Green algae on the Raritan River in Somerset County, New Jersey

Active adults seeking to downsize into a New Jersey retirement should consider these 55+ communities. 

New Jersey’s Somerset County is an intriguing retirement destination for active adults, and it’s just about an hour from both Philadelphia and New York City. This is one reason why so many active adults seek to downsize in this area since they can live low-maintenance lifestyles and still be close to the action. Locals also enjoy the benefits of a county with an abundance of parks and preserves as well as charming small towns and up-and-coming suburbs.

Somerset County also has one of the top hospitals in the state, Robert Wood Johnson in New Brunswick. This mid-sized city is also home to Rutgers University (legendary football games); wonderful theatres, museums, and art galleries; and trendy pubs and restaurants. Travel farther north and you’ll run into prestigious towns like Hillsborough and Warren, which are closer to the Big Apple and have correspondingly higher price points.

There are several Somerset County real estate options that may satisfy your need for downsizing, and here are three worth considering.

1. Four Seasons at Bridgewater – Bridgewater, NJ

Mid $200s - Mid $400s

Respected homebuilder K. Hovnanian completed this welcoming active adult neighborhood in 2010, creating 154 thoughtfully designed resale condos on its property. They are divided up into four secured buildings, all with elevators and underground parking spots. The units are sized from 1,100 to 1,963 square feet with one to three bedrooms, two to three baths, well-appointed master suites, private decks or balconies, and high ceilings. Additional options may include granite counters, hardwood floors, and custom crown molding.

Like all Four Seasons properties, their Bridgewater location has an inviting clubhouse as well as an outdoor pool, a bocce ball court, an indoor fitness center, activity rooms, a community room with a fireplace, and a library. There are also outdoor walking and biking trails and a relaxing Zen garden. Homeowners can participate in the gardening club, card games, and exercise groups. Residents also pay a monthly homeowners’ association (HOA) fee that covers common area and exterior maintenance, trash and snow removal, and water fees.

This appealing community is ideally located near Routes 78, 202, and 287, so getting in and out of town is a snap. It’s less than five miles from the upscale Bridgewater Commons Mall, which has department stores, specialty shops, restaurants, and a movie theater. There are also two excellent golf courses in town, at Raritan Valley Country Club and Green Knoll.

2. Somerset Run – Somerset, NJ

Low $300s - Low $600s

This gated retirement community has 755 resale condo and single-family homes, built from 2004 to 2007 by Del Webb. In case you’re still on the fence about downsizing, their single-family homes are beautifully designed with ample space, ranging from 2,029 to over 3,100 square feet with two to three bedrooms, two to three-and-a-half baths, and two-car garages. The low-maintenance condos come in two floor plans, at 1,763 or 1,781 square feet. These units offer two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and they’re housed in three-story buildings that offer garage parking and elevators.

Somerset Run’s comfortable condos have features like balconies, screened-in porches, custom window treatments, and roomy master bathrooms. A reasonable HOA fee provides for common area maintenance and snow removal. This community’s long list of amenities is highlighted by its fabulous Stone Manor clubhouse, which offers indoor and outdoor pools, state-of-the-art fitness and wellness centers, activity and meeting rooms, and sports courts. You can also find walking and biking trails plus a putting green on the property.

With a full-time activities director who keeps the activities and social events organized, residents are never lacking for things to do at Somerset Run. Favorite activities include casino nights, softball league, holiday parties, educational classes, dances, and group excursions. And if all this is not enough, this community is 10 minutes from Colonial Park, which has a fitness trail, gardens, canoeing, bocce courts, and Spooky Brook Golf Course. Nearby shopping can be done at a Walmart Supercenter in North Brunswick (4.5 miles away), Shoprite in Somerset (.6 miles away) and CVS (.7 miles away).

3. Canal Walk – Somerset, NJ

Mid $300s - Low $600s

Big enough to be a small community on its own, Canal Walk has more floor plans and amenities than you can imagine. Built by Premier Homes and Garden Homes, this gated 55+ community will have 1,200 new and resale condo, attached, and single-family homes when completed.  There are five sections: Condos at the Enclave, Townhomes by Garden Homes, Townhomes by Premier Homes, Single-family Homes by Garden Homes, and the Reserve Collection by Premier Homes.

The Enclave’s low-maintenance condos are housed within three-story buildings that all have elevators. The units offer two bedrooms, two baths, and underground parking garages. Some feature balconies and spacious master suites. There’s a community HOA fee which provides for snow removal and building maintenance. The Garden Homes range from 1,889 to 1,959 square feet with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, porches, patios, and attached one- or two-car garages. The second attached home collection is by Premier Homes, and these range from 2,115 or 2,168 square feet with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, first-floor master suites, two-story great rooms, eat-in kitchens, and one-car garages.

You’ll feel as though you’re on a permanent vacation living at Canal Walk since there are two clubhouses and a wide range of luxury amenities. The main clubhouse, The Premier Club, has a full-service salon, a business center, a modern fitness center, plus an indoor pool and spa, steam rooms and saunas, a wellness center, and a cafe. Outside, you’ll find a second swimming pool, sporting courts, trails, and a putting green. The second clubhouse has another outdoor pool and additional activity rooms.

Canal Walk also has a full-time activities director, who manages the community’s many groups and activities. Homeowners enjoy participating in the Young at Heart Club, Aquacise, the Genealogy Club, the singles group, and many more enriching clubs and activities.