Central New Jersey is known for its beauty and proximity to big cites.

Many New Jerseyans claim that their state is actually two separate entities, North Jersey and South Jersey. Though this is not official, a case can also be made for Central Jersey. This heart of New Jersey roughly includes Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, and Union Counties.

Its pristine scenery, endless social and cultural opportunities, and proximity to New York, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City make it a prime area for adults 55+ to settle into. It is home to many active adult communities that appeal to a wide variety of homebuyers.

Here are five that are worthy of consideration.

Carriage Park at Lawrence - Lawrenceville, NJ

Low $100s - High $100s

Finding a moderately priced active adult community on the smaller side is not always easy, but Carriage Park at Lawrence in Mercer County fits the bill. This gated community has 210 condos built between 2006 and 2008 by Kalian Companies. It is close to Route 1 with all the shopping opportunities that residents need. Lawrenceville is home to beautiful 2,500-acre Mercer County Park, historic Princeton Battlefield, and several museums. Princeton Golf Club and Springdale Golf Club are also close by.  

Carriage Park has over 15 resale condo models starting with a 723 square-foot studio with the largest being over 1,500. These come with one or two bedrooms and baths, except for the studio. All come with private balconies and basement storage spots. There is a 7,100 square-foot clubhouse, outdoor pool and recreation areas, meeting rooms, an exercise room and more.

Cheesequake Village - Old Bridge, NJ

Low $100s - Mid $100s

Cheesequake Village is an established active adult community of 713 homes in the Cheesequake community of Old Bridge, NJ. It shares part of its name with nearby Cheesequake State Park and is a quick drive or bus ride to Asbury Park and other Jersey Shore towns. This development has condos ranging from 708 to 976 square feet with one or two bedrooms, one or two bathrooms, and available parking in front of the buildings. The attached, ranch-style homes come in different models sized from 700 to 1,000 square feet, also with one or two beds, one or two baths, and parking in front of each unit.

Homeowners can be seen relaxing at the community’s outdoor pool and patio in the warmer months, and also at the popular bocce ball and shuffleboard courts. The vibrant clubhouse has an exercise room as well as sponsors classes and fun activities like Bingo nights.

The Club at East Brunswick - East Brunswick, NJ

Low $100s - Mid $200s

Active adults that want a truly affordable, low-maintenance lifestyle can look to The Club at East Brunswick. This Middlesex County community of 368 attached and condo homes is conveniently close to Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and New York City. It even has its own commuter parking lot with a bus stop that takes residents right to the Port Authority. The Club is also close to Route 18 with its myriads of shopping and dining options.

Built by K. Hovnanian from 1984 to 1988, this 55+ community features several condo buildings with prices topping off at the high $100s. Model sizes range from 1,032 to 1,125 to square feet with one or two bedrooms and bathrooms. The attached ranch-style villas are priced slightly higher and also come in three models from 1,074 to 1,228 square feet. All have two beds, two baths, and one-car garages.

Surrey Downs - Freehold, NJ

Mid $100s - Mid $200s

The town of Freehold in Monmouth County offers its residents an ideal location with easy access to the big three: Atlantic City, Philly, and NYC. These cities can provide homeowners with the best in medical care, entertainment, and shopping. One of the most welcome features of this community is that residents can walk to a nearby grocery store, pharmacy, and donut shop. Active adult homeowners at Surrey Downs also spend time visiting nearby beaches and Battleground State Park.

This property has 443 single family homes built from 1986 to 1997. The 12 models range from 760 to almost 1,400 square feet. All of these have two bedrooms and one or two baths. Some models feature dens, Florida rooms, upgraded kitchens, enclosed porches, and decks. A monthly homeowner’s association fee covers lawn care, landscaping, snow removal, trash removal, recycling, and a community bus. Amenities at Surrey Downs include a clubhouse with fitness center and library, outdoor pool and patio, tennis, shuffleboard, and bocce ball courts.

Shadow Lake Village - Red Bank, NJ

Low $100s - Mid $300s

Red Bank is a lovely, waterfront town located in Monmouth County. Active adult homeowners living here at Shadow Lake Village enjoy peaceful parks like Count Basie Park, boating marinas, and a thriving downtown area. Shadow Lake Village also has its own nine-hole golf course as well as fishing and boating, all on its expansive, 158-acre property.

Shadow Lake Village has 952 attached homes built from 1972 to1980. Sized from 1,021 to 1,391 square feet. These low-maintenance abodes have one or two bedrooms, one to two baths and garages or parking spots. Their homeowners' association fee includes landscaping, trash and snow removal, and community shuttle. There is also an active clubhouse, fitness center, outdoor pool, trails and tennis courts.