Railroad tracks along the Northern Central Railroad trail in York County, Pennsylvania

With low housing costs and an abundance of natural beauty, Central Pennsylvania is attracting many active adults.

The heartland of Pennsylvania is filled with affordable options for retirement living, and the main cities here in the Central Pennsylvania region include Gettysburg, Harrisburg, and Lancaster as well as smaller suburbs like Shippensburg and Lebanon. If you're not looking to retire too close to a major metropolitan area, this part of the state may be ideal for you. Not only does it have breathtaking scenery and a treasure trove of historical landmarks, there are also countless golf courses, parks, forests, and the quaint Amish Country.

There are also excellent hospitals throughout the state, with some of the best in the Central Pennsylvania region. Top choices include Penn State/Hershey Medical Center and Penn Medicine Lancaster. You can also find VA hospitals and numerous other medical organizations that provide state-of-the-art healthcare services.

Another advantage of Central Pennsylvania is that its cost of living is lower than surrounding states like New York and New Jersey, with a major benefit being its retirement-friendly taxes. There's no tax on retirement income like IRAs, 401(k)s, pensions, and Social Security. The income tax rate is also a flat 3.07 percent, and the sales tax is currently 6 percent; exemptions from the latter include prescription drugs, food, clothing, and residential heating fuels.

Low housing costs tend to attract baby boomers, so we've profiled four active adult communities in Central Pennsylvania with homes for sale under $150k.

Creek View - Carlisle, PA

Mid $100s - Mid $200s

Active adults who live in Creek View cherish the peace and quiet this rural neighborhood offers. About 35 miles west of Harrisburg, this community will have 305 new and resale single-family homes upon completion, and there are 18 ranch-style floor plans to choose from. Homes are sized from 1,202 to 1,750 square feet with two to three bedrooms, two bathrooms, dens, and attached one- or two-car garages. Additional features include optional porches, patios, and attics. The homeowners’ association (HOA) fee covers trash removal, water, and sewer costs.

The scenic property promotes an active lifestyle, with an RV storage area, a fishing pond, a gazebo, and an outdoor picnic area. There’s also a private clubhouse, which offers an outdoor patio and gathering areas. Homeowners enjoy Wii competitions, potluck dinners, and other planned events.

This welcoming 55+ neighborhood is not far from the Pennsylvania Turnpike, making travel easy. Nearby Colonel Denning Park provides fishing, hiking, boating, and other outdoor activities. And when it comes time to do some shopping, the nearest Walmart is about 10 minutes away.

Learn more information about Creek View here.

Arbor Gate - Myerstown, PA

Low $100s - High $100s

Located five miles from Lebanon, Arbor Gate is another affordable, low-key 55+ neighborhood. This land-lease community was completed in 2005, and it offers 378 resale single-family homes with 10 floor plans. These range from 1,234 to 2,058 square feet with two or three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and attached one- or two-car garages. Features may include vaulted ceilings, large master suites, decks, and patios. Monthly fees cover the land lease, trash, and sewer.

Arbor Gate’s Lakeview Center is a hub of activity with an exercise room, a coffee shop, a beauty salon, craft and game rooms, and a ballroom. The property also has its own 3-acre fishing lake. Well-attended community events include planned trips, golf outings, and dances. Residents can also pop over to Lebanon, where they can buy groceries, go to the bank, or visit any of its many restaurants. Area landmarks include Stoever’s Dam Park and Lebanon Valley Mall.

Learn more information about Arbor Gate here.

Penn National - Fayetteville, PA

Mid $100s - High $600s

Penn National is different from the other neighborhoods mentioned here because it's a master-planned community with no age restrictions. It does cater to active adult lifestyles though, with 1,100 new and resale attached and single-family homes, plus an unbeatable array of amenities and activities. 

This sprawling development was built outside of Caledonia State Park, and it's about 21 miles from the Maryland state line. There are many models offered, with the largest coming in at around 2,300 square feet. Features may include basements, sunrooms, and hardwood floors.

In addition to two 18-hole golf courses (The Founders and Iron Forge), there's a convenient on-site business center, an exercise room, a catering kitchen, and activity rooms at the community clubhouse. Additional perks include two restaurants; tennis, bocce, and pickleball courts; an outdoor pool; lakes, ponds, and trails; and a community garden. There are also over thirty clubs and activities, so homeowners are never lacking for something to do. The nearby town of Chambersburg is eight miles away, and it has a hospital, shops, pharmacies, and everything else you’d expect to find in a mid-sized town.

Learn more information about Penn National here.

Country Manor - Shippensburg, PA

Below $100k - Low $100s

This small, gated active adult community just outside of historic downtown Shippensburg was completed in 2018 with 130 single-family resale homes. Country Manor was built with nine floor plans sized from 1,230 to 1,876 square feet with two to three bedrooms, two to three bathrooms, and attached garages. Options may include front porches, patios, and fireplaces, and there's a fee in place to cover trash and snow removal.

The welcoming clubhouse has a multi-purpose room and a catering kitchen, perfect for community gatherings. Outside, you'll find shuffleboard courts, a fishing lake, and walking trails. Also, drive a few miles into town and you'll find a Walmart Supercenter, the Shippen Towne Center, healthcare facilities, restaurants, gyms, and Shippensburg University.

Learn more information about Country Manor here.