The leafy pool area in Southshore Falls is a big reason why it was one of the most popular 55+ communities in Tampa last year.

Tampa Bay real estate is diverse, affordable, and covers a wide geographical area, from coastal condo buildings on the Gulf of Mexico to active adult meccas outside of the city in places like Apollo Beach and Land O’Lakes. Anyone shopping for Tampa real estate in a 55+ community can choose to live on a golf course, a lake, or the ocean.

According to pageviews on 55places.com throughout all of 2018, these communities were especially popular. Why do snowbirds and full-time Floridians love them so much? Let's take a closer look.

1. Sun City Center

Below $100k - High $400s

Sun City Center is the largest 55+ community in the Tampa area with 9,500 resale homes and over 100 homeowners' associations (HOA) taking care of individual neighborhoods. There are three amenity campuses on site end homes have reasonable price tags. Hundreds of models and floor plans exist in single-family home and attached villa styles. Multiple builders have developed the community, with some of the newest properties offered by Minto Homes in the Verona Collection and the Renaissance Collection.

Club Renaissance is a private clubhouse reserved for those Sun City Center residents who live in a Renaissance home. Restaurants like Amici’s Casual Dining and Bacchus Country Club Fine Dining keep people social and well fed. There’s a wellness center, a golf pro shop, and a wine cabinet for Renaissance club members.

The South Amenity Campus is available to everyone and includes tennis courts, pickleball and volleyball courts, and a softball field. The North Amenity Campus is also open to all residents and has pools, saunas, a fitness center, and a dance studio. There’s also shuffleboard and lawn bowling.

Sun City Center is popular because it’s less than half an hour from Downtown Tampa and within walking - or golf cart driving - distance of shops, grocery stores, restaurants, and other retailers.

2. Kings Point - Sun City Center

Below $100k - Low $300s

Neighboring the above-mentioned community in Sun City Center and the second most popular active adult community in Tampa for 2018 is Kings Point, a collection of 5,277 single-family and attached homes.

This gated, 55+ neighborhood is separate from the Sun City Center community and runs according to its own HOAs and regulations. Kings Point is a little more private, with two separate clubhouses and a front-gate staff with lots of questions for anyone pulling in who isn’t a resident. Neighbors are friendly and social with one another, getting together for dinners, dances, and road trips to destinations like the Brandon Mall and Mazzaro’s Italian Market in St. Pete.

The monthly HOA fee provides residents with access to both clubhouses. The Kings Point Clubhouse is a 97,000 square-foot center that includes La Perk Cafe, indoor and outdoor pools, a fitness center, theaters and ballrooms, and a library. A floating fishing dock offers opportunities to fish or catch a glimpse of visiting ibis and wood storks. This clubhouse is where residents catch the tram to town or the event bus to one of the frequent field trips.

At The South Clubhouse, there’s another fitness center and a lap pool. Lawn bowling greens, volleyball courts, and 44 shuffleboard courts are also available. Minto has built duplexes and paired villas at Kings Point, and multiple other builders have single-family homes and estate properties.

3. Timber Pines - Spring Hill

Low $100s - Low $300s

The bronze medal for popular Tampa 55+ communities in 2018 goes to Timber Pines in Spring Hill. Active adults seeking Tampa homes for sale that provide an affordable golf course lifestyle may want to consider this unique community to the northwest of the city, towards the Gulf of Mexico. It has 63 holes of golf spanning four different courses. There’s a performing arts center and a country club with several dining options and party rooms.

The Grand Pines is an 18-hole championship course with a length of 6,303 yards. Golfers wanting to start smaller can choose The Hills or The Lakes, two 18-hole executive golf courses that are nearly half the size of The Grand Pines. Residents hoping to play a little casual golf can grab a tee time at The Highlands, a nine-hole pitch and putt course that’s free to play when you live at Timber Pines. There’s also a driving range, and if you want to use your own golf cart, you’ll have to pay an annual registration fee.

Additional amenities making Timber Pines one of the most popular communities in Tampa include the pools, the woodworking shop, horseshoe pits, and courts for pickleball, shuffleboard, and tennis. There’s RV parking available, and plenty of trails for walking and biking.

4. On Top of the World - Clearwater

Below $100k - Low $200s

While not as popular as its sister community in Ocala, On Top of the World in scenic Clearwater still draws many active adults to Tampa. With 4,954 condos, On Top of the World gives retirees a good chance to downsize and live in a desirable location. Homeowners are always a short drive from the beach, whether it's in Tampa Bay or the Gulf of Mexico.

The community has two recreation centers, East and West. The East Recreation Center is the main clubhouse, it includes a fitness center, Good Karma Cafe, and several game and hobby rooms. Outdoors is where it really shines. Residents can find two pools, four tennis courts, 12 shuffleboard courts, horseshoe pits, and lawn bowling. That's not all though, golfers enjoy either an 18- or 9-hole golf course.

The West Recreation Center is home to a fitness center, indoor spa, outdoor pool, dog parks, and walking trails. It also has a lake with a fishing pier for catch-and-release fishing.

5. Southshore Falls - Apollo Beach

High $100s - Low $300s

Rounding out our list is Southshore Falls, the newest community on the list. Build out was completed in 2016 and totals out at 886 single-family and attached homes. There are 12 floor plans throughout the community which range from 1,363 to 2,278 square feet of living space.

Amenities center around the 14,000 square-foot Wellsping Club. It's home to a fitness center, catering kitchen, billiards, and an arts and crafts studio. Outdoors is a lagoon-style pool, two tennis courts, two bocce ball courts, and a putting green.

Perhaps best of all, Southshore Falls is just minutes from Tampa Bay and several protected wildlife areas.