Lakeland isn't close to the ocean, but the residents still enjoy water at an affordable price.

Florida real estate isn’t always cheap, but in the Lakeland-Winter Haven area of Central Florida, there are 20 active adult communities that are both affordable and attractive.

If you’re trying to decide where to live during a Florida retirement, avoid the coasts and consider the central region where you’ll spend less for more. You’ll also have access to freshwater fishing lakes, various hiking trails and parks, and stunning museums and architecture.

These five affordable 55+ communities are great for active adults on a budget.

Cypress Lakes - Lakeland

Below $100k - Mid $100s

Just off Interstate 4 and ideally located between Tampa and Orlando, Cypress Lakes provides a comfortable lifestyle without a lot of maintenance or extra fees.

There are 1,600 single-family homes available on a resale basis, and all of the properties currently available are under $170,000. Dozens of floor plans feature two and three-bedroom homes with two bathrooms. Some homes have dens, and all of them have a garage.

The amenities in Cypress Lakes are similar to those you’d expect to find at more expensive communities. The 30,000 square-foot clubhouse is called Big Cypress Club and includes a fitness center, aerobics studio, activity and craft rooms, and a stage for live performances.

Residents have an easy time staying active, with the outdoor pools and pickleball courts, horseshoe pits, tennis courts, and shuffleboard courts. There’s a golf course, which will require extra membership fees. Big Cypress Golf Club has an 18-hole executive course available to residents.  

Foxwood Lake Estates - Lakeland

Below $100k - Mid $100s

In Foxwood Lake Estates, Florida homes for sale can be found for less than $100,000. The 55+ community in Lakeland has its own fishing lakes as well as parks and walking trails.

Amenities include an indoor sauna and an outdoor hot tub. Shuffleboard courts, tennis courts, and a fitness center are also provided. Residents can be found relaxing at the outdoor pool or playing billiards inside the air conditioned clubhouse.

The single-family homes at Foxwood Lake Estates have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and either one or two-car garages. They range in size from 828 square feet to 1,536 square feet.

There’s a monthly newspaper for residents, pancake breakfasts, and potluck dinners. The community isn’t too far from downtown Lakeland and its quaint shops, restaurants, and cafes. It’s also close to Florida Southern College, a campus with unique buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Traditions at Lake Ruby - Winter Haven

High $100s - Mid $200s

Winter Haven has 24 lakes, all connected by a network of canals. It’s a unique and upscale city to call home, but the cost of living remains reasonable. Traditions at Lake Ruby is a good example of that.

In this gated 55+ community, new and resale homes can be purchased within an affordable range, and the active homeowners' association keeps its dues low. Check out the various floor plans in the Estate and the Executive collections, where you’ll find homes with between two and four bedrooms and two or three bathrooms.

Boat docks on the property make Traditions at Lake Ruby special, and the serene lake in the middle of the community creates a welcoming and peaceful atmosphere that’s especially enjoyable during a morning walk or an evening bike ride.

Other amenities include a fitness studio, a resort-style outdoor pool and spa, and courts for shuffleboard, bocce ball, and tennis.

Highland Fairways - Lakeland

Below $100k - Mid $200s

Affordable golf course living is available at Highland Fairways, a gated 55+ community in Lakeland that feels like a country club. The semi-private Highland Fairways Golf Club offers memberships to residents for a small fee.

Several resale single-family homes are available, and all of them cost less than $200,000. The community is busy; there’s a club representing nearly every interest, from bingo to poker to pool volleyball.

Amenities go beyond the 18-hole golf course. There’s also a pool, a fitness center, and 10 shuffleboard courts. Residents can also play tennis, check a book out of the library, and use the well-lit and scenic walking trails.

Highland Fairways is close to Circle B Bar Reserve, which hosts a nature discovery center and holds events such as stargazing and wild plant hikes.

Colonnades - Lakeland

Below $100k - Low $100s

For active adults looking for a smaller community where you’re likely to form lifelong friendships with neighbors, Lakeland’s Colonnades is a 55+ community that’s home to only 360 single-family properties.

The homes for sale have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and around 1,500 square feet. Large windows, well-landscaped lawns, and a maintenance-free lifestyle make these homes particularly attractive.

It’s easy to stay busy. Residents at Colonnades enjoy the fitness center and the sauna as well as the outdoor pool and the library. There’s a fishing dock as well as a golf practice area and shuffleboard courts. Water aerobics and walk aerobics are popular ways for residents to stay healthy.