For most individuals, retirement comes after decades of hard work. In some cases, this means settling down in a community designed for people of retirement age where living is easy. But an increasing number of senior living communities promote a more active lifestyle that includes social engagement, travel, and recreational activities.
Finding the top-rated retirement communities in America as of 2021 hinges on several factors, including amenities, access to shopping and entertainment areas, cost of living, and suitability of housing. If you're interested in senior living at a faster pace, here are 10 communities to consider.
- Retirement communities can offer a wide range of amenities for active seniors, including recreation, on-site dining, and travel.
- The cost of living in a retirement community can vary greatly, depending on its location and what's being offered to residents.
- When comparing retirement communities for active seniors, it's helpful to compare the monthly/annual costs to what you might pay to age in place in your current home.
1. The Villages
The Villages is billed as Florida's friendliest active adult community for seniors aged 55 and up. Located in central Florida, it is one of the largest age-restricted retirement communities in the United States. Given its size and the fact that it has more than 60,000 units with over 115,000 residents, living here is like living in a town just for retirees.
There are six housing floor plan options to choose from, which include a mix of homes and villas. Depending on the layout and size you choose, you can find properties with prices starting from the $160,000 range up to homes over $1 million. A network of market squares provides nightly free entertainment, shopping plazas, recreation centers, golf courses, swimming, tennis, and more.
The Villages also keeps residents safe and healthy with its own on-site hospital and public safety department, which includes EMS/EMT and fire services.
2. Sun City Hilton Head
Sun City Hilton Head, located in Bluffton, S.C., part of the Del Webb collection, is the largest active retirement community for seniors in the Lowcountry region. It's won multiple awards as one of the best communities for an active lifestyle and is home to more than 16,000 residents. This community includes more than 8,200 homes ranging from the mid-$100,000s to over $1 million. The heart of the community is an amenity campus complete with areas to dine, swim, play games, and socialize. There are 7.5 miles of walking trails with views of local wetlands and three state-of-the-art fitness centers. Sun City Hilton Head is also well-known for its three 18-hole championship golf courses.
3. Sun City Summerlin
Sun City Summerlin is the first of the Del Webb network communities and it sits on the western edge of Las Vegas, making it close enough for shopping, dining, or the occasional night on the town. The community’s real estate includes just under 7,800 homes which start in the affordable mid-$200,000s and can top $1 million for tailored options. The heart of Sun City Summerlin’s popularity is the community’s center, where four clubhouses provide luxury amenities and various activities. Resort-class dining, swimming, and gaming areas cater to the whims of residents.
4. Sun City Huntley
Sun City Huntley, located in Huntley, IL, is an active retirement community spanning 2,200 acres. This community features approximately 5,500 homes priced from the mid-$100,000s to the high-$500,000s, making it an affordable option if you're working with a smaller retirement budget. In addition to its close proximity to Chicago, community perks include a 94,000 square-foot clubhouse hosting 80 clubs and amenities. These include an indoor walking track and spa, arts and crafts studios, and a ballroom that hosts various activities and events year-round. Residents can enjoy miles of nature trails and outdoor activities or head indoors for yoga, line dancing, cardio, or jazzercise classes.
When comparing active retirement communities, compare the fees closely. Some communities may require an entrance fee as well as a monthly fee, depending on the type of services and amenities offered.
5. Laguna Woods Village
Laguna Woods Village, located in Laguna Woods, CA, is one of Orange County's most desirable retirement destinations if you're looking for a place to enjoy the SoCal lifestyle. There are more than 18,500 residents enjoying retirement here in a peaceful setting that's just minutes from the ocean. Home prices range from the mid-$100,000s to over $1 million; there are more than 80 floorplans residents can choose from. Laguna Woods Village is a gated community, complete with its private bus system, 36 holes of premium golfing, and areas for social events, swimming, games, and more, which is ideal if you're looking for privacy in your new retirement destination.
6. Lake Providence
Just outside of Nashville, TN, Lake Providence is a moderate-sized gated community with just over 1,000 homes priced from the mid-$200,000s to the high-$500,000s. The centrally-located clubhouse overlooks a 15-acre lake. An in-house lifestyle director keeps residents socializing by organizing community and personal events. The residents have areas to swim, eat, play, and enjoy an active lifestyle, but if you want to venture a little further from home, there are numerous historic attractions to check out locally.
7. Village at Deaton Creek
The Village at Deaton Creek, in Hoschton, GA, is another Del Webb retirement property. This gated community features a 35,000 square-foot clubhouse that is the heart of all community activity. It's where you can take fitness classes, work on arts and crafts, play a game of pool, or browse the library. Residents can play a game of softball or tennis, swim in the resort-style pool, or hike miles of outdoor trails—and there's a special playground area reserved just for grandkids. Residents can also take organized day trips to downtown Atlanta. The more than 1,100 homes range in price from the high-$200,000s to the mid-$600,000s.
8. Del Webb Sweetgrass
Del Webb Sweetgrass is built on 500 acres of prime real estate in Richmond, TX. Miles of walking trails and other outdoor amenities give residents their nature fixes. The community offers a projected 1,500 homes with price tags between the mid-$200,000s and the low $600,000s and if you can't get there to view them in-person, you can take virtual tours online. The centrally located, 27,000 square-foot clubhouse houses numerous amenities, including gaming and dining areas and places for residents to socialize.
Solivita is located in Kissimmee, FL, and is rapidly growing in popularity because of its affordability and prime location. The master-planned community, situated on 4,300 acres of prime Florida real estate, houses more than 150,000 square feet of amenities that include golf, water activities, and areas for private and community-wide events. It could be a great choice if you're looking for a warm-weather destination in which to spend your retirement. Homes are priced from the mid-$100,000s to the mid-$500,000s, meaning there are options available for virtually any retirement budget.
When comparing retirement communities, remember to factor in more than just your mortgage payment. Consider what you'll pay for property taxes and homeowner's insurance, as well as whether you'll need to purchase additional homeowner's coverage for things like hurricanes or floods if you're contemplating retirement in an area that's prone to either one.
10. Stone Creek
Located in Ocala, FL, Stone Creek includes a projected 3,800 homes ranging in price from about $100,000 to the mid-$500,000s. This gated community offers 17 home designs, including some that are ready for quick move-ins so you can pick and choose the home that works best for your needs and lifestyle. Known for its beautiful surrounding landscape, Stone Creek has a 60,000 square-foot recreation complex housing a kitchen, dining, and gaming areas, social halls for personal and community use, a spa, and a resort-class pool.