For many active adults at the start of their homebuying journey, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Factors like budget, lifestyle needs, location, and available amenities can quickly seem like a give and take; you have to sacrifice one to gain another. However, there are many communities across the country that can provide everything you’re looking for. Every year, 55places rounds up 55 of the best age-restricted communities to help active adult homebuyers find the perfect place to call home.
Here are the 55 best 55+ communities of 2021.
Mid $100s - Mid $1Ms
Earning the No. 1 spot this year, Laguna Woods Village is a 55+ community with all the best a Southern California retirement has to offer. It boasts seven clubhouses, 36 holes of golf, five swimming pools, an equestrian center, and over 250 clubs and organizations. Also, for homebuyers with any security concerns, Laguna Woods Village is gated with 24-hour patrols and a private bus system.
With 12,736 homes, this is the largest active adult community on the West Coast. Laguna Woods Village has single-family homes, high-rise condominiums, attached single-level condos, and carefree co-ops, providing plenty of options for interested homebuyers to consider. Residents also enjoy a prime location just 10 minutes from the beach.
2. Sun City - Sun City, AZ
Below $100k - High $800s
The community that started it all always makes an appearance on this list, and it’s earned a top spot this year. Sun City in Arizona was the first 55+ active adult community in the country, and it now has 27,492 homes, eleven golf courses, and countless amenities and social clubs. Its incredible home values, low property taxes, and minimal association fees make it an annual contender for the best 55+ community.
Pioneering the notion that residents should be able to live in an entirely self-contained community, Sun City has golf-cart-legal streets that provide easy access to the recreation and shopping centers within the community. Interested homebuyers can select from single-family homes, patio homes, and garden condos with styles and prices to accommodate buyers of almost any budget.
Below $100k - Low $1Ms
A unique option on this list, Green Valley Recreation isn’t technically a 55+ community, but rather a conglomerate of 55+ active adult neighborhoods located just south of Tucson. However, it earned a top spot on this list due to its abundant social and leisure activities, its dedication to serving the needs of its members, and its wide variety of condo, attached, and single-family homes spread across its many subdivisions.
With a small annual fee, GVR members have access to 13 recreation centers with amenities such as fitness centers, hobby and craft areas, aerobics and dance studios, woodworking shops, and multipurpose rooms. Outside, there are 13 swimming pools, scenic lakes, miles of walking and biking trails, and a collection of tennis, pickleball, bocce ball, shuffleboard, and basketball courts. Plus, there are numerous clubs and interest groups that include everything from tennis, hiking, and golf to cards, crafts, and dancing.
4. Rossmoor - Walnut Creek, CA
Mid $200s - Mid $1Ms
Our second California community on this list, Rossmoor is an idyllic 55+ community in Northern California that offers low-maintenance homes, attractive amenities, and a relaxed pace in a prime location. Construction began in 1963, and since then, the community has grown to encompass 6,678 homes. Properties within the community typically feature one to three bedrooms and one to three bathrooms.
Residents of Rossmoor have access to 27 holes of NCGA-rated golf, five spacious clubhouses, swimming pools, tennis courts, and miles of hiking trails. Also, with over 200 social clubs, this community enables homeowners to be as active and social as they want. For more adventurous residents, the community is centrally located in Contra Costa County, only 26 miles away from San Francisco.
Below $100k - Mid $500s
Sun City Center is a self-contained village with retail establishments, grocery stores, and even a hospital. It’s an expansive 55+ community near Tampa with over 11,000 residents, affordable homes, top-notch amenities, and nearly 200 clubs. Also, the community's proximity to Tampa, the Gulf of Mexico, and other local attractions make it a desirable option among retirees.
For active adults seeking a resale home, there’s a large variety of attached and single-family models in Sun City Center. The largest part of this 55+ community is the original neighborhood built by Del Webb, which has about 6,200 homes. Also, this community has three amenity campuses that each offer facilities for both fitness and social activities.
Low $100s - High $600s
Heading back to Arizona for No. 6, we’re taking a look at Sun City West, a 16,900-home community just 2.5 miles away from the original Sun City. This community features attached and single-family homes built between 1978 and 1997. The single-family homes range from 800 to over 4,600 square feet, while the attached homes vary from about 760 to 1,880 square feet.
Residents of Sun City West have easy access to the well-appointed recreation centers, a variety of shopping centers, and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities. The on-site amenities include seven golf courses, nine restaurants, indoor and outdoor pools, state-of-the-art fitness centers, indoor and outdoor walking tracks, ballrooms, dance studios, hobby and craft rooms, a theater, and more.
7. Solivita - Kissimmee, FL
Mid $100s - Low $600s
For active adults seeking a retirement near all the iconic fun and excitement of Orlando, take a look at what Solivita has to offer. This 4,300-acre master-planned community is home to eight distinct amenity complexes and neighborhood centers. It also boasts over 150,000 square feet of amenities alongside an abundance of greenspaces, lakes, and waterways.
With more than 20 home collections, Solivita has a wide variety of home styles to choose from. Taylor Morrison and AV Homes began construction in 200 and plan to feature 5,900 homes upon completion. Solivita has both attached and single-family homes available on a new and resale basis.
Low $100s - Mid $500s
It’s no surprise that On Top Of The World is claiming a spot in the top 10 on this list. After all, it was named Community of the Year for two consecutive years (and for good reason). This scenic 55+ community in the heart of Central Florida will have 10,000 homes upon completion, making it one of the largest active adult communities in the state.
On Top Of The World offers its residents attractive home designs, a vast array of resort-style amenities, and everything residents need to engage in an active lifestyle. The community has three golf courses, several clubhouses, fitness centers, swimming pools, tennis and pickleball courts, restaurants, over 175 organized clubs, and so much more. For interested homebuyers, On Top of the World offers single-family homes and attached villas that range from roughly 1,000 to over 3,000 square feet.
Below $100k - Low $300s
Offering some of the most affordable home prices on this list, Kings Point is a gated 55+ neighborhood with golf cart access to retail and dining options in Sun City Center. This 5,277-home community has two private clubhouses, golf courses, and plenty of on-site activities. In addition to the amenities available in the community, residents also have access to the facilities at the Sun City Center South and North Amenity Campuses.
Construction began in the early 1970s, and Kings Point is almost exclusively comprised of attached villa condos arranged in duplex configurations, providing some ideal home models for active adults looking to downsize. Homebuyers have a variety of choices, from 800-square-foot condos to more spacious units with nearly 2,000 square feet.
Mid $100s - High $500s
Back in SoCal, Leisure World Seal Beach is a gated 55+ community in sunny Orange County. With a mild climate, ocean breezes, a variety of social activities, and low-maintenance homes, this community provides an idyllic California retirement. There are over 200 clubs, organizations, and activities as well as a golf course, a pool, a library, an amphitheater, and five workshops and studios. In addition to all of the amenities within the community, Leisure World also enjoys an ideal location less than two miles from the Pacific Ocean.
With 6,608 homes, this community has a lot to offer active adult homebuyers looking for co-op units and condos. There are ten floor plans that range from 550 to 1,540 square feet with one or two bedrooms, one or two bathrooms, and a carport. The homeowners' association (HOA) fee generally covers exterior maintenance, landscaping, common area upkeep, recreational activities, and security, although the services may vary.
11. Sun City Grand - Surprise, AZ
Low $300s - High $900s
Sun City Grand, a 45+ community located in Surprise, is our fourth Sun City community on this list. Like its other Sun City counterparts, this community offers a vast lineup of amenities, social activities, and golf courses. Homeowners are also a short distance from daily conveniences, including grocery stores, health care services, and big-city entertainment in Phoenix.
With 9,802 homes, Sun City Grand has a wide selection of home styles to choose from. For active adults seeking a villa, a condo, or a single-family home, this community has over 50 floor plans, and properties are available on a resale basis. Also, the HOA takes care of common area maintenance and some landscaping services.
Below $100k - Mid $500s
With two clubhouses, a golf course, and plenty of social activities, there’s always something for residents to enjoy at Leisure World Of Maryland. Completed in 2009, this community has 5,600 homes that are subdivided into 29 neighborhoods.
Interested homebuyers have a variety of low-maintenance condos, attached homes, and single-family homes to choose from. The condos offer approximately 705 to 1,790 square feet, the attached homes offer 650 to 1,450 square feet, and the patio homes offer about 870 to 1,200 square feet. Also, with snow removal and yard maintenance taken care of, residents have more free time to join community clubs and attend on-site events.
13. Sun City Anthem - Henderson, NV
Low $200s - Low $1Ms
The Las Vegas area is gaining a lot of popularity among active adult homebuyers, and this next entry on our list of the best 55+ communities has been attracting attention for years. Completed in 2008, Sun City Anthem in Henderson is a master-planned community by Del Webb. As we’ve come to expect from Del Webb communities, the amenities and activities in this community are extensive with three clubhouses, two 18-hole golf courses, and over 50 clubs and interest groups.
Perched in the foothills of the Black Mountains, this community offers elevated views of the Las Vegas Strip as well as cooler temperatures and cleaner air. Interested homebuyers can choose from over 20 floor plans, and many current homes for sale fall between the mid $300s to high $400s.
Mid $200s - Low $1Ms
Another popular option in Nevada, Sun City Summerlin is actually Del Webb’s first active adult community in the Las Vegas area. This community is nestled within the Spring Mountain Range and part of the Summerlin master-planned community. Also, with 7,779 homes and about 20 separate residential villages spread across 22,500 acres, Sun City Summerlin is the largest 55+ community in the state.
Offering four clubhouses, three golf courses, three restaurants, and many other world-class amenities, Sun City Summerlin has no shortage of entertainment options for its residents. Also, there are over 80 clubs and interest groups where residents can meet like-minded neighbors.
Mid $300s - High $1Ms
Active adults seeking homes for sale in California’s Coachella Valley should consider Sun City Palm Desert, a 55+ community with 4,949 homes. The attached and single-family homes in this community offer 1,000 to 3,200 square feet, one to three bedrooms, one-and-a-half to three-and-a-half bathrooms, and two-car garages.
Aside from a variety of floor plans, Sun City Palm Desert also features well-manicured landscaping across 1,600 acres, three clubhouses packed with resort-style amenities, and a rich lineup of clubs, activities, and classes to keep residents physically and socially active. Also, the Coachella Valley offers a variety of nearby shopping centers, dining options, and casinos.
Low $100s - Low $300s
Located just 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and 90 minutes from Orlando and Tampa, Oak Run is an active adult community in Ocala, FL. This community is popular among retirees due in no small part to its expansive list of amenities that includes five clubhouses, a fitness center, and the Royal Oaks Golf Club. Residents can purchase a golf or social membership to utilize the golf course, clubhouse, restaurant, and pro shop.
Oak Run offers attached and single-family homes on a resale basis. The single-family homes come in 20 models that offer 1,112 to 2,275 square feet, two or three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached one- or two-car garage. The duplex homes offer 1,049 to 1,489 square feet with two to three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached one- to two-car garage.
17. Encore - Kennesaw, GA
High $300s - Mid $400s
Our first Georgia community on this list, Encore is a 55+ community with 46 new construction single-family homes available in four models. The community is just 30 minutes from Atlanta, but there are plenty of shopping and dining options as well as parks and golf courses nearby. The community also has a clubhouse where residents gather for events, parties, and social activities.
Windsong Properties completed Encore in 2019, and homes range from 1,978 to 2,922 square feet. The HOA takes care of everything from landscaping to pest control, allowing for more free time for residents to explore new hobbies and relax with their neighbors.
18. Lake Ashton - Lake Wales, FL
Low $200s - Mid $600s
Surrounded by rolling hills and just six miles from Downtown Winter Haven, Lake Ashton is a gated active adult community in Central Florida. The community overlooks the picturesque Lake Ashton and features attractive home models, resort-style amenities, and two private 18-hole championship golf courses.
CRF Communities began construction on Lake Ashton in 2002, and upon completion, the community will contain 1,600 attached and single-family homes. Also, Lake Ashton's amenities span a 26,000-square-foot clubhouse and a 30,000-square-foot health and fitness center so residents can stay socially and physically active all year.
Mid $100s - High $500s
Pelican Preserve is an 1,100-acre golf course community within 15 miles of Downtown Fort Myers and 40 miles north of Naples. Constructed from 2001 to 2020, the community now has 2,500 homes, including condos, carriage homes, attached villas, and single-family homes.
The 70,000-square-foot Plaza Del Sol clubhouse is the hub of social activity. Indoor amenities within the community include a state-of-the-art fitness center, a ceramics and art studio, a card room, a game room, a 100-seat movie theater, and a banquet hall. Outdoors, there’s a resort-style pool, the Flip Flops juice bar, an outdoor amphitheater, a sand beach area, courts for basketball, pickleball, volleyball, and a softball field.
Low $200s - Mid $1Ms
This list wouldn’t be complete without South Carolina’s largest 55+ community: Sun City Hilton Head. With over 8,000 homes, world-class amenities, and 54 holes of golf, this community brings active adult living to the semi-tropical Lowcountry of South Carolina. Housing options range from villa townhomes to spacious single-family homes with plenty of floor plans to choose from.
Since construction began in 1995, Sun City Hilton Head has earned a reputation as one of the most highly acclaimed active adult communities in the country, and that’s partially due to its amenity centers. The social hub of the community is the 45-acre Village Center, but there’s also The Pinckney Social Hall, The Purrysburg Fitness Center, and The Yemassee Crafts Center.
To get the list of the best 55+ communities we first identified over 2000 active adult communities with an age restriction. We then created three different scoring categories to determine which was the best.
The Popularity Score looks at overall MLS sales in the last year as well as how many people searched for the community across the web. The Lifestyle Score is drawn from the number of amenities, the number of social clubs and activities within the community, and the different types of homes available. The Financial Score takes into account the cost of living in the nearest city, the state property tax, the state income tax, and the local sales taxes.
We then scored and weighed all the data from each category to finalize the top 55 communities.