Exterior view of the clubhouse at Cranbury Brook in Plainsboro, New Jersey

Budget-minded active adults should take a peek at these communities in Central New Jersey.

You might say that Central Jersey has a split personality: It's located between Philadelphia and New York, making it a major thoroughfare for two of the nation’s largest cities. The other side of its character is made up of farmlands, forests, and historic recreation areas. It was home to the country’s first Capitol building, Nassau Hall at Princeton University, and it's where George Washington crossed the Delaware River in 1776 to win the War of American Independence.

Some of its most renowned outdoor recreation areas include Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park and Sourland Mountain Preserve, which offer hiking and biking trails, horseback riding, and kayaking. History buffs head to Princeton Battlefield State Park or The Red Mill Village, and the Grounds for Sculpture is a unique outdoor museum with breathtaking artwork and a well-reviewed restaurant.

Another interesting thing about Central New Jersey real estate is that you can find homes priced from under $100k up to the millions. Most active adults have budgets that fall somewhere in between this, and we’ve found some 55+ neighborhoods with homes priced in the $250k range. Read on to find all about these four attractive, mid-sized communities.

Cranbury Brook - Plainsboro, NJ

Low $200s - Mid $400s

Located in Middlesex CountyCranbury Brook was completed in 2012, and it has 195 resale condo and single-family homes. It's within walking distance of several medical offices, restaurants, and The Meadows at Middlesex Golf Course. Hop in your car and drive a few minutes the other way and you’ll run into the post office, library, banks, and other services. Quaker Bridge Mall and Mercer Mall are also nearby.

The condo units range from 825 to 1,441 square feet with one to two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The maintenance fees include trash pickup, water, sewer, and heat, and home options include hardwood floors, granite countertops, and luxury master suites. The single-family models range from 1,656 to 2,670 square feet with three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and two-car garages. Upgrades include formal living rooms, walk-in closets, skylights, and gourmet kitchens.

Cranbury Brook’s clubhouse has an outdoor pool, bocce ball courts, and a sundeck. Inside, you’ll find an exercise room, a multi-purpose room, and an arts and crafts studio. Homeowners enjoy playing billiards and spending time together at holiday parties.

Learn more information about Cranbury Brook here.

Locust Hill - Hamilton Township, NJ

Mid $200s - Mid $300s

Sandwiched between Sunnybrae Park and open space, this Mercer County 55+ community is near I-195. There are plenty of grocery stores close by, and homeowners also like driving over to The Shoppes at Hamilton, which has a Chico’s, a Children’s Place, and other stores.

Locust Hill has 247 resale attached and single-family homes built from 2002 to 2006. The four attached models range from 1,200 to 1,700 square feet with two bedrooms, two or two-and-a-half baths, and attached one-car garages. Extras include stainless steel appliances and walk-in closets. There are three single-family models ranging from 1,349 to 1,900 square feet with two to three bedrooms, two- or two-and-a-half baths, attached one-car garages, and options like wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances.

Neighborhood activities include holiday parties, movie nights, garden club, and water aerobics. Many take place in the community clubhouse, which has a swimming pool, a fitness center, a computer room, sports courts, a catering kitchen, and meeting rooms.

Learn more information about Locust Hill here.

Princeton Windrows - Princeton, NJ

Low $200s - Mid $800s

Yes, you can find an affordable home with a tony Princeton zip code—at Princeton Windrows. Built from 2002 to 2008, this upscale neighborhood has 294 condo, attached, and single-family homes. If you’re not familiar with the city, some of its best-known landmarks include Princeton University, Penn Medicine Princeton Hospital, and MarketFair shopping center.

The condos range from 800 to over 1,200 square feet with one to two bedrooms, one to two bathrooms, and lot or covered parking. The townhome floor plan is 2,170 square feet with two to three bedrooms, two or three bathrooms, private decks or patios, and one- or two-car garages. The single-family homes range from 1,573 to 2,082 square feet with two bedrooms, two baths, and one- to two-car garages. A monthly homeowners’ association (HOA) fee covers snow removal, cable TV, and common area maintenance.

The exclusive clubhouse has several restaurants, a state-of-the-art fitness center, an indoor pool, a barbershop, a computer room, and its own convenience store. There are also walking trails, a tennis court, and a gardening center on this lovely property.

Learn more information about Princeton Windrows here.

Shady Oaks - Red Bank, NJ

Mid $100s - Mid $300s

Closer to the coastline in Monmouth County, we find Shady Oaks, an established, gated active adult community with 366 resale condo and attached homes. Situated on the banks of the Navesink River, Red Bank is an especially popular area with an exciting waterfront area, the Count Basie Theater Center for the Arts, farmers markets, restaurants, and shops.

Most of the residences here are condos, sized from 1,032 to 1,147 square feet with one or two bedrooms and two bathrooms. They feature open floor plans, walk-in closets, hardwood floors, and assigned parking spots. The select number of attached homes ranges from 1,147 to 1,386 square feet with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, hardwood floors, eat-in kitchens, and one-car garages or assigned parking spots. The HOA fee includes lawn and common area maintenance and snow removal.

The vibrant clubhouse offers activity rooms, a library, tennis and shuffleboard courts, plus an outdoor pool and patio. Homeowners also enjoy the walking and biking trails and group events like yoga class, holiday parties, luncheons, and game nights.

Learn more information about Shady Oaks here.