While the Inland Empire doesn’t have hard-set boundaries, its distinctive culture and natural scenery make a strong impression on residents and visitors alike. Set away from coastal cities like Santa Monica, Huntington Beach, and San Clemente, residents of the Inland Empire enjoy a more suburban atmosphere in close proximity to the San Bernardino Mountains. The expansive, southern area includes Riverside and San Bernardino counties and sees steady tourism year-round due to its diverse climate.
In recent years, the area has seen notable housing and commercial development, making the Inland Empire an enviable location for residents of all ages to affordably live, work, and play. The temperate climate means that outdoor recreation is never in short supply at nearby Lake Arrowhead or Big Bear Lake. The area also supports a number of minor league basketball, baseball, and ice hockey teams for sports fans.
Whether you’re hoping for urban comforts or the tranquility of nature, Southern California’s Inland Empire has a lot to offer for a lot less money than you might think. Take a look below at five 55+ communities in the region for under $200k that put active adults in the center of it all.
Jess Ranch - Apple Valley
Located close to Victorville north of the San Bernardino Mountains, Jess Ranch is nestled in a vibrant area with a number of modern conveniences. The gated 55+ community has over 2,000 residences that include affordable single-family homes, condos, and attached garden homes, all with open floor plans and first-floor master suites. Homeowners can take a dip at the outdoor pool, meet up with friends at the clubhouse, or hit the shuffleboard courts for light competition.
Just a few minutes away, a shopping center with a Target, Best Buy, and a variety of stores and restaurants, cover everyday needs. Outdoor lovers should note that scenic Jess Lakes is just across Apple Valley Road, and that the Ashwood Golf Course is a short drive south.
Panorama Village - Hemet
Favorably settled in between Mount San Jacinto and Menifee, Panorama Village is an active adult community anchored by an impressive clubhouse and a nine-hole executive golf course. The inexpensive neighborhood has 501 single-family homes with two or three bedrooms and attached one- or two-car garages. Knowing that its residents like to get out and enjoy the outdoors, Panorama Village has an RV parking facility for residents to store their vehicles when not in use. A homeowners’ association maintains exteriors and lawns so active adults can keep busy with the community’s full activities calendar instead of maintenance.
The surrounding small town of Hemet has plenty of healthcare, dining, and entertainment offerings so residents never have to venture far for needs and wants. The Hemet Valley Malll contains popular stores and quick eats, while the young and young at heart can learn about the past and explore the present at the Western Science Center. Nearby Diamond Valley Lake appeals to boaters, fishers, and sun-seekers alike.
Seven Hills - Hemet
Completed in 2006, the sprawling neighborhood of Seven Hills contains over 1,100 single-family and attached homes, each with an attached two-car garage. While the houses offer a number of optional features–including vaulted ceilings, courtyards, and granite countertops–residents have as much to savor outside of their homes as they do indoors. The Seven Hills Members Club, the spacious clubhouse in the community, has a modern fitness center, a number of activity and event spaces, and a large outdoor pool for all homeowners to use.
Besides the wealth of retail and dining options, Hemet is an ideal location for active adults hoping to be close to major cities without living in the middle of them. Those interested in a sun-soaked day trip are just 90 minutes from San Diego and two hours from Los Angeles. Trips out of town are easily accommodated by travel out of either the Los Angeles or San Diego International Airports.
Murrieta Hot Springs - Murrieta
Murrieta Hot Springs, also called The Knolls, is actually made up of three separate neighborhoods: Spring Knolls, Golf Knolls, and Warm Spring Knolls. Active adults can have their pick of residence between each amenity-rich area but can still use all three clubhouses. Many of the single-story and family homes were custom-built, so features vary across each home. Each of the one to three bedroom houses was built with active adults in mind, however, meaning design elements are functional across the board.
Murrieta has a number of medical facilities, greenspaces, and entertainment options within its borders, but the town’s prime location puts residents in easy reach of area offerings. Murrieta Hot Springs homeowners with adventurous palates are just north of Temecula, known for its robust wine country and many golf courses. Outside of its vineyards, visitors can spend a day shopping and dining at the Promenade Temecula Mall or exploring the Temecula Valley Museum.
Sun Lakes Country Club - Banning
Just south of the San Gorgonio Mountain and adjacent to Mount San Jacinto, residents of Sun Lakes Country Club are treated to spectacular mountain views from every direction. The large community has 3,300 reasonably-priced homes spread over 1,000 acres, so homeowners have plenty of room to stretch. Each single-family home has two to four bedrooms and attached two- or three-car garages.
Outside of the homes, Sun Lakes has three spacious clubhouses with a number of amenities, one of which–the South Clubhouse–is private for Sun Lakes residents. The neighborhood also has two 18-hole golf courses for golfers to fit in a quick, sun-filled game.
Sun Lakes homeowners are a short drive away from a shopping center that houses a Target, Best Buy, and Kohl’s, but there’s just as much outside of town. Nature fiends can head west to Mount San Jacinto and take a gondola up the mountain. Banning is also just 30 minutes south of Big Bear Lake, making the city a popular home for fans of winter sports.