Florida has more than 170 colleges, including a dozen in the Florida State University system. Active adults interested in living near a college town have many excellent communities to choose from.
Some homeowners enjoy the March Madness basketball games that often feature Florida teams, and others enjoy following Division 1 athletics in football, baseball, gymnastics, and swimming. Also, a fair amount of Florida homebuyers just like living in a college town because of the increased culture and intellectualism that’s often found in a more diverse community.
If you're looking for an enriching retirement in Florida, check out these 55+ communities in or near college towns.
Low $300s - Low $500s
The University of Florida is in Gainesville, and a 30-minute drive south on Interstate 75 brings buyers to Ocala Preserve, a gated 55+ community full of new construction homes. It’s not a requirement that new residents are Florida Gators fans, but it’s also not a bad idea to embrace the local team. Alumnae and neighbors are pretty serious about their Gators, especially during basketball and football seasons. Tailgate parties are frequently held in the community on game day.
Ocala Preserve features a 24-hole championship golf course as well as other resort-style amenities. Two clubhouses, the Tack House and the Oak House, provide everything from lounges and private dining rooms to culinary studios and day spas. There’s also a zero-entry outdoor pool, pickleball and tennis courts, and a seven-acre lake on the property.
Ocala Preserve has various home models ranging from 1,320 to 2,451 square feet with two to four bedrooms, two to three bathrooms, and an attached two- or three-car garage. Large master suites, gourmet kitchens, and extra space for a den or home office are common.
Below $100k - High $100s
Hollybrook Golf and Tennis Club is a gated, 55+ condo community that’s great for active adults who appreciate low-maintenance living and a lot of amenities. Residents can enjoy everything that Miami has to offer, including the University of Miami which is just 30 minutes away. The school has more than 160,000 students from around the world, contributing to a thriving academic, social, and athletic atmosphere.
Within the community, there's a fitness center, a multipurpose room, a library, rooms for cards and billiards, and a 700-seat playhouse that features music, movies, and guest speakers. Two golf courses, 14 tennis courts, shuffleboard courts, pickleball courts, and seven pools keep residents active outdoors.
The condo homes are available on a resale basis, offering 800 to 1,573 square feet, one or two bedrooms, and one or two bathrooms.
Mid $200s - Low $400s
One of the most highly anticipated 55+ communities in the Tampa area is Del Webb Bexley. Its Land O’Lakes location puts buyers about 20 minutes from the University of South Florida, a medical teaching university that’s highly regarded for its innovative health system as well as its athletics and academics. The USF Bulls are frequently competitive in NCAA basketball, and their football games are played on Saturday nights in Downtown Tampa at the Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Del Webb is creating 850 single-family homes with luxurious layouts and desirable amenities. The community offers more than a dozen models with 1,372 to 3,950 square feet, two to five bedrooms, two to four-and-a-half bathrooms, and an attached two- or three-car garage. Buyers can include a private pool, additional loft space, and an extra half-garage for golf carts or motorcycles.
Once construction is complete, amenities will include a clubhouse with a state-of-the-art fitness center and aerobics studio, a resort-style pool, a resistance pool, and a community garden.
Mid $200s - High $400s
Cresswind at Victoria Gardens is a 55+ community in Deland, home to Stetson University. Founded in 1883, this school is a huge part of this Central Florida town, which is about 40 minutes north of Orlando and on the southeastern border of the Ocala National Forest. Buyers looking for an intimate college town experience rather than a city dominated by a large university will love everything about Deland.
This gated community has 1,070 new construction and resale homes, and it’s part of the Victoria Park master-planned community. Homes are available in 20 models ranging from 1,516 to 3,236 square feet with two to four bedrooms, two to three bathrooms, and an attached two- or three-car garage. Most homes have dens and private outdoor space.
Membership is optional at the semi-private Victoria Gardens Golf Course, and amenities available to homeowners include a clubhouse, a cafe, a health and fitness center, a ballroom, a card room, a business center, a studio for arts and crafts, a computer lab, and library. Also, residents can get some exercise on the tennis, pickleball, or bocce ball courts. There are also horseshoe pits and a large pool with lap lanes and a spa.
High $200s - High $300s
Gatherings of Lake Nona is a 55+ community of new construction condo homes. It’s close to the University of Central Florida, an up and coming school that doesn’t get as much attention as Florida’s larger universities but is really making a name for itself locally and nationally. It’s emerging as a notable research university, particularly in biomedical fields.
Upscale condos in this community offer 1,368 to 1,805 square feet, two to three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached one-car garage. Private balconies are included, and there are elevators and security systems. Low-maintenance living is supported by an active homeowners' association which takes care of maintenance and landscaping as well as cable television and internet bills.
Amenities include a clubhouse with a fitness center and a multipurpose room. There’s also an outdoor pool and patio as well as pickleball courts and a fire pit. Airports, Disney World, and the Florida Turnpike are just minutes away.