From modest stock models to flamboyant carts customized right down to the lug nuts, golf carts are an exceptionally popular mode of transportation in many of the country’s active adult communities. Ask any golf cart owner and they are bound to tell you not only about the convenience and ease of maintenance, but also that they are just plain fun to drive around.
Given their slower speeds, golf carts are safer and more economical and also allow passing neighbors to wave and say hello, fostering a real sense of community while enjoying the scenery. Even the most luxurious models cost substantially less than even the most Spartan economy cars, while still serving the same functions of transporting groceries or a modest number of passengers.
The designers and planners of many of the country’s finest 55+ communities have certainly taken notice of this trend, as many communities now feature specific cart paths, specialized garages and designated lots for cart parking, and, in some cases, cart dealers and on-site mechanics. This list, while not exhaustive, represents some of the best and most exciting communities that welcome golf carts and golf cart enthusiasts.
Any list of golf cart-friendly communities would be incomplete without mentioning The Villages in Florida. This community for those 55 and better is, in many ways, in a class of its own. Over 150,000 residents share more than 100 miles of golf cart-only roads. All shopping and amenity areas are accessible via golf cart and there are several dealerships and mechanics for tune-ups, routine repairs, or installation of flashy custom parts. The Villages even has an annual golf cart parade where owners socialize while showing off their wheels.
Sun City in Arizona is the original active adult community. The first model home, now a museum, was built by Del Webb in 1960 and the community still continues to set the standard for active adult communities nationwide by refining its offerings and amenities to the needs of modern active adults. This community was one of the first examples of residents bringing their carts off the course and onto the roads for daily errands and visiting neighbors. Now, thankfully, miles of golf cart-specific paths allows residents to comply with traffic laws while traveling safely throughout the community. Many of Sun City’s homes have garages specifically designed to hold both a standard, four-door car along with a golf cart.
On Top of the World – Ocala, FL
On Top of the World in Ocala, Florida is a golf cart-drivers’ dream, and not just because of the three 18-hole golf courses located throughout this 10,000+ home community. Circle Square Commons, the community’s entertainment and social hub that includes a theater, cafes, restaurants, and more welcomes golf cart riders with special parking zones and easy access via the community’s extensive network of cart-specific trails. Golf carts are so popular that, much like other communities, they are registered and given ID tags like the DMV would issue to cars.
Laguna Woods Village – Laguna Woods, CA
This sunny Orange County active adult community is ideally suited to getting around via golf cart. Carts are permitted on the neighborhood roads and designated paths and crossings that serve this 12,000+ home community. Homeowners can easily visit friends and neighbors in addition to running errands or playing a round on the 27-hole course. Electric carts are especially popular here and help cut down on car engine noise and smelly exhaust fumes. Additionally, traveling at lower speeds gives residents time to take in the scenery, manicured grounds, and stunning valley views.