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The 55 Best 55+ Communities for 2016!

by Mayra Rocha on 75 Comments

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Here it is! The best 55+ communities in the country for 2016

Here it is! The best 55+ communities in the country for 2016.

55places.com is proud to release its list of the 55 Best 55+ Communities in America for 2016. These age-restricted communities featured on this prestigious list were carefully chosen based on feedback, research, and information gathered from on-site tours of each active adult community visited this year by the 55 Places staff. Over the years, our team has toured more than 500 active adult communities across the country to review every aspect of what makes a 55+ community the “best,” which can include luxurious amenities, high-quality homes, a low-maintenance lifestyle, affordability, location, social environment, and local attractions.

Gathering unbiased insight and objective research to compile this list was challenging because everyone has a different interpretation when referring to something as the “best”. That’s why we also used analytical data gathered on 55places.com that helped determine which communities were the most popular. The data measured the quantity of visitors to each community page on our website, our in-person visits, and objective rankings in eleven unique categories to figure out which ones truly stood out from the crowd. With this approach, we were able to compile an unbiased list that would include the best active adult communities in America.

As you browse through this list, you may find a few new surprises that made it to the top this year while others have been moved down or completely replaced. It’s important to keep in mind that although our list is compiled with objective data, it doesn’t take into account the personal needs and requirements of every active adult. But we do hope this list helps you search and find the best active adult community for you.

1. The Villages – The Villages, FL

For the third year in a row, The Villages in Central Florida ranks at the top of our list. The Villages is the largest active adult community in the country, spanning across three counties, three zip codes, and over 20,000 acres. This 55+ community has become its own thriving and bustling self-sustaining town and will consist of more than 56,000 homes upon completion. The Villages offers countless amenities like recreational centers, golf courses, swimming pools, shopping centers, tennis courts, social programs, and much more. Not only does The Villages offer lavish resort-style amenities spread throughout, it also offers affordable homes that come in a variety of styles, price points, and designs. With so many amenities and conveniences located within this vast 55+ community, it’s no surprise that it remains in the number one spot on our best active adult community list.

2. Sun City Texas – Georgetown, TX

Sun City Texas by Del Webb is a beautiful 55+ community located in Georgetown, TX. As the largest active adult community in Texas, Sun City Texas continues to be a popular retirement destination for many active adults due to its affordability, vibrant lifestyle, lavish resort-style amenities, and welcoming environment. Del Webb began construction in 1995 and plans to offer 9,900 homes at completion. Sun City Texas features world-class amenities that are sure to keep homeowners active and entertained throughout the year.

Here is our list of the 55 best 55+ communities!

Sun City Texas continues to be a renown 55+ community, coming in at number two.

Residents have access to two well-appointed amenity centers including the 86,000 square-foot Village Center Amenity Complex that features an on-site restaurant, multiple indoor and outdoor swimming pools, three 18-hole championship golf courses, a variety of sports courts, and plenty of outdoor recreational spaces. Retirees also love that the community is just 35 miles north of Austin, making day trips convenient for big-city attractions and entertainment.

  1. Sun City West – Sun City West, AZ

This 16,900-home community in Central Arizona features world-class amenities and easy access to downtown Phoenix for big-city entertainment. Del Webb developed this 55+ community between 1978 and 1997 and buyers can find a variety of reasonably priced homes on a resale-only basis. Sun City West provides active adults with an enviable lineup of resort-style amenities as well. Residents enjoy nine golf courses, four recreation centers, nine restaurants, a hospital, 18 worship centers, and daily conveniences. Some of the unique amenities found in Sun City West include the R.H. Johnson Recreation Center that has a 30-lane bowling center, 29-table billiards room, lecture hall, lawn bowling, and five indoor shuffleboard courts. This 55+ community is also constantly buzzing with activities, clubs, classes, and events that make living here a fun and exciting environment for active adults.

Coming in at number 4 on our list is On Top of the World in Ocala, FL.

Coming in at number four on our list is On Top of the World in Ocala, FL.

4. On Top of the World – Ocala, FL

Situated in Central Florida, On Top of the World provides an endless array of amenities, social activities, and affordable homes. This 55+ community was started in 1981 and new construction continues on, with about 10,000 homes to be built upon completion. This beautiful age-restricted community offers multiple clubhouses filled with indoor and outdoor world-class amenities. Some of which include state-of-the-art fitness center, resort-style swimming pools, a restaurant, spacious ballroom, hobby rooms, various sports courts, and even an R/C flying field and R/C car track. And with a robust list of clubs, activities, and classes, residents are never lacking fun or entertainment. Retirees flock to this hotspot because of its social atmosphere that provides over 200 social clubs and interest groups, which continue to make it a popular and vibrant active adult community in Ocala, FL.

5. Laguna Woods Village – Laguna Woods, CA

Scenic Orange County is home to the beautiful active adult community of Laguna Woods Village. As one of the largest 55+ communities located on the West Coast, Laguna Woods Village consists of 12,736 residences that come in a variety of styles, designs, and prices. The 55+ community was developed between 1964 and 1985 by builder Ross Cortese and features a rich lineup of well-appointed amenities. Residents enjoy a total of seven clubhouses, five swimming pools, and 36 holes of golf in addition to a community center and an equestrian center that are all scattered throughout Laguna Woods Village. Another added bonus to living in this vibrant age-restricted community is its prime location, as it’s just ten minutes away from the beautiful Pacific Ocean as well as giving residents easy access to popular attractions and sights found in Southern California.

  1. Holiday City at Berkeley – Toms River, NJ
  2. Sun City Grand – Surprise, AZ
  3. Sun City Center, FL
  4. Sun City, AZ
  5. Century Village at Deerfield Beach, FL
  6. Sun City Hilton Head – Bluffton, SC
  7. Brunswick Forest – Leland, NC
  8. Sun City Summerlin – Las Vegas, NV
  9. Century Village at Pembroke Pines, FL
  10. Kings Point in Delray Beach, FL
  11. Sun City Festival – Buckeye, AZ
  12. Robson Ranch Texas – Denton, TX
  13. Sun City Anthem – Henderson, NV
  14. Sun City Lincoln Hills – Lincoln, CA
  15. Rossmoor – Walnut Creek, CA
  16. PebbleCreek – Goodyear, AZ
  17. Solivita – Kissimmee, FL
  18. SaddleBrooke Ranch – Oracle, AZ
  19. Sun City Huntley, IL
  20. Kings Point – Sun City Center, FL
  21. Wynmoor Village – Coconut Creek, FL
  22. Sun City Palm Desert, CA
  23. Savannah Lakes Village – McCormick, SC
  24. Robson Ranch Arizona – Eloy, AZ
  25. SaddleBrooke – Tucson, AZ
  26. Westbrook Village – Peoria, AZ
  27. Sun City Anthem at Merrill Ranch – Florence, AZ
  28. Stone Creek – Ocala, FL
  29. Sun City Mesquite, NV
  30. Oak Run – Ocala, FL
  31. Timber Pines – Spring Hill, FL
  32. Sun City Shadow Hills – Indio, CA
  33. Sun City Peachtree – Griffin, GA
  34. Tellico Village – Loudon, TN
  35. Sun Lakes Country Club – Banning, CA
  36. Spruce Creek Country Club – Summerfield, FL
  37. Silver Ridge Park – Toms River, NJ
  38. Sun City by Del Webb – Roseville, CA
  39. Frisco Lakes by Del Webb – Frisco, TX
  40. Trilogy at Rio Vista, CA
  41. Oakmont Village – Santa Rose, CA
  42. Aberdeen Golf & Country Club – Boynton Beach, FL
  43. Plantation at Leesburg, FL
  44. Dreamland Villa – Mesa, AZ
  45. Leisure Village West – Manchester, NJ
  46. Windsor Gardens – Denver, CO
  47. Pelican Preserve – Fort Myers, FL
  48. Sun City Oro Valley, AZ
  49. Trilogy at Monarch Dunes – Nipomo, CA
  50. Verandah – Fort Myers, FL

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  1. Used to love this site…now you’ve just become a walking, talking advertisement for the Villages. Too bad, you were at one time subjective enough to actually care about your choices.

    So sad.

    1. Hi Bill,

      Just wanted to reach out and explain that the top communities were chosen using predetermined data, not just our own opinions. We measure metrics such as popularity of the community’s page and more to compile the list.

      Thanks for your input!

      Samantha – 55Places.com

      1. What do you know about either of these
        Celebrate Fredericksburg VA
        Penn National Fayetteville PA

      2. I would think “popularity of the community’s page” would include residents use. The Villages has over 100,000 residents, so that should make their page more popular than anyone else’s.

    2. If anyone ever told me I wouldn’t be on a beach in Florida I would have told them they were out of their mind. Surprisingly, I fell in love with The Villages. I would never say it is a place for everyone but from a social standpoint and great friendships it has turned out that to be my ideal place to live. There is something for everyone.

      1. I agree, it is not for everybody. We love it here or we would not have been coming here for the last 14 years including last six since we bought the house here. It is a golfers paradise! There are 48 golf courses here, 36 nine hole and 12, 18 hole courses
        Designed for those just starting to those who have played many years. Also many chain restaurants you can go to on your golf cart along with over 100 miles of golf cart trails.

    3. Hard to compete with 12 country clubs and 35 executive courses, a polo field, 83 pools, 30+ rec centers, two bowling alleys, a state of the arts theater, three theater complexes, 60 restaurants, 30 churches, and every kind of craft / personal interest group that one could image!

  2. We are interested in living in Rancho Mirage, CA and would like more information on Del Webb’s new development there. We are in Rancho Mirage quite often and know the location of the land that was purchased for the new development. We would appreciate learning more about it.

    Joan/Tom Stone

      1. I lived in Palm Desert for six years. There are six months of the year when the heat is unbearable. At first, one can ignore it. But over time it is tough. Yes, it is dry heat and some do not mind it. It is best if you can ‘get away’ during the hot months. It starts in May and isn’t finished until October. When the snow is on the mountains it is gorgeous during the cooler months. Just know that it can freeze there during the winter for a few days at a time. The winters are very wonderful there.

  3. Why don’t you list 55 gated comunitys in mobile home parks not everyone can afford experience homes and comunitys

    1. I agree Stephanie! I’ve worked since I was 16, but I don’t have a 401k, savings, Ira, and I don’t qualify for SS. I’m single (23 yrs) and don’t see myself ever getting married again or “having a partner”. These places are just too expensive. Housing in general is just too expensive for 10.00 an hour job.

    2. We live in a beautiful mobile home community in Palm Bay Florida. We own our own land and have a voluntary HOA, which is only $35 per month. Pool, club house, lovely common areas, lots of activities, sidewalks, street lights, inside the city limits, so all their services, a mix of ages, but over 55. We are 3 minutes from the Indian River, 10 minutes from the ocean. 20 minutes from Port Canaveral and the Cocoa Beach pier. If you’re never visited the Space Coast, you need to check it out!

      1. What is the name of your community in Palm Bay? I have lived in Melbourne for two years & I didn’t know an HOA existed like you have! That’s great!

    3. Corkscrew Woodlands is a gated manufactured home +55 community in Estero, FL. I challenge you to find a more varied, friendly and active +55 community. Amenities are great. Weather in southwest FL cannot be beat. The natural physical beauty will impress.

    4. The nice thing in The Villages is they also have gated mobile neighborhoods / so the cost of living is not extreme and no one knows if you are in a smaller villa or a golf course view estate. The HOA is the same for all $145.00 / month with covers hundreds of community events, clubs, and activities.

  4. Whoever is tabulating this information needs to visit Victory at Verrado, which is reinventing what 55+ living should be!

  5. Are there any Sun City Communities that didn’t make the list? Using popularity of the community page? Well, Sun City Lincoln Hills has like 7,000 homes. They better make your list. Doesn’t really speak to quality as much as quantity.

    1. The Sun City north of Indianapolis didn’t make the list and although I don’t live there, I have visited a number of times and I’m surprised.

  6. You need to come and visit Savannah Lakes Village, McCormick SC. We are #28. We are the smallest community listed, the friendliest, member owned and run, two championship golf courses, extremely affordable, the lowest retiree taxes in the nation, tremendous bang for the property buck, the most shoreline build-able miles of any listed, fabulous amenities, the best aquatics program bar none, the best tennis bar none, good restaurant onsite, lakes that go for hundreds of miles, in the middle of 3 state parks and one national forest, very interesting and diversely interested group of 1000+ homes and 2400 people with community home and lawn services at reasonable prices and good medical infrastructure. Excellently managed by P.O.A. and sharp, shrewd Board committees. Come for a visit and check us out. Savannah Lakes Village, McCormick, SC 29835

    1. Love Savannah!! Might be a good choice for mom 84 and daughter 65. We need sq. Footage for our own sanity. Does this community have a good cross of people?

  7. I don’t understand why Green Valley AZ isn’t here. We searched for 7 years for the perfect place to retire. We were living in North Texas. The humidity, traffic, and large population plus high taxes and insurances were forcing us out. We found Green Valley and it “felt right”. We moved a year ago. Utopia!!! Taxes are 1/4th of what they were in Texas. Insurance is half. This is for a larger home. Yes, there is a state oncome tax. Mine was $29 last year. Property prices are fantastic. We are way more active than we ever were in Texas. There is so much to do if you want to be active. Everyone is friendly because everyone is from somewhere else. The entire town is 90 to 95% seniors. On your list are the exclusive high end senior communities. We have some areas that fall into that bracket, but have properties in all brackets. I would never believe any of your surveys knowing what I know from where I have lived.

  8. How can a community in the desert where the temp routinely is in excess of 110 degrees make the list. I assume the criteria is assuming living there all year.

  9. There are so many great 55 and over complexes in the Florida area. I love Heritage Palms in Fort Myers. So much to do there and lots of wonderful people. I think it’s all personal preference as to what you’re looking for and location is key for weather!!

  10. Glad to see Sun City West at number 3. We moved here last year from Sun City, AZ and are really glad that we moved. Everything in the community is terrific. The friendliest people in the U.S.

  11. Sun City West AZ resident and LOVING it!!!!!!!!!! To much to do which is a good thing… EVERYTHING you need to maintain a wonderful, healthy life style is available at a moments notice by jumping in your golf cart and scooting to the store, ice cream joint, Dr., Dentist, grocery stores, Churches, Rec Centers, 100’s of organized clubs, Golf, and on and on and on… Majority of SCW has NO property tax, no sales tax on groceries, NO DEBT, no bonds to pay off, and a LARGE cash surplus for future needs thanks to EXCELLENT board and town management….

    1. Sounds really good! Does this mean that since you don’t have sales in groceries is because you have incorporated Sun City West “entity” gif lack of a better word?


  12. Great to see our two large communities in the Las Vrgas area make the list . Come see the great communities offered in our area and connect with our partner agents for a showing . You will be amazed by the amenities and things to do beyond the Strip and casinos.

  13. Rossmoor? Are you kidding? A 1000 square foot condo, forty years old, $600k, and fees/taxes of around $800/mo. There’s still a significant water shortage in CA also, and it’s the most expensive place for retirees in the country.

  14. You really need to check out Venture Out resort in Panama City Beach, Fl. I researched so many of the places you listed and all fall short for some reason or another. This is the most affordable place because you are right on the ocean with a golf cart per condo. Can own or rent. And it is beautiful there. Check it out!

  15. I agree with The Villages in Florida being # 1. That is definitely our pick. They have home prices for all price groups. There is actually a mobile home community for those that asked for it. They have million dollar home communities and everything in betweenz

  16. What a shame Kings Point is listed at 25, we have better weather and are closer to beaches than The Villages.

    1. Totally agree Kings Point should be higher than 25. We ,love it at Kings Point! We are a middle income couple and wanted a small community with lots of amenities. We have great weather, always a breeze,200+ clubs and activities, close to beaches. All levels of income, so we do not feel intimidated by those who are in a higher income bracket . We enjoy our new life!

    1. Hi Anne,

      In addition to age restricted 55+ communities, our site also features “age targeted” communities that technically allow residents of all ages but feature the amenities and lifestyle that 55+ buyers love. Brunswick Forest is an age targeted community.


      Samantha – 55Places.com

  17. Are these ratings based on size of the communities? The Villages is huge, and traffic is horrible! I live in Oak Run, Ocala, FL which was rated #10 by another such survey! What are your ratings based on?

  18. Aberdeen Country Club in Boynton Beach, Florida is a nice club, but there are dozens of similar, and in my opinion, nicer Country Clubs in Delray Beach and Boca Raton. I live in one of them… Gleneagles Country Club in Delray Beach, Florida!


  20. It would be good to make available the list of items used for evaluation,,otherwise the credibility of the list as well as concerns that some did or did not make the stated list. Otherwise it just looks like a simipar post done by some media company that issues a poll based on their favoritism and need to try to influence HIllary,,one lying and conniving lady

  21. We agree that the Sun City Texas community facilities & services are awesome. However, we think homes built by Pulte are hastily constructed, of questionable quality & certainly overpriced especially for Texas standards. Not all common areas are nicely kept or landscaped, just the “Show & Tell” areas. The residents & staff for the most part are superb people.

  22. A few months ago we (Sun City Carolina Lakes, Indian Land, SC) were number 6 and now we are not even on the list! Boy did we drop!

  23. The villages only have mobile homes until they are gone the owner of the villages are buying them and replacing with single family homes. The villages is getting to large and to busy.

  24. We have lived in Sun City West AZ for over 2 years and love it here. Perfect weather, Within 4 miles of all necessities of daily living. More clubs and activities than you can ever do … perfect retirement location for this Georgia girl 😀

  25. For ten years bare retirement I traveled the country for work, so visited many of these communities pondering where to retire…plus other communities like artist colonies, etc. … chose The Villages because it offers the most variety, is the safest for a Widow and residents are from everywhere and all walks of life. I have one friend who lives in a 100k patio villa and another who lives in a million dollar premier estate home…and they are close friends..one friend plays avid golf, another paints…all have the choice of over a thousand activities a week,,,and it is an ACTIVE community…naturally its attracting more and more folks so is more traffic as it grows, more waiting times for medical,and restaurants…that said, it’s not for everyone….and yes, there are villages of mobile homes…the single wides are being replaced by site built as they arrived in the 70s. Bottom line, Many of is don’t want any more of you to move here😎

    1. What a rude comment, Sunny in Florida! Many of us don’t want to move in the Villages due to the traffic in & around the development, and the “gated community” where anyone can get in the gates. That’s not security. Read your local newspaper. Villages is mentioned frequently for crimes and DUIs.

  26. Don’t know why On Top of the World in Clearwater, FL is not on the list. This community is beautifully maintained. Location of one’s unit is paramount when searching for a condo here. Amenities abound here and the beaches are close by. Excellent way to retire considering an owner pays far less to own a unit here than to rent somewhere for double or triple the price.

  27. Does anyone know of a nice, pet friendly community in either Sebring or Lake Placid Florida for approx $1000 per month? We have been searching for days.

  28. Surely #4 includes On Top of the World in Clearwater, FL. They are sister communities developed and owned by the same owner. Have lived in OTOW Clearwater for a year. It is great.

  29. We love the Villages, however we rent. It has been almost impossible to find reasonable rentals recently. We have been to Vero and have reasonable rentals there, however we miss the Villages. Any suggestions?

  30. We have owned a home in The Villages for 10 years. It’s a wonderful place for people who enjoy all kinds of activities. We have very good friends we have met here. We are snow birds because the heat and humidity during the summer months is for me unbearable. It’s a big decision to make when retiring. Make sure you really investigate all of your options. It’s expensive if you make a mistake. One thing I’d say about the owners on TV, they do an outstanding job at making the TV a wonderful place to retire.

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