Who needs golf when you can lounge at the pool in Plaza Grande at Old Bridge?

Life in Central Jersey is all about being close to everything. New York City and Philadelphia are both just about an hour away, plus this region probably has more shopping malls per square mile than any other area on the East Coast. It’s the ideal mix of urbanization and suburbia, with day-trip-worthy towns like Morristown, Asbury Park, and Princeton.

Getting around is easy too, as the NJ Turnpike, Amtrak, NJ Transit, and other transportation options are readily available. All this makes living in a Central New Jersey active adult community more conducive to getting where you want to go and being able to do what you like.

Affordability is also an important factor, especially since New Jersey is known for its pricey real estate. Many active adults can save money by searching for homes for sale in Central Jersey communities that do not have golf courses. This way, they don’t have to pay those built-in extra fees for golf course memberships or upkeep. Since there are so many courses in the area anyway, golf is still an option for those who enjoy playing.

Here are five Central New Jersey active adult communities that skip the golf courses but have so much more to offer.

Hearthstone at Hillsborough - Hillsborough Township

Low $200s - High $400s

Hearthstone at Hillsborough is small enough to offer its residents privacy, yet close to the town of Bridgewater, which has ample shopping outlets like the Bridgewater Commons. Hillsborough is also surrounded by several parks, including Duke Farms and the spectacular Sourland Mountain Preserve.

Built between 2006 and 2013, this newer development features 185 single-family, attached, and condo homes. The single-family homes range from 1,749 to 2,490 square feet, with up to five bedrooms, four bathrooms, and two-car garages. The villas attached homes are about 1,888 square feet, with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and one-car garages. Hearthstone’s condos are about 1,390 square feet, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. These units are all housed in secured elevator buildings.

Regency at Holmdel - Holmdel

Low $700s - Low $800s

Discriminating active adult home buyers can look to Regency at Holmdel for generously sized attached homes with upscale features and amenities. This exclusive property is minutes from the Garden State Parkway, close to Holmdel Park, PNC Bank Arts Center, and numerous shopping outlets.

Regency at Holmdel broke ground in 2016 and will have 181 attached homes upon completion. There are five different floor plans, ranging from 2,658 to 3,357 square feet, with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and attached two-car garages. Master suites, formal dining rooms, and two-story foyers add to these homes’ appeal. The clubhouse includes a modern fitness center, a heated outdoor pool and patio, tennis, and bocce.

Elements at West Windsor - West Windsor

Mid $400s - Mid $500s

Elements at West Windsor has 156 resale single-family homes, built between 2007 and 2013 in Mercer County. West Windsor is about 10 miles south of Princeton, which is known for Princeton University, the shops and eateries of Nassau Street, and the highly-rated Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center.

This appealing neighborhood has five models, ranging from 1,942 to 3,068 square feet, with one to three bedrooms, two to three bathrooms, and attached two-car garages. Options include dens, tray ceilings, fireplaces, and gourmet kitchens.

Elements at West Windsor also has a full-time activities director, who helps residents make the most of the community amenities. The 10,000 square-foot clubhouse has a fitness center and dance studio, indoor and outdoor pools, sports courts, and activity rooms. The property boasts 115 acres of open space, with trails, ponds, and a children’s playground.

Plaza Grande at Old Bridge - Old Bridge

Mid $200s - Mid $400s

If downsizing is your goal, look to Plaza Grande at Old Bridge. This Middlesex County active adult community caters to low-maintenance lifestyles with 279 resale condos built from 2005 to 2007. It is minutes from the intersection of Routes 9 and 18, putting it close to Cheesequake State Park and Raritan Bay Waterfront Park.

The nine distinct floor plans are sized from 1,185 to 2,310 square feet, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and garage parking. They are all located in three-story condo buildings that include relaxing club rooms and lobbies, lounges, and elevators. Most units include expansive master suites, patios, balconies or patios, and walk-in closets.

Plaza Grande’s property has a wealth of outdoor amenities, like a tennis court, an outdoor pool, and bocce. The private clubhouse has a pristine indoor spa, activity rooms, and exercise room, and a ballroom.

Equestra at Colts Neck Crossing - Farmingdale

High $400s - Low $600s

Equestra at Colts Neck Crossing has a stellar selection of indoor and outdoor amenities for today’s active adult home seekers. Its state-of-the-art clubhouse has a fitness center, an indoor pool, saunas, a whirlpool, a theater room, and the Paddock Club bar. Outdoors, there is a second pool, a patio with grills, walking trails, a zen garden, tennis, horseshoes, shuffleboard, and bocce.

This gated community has 483 resale homes, built from 2007 to 2018. The nine different floor plans range from 1,453 to 2,651 square feet, with two to four bedrooms, one-and-a-half to three bathrooms, and attached two or two-and-a-half car garages.

If you’re not familiar with Farmingdale, it is in Monmouth County about 10 miles west of beach towns like Bradley Beach and Ocean Grove. The Hackensack Meridian Health Bayshore Medical Center is nearby, and the towns of Freehold and Howell provide ample shopping, services, and dining opportunities.