While On Top of the World in Ocala, Florida was named 55places.com’s Community of the Year, there are hundreds of great active adult communities across the United States. In fact, we created a shortlist of seven communities to select the winner.
To create our shortlist for Community of Year, we rated communities based on previous awards the communities had won, the popularity of the community, how good the community’s location was as an affordable place to retire, and if the community had made any innovation or upgrades in the last year.
Here are the six communities that made the Community of the Year shortlist.
High $100s - Mid $1Ms
Sun City Hilton Head is the largest age-restricted community in South Carolina, with over 8,000 homes offered new and for resale. Hilton Head is a popular vacation and retirement area on the East Coast, with moderate temperatures, beaches, and many outdoor recreation opportunities.
The heart of Sun City Hilton Head is a 45-acre Village Center, which features a social hall that hosts everything from lectures to dances; a fitness center with pools; and a performing arts center. Residents also enjoy staying active on three golf courses, twelve tennis courts, a fishing pond, and miles of trails.
The attached and single family homes range from the high $100s to the mid $1Ms, although most two-bedroom, two-bath homes list in the mid $200s to low $300s. While most homes are offered on a resale basis, prospective homebuyers can buy custom single-family homes from the Passport, Expedition, or Pinnacle collections, which range from 1,100 to 2,500 square feet.
Mid $100s - High $500s
Pelican Preserve is one of two non-Del Webb communities to make the list. WCI Homes began construction on the 55+ community in 2001, and currently offers new and resale homes in a variety of sizes and styles. Prospective homebuyers can choose two-bedroom, two-bath condos that list around $200,000, or three-bedroom single-family homes that list in the mid $500s.
Residents find the hub of social activity at the 70,000 square-foot Plaza del Sol clubhouse. Here, planned activities, classes, and clubs meet in a variety of social spaces. Residents can also enjoy the movie theater, golf club and course, a state-of-the-art fitness center, pools, tennis courts, a nature preserve, fishing pier, and sand beach. Residents are also close to the Gulf Coast beaches of Sanibel Island and Naples.
Mid $100s - Low $400s
Solivita is another large community in Florida, with over 5,000 homes spread across 4,300 acres. The community offers housing to suit almost everyone. The attached and single-family homes range from under 1,000 square feet with one bedroom and one bathroom to almost 3,000 square feet and four bedrooms and three baths. Prospective homebuyers can find two-bedroom, two-bath attached homes for under $200,000.
Like most of the communities of this year’s shortlist, Solivita is designed with amenities specifically for an active adult lifestyle. The Riviera Spa and Fitness Center provides an indoor track, indoor lap pool, dance studio with aerobics classes, sauna, outdoor pool, and fitness equipment. Nearby, two 18-hole golf courses, tennis courts, and dog park offer additional opportunities to be outside. Residents also socialize and get to know each other at the Palms Amenity Complex and smaller neighborhood centers, which have outdoor pools and meeting rooms.
Located in the greater Orlando area, Solivita also provides a great place for grandchildren and relatives to come visit.
High $100s - Low $1Ms
Sun City Texas is a community of almost 10,000 homes in Georgetown, north of Austin. Del Webb began construction on this largest community in Texas in 1995, and now offers homes new and for resale. The single-family and attached homes are offered in a variety of models and sizes that range from 900-square foot homes perfect for downsizing to 3,100 square-foot homes for guests and entertaining.
Although there is a large range of prices for these homes, prospective homebuyers can find a two-bedroom, two-bath home in the mid $200s. Sun City Texas offers residents two main centers for activity and entertainment. The Village Center Amenity Complex is larger and includes a fitness center, golf course, restaurant, pools, tennis courts, arts and crafts studios, and space outside to walk, fish, and play games. The smaller Cowan Creek Amenity Center is newer and includes a fitness center, indoor pool, outdoor pool, and meeting spaces.
Mid $200s - Low $600s
Del Webb Ponte Vedra is the third Florida community to make the Community of the Year shortlist. Located near Jacksonville and just minutes from the Atlantic Ocean, this community of almost 2,000 homes has been developed by Del Webb since 2007 as a part of the master-planned Nocatee community.
The Ponte Vedra amenities are exclusive to homeowners and focus on an active adult lifestyle. The 37,800 square-foot Anastasia Club forms the hub of social activity, with an indoor pool, fitness room, spa, sauna, ballroom, cafe, social spaces and meeting rooms, and library. Outside, residents enjoy additional amenities like an outdoor pool, tennis courts, putting green, picnic pavilion, walking trails, fishing lake, and community garden.
In Ponte Vedra, Del Webb offers condos, attached, and single-family homes in architecture inspired by the Mediterranean, designed specifically with active adults in mind. These variety of sizes and styles range from the mid $200s to low $600s.
Low $200s - Mid $800s
Located in the northwest Phoenix suburb of Surprise, Sun City Grand is a 45+ community of almost 10,000 homes. This is the only community to make the list that currently offers homes only on a resale basis, having been built by Del Webb between 1996 and 2005. The condo, attached, and single-family homes range from compact condos of just 450 square feet to single-story, single-family homes with three bedrooms and 3,400 square feet of living space.
These homes are newer than other Sun City developments in the Phoenix area, and often more desirable. However, prospective homebuyers can find two-bedroom, two-bath homes in the mid $200s.
While the Phoenix area offers plenty of outdoor opportunities, museums, and cultural events, residents don’t need to leave Sun City Grand to stay active. The community includes four championship golf courses, tennis courts, several outdoor swimming pools, and a fishing lake. Residents can workout at fitness centers, meet with clubs in the lounges, and learn new skills in the crafts studios. One of the best amenities might be Arizona State University’s Lifelong Learning Academy, which allows residents to take classes in a continuing education center at Sun City.