Landscaping in bloom around the Green Valley Recreation East Center near Green Valley Fairways in Green Valley, Arizona

What are the best communities for downsizing in southern Arizona? Fortunately, there are plenty to choose from.

If you’re thinking of Arizona for retirement and you want to downsize, you should consider whether you want to live in a smaller, more intimate community or a larger community with more amenities. There are several choices in two towns close to TucsonGreen Valley and adjoining Sahuarita.

Retirement communities in southern Arizona enjoy a slightly different climate from those in central Arizona and northern Arizona. For example, Tucson in southern Arizona is at an elevation of just under 2,400 feet, while Phoenix in central Arizona is just over 1,000 feet. Phoenix is therefore generally a few degrees hotter. Southern Arizona is also much milder in the winter than northern Arizona. Northern Arizona gets winter storms, sometimes closing the access roads to the Grand Canyon, whereas in southern Arizona, an inch or so of snow is a novelty.

Of the many southern Arizona retirement communities that are perfect for downsizing, the following active adult communities offer different options, depending on what you want to do during your Arizona retirement.

Green Valley Fairways

Below $100K - Mid $100s

Green Valley Fairways is a 55+ active adult community in the town of Green Valley, a 30-minute drive south of Tucson with a population of about 25,000. The community has 759 single-family homes, and it's less than five minutes from one of Green Valley’s main shopping malls.

The smallest models here are under 1,000 square feet, with prices of around $100K. As this is a smaller community, homes best suited for downsizing are not always available, so it’s important to register with a trusted realtor so you know when those smaller homes come onto the market. 

Residents of this community belong to Green Valley Recreation (GVR), and therefore, have access to all of GVR’s many amenities in return for an annual membership fee. GVR’s East Center is less than a 5-minute drive away, and it has an outdoor pool, a fitness center, tennis courts, and pickleball courts. Residents can also access the private Haven Golf Course.

Rancho Resort

Below $100s - High $100s

Rancho Resort is in Sahuarita, a town of 30,000 people that's north of Green Valley and merges into it. This 55+ gated community for active adults has 370 single-family homes, and it's a 20-minute drive from Downtown Tucson. The resort is located next to Interstate 19, with the nearest shopping mall a 5-minute drive away. Models here start at about 1,000 square feet with prices at around $100K.

Amenities include a 20,000-square-foot clubhouse as well as a ballroom, library, fitness center, outdoor pool and spa, a putting green, and facilities for tennis, pickleball, bocce, and shuffleboard. The nearest golf course is at Quail Creek, a 15-minute drive away.

Vista View Resort

Below $100s - Mid $100s

Vista View Resort is in Sierra Vista, a town of roughly 45,000 people about 80 miles southeast of Tucson. This is a gated community of 365 single-family homes for the 55+ active adult. The smallest homes are 1,088 square feet, providing one bedroom, a den, one-and-a-half bathrooms, and a two-car garage.

Amenities at Vista View Resort include a clubhouse, a fitness center, a library, hiking and biking trails, and an outdoor pool and spa. The nearest golf course is at the Pueblo del Sol Country Club, a 10-minute drive away. Also, the historic western town of Tombstone is a 25-minute drive away, through Arizona’s dramatic desert landscape.

Casa Paloma

Below $100K - Low $100s

Casa Paloma is a Green Valley community of 639 attached homes for the 55+ active adult. It’s a 25-minute drive from Tucson along I-19, the Green Valley Library is a three-minute drive or a 10-minute walk away, and the Green Valley Village shopping mall is the same distance in the other direction. For downsizers, the smallest models are under 1,000 square feet with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a carport.

Casa Paloma homes have access to all the amenities provided by Green Valley Recreation, with GVR’s Las Campanas Center less than five minutes away. This has an outdoor pool and spa, a fitness center, and courts for tennis, racquetball, and bocce. GVR’s East Center is a similar distance away, and it has an outdoor pool, fitness center, and courts for tennis and pickleball. Also, the Haven Golf Course is right next door.

The Villages of Green Valley

Below $100K - High $100s

The Villages of Green Valley is also in Green Valley, and its smallest homes are a compact 745 square feet with one bedroom, one bathroom, and an attached two-car garage. This 55+ community has 475 attached and single-family homes. It’s a 2-minute drive from the nearest shopping mall and 25 minutes from Tucson.

Amenities include a clubhouse, a fitness center, an outdoor pool, a tennis court, four pickleball courts, and six shuffleboard courts. Residents also have access to the facilities provided by GVR, with both their Las Campanas Center and East Center being a five-minute drive away.