Highway and CTA trains with Chicago skyline

Want to stay near family but hate Illinois winters? Here's where to live in the Prairie State that's ideal for snowbirds.

Just a few of the reasons to retire in Northern Illinois include the abundance of outdoor recreation, the diverse range of lifestyles and home options, and the desire to live near family and friends. But for residents who want to avoid the Midwestern winters, Illinois also represents a convenient location to snowbird from.

When snowbirds are away, they want to ensure that their home will be well maintained, and one of the best ways to make that possible comes from living a low-maintenance lifestyle. Several age-restricted communities in Northern Illinois have homeowners’ associations (HOA) that take care of exterior home maintenance, lawn care, landscaping, and snow removal, which adds significant convenience for anyone who wants to travel for extended periods of time.

The Chicagoland area also features two major international airports, O’Hare and Midway, that can connect Illinois residents to an entire network of snowbirding destinations. The vast array of highways and interstates also allow for road trips across the country, whether by car or R.V.

Those who plan on becoming snowbirds and migrating south for the winter can find plenty of affordable, low-maintenance homes in desirable communities in Northern Illinois that will help make snowbirding possible.

Start here with five of the best communities to snowbird from Illinois.

Lago Vista - Lockport, IL

Low $200s - Low $300s

With a 21,000 square-foot clubhouse, a full-time activities director, and new and resale single-family and attached homes for sale, Lago Vista, provides ample opportunities for an active lifestyle. But when residents want to migrate south for the winter, they can ease their transition by knowing that their home will be well maintained.

The ranch-style, single-family homes range from 1,500 to 2,196 square feet with two or three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and attached two-car garages. Many homes feature dens, sunrooms, and finished or unfinished basements.

The single-level attached townhomes range from 1,300 to 1,550 square feet with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and attached two-car garages. Some homes include look-out basements.

The HOA takes care of all lawn care, landscaping, and snow removal, as well as providing a roof fund, driveway seal coating, and lawn watering.

Beyond the spacious clubhouse, the resort-style amenities in Lago Vista include indoor and outdoor swimming pools, walking and biking trails, and conveniences such as a juice bar, beauty salon, and massage room.

Request more information about Lago Vista here.

Carillon - Plainfield, IL

Mid $100s - High $300s

One of the most well-established and popular 55+ communities in Northern Illinois is also one of the best for downsizing into a low-maintenance lifestyle. At Carillon in Plainfield, interested homebuyers can find single-family, attached, and condominium homes for sale to suit a variety of needs and preferences.

The maintenance-free Buckingham condominium homes offer a lock-and-leave lifestyle. Ideal for downsizing, the homes range from 835 to 1,380 square feet with one or two bedrooms and one or two bathrooms.

The attached coach homes and townhomes range from 1,035 to 1,764 square feet with one to three bedrooms with a den, one to two-and-a-half bathrooms, and attached one- or two-car garages. The HOA tends to exterior home maintenance, lawn care, and landscaping, and the townhomes also include snow removal.

Making the most out of spring and summer, residents can enjoy sought-after amenities like a 32,000 square-foot clubhouse, indoor and outdoor pools, and a 27-hole golf course. The full social calendar features clubs and activities as well as regular events such as movie nights, health fairs, and craft shows.

Request more information about Carillon here.

The Pines - Tinley Park, IL

Mid $100s - Mid $200s

Located about 40 minutes south of Midway International Airport, an hour from downtown Chicago, and just 15 minutes from secure R.V. and boat storage, residents of The Pines in Tinley Park can conveniently travel to and from the area, whether by plane, train, or car,. The ease of travel and abundance of transportation options help make The Pines an ideal 55+ community for Illinois snowbirds.

This tight-knit 55+ community consists of 525 single-family, attached, and condominium homes, with the majority of the residences being condo homes. These maintenance-free homes range from 1,500 to 1,900 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The HOA for the single-family and attached homes includes exterior maintenance, lawn care, and snow removal.

The surrounding area offers an abundance of outdoor recreation opportunities and things to do. Adjacent to the community, residents can enjoy the scenic Bartel Grassland Land and Water Reserve and several forest preserves as well as Olympia Fields Country Club and Flossmoor Country Club.

Entertainment options include Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, Orland Square Mall, White Water Canyon Water Park, and Tinely Park Performing Arts Center.

Request more information about The Pines here.

Sun City Huntley - Huntley, IL

Mid $100s - Mid $400s

At Sun City Huntley, an expansive 55+ community with 5,489 homes across 2,300 acres, residents enjoy low-maintenance homes and resort-style amenities. Residents can live a desirable Del Webb lifestyle during the spring and summer months while migrating south for the winter.

The amenities feature the 94,000 square-foot Prairie Lodge, which has a restaurant, fitness center, indoor walking track, indoor pool, and a performing arts theater. Additional amenities include the 20,000 square-foot Meadow View Lodge and 4,800 square-foot woodworking shop.

Outdoors, residents can take advantage of warm weather with an 18-hole golf course, outdoor pool, softball stadium, tennis courts, and bocce ball courts. The grounds feature walking and biking trails that weave between scenic lakes and parks, including a 19-acre fishing lake.

The Arcadia condominium homes provide a lock-and-leave lifestyle located steps from the Meadow View Lodge, though these sought-after homes are only available in one four-story building. Many of the community’s attached townhomes include exterior maintenance, full lawn care, and snow removal. Some of the single-family homes can also opt-in to lawn care and snow removal services.

Request more information about Sun City Huntley here.

River Crossing - South Elgin, IL

Mid $100s - High $100s

For active adults who want to commit to snowbirding, River Crossing in South Elgin offers a way to downsize into an affordable 55+ condominium community. With just 45 condominium homes in one mid-rise elevator building, residents form a tight-knit community surrounded by daily conveniences.

The floor plans range from 1,135 to 1,853 square feet with one or two bedrooms, one to two-and-a-half bathrooms, and underground heated parking. The homes feature open floor plans, master suites with ensuite bathrooms, and private balconies.

Thanks to the condominium lifestyle, residents need not worry about lawn care, snow removal, or exterior home maintenance or chores. Instead, active adults can spend more time gathering with neighbors, visiting family, and using the on-site exercise facilities. And with the O’Hare International Airport less than 40 minutes away, a winter snowbird destination can be just a flight away.

The area around River Crossing includes plenty of retail, dining, and entertainment options. Residents can stay active outdoors with nearby golf courses such as The Highlands of Elgin Golf Course, Royal Fox Country Club, and Apple Orchard Golf Course.

Local attractions include Grand Victoria Casino, Fox River Trolley Museum, Elgin History Museum, and the Hemmens Cultural Center.

Request more information about River Crossing here.