Pickleball court in Sonora at Rancho Sahuarita near Tucson

A Del Webb community is just one affordable option near Tucson.

Tucson, Arizona has many attractions for the 55+ active adult including a number of communities where homes are for sale for under $200,000. Add to this almost 300 days of sunshine a year, easy access to outdoor pursuits, three airports within a 2-hour drive, plus the amenities of a small city, and Tucson is an attractive option for those looking for a more affordable 55+ community in Arizona.

The population of the entire Metro area of Tucson is just over 1 million people. This compares to 4.7 million people in Phoenix, which is the fifth largest city in the United States. One result of this is that there is considerably more traffic in Phoenix, which you may wish to avoid if you don't like driving in big city conditions.

The price of gas in Tucson is also usually several cents per gallon cheaper than in Phoenix, yet Tucson still offers a wide range of shopping, entertainment, dining, medical, and other facilities.

Another advantage Tucson has is that it stands at an elevation of 2,389 ft, compared to Phoenix's 1,086 ft., making it a few degrees cooler on average during those hot summer months. This is not only more comfortable, it brings a saving on running your air conditioning.

Here are four communities in and around Tucson with homes for sale that are under $200k.

Casitas de Castilian - Tucson

Below $100k - High $100s

Casitas de Castilian is a 55+ community of 120 condo homes in northern Tucson, less than seven miles from downtown. It is set in 17 acres of mature grounds which contain a clubhouse, two outdoor pools including a heated lap pool, and a tennis court. The grounds also include numerous citrus trees providing residents with fresh fruit.

There are a number of social groups, including a bridge club, yoga, water aerobics, tai chi, and line dancing. Each Wednesday sees a Happy Hour for residents to socialize.

Floor plans for the one-, two- or three-bedroom attached homes range in size from 800 to over 2,600 square feet. One factor to consider is that none of the homes comes with a garage, although the majority of them do have a carport. That's one reason the homes are more modestly priced, with smaller homes in the low $100s.

Mona Lisa Village - Tucson

High $100s - Mid $200s

If you're looking for a slightly younger community then the 100-home Mona Lisa Village is for the active adult. This is a quieter gated community with its own clubhouse, fitness center, and outdoor pool and spa.

Mona Lisa Village is for people who want the security of a gated community, with affordable homes, but prefer to organize their own activities rather than have them all within the community itself.

It's located about 10 miles from downtown Tucson, in a busy part of northern Tucson with numerous shops, restaurants, movie theaters, and other activities within close reach. One of Tucson's biggest shopping malls, the Foothills Mall, is less than a five-minute drive away, and is even close enough to walk.

La Cholla Hills - Fairfield

Mid $200s - Low $400s

La Cholla Hills is also in northern Tucson but further from downtown than Mona Lisa Village and Casitas de Castilian. It's a 25-30 minute drive to downtown and is surrounded by a desert landscape. Closer to the less built-up town of Oro Valley, the community is for those who choose Arizona because they want to enjoy its desert and the outdoors.

La Cholla Hills is a 55+ community which has 389 town homes and casitas, with several amenities which attract the more active adult. These include two heated outdoor pools and spas, three shuffleboard courts, pickleball, and three tennis courts. There's also a clubhouse, and the community is only a few minutes away from the Tucson National Golf Course.

Many of the homes here have views of the mountains and the desert, including the more modestly-priced options. Prices start in the mid to upper $100s with homes ranging in size from 700 to 2,000 square feet and including one to three bedrooms.

Sonora at Rancho Sahuarita - Sahuarita

Low $200s - Mid $400s

Sonora at Rancho Sahuarita is south of Tucson, just off Interstate 19, and a 25-minute drive from Tucson International Airport. This should appeal to anyone who plans to do a lot of travel after moving into this 428-home, 55+ active adult community.

Downtown Tucson is also a 25-minute drive away, while the expanding town of Sahuarita is a 10-minute drive. Even closer are the entertainment and dining options of the Desert Diamond Casino, while the whole development remains surrounded by the Sonoran Desert.

Amenities include a 15,000 square-foot clubhouse, fitness center, outdoor pool and spa, aerobics and dance studio, arts and crafts studio, and a ballroom. There's also a pickleball court, bocce ball courts, and horseshoe pits. The community has numerous social clubs and activities, ranging from an antique car club to Zumba classes.

Properties are all single-family homes, varying in size from 1,200 to over 2,000 square feet. Prices of homes start in the mid to upper $100s.

So if looking for communities in or near Tucson with homes for sale under $200k, you can choose whether to live in the suburbs of the city, with close access to downtown and Tucson's attractions, or whether to choose a more rural option and live within sight and easy reach of Arizona's desert and mountains.