South Jersey is full of great small towns full of quaint shops to explore, like these in Cape May.

One key to enjoying your retirement is to live where there are plenty of people you have something in common with. This is why so many active adults gravitate towards South Jersey. There are dozens of towns here that have large 55+ populations, so local shops, services, transportation, and recreational opportunities all cater to this market.

In addition to the miles of pristine beaches, South Jersey is close to Philadelphia and New York City. It also has incredible state parks and forests, some pretty amazing shopping malls, and highly rated restaurants and golf courses. Excellent medical care can be found at Cooper University Hospital, Virtua Health, and AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center.

Although the Garden State may have a reputation for high housing costs, South Jersey has some very affordable retirement communities worth looking into. Active adult homebuyers that are considering Southern NJ real estate can look into these outstanding options.

Gatherings at Bel Aire Lakes - Absecon

Mid $100s - Low $200s

Here is the perfect option for 55+ homebuyers seeking to downsize to a small community not far from the bright lights of Atlantic City. With just 125 attached homes available for resale, Gatherings at Bel Aire Lakes offers a relaxed setting that is also close to the White Horse Pike, which is dotted with shops and restaurants.

This property was developed by Beazer Homes from 2006 to 2008 and offers two floor plans at 1,900 or 1,982 square feet, respectively. Most have two to three bedrooms, two bathrooms, master suites, eat-in kitchens, and one-car garages. The private clubhouse has a fitness room, lounge, game room, and an outdoor patio.

Covington Village - Lakewood

$100k - Mid $100s

A gated community, Covington Village was built from 2005 to 2012 by Matzel Development in desirable Ocean County. The charming hamlet of Lakewood is known for the minor baseball league stadium FirstEnergy Park and Ocean County Park. It's also close to Point Pleasant Beach.

Also great for downsizing, this gated 55+ neighborhood has 360 resale condos with five cozy floor plans ranging from 890 to 1,165 square feet. They include one to two bedrooms, one to two bathrooms, covered terraces, granite countertops, hardwood floors, and parking in front of the buildings. The 12,000 square-foot clubhouse has its own movie theater and business center, plus an exercise room, a banquet hall, a day spa, an outdoor pool, and bocce courts. Residents gather at the clubhouse to enjoy holiday parties, Sunday brunches, and billiards.

Greenbriar Woodlands - Toms River

High $100s - Mid $300s

Greenbriar Woodlands, a community of 1,250 single-family resale homes, sits on a stretch of 404 acres and is known for its impressive menu of recreational offerings. Not only does it have its own private golf course and a 20,000 square-foot clubhouse, but there is also a full-time activities director who manages events and activities for residents.

Built from 1986 to 1998, this gated community has 1,250 single family homes with 15 floor plans. These homes have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and garages. Some also have basements, porticos, dens, and walk-in closets. Sporting types are drawn to Greenbriar’s horseshoe pits as well as the bocce, shuffleboard, basketball, volleyball, and tennis courts. There is also a swimming pool, fitness center, putting green, and as many clubs, groups, and activities as you can count.

Parke Place - Sewell

$100s - Mid $200s

If living near Philadelphia is a priority, Gloucester County’s Parke Place is just 30 minutes away. Homeowners benefit from being close to major medical centers like Penn Presbyterian Hospital and Hahnemann University Hospital. Sewell is also close to all of the businesses and shops along Route 55, as well as Pitman Golf Course.

Parke Place was built from 1999 to 2003 and has 406 condo and single-family homes. The condos are in two-story buildings and range from 1,353 to 1,436 square feet, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, patios or balconies, and lot parking. There are a limited number of single-family models that range from 1,308 to 2,268 square feet, with two to three bedrooms and bathrooms and attached one- or two-car garages. Upgrades include dens and sunrooms.

Warmer weather finds residents lounging or doing laps at the outdoor pool, enjoying the walking trails, or playing bocce. The clubhouse also has a fitness center and activity rooms and serves as a meeting spot for community groups and activities.

Leisuretowne - Southampton

Below $100k - High $200s

The largest active adult community in Burlington County is also its most affordable, with some homes offered for under $100,000. This gated neighborhood has 2,255 attached and single-family homes and is built on an expansive, wooded property near Route 70. It’s only about 30 minutes from Toms River and other Jersey Shore towns and is near two state forests.

Leisuretowne’s single-story townhomes range from 1,000 to 2,300 square feet, with two bedrooms, one bathroom, and garages. The single-family homes come in 11 floor plans with similar square footage, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and garages. Many also have front porches. A homeowners’ association fee provides for snow removal, exterior maintenance, and common area maintenance.

There are two clubhouses with amenities like a fitness center, activity rooms, and a catering kitchen. Additional perks include a community bus, tennis, bocce court, shuffleboard, a driving range, and an outdoor pool. Some of the most popular clubs include bowling, bible study, line dancing, art, golf, crafts, and a veterans group.