The Best 55+ Communities on California’s Central Coast for Downsizing

Looking to retire near the ocean? Check out these active adult communities in the California Central Coast area.

Spanning north of Los Angeles County and south of San Francisco, the Central Coast is a stunning stretch of coastal land that’s becoming increasingly popular among active adults looking for California coastal living without the steep price tag and crowds.

Although living on any coast isn’t cheap, many Boomers find it more affordable if they choose to downsize, cutting housing costs and adding the benefit of lower maintenance. There are a lot of benefits to moving into a smaller home, whether that be a single-family home with less square-footage, an attached townhome, or a condo. In addition to buying a cheaper, smaller home, there’s less space to heat and cool, a smaller (or no yard) to maintain, less house to clean, and that satisfying relief of finally organizing and removing all that unused clutter.

California’s Central Coast offers Boomers some beautiful 55+ communities with proximity to scenic beaches, cool ocean breezes, and a laid-back beach town lifestyle. Downsizing allows for more money and time to enjoy all of the attractions and activities a coastal community has to offer. Take a look at these featured 55+ communities in the California Central Coast area that offer homes perfect for downsizing.

Sunrise Terrace — Arroyo Grande, CA

Low $300s – Mid $400s

The resident-owned 55+ community Sunrise Terrace offers affordable single-family homes that are perfect for downsizing and enjoying the charming offerings of Arroyo Grande. The quaint coastal town lies just southwest of Pismo Beach, near stunning beaches, wineries, golf courses, boutique shopping, and delicious restaurants.

Sunrise Terrace started construction in 1974, and it continued to improve over the years until construction finished in 2002. The intimate community consists of 300 single-family homes, most with views of the ocean and sand dunes. These resale homes range in size from 960 to 1,790 square feet with one to three bedrooms, one to two bathrooms, and a carport for parking.

Along with affordable, low-maintenance homes, Sunrise Terrace offers residents a friendly, social environment and plenty of amenities. The Hyatt Hall clubhouse offers social rooms for mingling, hobby rooms to learn or perfect new crafts, and a fitness center. There’s also a recreation hall, catering kitchen, library, and billiards room to enjoy. Outdoors, residents and their guests can make use of the pool, patio, and barbecue area. For more outdoor fun, there are tennis courts, a horseshoe pit, bocce ball courts, and shuffleboard courts. Golfers will be thrilled with the onsite putting green and 3-hole golf course. The Sunrise Terrace also has a pavilion and BBQ area for outdoor social events, and there’s even a dog park for furry companions.

Hacienda Carmel — Carmel by the Sea, CA

Mid $300s – Mid $800s

The condominium community of Hacienda Carmel is a perfect 55+ community for downsizing, as it consists solely of low-maintenance condos in the highly coveted beach town of Carmel by the Sea. The upscale beachside town offers a quaint downtown area with a multitude of high-end shopping boutiques and numerous world-class restaurants. Most homes in this town are well over a million dollars, but homes in Hacienda Carmel start in the mid $300s.

The active adult community of Hacienda Carmel spans across 50 serene acres and boasts picturesque mountain views near stunning beaches and walking trails. The community is intimate, thanks to its smaller size of just 300 homes. The resale condo homes in this community range from 560 to 1,300 square feet with one to two bedrooms and one to two bathrooms. There are small studio units also available.

Low-maintenance condo-living means more times to enjoy the beautiful amenities Hacienda Carmel has to offer. At the Casa Central clubhouse, neighbors enjoy meals together at the main dining room, which offers daily specials and weekly menu changes as well as room service free-of-charge. There’s a fitness center, an art studio, garden plots, a library, and a hair salon available for resident use. An onsite dog park provides furry friends with exercise, and a daily shuttle ferries residents to downtown or to run errands. One unique feature of Casa Amigo is the community guest house, which allows residents’ guests to stay for up to 30 days.

Traditions at River Oaks — Paso Robles, CA

High $400s – High $500s

Although Traditions at River Oaks consists of single-family homes, this 55+ community does offer some smaller resale single-family homes that are under 1,300 square feet—perfect for downsizing. This gated 55+ community offers active adults an intimate and cozy neighborhood near Central Coast attractions such as nearby shopping, wineries, restaurants, boating, camping, hiking, and horse riding stables.

Traditions at River Oaks is comprised of only 208 single-family homes that range in size from 1,275 to 2,330 square feet with two or three bedrooms, two to three bathrooms, and an attached two- or three-car garage. These homes boast high-end finishes such as hardwood floors, granite countertops, and breakfast nooks.

The amenities at Traditions at River Oaks include a clubhouse, an aerobics studio and exercise room, a multi-purpose room, and a catering kitchen. There’s also a library and billiards rooms. Outside, residents take advantage of the beautiful coastal weather at the sparkling pool and spa and socialize around the barbecue patio areas.

Can you spot the $207,744 difference between these identical homes?

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