Landscaping in bloom at the clubhouse at Hilton Head Plantation, South Carolina

When choosing between Ocean Ridge Plantation and Hilton Head Plantation, you can't go wrong.

Choosing the right place to settle down for retirement can be overwhelming with so many potential active adult communities to choose from. It’s even harder once you’ve narrowed it down to two incredible options like Ocean Ridge Plantation and Hilton Head Plantation.

As large communities in popular coastal towns, both have a lot to offer residents, from their desirable locations, mild climates, and long lists of amenities to their wide variety of architectural styles and available floor plans. However, they do have some differences that set one apart from the other.

Here are a few important facts that may help you choose between Ocean Ridge Plantation and Hilton Head Plantation:

Hilton Head Plantation

Low $400s - High $1Ms

Spread over a sprawling 4,000 acres along Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Hilton Head Plantation is a large gated community that was originally built in 1973. The established neighborhood is made up of a mixture of more than 4,200 condos, single-family, and attached homes that are available as new construction as well as on a resale basis.

The waterfront views of the Port Royal Sound and Skull Creek, plus two-miles of sandy shoreline and a vast list of amenities are all big draws for the neighborhood. With four golf courses and several recreational areas spread throughout the community, homeowners can easily lead an active lifestyle.

The Dolphin Head Recreation Area includes a clubhouse, a hobby and game room, horseshoe pits, and BBQ grills, while the Spring Lake Recreation Area includes an outdoor pool, a wading pool and sun deck, 12 Har-Tru tennis courts, several athletic fields, a stocked fishing lake, a gardening area, walking trails, and a 50-acre cypress conservatory.

There are also two additional clubhouses on the property for residents to enjoy—the Plantation House and Spring Lake Pavilion. The Plantation House is frequently used for POA activities and club meetings, and it's home to a large multi-purpose room, catering kitchen, veranda, and fireplace. Spring Lake Pavilion is a two-story clubhouse that features a fitness room, a multi-purpose room, a catering kitchen, a patio grill area, picnic tables, and a playground outside.

In addition to the neighborhood’s many amenities, there are also dozens of organized clubs, activities, and events at Hilton Head Plantation, from aerobics classes and chair yoga to gardening clubs and team bridge. There’s even an on-site activities director and recreational staff who make sure there’s always something going on in the neighborhood.

Other perks that come along with living at Hilton Head Plantation include its close proximity to shopping centers, dining, and entertainment options, which are within walking distance. As an added bonus, some of the area’s most popular beaches are also just a short drive away.

The neighborhood is close to I-95, and the Savannah International and Hilton Head airports, making domestic and international travel extremely easy. Another important item to note is that when it comes to finances, residents of South Carolina pay lower taxes since the state doesn’t tax Social Security benefits and offers a considerable retirement-income deduction on state taxes.

Ocean Ridge Plantation

Low $300s - High $900s

Situated in the beach town of Ocean Isle, North Carolina, Ocean Ridge Plantation is also a large gated community that features more than 3,000 single-family homes spread throughout a dozen smaller neighborhoods. Both new and resale options are available with home prices that are slightly more affordable than Hilton Head Plantation.

Since the community opened in 1990, multiple builders have constructed a variety of floor plans, giving potential homebuyers a lot of choices when it comes to the design and layout of their homes. Most residences in the development range from smaller 1,600 square-foot cottages to larger floor plans that offer 2,800 square feet of living space. Homebuyers will also appreciate that most homesites within Ocean Ridge offer scenic golf course or coastal views.

Residents can enjoy a laid-back lifestyle with Ocean Ridge’s resort-style amenities that include everything from private member’s lounges and clubhouses to beachfront property, saunas, and multiple swimming pools. There are also a number of restaurants and grilles conveniently located on-site, making it easy for neighbors to enjoy an evening out without going too far from home.

Other notable amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness center, lighted tennis courts, a four-acre fishing lake, community gardens, walking and biking trails, plus a nature park and pavilion. With five 18-hole championship golf courses located within the development, Ocean Ridge is also ideal for golfers.

Along with the community’s amenities, staying social is a breeze with more than 50 organized clubs that will appeal to all sorts of interests, from art and quilting to volunteer groups and golf clubs.

As for the surrounding areas, Ocean Ridge is less than 30 minutes away from Myrtle Beach and all the excitement that popular vacation town has to offer as well as its international airport. The community is approximately 45 minutes away from historic Wilmington and its airport, entertainment, and cultural amenities.