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Northern California's natural terrain and climate offer some unique activities for retirees.

For active adults who long to live in a coastal state without giving up the variety that comes with the changing seasons, a community in Northern California may be a perfect fit. From white, sandy beaches and dramatic coastal cliffs to lush vineyards and majestic mountains, it’s easy to see why this diverse area is a popular retirement destination.

Climate

While California’s northern coastal areas do have four distinct seasons, the mediterranean climate brings weather changes that are somewhat different than in other parts of the country. This is most striking in San Francisco, which is known for its unique climate. Spring and fall are arguably the area’s most beautiful times of the year, with clear nights and warm, dry days. These seasons are broken up by the billowing fog of summer and the rainy yet mild winter months.

The Central Valley region, which includes Northern California’s Sacramento Valley area, also has a mediterranean climate. However, this region often has more extreme temperatures than in coastal areas. Further north in its mountain areas, California’s climate is much colder with snowy winters and warm, moderate summers.

Communities

There are many beautiful active adult communities found in Northern California. Several are age-restricted to homeowners aged 55 and older, but some are simply targeted to active adults but allow residents of all ages. These developments range from sprawling resort-style communities to more intimate neighborhoods, with homes available for a variety of budgets.

With over 6,500 residences each, Sun City Lincoln Hills in Lincoln and Rossmoor in Walnut Creek are two of Northern California’s largest 55+ communities. Both of these developments feature championship golf courses, amenity-rich clubhouses, and an impressive array of social clubs, activities, and classes. Sun City Lincoln Hills and Rossmoor each include single-family homes and villas, and Rossmoor also offers mid-rise and high-rise condominiums.

For active adults who prefer to live in a community that is open to all ages, Northern California offers some beautiful, age-targeted developments. While these fabulous golf communities do not put restrictions on the age of their residents, they are thoughtfully designed with active adults in mind. Two to consider are Trilogy at Monarch Dunes and Blacklake, both located in Nipomo, and Cypress Ridge in Arroyo Grande.

Northern California’s more intimate active adult communities each have less than 500 residences. Smaller communities often feature less amenities than their sprawling counterparts, but they tend to be popular with residents who are looking for a close-knit, small town environment. In Redding, active adults will find two of Northern California’s smallest 55+ communities: The Vineyard, which has 208 single-family homes, and Tuscany Villas, an Italian-inspired community with only 79 homes.

Active adults who relocate to Northern California have many options when it comes to choosing an active adult community. Whether settling in a home near the coast or one within an easy drive of the mountains, active adults are likely to find the cool climate they prefer in Northern California.