Rolling hills covered in trees from a lookout in Central Pennsylvania

Central Pennsyvania's bigger metro areas have some well-known 55+ communities. But what about the rural areas?

Some of the greatest benefits of retiring in Pennsylvania include the facts that it is one of the largest states in the country, is home to over 870,000 veterans, and more than 15 percent of its residents are 65+. It is one of only two states in the U.S. that does not tax pension income. Further, Pennsylvania does not tax retirement income and it has the lowest flat tax rate in the country.

It is a state of rivers, mountains, and valleys punctuated by areas like the Lehigh Valley, big cities like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg, plus miles of shoreline. Active adults are naturally attracted to its more well-known areas, but others like to consider the possibilities of settling down in less-traveled regions.

Retirees can find attractive homes for sale in Pennsylvania towns that are off the beaten path and end up happier than they would have ever imagined. Neighborhoods that are distanced from the big cities have a lot to offer, and they can be very affordable.

The Paddock at Equine Meadows - Red Lion

Mid $100s - High $200s

Red Lion is located in York County in Southeastern Pennsylvania, less than half an hour from the Maryland state border. This friendly town keeps residents involved with special events like yard sales, festivals, and farmers markets, many of which take place at Fairmount Park. The Susquehanna River Water Trail is 10 minutes away, and two of the closest golf courses are Bridgewater Golf Club and Heritage Hills Resort.

There are 174 new and resale attached homes at The Paddock at Equine Meadows, which broke ground in 2016. The floor plans range from 1,310 to 3,000 square feet with two or three bedrooms, two to three-and-a-half bathrooms, and attached garages. Features like upgraded appliances, porches, hardwood floors, sunrooms, and fireplaces provide the kind of elegant, comfortable interiors that attract 55+ home seekers.

Residents stay busy with a wide range of activities, like Aqua Fit, singing group, community dinners, and yoga. Many take place at the private clubhouse, which has a party room, library, exercise room, and patio. There are also walking trails. A condominium association fee covers lawn care, landscaping, and snow removal.

Cherry Tree - Hanover

Low $200s - High $200s

Cherry Tree is a new 55+ neighborhood that will have 100 new attached homes upon completion. Models range from 1,589 to 2,000 square feet with two or three bedrooms, two bathrooms, first-floor master suites, modern appliances, and two-car garages.

Homes can be customized with upgraded fixtures, fireplaces, and other features, and the association fee takes care of snow removal and yard care. Though Cherry Tree does not have a clubhouse, there are several parks in nearby Adams County, half-a-dozen fitness centers just minutes away, and Codorus State Park just five miles down the road.

Also in York County near the Maryland state line, Hanover is in the vicinity of Gettysburg and Baltimore. Right in town, residents will find a Walmart Supercenter, Home Depot, movie theater, restaurants, the YMCA, and UPMC Pinnacle Hanover hospital.

Traditions of America at Liberty Hill - State College

Mid $200s - Mid $400s

Home seekers will find six attached and seven single-family home models at Traditions of America at Liberty Hill in State College. The Garden Homes townhomes range from 1,261 to 1,883 square feet with spacious first-floor master suites and nine-foot ceilings. The single-family homes range from 1,274 to 2,314 square feet and include backyard patios.

All of these appealing new homes have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and attached two-car garages. Larger models may include breakfast nooks, dens, living/dining room combinations, optional fireplaces, and butler’s pantries.

The homeowners' association fee covers snow removal and landscaping, plus access to the property’s desirable amenities located at the modern clubhouse. There is a business center, media room, catering kitchen, and ballroom, plus a modern fitness center with an indoor whirlpool spa. Outside, residents will find another pool as well as courts for tennis, bocce, and shuffleboard.

Being bored may not be an option here, with dozens of clubs and activities like Maj Jongg, holiday parties, happy hours, pinochle, walking group, darts, and the popular “Better than Before” club.

There are many advantages to living just outside of a college town. Active adults can take continuing education classes at a top university like Penn State, watch college football games in person, and enjoy endless opportunities for shopping and dining. There's also an extensive natural recreation area nearby that includes Greenwood Furnace State Park and Rothrock State Park and Forest.

Penn National - Fayetteville

Mid $100s - High $600s

If you’re not familiar with Fayetteville, it’s in Southcentral PA, just outside of Caledonia State Park and Michaux State Forest. All of this scenic beauty is an awesome backdrop for Penn National, an established master-planned community of 1,100 new and resale single-family and attached homes.

Practically a small town in itself, this community is not age-restricted, but it does cater to active adults. There are many different home models, with the largest single-family home sized at 2,378 square feet. The smaller homes and attached villas are cozy and comfortable, and these residents have access to all of the same sought-after amenities.

Two of the main perks are the community golf courses, Iron Forge and The Founders. More outdoor fun can be had at the swimming pool, community garden, walking trails, and sports courts. The clubhouse has a business center, exercise room, other activity areas, and restaurants.

And when they’re not golfing, residents take part in abundant activities such as the biking club, outings to farmers markets and luncheons, crafts, a fly fishing club, holiday dinners, yoga, and more.