Sunset over the rocky shores of Lake Watson in Prescott, Arizona

Northern Arizona has all the natural charm of Southern Arizona, without the intense heat.

Before thinking about which Northern Arizona communities you should consider if wanting to retire to Arizona, remember that Northern Arizona and Southern Arizona are two very different places.

Southern Arizona is hotter and winters are very mild, with only occasional snow flurries and a few nights below freezing. The farther south you go, such as Tucson or Green Valley, the milder it is in winter.

The other side of this is that Southern Arizona is a lot hotter in summer than Northern Arizona, and that might be a factor in some people's decision. Northern Arizona definitely has four seasons, and some residents of Southern Arizona have cabins there, which they go to in order to escape the intense heat of summer.

You will certainly see winter snow in Northern Arizona, increasing the further north you are, and the higher in elevation. Remember that the Grand Canyon is in Northern Arizona, and at about 7,500 feet above sea level, the canyon's access roads are often closed in midwinter.

None of these five Northern Arizona communities that you can consider are quite at the elevation of the Grand Canyon, but the elevation is a factor to take into account before choosing.

Canyon Trails at Fox Creek - Bullhead City

Mid $100s - Mid $200s

Bullhead City is actually at sea level, on the border between Arizona and Nevada. Las Vegas is about a hundred miles to the north, a 90-minute drive away, but it's almost a four-hour drive to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Canyon Trails at Fox Creek is a community of 460 single-family homes for the 55+ active adult. It's five miles south of the center of Bullhead City, which is alongside the Colorado River and has a population of about 40,000 people. Because of its lack of elevation, it has a hot summer climate, with average highs being over 100 degrees from June through September, and it rarely falls below freezing in winter.

Work began on the development in 2016 and new homes are still being added. There are several floor plans, with the smallest being 1,052 square feet which provide a home with two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a single-car garage. The largest homes are 1,890 square feet and these have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a garage for two or three cars.

Amenities include an outdoor pool, and hiking and biking trails, with a clubhouse being built.

Hillcrest Park - Bullhead City

Low $100s - Mid $100s

Also in Bullhead City, Hillcrest Park is four miles north of the city center and a three-minute drive from the Colorado River. It's a 55+ active adult community of 212 single-family homes. 

Floor plans go from 1,134 to 1,643 square feet. Smaller homes have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a carport or one-car garage. Larger models add a den or third bedroom and have a two-car garage.

Amenities include a 3,600 square-foot clubhouse, an outdoor pool and spa, a library, billiards, table tennis, and an exercise area.

Dorado at Verde Santa Fe - Cornville

Low $200s - Low $300s

Cornville is a small town of a few thousand people in the Coconino National Forest at an elevation of 3,225 feet. It appeals to people who enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle, with many hiking and biking trails nearby, and it is also a prominent birdwatching destination.

Dorado at Verde Santa Fe is a gated community of 96 homes for the 55+ active adult. Homes range from 1,302 to 2,125 square feet in size. All have two bathrooms and a two-car garage, and either two or three bedrooms.

Residents have access to two separate clubhouses, a fitness center, two outdoor pools and spas, an 18-hole golf course, a restaurant, and hiking and biking trails. Dorado at Verde Santa Fe is 100 miles north of Phoenix, an hour's drive from Flagstaff, and 25 minutes from the popular tourist town of Sedona, surrounded by distinctive red sandstone rocks.

Prescott Lakes - Prescott

High $200s - Low $1Ms

Prescott is an old mining town of great character, a hundred miles north of downtown Phoenix at an elevation of 5,368 feet. It has several active adult communities nearby, of which Prescott Lakes is the largest.

This community has 1,300 single-family, attached, and condo homes, and is not age restricted. There are numerous different floor plans available, with custom-designed homes available in the upper price range. All homes have a minimum of two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a two-car garage. There are then many different configurations through to six bedrooms, five bathrooms, and a three-car garage.

Residents are automatically members of the 18-hole Prescott Lakes Golf and Country Club with an optional membership of the Prescott Lakes Athletic Club. This has a 12,000 square-foot fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, two tennis courts, and a basketball court. Other Amenities include lakes, a library, walking and biking trails, and gardening plots.

Hassayampa Village - Prescott

Low $200s - Low $4Ms

Hassayampa Village is a 10-minute drive west of downtown Prescott going into the mountains, and there are mountain views from this gated community with no age restrictions.

It has 660 single-family, attached, and condo homes, starting from the low $200s  Floor plans range from 1,400 to over 6,000 square feet.

Amenities include the 18-hole Capital Canyon Golf Club, a 30,000 square-foot clubhouse, a ballroom, fitness center, aerobics and dance studio, an indoor pool and spa, outdoor pool, a library, arts and crafts studios, tennis courts, basketball court, and a volleyball court.