Lounge chairs and palm trees surrounding a pool in Gatherings at Lake Nona

Living in an age-restricted section of a master-planned community is a great way to stay near grandkids in retirement.

Florida retirement communities are often age-restricted and designed specifically for 55+ buyers looking to stay active, social, and engaged once they begin a new life chapter. But, what if you’re particularly close with your family members or you can’t bear to be away from your grandchildren?

In such situations, a master-planned community that has a separate neighborhood specifically for 55+ residents can provide the best of both worlds. You still have your privacy, but you also get to take the golf cart over to your family member’s house in the part of town that doesn’t have age restrictions.

When you and the family decide to reside in Florida and you’re trying to figure out a living situation that accommodates everyone’s needs, these five communities are worth a look. They’ve managed to integrate multi-generational living while still preserving the lifestyle and benefits of a 55+ community. 

Del Webb Naples - Ave Maria

High $100s - High $500s

Just outside of Naples and south of Immokalee, where the majority of the nation’s tomatoes are grown, is Ave Maria, a serene master-planned community that has golf and fitness but is really designed to be a college town. It offers everything from shopping to restaurants to banks and medical centers. It's also less than half an hour from the Gulf of Mexico beaches.

Within Ave Maria is Del Webb Naples, a gated, 55+ community with exclusive amenities like The Oasis Club, which has a fitness center, a gathering room, activities room, a library, and a continuing education center. There’s an outdoor pool and courts for tennis, pickleball, and bocce.

Single-family and attached homes are available as new and resale properties, and the entire community will eventually reach 2,000 homes. Activities include game nights, sunset cruises, and book discussions. It’s an excellent option when you want to keep family nearby, and especially attractive when college-bound kids are involved.

Encore at Fishhawk Ranch - Lithia

High $200s - Mid $400s

The Tampa area is attractive to all ages with its waterfront activities, professional sports, and a thriving economy. Active adults looking for Tampa real estate that will keep them close to their Bay-area families might consider Encore at Fishhawk Ranch in Lithia. This 55+ community is part of Fishhawk Ranch, an award-winning and fast-growing master-planned community that’s nestled up against a county park and natural spring.

Active adults will enjoy the fitness center, entertainment room, fire pit, and pool. There are plenty of parks and trails for bike rides and walks. Lithia Springs Conservation Park is just next door and a great place to swim, picnic, and look for wildlife.

Single-family homes at Encore come in three collections; Classic, Tradition, and Signature. They have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a den, and range in size from 1,594 to 2,721 square feet.

Heritage Isle - Viera

On Florida’s Space Coast and close to Melbourne is the master-planned community of Viera, where families of all ages can enjoy living like neighbors. Heritage Isle is a gated, 55+ community that’s made up of five different villages, all connected by well-landscaped pedestrian bridges.

There are 1,500 single-family homes, attached villas, and condos in more than a dozen floor plans ranging in size from 1,194 to 2,615 square feet. There’s a large fitness center, ballroom, and library inside of the clubhouse and outside, residents enjoy a large pool, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, and shuffleboard.

The Duran Golf Club is a public course that’s adjacent to Heritage Isle, and residents can pay an affordable fee. Other things to do in and around Viera that are fun for active adults and their families include the 75-acre Brevard Zoo, and fishing, canoeing, and hiking along the Indian River. Manatees can be spotted in the winter months, and wading birds are always easy to identify.

Bridge Bay at Bannon Lakes - Saint Augustine

Low $200s - Low $300s

When a cozy community better fits your needs, consider Bridge Bay at Bannon Lakes, a brand new 55+ community under construction in historic Saint Augustine. There will only be 167 single-family and attached homes, and they are sure to be in demand at this waterfront community.

In addition to the clubhouse, fitness center and resort-style pool, there’s a kayak launch, an event lawn, and dog parks. A playground is also on site for when you’re babysitting the grandkids. Homes are between two and five bedrooms and have two or three bathrooms.

Bridge Bay is part of the Bannon Lakes master-planned community, a coastal neighborhood known for its great schools, convenient shopping, and acres of nature preserves. It’s right off Interstate 95, making travel throughout Florida easy. Saint Augustine offers primitive, windswept beaches with sand dunes and excellent surf. There’s also great golf and historic attractions such as Castillo de San Marcos, a national monument.

Gatherings of Lake Nona - Orlando

High $200s - High $300s

The Orlando real estate market is growing quickly due to demand and an influx of new residents, many of them looking for affordable retirement communities in Florida that aren’t necessarily on the coast. A new 55+ condo community in Orlando is Gatherings of Lake Nona, which offers low-maintenance living and lots of amenities.

When your family members want to live close, they can choose a home in the master-planned community of Lake Nona, a forward-thinking development that prizes innovation, environmental sustainability, and efficiency. And, you’re in Mickey Mouse’s neighborhood. Few cities are more family-friendly than Orlando.

At Gatherings of Lake Nona, residents can choose a two or three-bedroom condo with between 1,368 and 1,805 square feet. The homeowners' association (HOA) handles exterior maintenance and landscaping as well as pest control. Cable and internet services are included in the HOA fee, so that’s one less bill to pay every month.

Amenities will include a clubhouse, a fitness center, and an outdoor pool and patio. Pickleball courts, bocce ball courts, a dog park, and a fire pit will provide relaxing spaces for residents to get to know their neighbors.