Storefronts on Main Street in Lancaster, PA

Whether you're set on a rural community or something near a city like Lancaster, there are plenty of affordable communities in Central Pennsylvania.

Finding the perfect retirement community can be a daunting proposition, but once you settle on a specific town, the pieces will fall into place. One of the advantages of choosing Central Pennsylvania is its wide open spaces, which can be found throughout Lancaster, Harrisburg, Shippensburg, and other areas throughout the region.

Most of the homes for sale in Central Pennsylvania do not have the inflated price tags that you may see elsewhere, and this factor is a game-changer for many budget-conscious active adult homebuyers.

Pennsylvania’s Dutch Country is especially attractive, and is located in Lancaster County. It's about 70 miles outside of Philadelphia, and less than 35 from Harrisburg. It is home to charming Amish farmsteads and villages, Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park, and beautiful Susquehannock State Park, which is alongside the Susquehanna River.

Harrisburg and its outlying towns also hold great appeal, along with the perks of being in or close to a larger city. Its top hospitals include UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg, and Good Samaritan Hospital Lebanon. Other towns worth considering include Gettysburg, Lebanon, and York.

Whichever area you decide on, there are affordable, low-maintenance homes to be found in Central Pennsylvania. And these four choices offer some of the best value you can get for your money.

Country Manor - Shippensburg

Below $100k - Mid $200s

Shippensburg is a small city of about 5,500, poised on the border of Cumberland and Franklin counties. This rural town’s history dates back to the 1700s and it is home to Shippensburg University and the intimate 55+ community of Country Manor.

This gated, active adult neighborhood has 130 resale single-family homes built between 2001 to 2018. It is mere minutes from the downtown area, which has a Walmart Supercenter, restaurants, shopping, the town park, and medical offices.

Its nine models are sized from 1,230 to 1,876 square feet and have two to three bedrooms, two bathrooms, roomy master suites, porches, and attached garages. Options include dens, sunrooms, and hot tubs.

There is a private clubhouse on site, which has a large gathering room, a catering kitchen, and an exercise room. The wooded property also has walking trails and its own fishing lake. Residents also enjoy spending time at nearby Caledonia State Park, which is about 20 minutes away.

Arbor Gate - Myerstown

Low $100s - High $100s

Designed for active adults that relish a little peace and quiet, Arbor Gate is located in Myerstown, a borough in Lebanon County with a population of around 3,000. It is also eight miles from the city of Lebanon, and close to Lancaster, Harrisburg, and Reading. Closer to home, Myerstown’s downtown area has coffee shops, restaurants, a Walmart, and several churches.

Arbor Gate is a land-lease community with 378 resale attached and single-family homes. They all feature main-level living, with 10 models ranging from 1,234 to 2,058 square feet. The floor plans offer two or three bedrooms, two baths, first-floor master suites, and attached one or two-car garages. Upgrades include fireplaces, dens, and porches.

Arbor Gate’s Lakeview Center clubhouse has its own beauty salon and coffee shop, plus a catering kitchen, a ballroom, and activity rooms. There is also a stocked, 3-acre fishing lake plus a gazebo on the property. Friends meet for golf outings, potlucks, dances, and planned trips to places like Hershey, which has Hershey Park, Hershey Gardens, and other attractions.

Creek View - Carlisle

Mid $100s - High $100s

If you’re not familiar with Carlisle, it's a larger, historic city within Cumberland County. George Washington and Molly Pitcher both spent time here, and it also has a unique walking Civil War History Tour. Carlisle is also near the Appalachian Trail, has the Cumberland Golf Club (and many others in the area) and The Point at Carlisle Plaza shopping mall.

Creek View broke ground in 2004 and has 305 new and resale single-family homes. Active adult homebuyers can choose from 18 floor plans sized from 1,202 to 1,750 square feet, with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and attached one-car garages. Options include two-car garages and dens.

Indoor and outdoor amenities include a private clubhouse with a multipurpose room, a patio for barbecues, plus a fishing pond, horseshoes, and an R.V. parking area. Well-attended group activities include potluck dinners, card games, fishing, and Wii competitions.

Amesbury - Harrisburg

High $100s - High $200s

If you prefer to be near all the action of a bigger city, Amesbury sits just outside the heart of Harrisburg. The surrounding streets are full of home improvement and electronics stores, groceries, restaurants, banks, veterinarians, and any other daily convenience. The banks of the Susquehanna River are eight miles away, while scenic Wildwood Park and The National Civil War Museum are even closer.

This newer 55+ neighborhood will have 106 new and resale attached homes upon completion. These modern townhomes come in three floor plans sized from 1,627 to 2,247 square feet, with two to three bedrooms, two-and-a-half-bathrooms, and attached garages. Features like great rooms, lofts, porches, and expansive master suites make these homes roomy and comfortable.

Amesbury does not have a clubhouse, but there are walking trails on the property. Homeowners can head over to the Friendship Community Center or the relaxing Alta View Wellness Center to work out and take wellness classes. The Colonial Golf and Tennis Club is also just three miles away.