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The 55 Best 55+ Communities for 2017

by Mayra Rocha on 45 Comments

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Del Webb Sun City Hilton Head made 55places list of the 55 Best 55+ Communities.

Del Webb Sun City Hilton Head made the list at 55 Places of the 55 Best 55+ Communities.

55places.com is proud to announce its list of 55 Best 55+ Communities in the U.S. for 2017. All of the active adult communities featured on this list were carefully chosen based on research, feedback, and information gathered from numerous on-site tours of each community visited this year by the team at 55places.com. Throughout the years, our staff has toured more than 500 communities across the U.S. and continues to visit these communities to review every detail, amenity, lifestyle option, location, environment, and home in order to ensure every community belongs on this prestigious list.

And while everyone has a different interpretation when referring to something as the “best,” we also use objective measures when compiling this list. We used analytical data gathered on 55places.com that helped determine which communities were the most popular on our site. The data measured the quantity of visitors to each community page on our website, our in-person visits, and objective rankings in eleven distinct categories to determine which communities stood out from the rest. With this approach, we were able to compile an objective list that would include the best active adult communities in America.

As you read through this list, you may find a few new communities that made it to the top of the list this year, while others have dropped a few spots or have been completely replaced. It’s also important to know that while our list is compiled with objective data, it doesn’t take into account the personal needs and requirements of every active adult. But we hope that this list helps you research and find your ideal active adult community that fits your lifestyle and needs. Check out this year’s 55 Best 55+ Communities!

Sun City Hilton Head – Bluffton, SC

Sun City Hilton Head gained the top spot on this year’s list thanks to its impressive resort-style amenities, home designs, social environment, and prime location in Coastal South Carolina. Since 1995, this age-restricted community has been one of the most highly acclaimed active adult communities in the country and features sprawling grounds that include a 45-acre Town Center and Amenity Complex, multiple sports courts, and 54 holes of golf course. And with more than 200 chartered clubs and interest groups, residents have endless options for socialization and recreation while living in Sun City Hilton Head.

The Villages, FL

The Villages in Central Florida has been featured on this list for many years. As the largest active adult community in the country, spanning across three counties, three zip codes, and over 20,000 acres, The Villages has something for everyone. Operating as a self-sustaining town that will consist of more than 56,000 homes, The Villages has countless world-class amenities including multiple top-notch recreational centers, lush golf courses, sparkling pools, sports courts, shopping centers, and social clubs. With resort-style amenities, affordable homes, and a vibrant social atmosphere, it’s easy to see why so many retirees flock to this popular active adult community.

SaddleBrooke – Tucson, AZ

Robson Communities opened SaddleBrooke in 1986 and plans to build 4,589 homes at completion. This active adult community, which is situated at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains that provides breathtaking views, features an award-winning lineup of resort-style amenities, social clubs and activities, and quality built new and resale homes. Residents enjoy the community’s several large clubhouses, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, and outdoor recreational areas including 63 holes of spectacular golf, miles of scenic walking and biking trails, and a variety of pickleball, tennis, and bocce ball courts. SaddleBrooke in Tucson not only keeps residents active, social, and healthy, but it also provides a great location in Southern Arizona where they can enjoy the city’s attractions and entertainment along with the area’s outdoor natural beauty.

Sun City Texas – Georgetown, TX

This beautiful 55+ community in Georgetown, Texas offers active adults a vibrant lifestyle along with affordable homes and world-class amenities. Del Webb began construction of this age-restricted community in 1995 and plans to build 9,900 homes upon completion. As the largest 55-plus community in the state, Sun City Texas continues to be a renowned active adult community thanks to its two well-appointed amenity centers that feature an on-site restaurant, multiple indoor and outdoor swimming pools, three 18-hole golf courses, and plenty of recreational facilities. Sun City Texas’ prime location in Central Texas also allows homeowners to have easy access to nearby popular cities like Austin for additional entertainment, shopping, dining, nightlife, and attractions.

On Top of the World – Ocala, FL

Located in Ocala, FL, which is known as the “Horse Capital of the World”, On Top of the World provides retirees with a beautiful and tranquil setting that consists of rolling hills and ancient oaks, creating the perfect active adult environment. This age-restricted community was opened in 1981 and will host more than 10,000 homes at build out. Homebuyers can choose from new or resale homes that provide maintenance-free living. Within the community’s gates, residents enjoy a rich lineup of resort-style amenities, abundant social activities and affordable home designs. The community features several clubhouses, three 18-hole golf courses, fitness centers, swimming pools, tennis courts, restaurants, and an R/C airplane field and R/C car track. Residents have access to more than 200 clubs, which continue to make On Top of the World a popular and exciting active adult community in Central Florida.

6. Sun City Grand – Surprise, AZ

7. Holiday City at Berkeley, NJ

8. Colonial Heritage – Williamsburg, VA

9. Sun City, AZ

10. Del Webb Ponte Vedra, FL

11. Ardiente – North Las Vegas, NV

12. Carolina Arbors by Del Webb – Durham, NC

13. Del Webb at Lake Oconee – Greensboro, GA

14. Four Seasons at Metedeconk Lakes – Jackson, NJ

15. Four Seasons at Beaumont, CA

16. Village at Deaton Creek – Hoschton, GA

17. Sun City Shadow Hills – Indio, CA

18. Trilogy Orlando – Groveland, FL

19. Cresswind Myrtle Beach, SC

20. Heritage Point – Barnegat, NJ

21. The Villages at Two Rivers – Odenton, MD

22. The Fairways at Lake Ridge – Lakewood, NJ

23. Heritage Todd Creek – Thornton, CO

24. Snowden Overlook – Columbia, MD

25. Four Seasons at Historic Virginia – Dumfries, VA

26. Cresswind at Lake Lanier – Gainesville, GA

27. Trilogy at Glen Ivy – Corona, CA

28. Lake Providence by Del Webb – Mt. Juliet, TN

29. Southern Springs – Spring Hill, TN

30. Soleil Laurel Canyon – Canton, GA

31. Vitalia at Tradition – Port St. Lucie, FL

32. Trilogy at the Vineyards – Brentwood, CA

33. Carillon Lakes – Crest Hill, IL

34. Spruce Creek Preserve by Del Webb – Ocala, FL

34. Brunswick Forest – Leland, NC

35. Renaissance at Raritan Valley – Franklin Township, NJ

36. Sun City Huntley by Del Webb – Huntley, IL

37. Sierra Canyon by Del Webb – Reno, NV

38. Four Seasons at Terra Lago – Indio, CA

39. Royal Highlands – Leesburg, FL

40. Corte Bella by Del Webb – Sun City West, AZ

41. Trilogy at Wickenburg Ranch – Wickenburg, AZ

42. Halifax Plantation – Ormond Beach, FL

43. Del Webb Orlando – Davenport, FL

44. Sun City Mesquite by Del Webb – Mesquite, NV

45. Kings Point – Sun City Center, FL

46. Sun City Apple Valley by Del Webb – Apple Valley, CA

47. Independence – Millsboro, DE

48. Sun City Lincoln Hills – Lincoln, CA

49. Valencia Lakes – Wimauma, FL

50. Falls Run by Del Webb – Fredericksburg, VA

51. Carillon – Plainfield, IL

52. Heritage Shores – Bridgeville, DE

53. Spruce Creek Country Club by Del Webb – Summerfield, FL

54. Heather Gardens – Aurora, CO

55. Trilogy at Monarch Dunes – Nipomo, CA

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  1. Sacramento county would very much like one of your communities. We have many senior citizens here. The ones we have now are built in a very busy location. Seniors do not want to deal with all the traffic.

  2. I would like to see detail on the analysis. How about coming out with rankings that look like the kind Consumer Reports has for comparing one product with another?

  3. Who got paid for places on THIS list? Southern Springs is barely building–twenty houses–No amenities, no pools, no clubs or activities.
    High pressure sales to buy now based on promises of what will be build and homes above the regional $/sqft.

    In case you refute it–I’ve been there first hand and walked away wiser. Too early to make THIS list!

    1. Hi JW,

      Thanks for the feedback! None of the communities we list pay to be on our site, or listed on these blog posts. They’re chosen by our editorial team based on research, feedback, and information gathered from numerous on-site tours, and more.

      Patrick – 55places.com

    2. There will be a large clubhouse, indoor, outdoor pool, dog park, tennis and pickleball courts, walking trails. They just started building and they won’t start building amenities until people start moving in. I live in del Webb lake providence, right up the road from Southern Springs, and it was built the same way, but when it’s finished it will be lovely.

    3. We are having a house built in a 55÷ community and we didn’t want a pool, we do have a club house and landscape maintenance is taken care of. We fou d exactly what we wanted, and are now in the process of of picking out our colors and everything else from appliances to yard landscaping.

  4. Why doesn’t Louisiana have more 55 over communities, with great boating areas it seems to me they are missing out.

  5. Another great area to consider would be community with water from dockage with direct access to the ICW is Saint Marys, Georgia.

  6. The Midwest is overflowing with Active adults over 55 with no place to go. I’m in St. Charles County (St. Louis, Missouri), and we desperately want moderately priced villas in Active communities for the baby boomers to enjoy the rest of our lives together, in the same cities our children & grandchildren live. Come on Home Builders, WAKE UP!!

    1. Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for reaching out! You can view Missouri active adult communities here.

      Patrick – 55places.com

  7. Wow! Del Webb Sun City Anthen in NV isn’t even in the top 55! What happened to them? I have visited friends who live in Sun City Hilton Head several times and I have owned a beautiful home in Anthem for 20 years with gorgeous views, very affordable prices, low taxes, low crime rates, state of the art gyms, great climate, low annual dues, VERY active clubhouses, with over 150 club charters. I would never even compare the two as having the same amenities. I really would like to know more about what your panel was looking for in judging the communities. I must be way in the dark about something I’m missing here

    1. Hi Jo,

      Thanks for reaching out! We love to hear that residents are passionate about their communities. The communities on this list were chosen by our editorial team based on research, feedback, information gathered from numerous on-site tours, and more.

      Patrick – 55places.com

  8. My husband and I are relocating from CA to AZ soon. Do you think we should rent there first to see if we can handle the heat? Has anyone experienced this?

    Renting in AZ seems so much more expensive than buying.

    1. You need to live her for a period of time to adjust to the summer heat. The first summer is the hardest then it gets easier.

    2. Sold my home in Oro Valley, AZ to people Chico, CA. 16 months ago. They are bilkers and bicylists and they are loving it. AI mis livng in a Del Webb community.

    3. I will stay in California in a heartbeat, not with AZ hot weather seniors cannot handle that!
      Check Auberge at Del Sur Community Living❤️Loving it so much❤️😁😁

  9. Come to Bluffton, SC and see the Sun City of Hilton Head community. There is so many things to do here. Clubs galore. !8 miles to Savannah GA, same to Hilton Head and Beaufort. Affordable HOA. The grounds are beautiful. All ages. New and resale available. Check it out!

    1. I agree with Blufftongal. We only live there in the winter but it is very nice. We lived in another Sun City and it just didn’t have the same vibe as SCHH. One thing we like is that the University of South Carolina has a campus adjacent to Sun City and there is a OLLI program there for adult learning and there is always something new to learn.

  10. Sun City Hilton Head? Wow, the sales people will love to hear this. Now they won’t have to lie so much about the hidden things in Sun City:

    1. The community covers two counties. Those in Beaufort County pay less than 1/3 of the taxes paid by those in Jasper County, all because Pulte (the developer) cut a deal to lower the development costs.

    2. All rules are made by the Board of Directors, which is controlled by the developer, and will continue to be controlled until the last house is sold. No input from the residents is ever considered.

    3. Although everyone was promised that the golf courses would be paid for entirely by the golf operations, the rules were secretly changed and now 100% of the residents pay for the golf operations that are used by less than 20% of the residents.

    4. There is a pending class action against the developer for improper construction of the stucco coating on the house. 4,000 homeowners are included in that suit, which has been delayed by frivolous actions by the developer, unrelated to the merits of the case. It has taken more than a decade to reach the trial stage, but hopefully the case will be heard in 2017. Average cost to fix the poor construction is over $60,000 per home.

    5. The developer restricted the choices that were available to the residents, at our expense, in order to save money. We have only two cable companies because of a restrictive agreement signed by the developer, and we are paying for it each and every month, often by a factor of two or three times what others in the area are paying.

    6. The houses may look great, but they are shabby in terms of construction, with large costs of repair down the line.
    Many people would love to leave, but they came here as a final move and now find it impossible to move because of age, illness, finances or other restraining causes.

    Look elsewhere! If you find yourself ready to sign up, talk to a resident who has been here for more than 5 years.

  11. IMy husband and I have lived in SCHH for seventeen years!! It is a wonderful place to retire and be able to remain active in hundreds of clubs! “Fed Up” seems to have a chip on his shoulder! The weather, pools, and the beach all lend to wonderful and enjoyable living in our later years!!

    1. I have lived in SCHH 13 years. Many people search over the US for a place to retire and choose SCHH. Most love it here. With over $100 million of amenities and located between Hilton Head, Savannah and Charleston , it’s a great location and lifestyle.

  12. How did Sun City West, AZ go from #3 on the list to not even a mention this year while some of the communities listed have no where near the amenities and life style options. I’ve been to many of the communities listed and lived in one. They can not compare to Sun City West. You do have Corte Bella listed and they are located within Sun City West but are separate from SCW and have very few amenities.

  13. I notice there are no communities listed in Texas. I have been working with my mother in her search for one and there don’t seem to be very many in the DFW area.

    1. Hi Green Girl,

      Thanks for reaching out. We actually have 17 communities throughout that Dallas-Fort Worth area that you can view here.

      Patrick – 55places.com

      1. Come and visit Tellico Village near Knoxville, TN! We have discovery packages which include tours of our neighborhoods and first class amenities. We are right in the Smoky Mountains, on Tellico Lake, with three championship golf courses!

  14. Why does everyone assume the over 55 group doesn’t want to live where there are 4 distinct seasons? Some of us like change.

  15. Why nothing in northern third (above 40degrees latitude) of USA? Colorado and Nevada seem to be the most northern.

  16. Really??? You feel that communities that start at 200 thousand are reasonable for a retired person? What planet are you leaving in. The average retiree could no afford that plus the endless expenses that getting old bring. God forbid you get sick which is very common among the elderly.

    1. Hi Ruth,

      Thanks for reaching out! You can view all of our Arizona communities here. Using the filters at the top of the page, you can sort the communities by Price (Low-High or High-Low), Name (A-Z or Z-A), # of Homes (Low-High or High-Low), and City (A-Z or Z-A).

      Patrick – 55places.com

  17. I don’t see a response to Peter Pappas’ question on 8/7/17. Sun City West should definitely be on the list. Please answer the question!

    1. Hi Patricia,

      All of the active adult communities featured on this list were carefully chosen based on research, feedback, and information gathered from numerous on-site tours of each community visited this year by the team at 55places.com. We love to see that people are so passionate about their communities!

      Patrick – 55places.com

  18. Does anyone know why Del Webb Orlando does not offer the Explore Del Webb/Experience the Lifestyle package anymore? I thought all Del Webb communities offered a 3 night stay in a home in the development where a Resident Ambassador would help acquaint prospective buyers with the community. I was told by a sales agent there that this is no longer offered even though their website still mentions it.
    I’m disappointed because I want to consider this community and compare it to the Trilogy community.

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