Blue sky over the outdoor pool and jacuzzi at Sun City Huntley in Huntley, Illinois

Sun City Huntley or Carillon: Which active adult community in Northern Illinois is best for you?

When deciding where to retire in Northern Illinois, it helps to look at the area’s best-selling and most popular active adult communities. Many potential homebuyers also take a closer look at the state’s two largest 55+ communities: Sun City Huntley in Huntley and Carillon in Plainfield.

These two popular age-restricted communities have similarities and differences that can help active adults decide which best fits their needs and lifestyle. So which of these 55+ communities in Northern Illinois is right for you? Start with this comparison to help you decide whether to retire in Sun City Huntley or Carillon.

Community Size

While both of these age-restricted communities are considered large developments, one boasts more than twice the residences of the other. Sun City Huntley consists of 5,489 homes across 2,300 acres, while Carillon includes 2,097 homes across 1,477 gated acres. Both communities offer resale single-family, attached, and condominium homes for sale.

As the larger community, Sun City Huntley took longer to build. Del Webb constructed the community for 15 years between 1998 and 2013. Builders Cambridge Homes and Cenvil Homes developed Carillon over 12 years from 1989 to 2001.

Amenities

Both of these luxury active adult communities boast extensive amenities and social activities designed for residents to meet like-minded individuals, enjoy their pastimes, and pursue new hobbies. These two Illinois 55+ communities have many of the same amenities. 

The 94,000-square-foot Prairie Lodge hosts many of the clubs and activities at Sun City Huntley. This resort-style amenity center features a performing arts theater, a restaurant, a fitness center, an indoor lap pool and spa, and an indoor walking track. There are also plenty of multipurpose rooms and studios for arts and crafts, hobbies, games, cards, billiards, ceramics, and sewing.

In addition to the Prairie Lodge, the community offers the 20,000-square-foot Meadow Lodge and the 4,800-square-foot Millgrove Woodworking Shop. As a newer clubhouse, the Meadow Lodge features a state-of-the-art fitness center, aerobics and dance studios, and hobby and game rooms. 

The outdoor amenities at Sun City Huntley span the community’s grounds and feature the 18-hole Whisper Creek Golf Course. Residents can also find walking and biking trails, tennis and bocce ball courts, horseshoe pits, a softball stadium, a sand volleyball court, two outdoor pools, a 19-acre fishing lake, and gardening plots. 

Residents of Carillon enjoy the 32,000-square-foot Club Carillon, which includes a grand ballroom with a stage, a fitness center, and an indoor pool and spa. The clubhouse has studios and rooms for arts and crafts, ceramics, woodworking, cards, poker, and table tennis. 

Carillon also centers around a golf course: the 27-hole Links at Carillon. The outdoor amenities include two outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, bocce ball courts, pickleball courts, bocce ball courts, horseshoe pits, a fishing lake, and walking and biking trails.

Location

Although these 55+ communities both offer convenient access to Chicago, they are located in completely different suburbs. Sun City Huntley is about 45 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. The surrounding towns include Crystal Lake and Algonquin

Residents can drive less than 90 minutes to the heart of The Windy City whenever they want to visit Chicago. Or, within 30 minutes, two Metra stations along the Union Pacific Northwest (UP-NW) Line can transport residents with ease. For longer trips, the O’Hare International Airport is only 30 minutes away.

On the other side of town, Carillon is located about 35 miles southwest of downtown Chicago. Nearby southwest suburbs include Bolingbrook, Joliet, and Naperville

It only takes residents about an hour to drive to downtown Chicago to access world-class museums, entertainment, and restaurants. The Rock Island District (RI) Metra Line, which runs from Joliet to the LaSalle Street Station, is about 20 minutes away for those who prefer to park and ride. The nearest airport, Midway International Airport, is about 45 minutes away.

Home Models

Since both of these communities offer single-family, attached, and condominium homes, residents have plenty of choices when it comes to home models and floor plans. Sun City Huntley has about 56 floor plans total, while Carillon has about 36 home models.

The Arcadia condominiums at Sun City Huntley come in six floor plans that range from 1,200 to 1,900 square feet. The attached homes range from 1,014 to 1,599 square feet with one to three bedrooms, one to two bathrooms, and attached one- or two-car garages.

The single-family homes range from 1,130 to 3,204 square feet with two to four bedrooms, two to three bathrooms, and attached two- to three-car garages. Many homes have luxury features such as open floor plans, spacious great rooms, and basements. 

The condominium homes at Carillon, which range from 835 to 1,380 square feet, offer even more opportunities to downsize into a maintenance-free lifestyle. These homes include one or two bedrooms and one or two bathrooms.

The attached homes range from 1,035 to 1,764 square feet with one to three bedrooms, one to two-and-a-half bathrooms, and attached one- or two-car garages. The single-family homes include 1,375 to 2,525 square feet of living space with up to three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms.

Price Comparison

Although it might come down to price, both of these communities offer homes within a similar price range. Homes for sale at Sun City Huntley fall between the mid $100s and the high $400s. Homes for sale at Carillon range from the mid $100s to the high $300s. The most affordable homes in each community are the condominium homes, followed by the attached homes. Detached single-family homes often begin around the low to mid $200s.