For decades, a century even, active adults who live in the Midwest or Northeast have traveled south for the winter. Whether the destination is Florida, Texas, or the Carolinas, retirees migrate with the birds for a more sunny and warm winter. Hence the name snowbirds.
No matter where you're going for the winter, if you're hoping to keep a home up north near family and friends, it needs to meet certain requirements. Affordability is key, of course, as is low-maintenance exterior so you know someone is taking care of the house during the harsher months.
If you're a snowbird fleeing Illinois in the winter, here are a few communities that meet those requirements.
Saddlebrook Farms - Grayslake
Saddlebrook Farms is a 55+ community about an hour northwest of Chicago. This community features 2,000 single-family homes coming in over 20 floor plans. These ranch style homes range in size from 1,169 to 2,516 square feet and include front porches and two-car garages.
A historic cabin on a lake serves as the community clubhouse. The cabin features several multi-purpose rooms for cards and other hobbies. Over 100 acres of lakes add to the beauty of this community. Along with the miles of walking trails, there are bocce courts and horseshoe pits for residents to enjoy. Saddlebrook Farms also features RV and boat parking, ideal for the snowbird driving to their winter home.
Leisure Village - Fox Lake
Leisure Village is a long-standing 55+ community in Lake Fox. Construction of this community was completed in 1980 and feature 360 attached low-maintenance homes available for resale only. Homebuyers have 13 different floor plans to choose from, they range in size from 755 to 1,705 square feet.
Leisure Hall is the social and recreational hub of the community. The Hall features an exercise room for residents to stay active, game and arts and crafts room for fun, and a lecture hall. Outdoors, residents can swim a lap in an Olympic-size swimming pool or work on their short game at the 9-hole golf course in the community. There are several sports courts for tennis, pickleball, shuffleboard, and bocce as well as a few horseshoe pits. There are also two private lakes available for residents.
Lake Barrington Shores - Barrington
Lake Barrington Shores is an active adult community about 40 minutes outside of Chicago. This community features 1,317 attached homes available for resale only. These low-maintenance homes range in size from about 933 to 4,600 square feet and have one to four bedrooms, one to four bathrooms, and one- or two-car garages.
The Lodge at the Shores is the community clubhouse. It features a 24-hour fitness center, indoor pool, and billiards, and an indoor patio. Outdoors, there is another pool, running trails, a volleyball court and more. The community also has a lake for boating and several boat slips. Residents can purchase a membership to nearby Lake Barrington Shores Country Club at a reduced rate.
Carillon at Cambridge Lakes - Pingree Grove
Carillon at Cambridge Lakes is an active adult community about 45 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. This community features 943 attached and single-family homes. There are 10 single-family, four duplex, and four townhome floor plans for prospective homeowners.
The duplex and townhome are ideal for snowbirds as all maintenance is taken care of by the homeowners' association. A brand new clubhouse features a fitness center, indoor pool, and ballroom. Tennis courts, bocce courts, and a 3-hole golf course add to the amenities outdoors.
Carillon - Plainfield
Carillon is an active adult community about 35 miles southwest of Chicago. Carillon has over 30 floor plans available in condos, coach homes, single-family, and attached homes. All homes are low-maintenance and have a homeowners' association to take care of lawn care, snow removal, and exterior maintenance on the homes.
Carillon has a plethora of indoor and outdoor amenities. Club Carillon is a recently renovated community clubhouse that includes an indoor pool and spa as well as a fitness center with an aerobics and dance studio. There is a ballroom that hosts community events, parties, and theatrical productions. Outside of the clubhouse, there are shuffleboard courts, horseshoe pits, bocce and tennis courts. In addition to the indoor pool, there are two pools outside.