UPDATE: For a more current list, check out our 55 Best 55+ communities of 2019.
55places.com is proud to announce its list of the 55 Best 55+ Communities in the United States for 2018.
For the fifth consecutive year, the 55places.com team carefully chose each active adult community on this list based on research, internal data, feedback, and personal experiences. While we understand everyone has a different interpretation of what’s considered the “best,” we looked at each community’s location, residential types, amenities, price range, and lifestyle opportunities in order to arrive at our own conclusions based on our well-informed criteria and expert analysis. You can learn more about our methodology here.
Longtime readers will recognize some familiar communities on the list while also noticing some newcomers shooting up the charts to challenge the age-restricted royalty. More and more active adult communities are upping the ante when it comes to swanky clubhouses, breadth of amenities, amazing lifestyle opportunities, and stunning home designs. We wanted to reward those who go above and beyond for their residents in different ways.
While we understand that our list is compiled using objective data and doesn’t take into account the personal needs and requirements of each active adult, we hope it helps inform your search for the ideal 55+ community to fit your lifestyle.
Without further ado, The 55 Best 55+ Communities in the U.S. for 2018.
1. Sun City Hilton Head - Bluffton, SC
For the second year in a row, Sun City Hilton Head tops our list as the very best 55+ community. Since 1995, this age-restricted community has been one of the most highly acclaimed active adult communities in the country and features sprawling grounds that include a 45-acre Town Center and Amenity Complex, multiple sports courts, and 54 holes of golf. With more than 200 chartered clubs and interest groups, the residents here never want for things to do and friends to do them with. Learn more about what it's like living in Sun City Hilton Head from current residents.
2. On Top of the World - Ocala, FL
If you’re going to live in an active adult community, finding one in the “Horse Capital of the World” isn’t such a bad idea. There aren’t horses roaming On Top of the World but you will find plenty of 55+ residents in this age-restricted community, which will host more than 10,000 homes at build out. The community features several clubhouses, three 18-hole golf courses, fitness centers, swimming pools, tennis courts, restaurants, and an R/C airplane field and R/C car track. Residents also have access to more than 200 clubs, meaning residents here rarely, if ever, get bored.
3. Sun City Shadow Hills - Indio, CA
Del Webb's second active adult community in Southern California’s Coachella Valley might just be its best. Located in Indio, two miles east of Sun City Palm Desert, Sun City Shadow Hills is considered the perfect retreat for active adults who want to get the most out of life. Between the 35,000 square-foot Montecito clubhouse, 14,000 square-foot Santa Rosa clubhouse, the 18-hole Shadow Hills Golf Course, and the dozens of amenities in and around them, residents certainly have the chance to. The steadily growing list of clubs and classes also help community residents fill their days with exciting activities and events.
4. Sun City Grand - Surprise, AZ
This Del Webb community in Phoenix's northwest valley hosts an impressive lineup of amenities, social activities, and golf courses. Residents of Sun City Grand cherish their smaller community for its newer homes in a quiet, uncongested location in Central Arizona. Many retirees are lured to the resale homes that offer modern floor plans and finishes here, including those from other Sun City developments. Amenities include the Sonoran Plaza, the Adobe Spa and Fitness Center, Cimarron Day Spa, the Palm Center where you’ll find the studio for Sun City Grand's very own television station, several outdoor resort-style pools, and four championship golf courses designed by PGA Hall-of-Famer Billy Casper and renowned golf course architect Greg Nash.
5. Solivita - Kissimmee, FL
Boasting over 150,000 square feet of amenities integrated into the natural landscape with shimmering lakes and streams, this 55+ community has a whole lot to offer. As a golf-cart-friendly community, most residents enjoy the convenience of this primary mode of transportation to and from the amenities throughout Solivita. The impressive community amenities include the 32,000 square-foot Riviera Spa and Fitness Center, 19,000 square-foot Palms Amenity Complex, the Starlite Ballroom, Waterfront Galleries for arts, crafts, and games, Freedom Park for sports, and the semi-private Stonegate Golf Club which includes two 18-hole golf courses.
6. Sun City Texas - Georgetown, TX
Del Webb began construction on this age-restricted community in 1995 and plans to build 9,900 homes upon completion. As the largest 55-plus community in the state, Sun City Texas continues to be a renowned active adult community thanks to its two well-appointed amenity centers that feature an on-site restaurant, multiple indoor and outdoor swimming pools, three 18-hole golf courses, and plenty of recreational facilities. Sun City Texas’ prime location in Central Texas also allows homeowners to have easy access to nearby popular cities like Austin for additional entertainment, shopping, dining, nightlife, and attractions.
7. Trilogy Orlando - Groveland, FL
Trilogy Orlando in Groveland is situated in the heart of Central Florida, just 30 miles west of Orlando. This one-of-a-kind community is already home to a diverse mix of residents from across the country. True to Shea Homes' style, the opulent amenities, attention to detail, and a lifestyle that kicks monotony in the pants makes this one of the most elegant and exciting active adult communities in Central Florida. Upon completion, this gated community will be comprised of 1,499 energy-efficient single-family residences. The 57,000 square-foot Magnolia House at the center of the community is an impressive amenity center and clubhouse to behold.
8. Stone Creek - Ocala, FL
This gated active adult community in Ocala, Florida plans to include 3,800 homes when finished, making it a solid option for active adults who want the world-class amenities and the lifestyle of a large Central Florida enclave without the crowds of nearby mega-retirement communities. Stone Creek is located on Ocala's southwest corridor just off Highway 200, an area renowned for its ancient oak trees, horse farms, rolling hills and pristine lakes. Amenity center Reflection Bay spans 29 acres and is a 60,000 square-foot social and recreational complex featuring two indoor facilities reserved for social and fitness activities. The community also includes Elan Spa & Resort Pool, a variety of recreation and sport courts, and a Terry Doss designed 18-hole championship golf course.
9. SaddleBrooke - Tucson, AZ
Robson Communities opened SaddleBrooke in 1986 and plans to build 4,589 homes at completion. This active adult community, situated at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, features an award-winning lineup of resort-style amenities, social clubs and activities, and new and resale homes. Residents enjoy the community’s several large clubhouses, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, and outdoor recreational areas including 63 holes of spectacular golf, miles of scenic walking and biking trails, and a variety of pickleball, tennis, and bocce ball courts. The great location in Southern Arizona also provides the chance to enjoy Tucson’s attractions along with the area’s outdoor natural beauty.
10. Kings Point - Sun City Center, FL
Since construction began in the early 1970s, retirees from across the country have flocked to Kings Point in Sun City Center in search of a warm climate, an active lifestyle, and low-maintenance living. Despite the fact that this community is located within the greater Sun City Center area, it is not directly affiliated with the Sun City Center Association. However, residents here enjoy convenient golf cart access to all of the retail and dining establishments in Sun City Center. This 55+ community has two private clubhouses, golf courses, and many more activities. Kings Point residences tend to be newer than units in the original area of Sun City Center and they come with a 90,000 square-foot main clubhouse, 28,000 square-foot secondary clubhouse, and three exclusive golf courses.