For most individuals, retirement comes after decades of hard work. In some cases, this means settling down to a slower-paced lifestyle, often in a community designed for people of retirement age. In the past few decades, a somewhat new phenomenon has taken shape: communities built for retirees wanting to maintain a highly active lifestyle. These retirement communities offer activities, ease of access, mobility, and amenities that appeal to different types of residents.

The top-rated retirement communities in America as of 2016 are determined by a number of factors, including amenities, accessibility to shopping and entertainment areas, cost of living, and suitability of housing.

The Villages

The Villages in central Florida is one of the largest age-restricted retirement communities in the United States. It spreads across three counties and is a fully-functioning town. The Villages has more than 60,000 residences and is connected by miles of golf cart-legal streets. House prices start in the mid-$100,000s and exceed $1 million for custom-built, accessorized homes. A network of market squares provide nightly free entertainment, shopping plazas, recreation centers, golf courses, swimming, tennis, and more.

Sun City Hilton Head

Sun City Hilton Head, located in Bluffton, S.C., is part of the Del Webb collection and has been at the top of the active adult community list for years. This community includes more than 8,200 homes ranging from the high-$100,000s to over $1 milion. The heart of the community is an amenity campus complete with areas to dine, swim, play games, and socialize. Sun City Hilton Head is also well-known for its three, 18-hole championship golf courses.

Sun City Summerlin

Sun City Summerlin is the first of the Del Webb network communities, built in Las Vegas. The community’s real estate includes just under 8,000 homes, which start in the affordable mid-$200,000s and 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.

Sun City Huntley

Sun City Huntley, located in Huntley, Illinois, is home to just under 5,500 residences priced from the mid-$100,000s to the mid-$400,000s. 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.

Laguna Woods Village

Laguna Woods Village, located in Laguna Woods, California, is one of Orange County's most desirable retirement destinations, with more than 12,700 residences ranging in price from the mid-$100,000s to over $1 million. They are built on 2,100 acres in the Saddleback Valley. It is a gated community, complete with its own private bus system, 36 holes of premium golfing, and areas for social events, swimming, games, and more.

Lake Providence

Just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, 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.

Village at Deaton Creek

The Village at Deaton Creek, in Hoschton, Georgia, is a gated community featuring a 35,000 square-foot clubhouse that is the heart of all community activity. Residents can play a game of softball or tennis, swim in the resort-style pool, or hike miles of outdoor trails. 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-$500,000s.

Del Webb Sweetgrass

Del Webb Sweetgrass is built on 500 acres of prime real estate in Richmond, Texas. 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 high-$100,000s and the low-$500,000s. The centrally located, 27,000 square-foot clubhouse houses numerous amenities, including gaming and dining areas and places for residents to socialize.

Solivita

Solivita is located in Kissimmee, Florida, 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. Homes are priced from the mid-$100,000s to the mid-$500,000s.

Stone Creek

Located in Ocala, Florida, Stone Creek includes a projected 3,800 homes ranging in price from about $100,000 to the mid-$500,000s. 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.