According to TopRetirements.com, Texas is one of the top 10 most popular retirement states. Texas offers the warm climate and mild winters that many seniors prefer, and it has a host of cultural, historical and natural attractions and sites for retirees to visit and enjoy. It also ranks in the top 10 states for the lowest overall tax burden. Houston is a large metropolitan area, the fourth-largest city in the United States, extending south all the way to Galveston Bay on the Gulf of Mexico, offering nearby beaches. There are historic and theater districts in the heart of downtown. There are several art galleries, a zoo, and an arboretum. For more active retirees, Houston offers a bustling nightlife with plenty of restaurants offering a wide variety of cuisine.

Among the top retirement communities in the Houston metro area are the Village at Tuscan Lakes, CountryPlace, Del Webb Sweetgrass, Heritage Towne Lake, and Amberwood at Fall Creek.

1) The Village at Tuscan Lakes

The Village at Tuscan Lakes, located halfway between Houston and Galveston, is a gated community. It's one of the smaller retirement communities in the Houston area, with approximately 330 single-family homes. The Village is part of the Del Webb empire of retirement communities.

A 12,000-square-foot clubhouse offers a large, central social room that doubles as a ballroom for special events. The clubhouse also includes a library, an arts and crafts studio, and a fitness center. Outdoors, residents have the choice of swimming in the pool, lounging on the patio, or practicing their golf game on a driving range or putting green. Around the clubhouse are shuffleboard, bocce ball, and horseshoe areas. Other amenities include a pool, a stocked pond, and numerous hiking and biking trails.

As the community closest to the Gulf of Mexico, the Village draws beachgoers. Moderate home prices range between the high $100,000s and high $200,000s, so the Village also appeals to budget-conscious retirees.

2) CountryPlace

CountryPlace is one of the older, more established retirement communities in the Houston area, begun in 1981 and completed in 2000. It lies just south of downtown Houston, inside the beltway, providing quick and easy access to downtown activities, events, and dining. CountryPlace offers a very wide range of prices for its 800+ homes, from below $100,000 to over $300,000. The available single-family houses and townhomes have either two or three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a garage. The majority of the community's homes feature a view of either the golf course or the lake.

CountryPlace is an active community with lots of classes and organized events, such as travel clubs, discussion groups and exercise classes.

3) Heritage Towne Lake

Heritage Towne Lake is an upscale community of homes ranging from approximately 1,500 square feet to nearly 4,000 square feet. There are five home collections, with several choices for floor plans. The homes feature two to four bedrooms and bathrooms and an attached garage. The average cost for single-family home real estate in the community is approximately $350,000.

The center of the community is Towne Lake, offering fishing and boating. Inlets from the lake wind into neighborhoods spread throughout the community. The Heritage Towne Lake community has a full-time activities director, and there are numerous clubs, classes, and social activities available for the residents.

Just outside the community is the popular Cy-Fair area, with an abundance of shopping, dining entertainment, recreational, and social activities. Residents can take Highway 290 directly into downtown Houston.

4) Del Webb Sweetgrass

Del Webb Sweetgrass is another popular Del Webb retirement community, on the west side of Houston. This is one of the largest retirement communities in the area, with over 1,500 homes that range from the high $100,000s to the high $500,000s. Sweetgrass is a newer community, having opened in 2011. Homes range from 1,500 to 2,500 square feet and offer one to three bedrooms and bathrooms.

The two major draws of this community are its scenic landscape and its massive clubhouse. The community features a 50-acre lake, a creek, and numerous walking and bicycling trails. The central clubhouse, the Lodge, is 27,000 square feet, and it includes game rooms, card rooms, a fitness center, and an indoor pool.

5) Amberwood at Fall Creek

Just 15 minutes north of downtown Houston is Amberwood at Fall Creek, the most intimate of the retirement communities available in the area, having just 58 homes. Unlike the other communities, Amberwood is not age-restricted to the 55+ crowd, but it is nonetheless largely populated by seniors. Homes at Amberwood are moderately priced, from the low to high $200,000s, and they range from 1,500 to 1,900 square feet. Some homes have a second level, but all master bedrooms are located on the ground floor. Two- to three-bedroom and bathroom floor plans are available, and each home has a garage. All of the homes in Amberwood are designed to be energy-efficient, with Energy Star appliances and programmable thermostats.

Amberwood's amenities include tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course, a clubhouse with a fine dining restaurant, and an aquatic center with a six-lane swimming pool.