Barnegat Lighhouse on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey

Ocean County is a popular place for active adults. One reason why is its selection of communities that cater to downsizing. (Image via Shutterstock.com)

Like much of coastal New Jersey, Ocean County offers a laid-back lifestyle, but without the inflated price tags that you will find in other parts of the state. In fact, when searching for homes for sale in Ocean County, you will find that they are actually quite affordable. Many cater to downsizing, with low-maintenance, smaller homes, attached townhouses, and condos.

There are 65 active adult communities in Ocean County with properties ranging from around 100 homes to over 10,000, some with new construction. Aside from the main attraction - those beloved beaches and boardwalks - there are endless opportunities for active adults that desire rich and rewarding lifestyles. Atlantic City, New York City, and Philadelphia are all doable day trips, and there are two county-run public golf courses, Atlantis and Forge Pond, plus dozens more to play.

Keeping busy certainly isn’t a problem for Ocean County residents, and finding a perfect neighborhood for downsizing is easy too. Read on to learn about our top choices.

Seaview Village - Brick

Low $100s - High $100s

The aptly-named Seaview Village is just minutes from the bay and beach, giving its owners great views, plus plenty of options for swimming, fishing, and watersports. It's also next to the shops and services along Brick Boulevard and Hooper Avenue, so running errands and grabbing a bite to eat requires hardly any effort!

An established 55+ neighborhood, Seaview has 348 resale attached and single-family homes. The attached duplexes range from 1,008 to 1,032 square feet, with two bedrooms, one bathroom, and an attached one-car garage. The single-family homes range from 1,078 to 1,356 square feet, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached one-car garage. Options include screened porches and porticos.

There is a clubhouse with an outdoor pool and cafe and bocce courts, and neighbors enjoy playing bingo, cards, and having movie nights. Seaview has a one-time homeowners’ association fee, which takes care of snow removal and lawn maintenance.

Sonata Bay - Berkeley Township

Mid $100s - Low $300s

Berkeley Township is a suburb near Barnegat Bay and Toms River, which also puts it near Double Trouble State Park and Jakes Branch County Park. The cozy homes at Sonata Bay are just right for downsizing, and a good value for 55+ home seekers. This established 55+ community has 312 resale attached and single-family homes.

There are a limited number of attached duplexes ranging from 1,300 to 1,800 square feet, with two to three bedrooms, two to three bathrooms, and a one-or two-car garage. There are five single-family models ranging from 1,386 to 1,786 square feet, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and one-or two-car garages. Upgrades may include sunrooms and lofts.

A homeowners' association fee covers lawn care, snow removal, and common ground maintenance. Residents make good use of the community amenities, which include an exercise room, outdoor pool, bocce, shuffleboard, and tennis courts, and activity rooms at the clubhouse.

Country Walk of Lake Ridge - Whiting

Low $100s - High $200s

This newer retirement community is farther inland, outside of pristine Crossley Preserve, which offers scenic hiking trails. Country Walk is in a more rural area, but there are plenty of shops and services about five minutes down the road. This 55+ community’s 304 resale attached and single-family homes were built on 200 acres of meadows and open woodlands.

The six attached courtyard models are sized from 986 to 1,377 square feet, with one or two bedrooms, one or two bathrooms, and attached one-car garages. Upgrades may include patios, porches, and fireplaces. The single-family models range from 1,789 to 1,868 square feet, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached two-car garage. These have options like screened-in porches, sunrooms, and breakfast nooks.

Country Walk’s long list of amenities is a great benefit, and most are at the private clubhouse. There are activity rooms, a ballroom, a catering kitchen, a comfortable great room, and an exercise room with lockers. Outside, you will find sports courts, an outdoor pool, and walking trails.

Gardens of Pleasant Plains - Toms River

Below $100k - Mid $100s

Toms River has six active adult communities, and like its others, Gardens of Pleasant Plains is right on target for downsizing. This established neighborhood has 437 resale attached and single-family homes. It's right near everything you need, including the downtown area, Home Depot, shopping centers, the Garden State Parkway, Bey Lea Golf Course, and the beach.

There are a limited number of attached duplex models, which generally have two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a garage. The single-family homes have two bedrooms, one-to-one-and-a-half baths, and garages. The homeowners' association fee covers clubhouse access and common area maintenance.

Atlantic Hills - Manahawkin 

Mid $100s - Mid $200s

This active adult neighborhood has downsizing written all over it, with charming, cozy homes, an association fee to cover chores like shoveling snow, and a desirable locale 10 minutes from the shores and shops of Long Beach Island.

Atlantic Hills is an established, private community, with 250 resale single-family homes that also allows residents to fence in their yards. The homes range from 1,240 to 1,673 square feet, with two bedrooms and two baths. Features include nine-foot ceilings, dens, breakfast nooks, and covered patios.

The community clubhouse keeps residents busy at its fitness room, craft room, and other activity rooms. Warm weather pursuits include biking and walking on the property’s trails, and swimming laps at the refreshing outdoor pool. There are also clubs for knitting, travel, and other interests.