Hot air baloon peaking past a mountain peak with city of Marana and mountain range in the background

While many of Mesa, Surprise, and others get most of the retirement attention near Phoenix, Marana has just as many perks.

Marana in Southern Arizona is a modern and expanding town of about 45,000 people with several active adult communities. It’s a 25-minute drive northwest of Downtown Tucson, mostly on Interstate 10, with the center of Marana being only about five minutes off the interstate. Phoenix with its international airport is roughly a 90-minute drive to the north, also along I-10.

Although the town itself was only incorporated in 1977, the area was first settled over 4,000 years ago and the remains of some of those early villages can still be seen. For lovers of the outdoors, the Saguaro National Park West with its hiking trails and thousands of the emblematic saguaro cacti is only a 20-minute drive south of Marana.

Picacho Peak State Park is a similar distance to the north, and this also has hiking trails, including the challenge of reaching the top of Picacho Peak itself. At 3,374 feet this gives commanding views over the Arizona desert landscape, and as far as Tucson, some 40 miles away.

Marana might not be known for retirees like its neighboring suburbs, but it does have several communities for the 50+ and 55+ active adult. Let's take a look. 

The Highlands at Dove Mountain

High $100s - High $400s

The largest community with 1,400 single-family homes is The Highlands at Dove Mountain. This 50+ gated community is a 20-minute drive east of downtown Marana, on the far side of I-10, in the foothills of the Tortolita Mountains.

It’s a 10-minute drive to I-10, 25 minutes to the Saguaro National Park West, and 20 minutes to the Catalina State Park. This offers hiking, biking, and horse-riding trails in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

All homes have at least a two-car garage and two bathrooms, and range in size from 1,111 square feet, with two bedrooms, through to 2,461 square feet, with two bedrooms and a den. The slightly smaller Everest model has three bedrooms and a den.

Amenities include a 29,000 square-foot clubhouse, 18-hole golf course, fitness center, arts and crafts studios, a ballroom, four lighted tennis courts, pickleball courts, two restaurants, a heated saltwater pool and spa, and its own hiking and biking trails.

There are dozens of clubs, activities, and classes for residents to enjoy, including monthly dances, organized lunches and dinners, arts and crafts groups, card and board game groups, sports and exercise groups, and arranged visits to local attractions.

Continental Ranch Sunflower

Mid $100s - Mid $200s

Continental Ranch Sunflower is a smaller 55+ active adult community with 967 single-family homes. It’s a 15-minute drive southeast of downtown Marana, placing it closer to Tucson, a 20-minute drive away. If you like outdoor activities it’s only a 10-minute drive from the northern entrance to the Saguaro National Park West.

The smallest models are 1,096 square feet and have one bedroom plus a den, one-and-a-half bathrooms, and a two-car garage. The largest of the 10 different models available is 1,972 square feet and provides two bedrooms, a den, two to two-and-a-half bathrooms, and a two-car garage. 

Amenities in Continental Ranch Sunflower include a clubhouse, fitness center, outdoor pool and spa, an arts and crafts studio, an aerobics and dance studio, a putting green, three tennis courts, and four bocce courts. There are various clubs and classes to join, such as yoga, tennis, crafts, card and board games, and several fitness groups.

Del Webb at Dove Mountain

Low $200s - Mid $400s

Del Webb at Dove Mountain has 600 single-family homes for the 55+ active adult. It’s set in the foothills of the Tortolita Mountains, a 15-minute drive off I-10, and a 20-minute drive from downtown Marana. Downtown Tucson is a 30-minute drive away. 

There are eight different models available, with the smallest being 1,573 square feet. This has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a two-car garage. The largest homes are 2,514 square feet and have two bedrooms, a den, two-and-a-half bathrooms, and a two-and-a-half-car garage.

Amenities include the Saguaro Recreation Center, which has a fitness center, an outdoor pool and spa, and pickleball courts, with more amenities still being added to this modern development.

Residents here also have membership access to the Gallery Sports Club, a short drive away. This has a 12,000 square-foot recreation center, a fitness center and fitness studio, an Olympic-sized outdoor lap pool, a recreational outdoor pool, and courts for tennis, basketball, and volleyball.