A quaint, tight-knit community near the fun of the beach is possible in Ocean County, NJ.

You can smell the saltwater in the air practically everywhere in Ocean County, New Jersey. A good portion of its 915 square miles is dotted with beaches and boardwalks, which is part of why active adults enjoy it here. It also has Barnegat Bay along its coast, which gives towns like Ocean Township, Long Beach Island, and Beach Haven both a bay and a beach.

Seafarers are not the only ones that are drawn to this area. It has an active historical society, wildlife preserves and parks, awesome festivals and holiday events, and plenty of shopping and dining opportunities. Golf courses like par-60 Forge Pond are perfect for experts and beginners. Local medical facilities include Hackensack Meridian Health Southern Ocean Medical Center and Medical Associates of Ocean County.

There are 65 active adult communities in Ocean County, and many of them have thousands of homes. However, for those who'd rather live in a 55+ community that's a bit more close-knit, here are some smaller options worth considering.

Brookhollow - Mickleton

High $100s - Low $200s

Affordable, smaller 55+ neighborhoods in Ocean County are not easy to find, but Brookhollow fits the bill. It is in Gloucester County, not far from the Delaware Memorial Bridge, historic Red Bank Battlefield Park and the Deptford Mall. Its rural setting is conducive to low-key lifestyles for active adults who still want the convenience of being near a big city like Philadelphia.

Built from 1998 to 2000 by M&R Builders, the 53 single-family homes here range from 1,164 to 1,656 square feet with two bedrooms, two baths, and attached one- or two-car garages. Upgrades may include paved patios, hardwood floors, and walk-in closets. 

Sharp's Run - Evesham Township

High $200s - High $300s

Sharp's Run is an intimate, age-restricted community in Burlington County that has 57 single-family homes built from 2012 to 2014 by Ryan Homes. The spacious floor plans range from 1,407 to 2,316 square feet and have two to four bedrooms, two to three-and-a-half baths, and two-car garages. Features include ceramic tile baths, first-floor master suites, sunrooms, and hardwood floors.

Evesham Township is a vibrant area just 30 minutes from Philadelphia and an hour from Atlantic City. Nearby highways like Route 70 and Route 73 are packed with upscale restaurants, golf courses like Ramblewood Country Club, gyms, and shopping malls. 

Lakeside Villas - Watchung

High $400s - High $500s

The lucky residents of Lakeside Villas have scenic views from their neighborhood - just across the street is lovely Watchung Lake Park and nearby Water & Wine restaurant. This desirable 55+ community is in Somerset County and is also near many golf courses, Newark Airport, and 30 minutes from New York City.

Lakeside Villas has 42 new and resale attached homes on which construction began in 2006. There are four different floor plans from 1,700 to 2,350 square feet with two bedrooms, one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half bathrooms, and attached one-car garages. These exclusive homes have luxurious upgrades like granite counters and expansive master suites; some feature balconies and fireplaces.

Viera at Hanover - Cedar Knolls

Mid $600s - Mid $700s

This intimate Morris County community is just outside of charming Morristown, a charming, trendy, small town with outstanding shopping, restaurants, and parks. Viera at Hanover is also very amenable for commuters since it is just 21 miles from Newark Airport and three miles from the Morristown Train Station.

The 40 attached homes were built from 2008 to 2009 by Sterling Properties and are generously sized from 2,596 to 3,100 square feet. They have three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and attached two-car garages. Some of the outstanding features include first-floor master suites with his and her closets, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and basements. 

The Monmouth - Wall

Mid $700s - Low $1Ms

This age-restricted, gated condo community has 96 penthouse-style suites built from 2005 to 2011 by Oakshire Group LLC. It is less than five miles from Point Pleasant Beach and less than two miles from the Manasquan River.

There are 16 buildings in The Monmouth, each built with three floors that have two luxurious condos on each. The units are 4,100 square feet with three bedrooms, a den, three-and-a-half baths, and an underground two-car garage. These beautifully designed units are replete with expansive master bedrooms that have attached sunrooms and his/her master bathrooms, gas fireplaces, solid wood doors, and gourmet kitchens with Viking appliances.

The Monmouth also has a 7,000 square-foot clubhouse with a fitness center, indoor pool and spa, and a sauna. There is also a sparkling outdoor pool, a gazebo, and 18-hole mini-golf course on the grounds.