These two New Jersey communities make it easy to get into photography.

Whether you're a lifelong photographer, retiring after a career of photojournalism, or you've just picked up a nice smartphone and realized you love taking photos, there's never a bad time to start a new hobby.

Photography is a great choice for 55+ adults since it encourages creativity and forges a connection to other people, nature, and the world around us. Finding other photographers to share these interests with is even better. Comparing work and sponsoring photography exhibits can be inspiring and rewarding.

Here are two active adult communities in New Jersey that have their own photography studios. They are terrific spaces for residents to hone this craft—both within vibrant, affordable, New Jersey neighborhoods.

Leisure Village West - Manchester

Below $100k - High $100s

Leisure Village West, a well-established gated golf course community, is one of the largest in the state, with 2,692 attached resale homes on 825 fenced-in acres. It was built from 1972 through 1993 with three clubhouses and over 50 social clubs, it is practically a small town in itself.

There are 21 attached home floor plans ranging from 737 to 2,013 square feet. They feature one to two bedrooms, one to two-and-a-half bathrooms, and a garage or parking spot. Some of the larger models have upgrades like sunrooms and master suites. A reasonable homeowners' association (HOA) fee provides for snow removal, landscaping, and common area maintenance.

Leisure Village West homeowners stay connected to one other by participating in groups for arts & crafts, bridge, bowling, aquacize, fishing, a garden club, golf club, and a photography club. There’s a lot to take pictures of here, including two nine-hole golf courses, a six-acre freshwater lake with a dock and rowboats, a nature preserve, three clubhouses, swimming pools, two auditoriums, a fitness center, and lighted tennis courts. It even has its own bus service and a news magazine, “Leisure Village West News.

A desirable Ocean County address puts Leisure Village West less than 30 minutes from Point Pleasant Beach and recreation areas like Allaire State Park. There are also plenty of malls, theaters, restaurants, and grocery shops in Manchester. The area medical facilities include Community Medical Center in Toms River and Monmouth Medical Center in Lakewood.

Rossmoor Village - Monroe 

Below $100k - Low $300s

Located about 34 miles north is Rossmoor Village, another large and established gated, active adult community. Rossmoor has homes to suit most every 55+ homebuyer’s needs, with 2,303 condo, attached, and single-family resale homes built from 1965 to 1991.

There are over 30 condominium and attached-home floor plans, ranging from 590 square feet up to 2,063 square feet. They have one to two bedrooms and bathrooms as well as carport parking. Some models also have dens and patios. There are a limited number of single-family homes sized from 1,200 to 2,259 square feet, with two bedrooms and two or two-and-a-half bathrooms. Some of these homes offer garages, covered patios, dens, and master suites. HOA fees vary depending on the size and model of the home and cover lawn care, snow removal, trash removal, and basic cable.

Rossmoor’s 30,000 square-foot clubhouse houses a modern fitness center with an aerobics studio. There are additional activity rooms for sewing, arts & crafts, card games, billiards, woodworking, and of course, photography. The Rossmoor Photography Club is one of the community’s most active groups. There is also an 18-hole golf course on the property, along with an outdoor pool, tennis courts, bocce, croquet, and shuffleboard.

Monroe is very close to the NJ Turnpike, Interstate 95, and Route 9, making it easy for Rossmoor’s homeowners to travel. Attractions like Freehold Raceway Mall, Thompson Park, and Forsgate Country Club are all short drives away. Grocery shopping and other errands can be done at Concordia Shopping Center, which is 10 minutes from Rossmoor. There are also many top hospitals in the area, like Robert Wood Johnson and St. Peter’s, both in New Brunswick.