Venice, Florida is one of the original retirement destinations: It was designed in 1925 to function as a place for members of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers union to spend their sunset years. It is similar to its southern neighbor, Naples (about 90 minutes away), in its Italian-style architecture and attractions, but it has less traffic and the cost of living is substantially lower. The town's boulevards are spacious and clean and lined with many shops and restaurants. One of the best beaches on the Gulf Coast is located only a few blocks from downtown.

Five of the top retirement communities (officially known as 55+ adult communities) in the Venice/Port Charlotte area are the Plantation Golf & Country Club, Riverwood, Kings Gate, Heron Creek, and Venetian Falls. Let's take a closer look at each.

key takeaways

  • Originally built as a retirement destination, Venice and nearby Port Charlotte, on Florida's Gulf Coast, house several desirable gated communities.
  • Plantation Golf & Country Club is one of the largest, with 2,600 homes.
  • Venetian Falls is one of the smallest, with 700 homes.
  • Riverwood on the Myakka River hosts a variety of housing arrangments.
  • Kings Gate boasts a huge clubhouse.
  • Heron Creek offers a variety of housing styles and country-club membership plans.

Plantation Golf & Country Club

Plantation Golf & Country Club is located on 1,200 acres of land outside of Venice and offers residents easy access to the Gulf Coast, major highways and various attractions in the area. The community consists of 2,600 homes, ranging in price from around $150,000 to $750,000, situated in 20 neighborhoods.

The main attraction of this community is the 25,000-square-foot clubhouse. The resort-style amenities include a fitness center, numerous restaurants, a ballroom, game rooms and large rooms that can be used for meetings or events, including weddings and receptions.

Outdoors, there is an Olympic-size pool and 13 tennis courts. The community also has two 18-hole golf courses that regularly host LPGA tournaments.

Among Plantation's real estate offerings are numerous resale home options that also include a membership to the country club. The residences include condos and attached villas, as well as three sizes of single-family houses. The homes range from less than 1,000 square feet (for the apartment-like condos) to more than 3,000 square feet for the largest executive homes; they have two or three bedrooms and bathrooms, and most have attached garages.

Riverwood

The Riverwood retirement community, situated next to the Myakka River in Port Charlotte, has 28 individual neighborhoods and more than 1,000 homes, ranging from the upper $100,000s to the upper $800,000s. Payment to the homeowners association covers the maintenance for each subdivision and the residences without homeowner involvement or additional cost.

Riverwood has a central clubhouse, which offers residents access to a variety of activities and amenities, including a fitness center, library, game rooms, and a restaurant. Outdoors, residents also have access to an Olympic-size pool, six tennis courts, and a golf course. For an additional fee, residents also get access to the gated and private Riverwood Beach Club.

The homes in this community include villas/townhouses, condo apartments, and single-family houses. The condos come with one to two bedrooms, one to two bathrooms, and a one or two-car garage. The attached villas and townhomes, ranging from 1,557 and 2,040 square feet of living space, have two bedrooms, dens, two bathrooms, and attached two-car garages. The single-family homes offer between 1,641 to 3,193 square feet of living space and have two to five bedrooms, two to four bathrooms, and attached two or three-car garages.

Kings Gate

Kings Gate is a gated community in Port Charlotte comprised of 940 homes that range from $180,000 to $380,000. Residents have easy access to major highways, shopping and other attractions nearby.

The community also has its own amenities and activities. The central location of the community’s 30,000-square-foot clubhouse makes it easily accessible to all the homes (residents frequently get around via golf cart). The clubhouse offers residents a fitness center, a computer room, a library, a restaurant, and a heated indoor pool, and its use is included in the homeowners' association fee. The community also features an 18-hole golf course and a restaurant, the Lion's Den.

The residences come in two types: single-family homes and golf villas. The single-family homes come in seven models, ranging in size from 1,397 to 2,021 square feet divided into two or three bedrooms, two baths, and an attached two or two-and-a-half-car garage. The attached villas come in six different floor plans designed to offer between 1,393 to 1,705 square feet of one or two bedrooms, two baths, covered lanais, and attached two-car garages.

Heron Creek

Located on the southwest Gulf Coast, Heron Creek is composed of 830 resale-only homes ranging from the upper $100,000s to the mid-$500,000s. Though the community is not age-restricted, it caters to active retirees.

Through various membership plans, residents of the community can join a 21,000- square-foot clubhouse with two restaurants. Membership also carries access to a resort-style pool, a fitness center, five tennis courts, and two golf courses.

The homes in this community are located in 16 neighborhoods and display a variety of styles. Whether detached or attached, the homes offer two bedrooms (at least), two bathrooms, and an attached one or two-car garage, while the detached homes

Venetian Falls

Venetian Falls is one of the smallest retirement communities in Venice, with only 700 homes. The properties this age-restricted, gated community range from $250,000 to $350,000, approximately. Just 10 minutes from the beach, it's also quite close to downtown Venice and Sarasota.

The focal point of the community is the 16,000-square-foot clubhouse, which includes an internet cafe, a ballroom, and a fitness center. Outdoors, residents also have access to a pool, bocce courts, a 9-hole putting green, and several walking and biking trails.

The homes in this community are either attached or single-family homes. The attached villas come as paired duplex homes or garden quad homes. The single-story villas range in size from 1,448 to 1,681 square feet and include an extended 8-foot privacy wall beside the covered lanai. The two to three-bedroom, single-family homes are ranch style, and come in a range of sizes from 1,730 to 2,165 square feet. Each home features a kitchen nook and a separate dining room, a den, a covered lanai, and an attached two-car garage.