic area.

Give Ample Notice:

  • Own? Let your neighbors know what’s up. Give yourself sufficient time to hire a real estate agent or find new residents if you’re going to rent out your old place.
  • Rent? Don’t wait until the last minute to notify your landlord. Moving out early can result in a break of the lease, extra charges, and risk of losing security deposits.
  • Alert employees, landscapers, in-home care providers, and other services that you are moving. They’ll need at least one month’s notice to find new work and adjust their schedules.
  • Don’t forget your close ones. Arrange to meet in person. If not possible, call them or email with contact information and details about your new adventure.

Hire A Moving Company:

  • Again, plan. To secure the best availability and rates, start the process of hiring an NC moving company ASAP.
  • Comparison shop. Take a look at several from 3-5 movers. Make sure whomever you choose is fully certified to handle your move.
  • Once you’ve compared prospective companies, select one. You’ll want to find the right balance of skill, experience, and affordability. We make it easy. Click ‘Get Quote’ now!

Schedule Storage:

  • Have a few valuable items? Or a house full of stuff? Either way, you may need storage.
  • Whether you require a long-term or temporary storage solution, many NC moving companies offer temporary storage options (from tiny lockers to spacious warehouses).
  • If you need help, Great Guys can hook you up with a service that fits your exact needs.


  • Want to save money and space, both on the truck and for storage? It pays to purge.
  • To start, tour your home. Make a mental note or write down what occupies each space.
  • Now that you have a sense of everything, you can start purging. Begin with one room. Stay focused and don’t move onto another area until you’re finished.
  • Decide which items you want to discard or keep. Place in piles accordingly.
  • Donate to charity, sell (garage sale or online), gift, or recycle.
  • Any hazardous items (aerosol cans, gas, motor oil, etc.) must be properly handled.

Start Packing:

  • Now the fun begins! Seriously though, don’t put this off until the last minute.
  • If packing DIY, grab packing supplies: boxes, packing peanuts, wrapping paper, tape, etc.
  • Fill the bottom of boxes with heavier stuff. Pair items of similar size when possible.
  • Once you’ve packed a box, fill spaces with peanuts or another suitable material.
  • Always make sure to use enough tape and clearly label each box.
  • Keep packing. Spread out over months or weeks, so it’s manageable.

Make Travel Arrangements:

  • Flying? Buy tickets ASAP to secure the best rates and dates.
  • Driving? Have your vehicle inspected and serviced at least two weeks before moving.
  • Plan schedules so that you can arrive in North Carolina before movers.
  • Remember: you must register your out-of-state vehicle within 30 days of establishing residency.

Schedule Appointments (Pets and Human):

  • Visit your physician, eye doctor, etc. If you have kids, make sure they have all their checkups.
  • Take your furry friend to the vet. Look into North Carolina and local pet laws.
  • Prepare children for major change. If doable, visit your new area.
  • Make sure to transfer vital medical and school records.
  • It’s easy to be distracted during moving day. Schedule babysitting, play dates, or pet care.

Update Services:

  • Schedule current services (electric, water, trash, cable, internet, gas) to be disconnected.
  • Set up new utility accounts one month before moving.
  • Change your address. Go online to the USPS site or visit your local post office.
  • Don’t forget to update your address for online services, subscription boxes, etc.

Hire Cleaning Services:

  • Own? Professional cleaning ensures a great showing to prospective renters or buyers.
  • Rent? Take care of cleaning, so the landlord doesn’t deduct this expense from your security deposit.
  • Consider other services needed: landscaping, carpet/wood floor cleaning, paint, etc.
  • If possible, schedule the cleaning crew to arrive right after the old place has been emptied.

Say Your Farewells:

  • Whether over a few weeks or one day, spend quality time with the people near and dear to you.
  • Keep in mind that it can be extremely emotional for both parties. Try to prepare for it.
  • Celebrate! Throw a casual dinner party or BBQ, plan a group activity, or hang out one on one.

Moving Week:

  • Confirm arrangements with the moving company. Exchange numbers if you haven’t already.
  • Cut out a grocery trip or two by eating up any remaining food in the fridge, pantry, etc.
  • Empty and clean appliances. This effort will save on weight and limit mold growth during transit.
  • Pack a first night box. Include essential items for the first day or two at your new home.
  • Rest up the night before moving day. Eat healthily and get ample sleep.
  • Moving day is here. Be available in person when moving crew arrives to answer questions.
  • Take one last tour of your old place. Keep an eye out for any items you forgot to pack.
  • Remember to enjoy your move. The journey is just as important as the destination.

Quality Moving Services from North Carolina Movers

Great Guys Moving can find you the right moving services to fit your exact needs and budget.

Long Distance Moves

Moving to or out of North Carolina? Hire a reputable interstate moving company, and you’ll save yourself a ton of stress. We can connect you with highly qualified out-of-state haulers that excel at your particular type of interstate relocation.

Intrastate & Local Moves

Buying a home down the street? Relocating from Raleigh to the Coastal Plain? In any case, moving your entire household is a challenging task. Instead of tackling everything yourself, leave it to our local moving partners. They make it look easy.

Furniture Shipments

Furniture can be a pain, literally. Why risk a back injury while moving that leather couch or cumbersome curio cabinet? From a single piece of antique furniture to an entire household, our certified furniture movers can safely ship it all.

Small Load Moves

Moving out of a dorm or one-bedroom space? It pays to hire small load movers. Sit back and relax while affordable moving specialists quickly and easily transport everything from your studio, dorm, or apartment.

Piano Transport

Don’t put your cherished instrument at risk. Our highly trained and experienced piano moving specialists take every precaution. You can rest assured that your mover will transport your baby grand or upright with the utmost care.

Art Shipping & Transport

When it comes to relocating fine art and antiques, you shouldn’t leave it to ordinary movers. From private collections to museums, our network of skilled art handlers specializes in exceptional art packaging/crating, transport, and delivery.


During your move, you may need to renovate or may be traveling. Temporary storage-in-transit is a perfect solution. Most North Carolina moving companies will care for your belongings in clean, temperature-controlled warehouses. Contact us today to book cheap, secure storage.

Packing Services

Do you like packing? If you’re like most people, you don’t. Whether you require specialty crating or want your entire household fully packed, our packing pros can take care of your needs. Use the extra time you save to concentrate on the other things you need to get done before moving day.

Last Minute, Emergency, & Short Notice Moves

Land a new job? Facing eviction? Whatever the reason, you need help. If you’re facing a moving emergency, we’re here to assist. Whether local or long distance, we can hook you up with a same-day/short-notice moving crew that can take the load off your shoulders.

Residential Moves

Relocating an entire household is no joke. It takes solid planning and execution to pull it off. Whether you’re moving to another neighborhood or state, you don’t need more stress. If you’re looking for a smooth transition, we can source the ideal residential moving company for you.

Commercial and Office Moves

The business world keeps moving, so you can’t afford delays and downtime. That’s why it’s crucial to hire first-rate commercial movers. From small offices to large retail spaces, our network of business moving specialists can help you successfully transition without interruption.

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Are you relocating to the Tar Heel State? We’re ready to help! Request a free quote today.

Get price estimates for your move right now.

Devin Barroga

Ever been bitten by the wanderlust bug? It's a powerful force, one which has captivated Devin for his entire life.... Read More