View of the boat docks on the lake at Lighthouse Bay in Bonita Springs, Florida

If you're looking to spend your winters in Florida, here are some excellent communities to consider.

Active adults trying to decide where to establish themselves as snowbirds may want to consider the Gulf Coast of Florida. Not only are there miles of sensational beaches and calm waters perfect for swimming, snorkeling, shelling, and fishing, there’s also a lively arts and food scene, as well as plenty of shopping, golf, and other recreational outlets.

But, where will you live for part of the year? We have some ideas. Check out these excellent Gulf Coast communities that are perfect for Florida snowbirds.

1. Riviera Golf Estates - Naples, FL

Below $100k - Mid $200s

Condos at Riviera Golf Estates in Naples make excellent snowbird homes because they’re low-maintenance and affordable. They’re found in two-story buildings, and each unit is 1,025 to 1,700 square feet, offering buyers plenty of space while they’re in town.

The condos have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an assigned parking space. Many resale condo homes have upgrades like granite counters and dual master suites. Single-family residences are also available, and many of them are less than 1,000 square feet and easy to care for from afar.

Amenities at this 55+ community include a clubhouse, a fitness center, a multi-purpose room, and space for cards, billiards, and arts and crafts. There’s also a catering kitchen and a library. The on-site golf course is pay-to-play, so there aren’t any expensive membership fees to worry about. Residents also enjoy shuffleboard, tennis, bocce ball, and pickleball.

Learn more about Riviera Golf Estates here.

2. Seven Lakes - Fort Myers, FL

Below $100k - High $100s

Residents of Seven Lakes in Fort Myers play golf for free, whether they’re snowbirds or year-round residents. This 55+ community has an 18-hole executive golf course, a putting green, a chipping area, and a pro shop. It’s a gated community, leaving snowbirds feeling secure when they leave to head back north for the summer.

There’s also an on-site travel agency at Seven Lakes, which can be helpful for residents who have to navigate the logistics of traveling back and forth between two homes. Additional amenities include pools, tennis and shuffleboard courts, and a clubhouse with a fitness center. There’s also a woodworking shop and a restaurant.

Condos are from 700 to 1,600 square feet with one or two bedrooms and one or two bathrooms. There are more than 30 models to choose from. Attached villas are also available with two or three bedrooms and two bathrooms as well as an attached one-car garage. Each building is secure, with three to five floors and elevators.

Learn more about Seven Lakes here.

3. Strathmore Riverside Villas - Sarasota, FL

Low $100s - High $200s

Residents anxious to spend their snowbird months on or near the water will want to check out Strathmore Riverside Villas. In this gated 55+ community in Sarasota, the condos are affordable and easy to maintain. They offer one or two bedrooms, one or two bathrooms, and 864 to 1,810 square feet. The HOA takes care of landscaping and exterior maintenance, so residents can easily lock up for the season without any worries.

Amenities include a marina as well as plenty of lakes and ponds. They’re easy to enjoy with the many paths and walking trails throughout the community. Residents are only six miles from the beach and all of the fun that can be found in Downtown Sarasota. There’s also a clubhouse with an exercise room, a heated outdoor pool, a library, billiards, and shuffleboard.

Learn more about Strathmore Riverside Villas here.

4. Pelican Preserve - Fort Myers, FL

Mid $100s - High $500s

Snowbirds who love a sense of nature should take a look at Pelican Preserve. This 55+ community in Fort Myers has a 38-acre nature preserve and a boardwalk as well as a butterfly garden, a beach area, and a fishing pier. It was awarded the Gold Seal of Sustainability from Audubon International's Sustainable Development Program. This community is a great choice for part-time residents because it’s gated, low-maintenance, and full of amenities and activities that allow residents to make the most of their time in Florida.

The clubhouse is 70,000 square feet and includes a modern fitness center and a spa. There’s also an indoor pool, a walking track, a hobby shop, and a movie theater. Residents enjoy tennis, swimming, pickleball, basketball, lawn bowling, and softball. Constant activities take place, including language classes and happy hours.

Pelican Preserve offers condos, single-family homes, and attached villas in a wide range of floor plans and sizes. They start at 1,078 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Learn more about Pelican Preserve here.

5. Lighthouse Bay - Bonita Springs, FL

Low $200s - High $300s

Two important features make Lighthouse Bay an excellent choice for winter snowbirds. First, it’s a gated community with 24-hour security. Part-time residents don’t have to worry about the safety of their winter home. Second, there’s plenty of RV parking, so snowbirds who arrive in their larger-than-life vehicles will have a great place to store them while they’re enjoying the winter sun in Bonita Springs. Garden condos are affordable and low-maintenance with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and 1,250 to 1,364 square feet. There’s carport parking with each condo. 

There aren’t any age restrictions at Lighthouse Bay, and it’s part of The Brooks, a master-planned community. Each home comes with a water view, and there are fishing lakes, wildlife preserves, docks, and a boathouse. The clubhouse includes a fitness center, a business center, a massage room, and a dry sauna and cold plunge. With five pools, sundecks, and all the amenities available at The Brooks recreational areas, it'll be hard to feel bored while spending the winter months here.

Learn more about Lighthouse Bay here.