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The best active adult communities offer plenty of chances to have fun with fellow retirees

The best active retirement communities for adults age 55 years or older offer world-class amenities like luxury golf courses and indoor pools, along with plenty of opportunities to socialize with your neighbors. We examined the best adult communities America has to offer by taking a close look at factors like features and home prices. Our list covers some of the best retirement communities for those who love nature, athletic activities, continuing education and more. Depending on what you’ve saved, a retirement-focused financial advisor can help you make the most out of it so you can retire in comfort like you deserve.

Best Active Retirement Community Overall: The Villages, Florida

Every year, The Villages retirement community in Florida welcomes residents from around the world. It’s one of the best retirement communities in Florida, and it’s one of the largest active adult communities on the globe. The Villages spans more than three counties and more than 20,000 acres. Plus, more than 55,000 residences house its “villagers.” So it’s a solid choice for retirees who want to maintain an active lifestyle in a bustling community.

You can enjoy more than 100 miles of golf cart-legal streets and trails. It also houses the new Marsh View Pitch and Putt golf course, a cattail recreation area and a softball complex. When you’re not breaking a sweat, you can relax at clubhouses, shopping centers and more. It offers more amenities per capita than any other retirement community in the country, according to 55+.com, a website that gathers data on active adult communities. Home types include patio and cabana villas. Prices range from $100,000 to more than $1 million.

See Also: Best Places to Retire in the U.S.

Retirement Community With the Best Amenities: Sun City Hilton Head, Bluffton, South Carolina

If you’re looking for a place to keep your body and mind as active as possible in your golden years, try the Sun City Hilton Head. At its center lies an amenity campus that resembles a town square. Hilton Head is one of the best places to retire in South Carolina, and you can enjoy 54 holes of golf, swimming, tennis, pickleball and gym classes. Then, you can relax at the spa. Or join one of its many clubs to interact with your neighbors. Home prices start at about $100,000 and extend to about $800,000.

Best Small Retirement Community: Sun City Huntley, Huntley, Illinois

With just about 5,500 residents, Sun City Huntley is one of the smaller retirement communities on our list. But it remains one of the largest in the Midwest. And despite its size, there’s no shortage of amenities and recreational activities to enjoy. Its 94,000-square-foot clubhouse alone contains more than 80 clubs and amenities. It features an indoor pool, a fitness center, a computer lab and a performing arts lab. Home prices run from around $200,000 to $400,000.

See Also: The Best Places to Retire in the World

Best Active Retirement Community in a Rapidly Growing Area: Heather Gardens, Aurora, Colorado

If you love the outdoors and small communities and have dreamed of a Colorado retirement, you’ll strike a peaceful balance at Heather Gardens. Nestled in a park-like setting spanning more than 190 acres, this community offers picturesque ponds and walking trails that wrap around a nine-hole executive golf course. You can also keep your artistic side active in the ceramics studio or woodshop. Or you can break a sweat at the indoor pool and the ballroom. Homes sell for about $100,000 to $400,000.

Best Retirement Community by the Water: Savannah Lakes Village, McCormick, South Carolina

The lakefront community surrounded by scenic forests is a solid option for outdoor lovers who want to stay close to the water. It features a 23,000-square-foot recreation center boasting a ballroom, a bowling alley, outdoor pool and more. Inside the Monticello Golf Club is a popular bar and restaurant. Of course, you can also enjoy the 71,000-acre Lake Thurmond providing more than 25 miles of shoreline. It’s a great place for fishing, boating and kayaking with your neighbors. Overall, the community contains about 1,4000 homes at the moment. But planners intend the location to surround up to 5,000 houses. Property prices generally range from $100,000 to $600,000.

Most Affordable Retirement Community: Lakeside Crossing, Conway, South Carolina

This retirement community is close to Myrtle Beach, another retiree favorite. However, the community is a great spot for those seeking a low-maintenance lifestyle that still delivers on amenities. The main clubhouse is surrounded by tennis courts and three shuffleboard courts. You can join various clubs or enjoy a drink at the pub within the confines of the clubhouse. Residents can also relax at the indoor lap pool and Jacuzzi. Prices for ranch-style single-family homes go for about $100,000.

Best Retirement Community for Continuing Education: Oak Hammock, Gainesville, Florida

Some of the best active retirement communities offer plenty of opportunities to continue your education well into your Golden Years.

Retiring in Florida is already popular among retirees. But if you also value life-long learning, look no further than Oak Hammock. Situated right by the University of Florida, this adult living community offers residents plenty of opportunities to pursue education well into their golden years. The Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR) centered in this community’s campus offers free classes to Oak Hammock residents and is open to all Gainesville area residents who are age 55 years or older. Below are some of the classes you can take.

  • Playwriting
  • Energy for the future
  • Southern literature
  • Music in the romantic era

And of course, the community also offers plenty of amenities like bike trails, a fitness center with therapy whirlpool, a dog park and more. You can even enjoy a cocktail lounge and an ice cream parlor.

Most Luxurious Retirement Community: Rio Verde Community and Country Club, Rio Verde, Arizona

If you want to retire in style and can afford it, you may want to consider retiring in Arizona and moving into the Rio Verde Community and Country Club. Outdoors lovers will enjoy horseback riding and the two massive golf courses surrounded by picturesque walking trails. Many of the 1,000 custom-built homes offer scenic views of the mountains. Houses start at $350,000 and can easily climb to $1 million.

The Takeaway

Couple enjoys a meal at an one of the best active retirement communities

The best 55+ active adult communities have plenty to offer. From golf courses and scenic trails to lakefronts and clubhouses loaded with every amenity you can think of, there’s a spot for you. But you should make a list of what really matters to you. Then run those priorities against these and other retirement communities before you make a decision. Of course, retreating to any one of them will be a huge investment. So it’s a good idea to seek help from a financial advisor before you tap into the retirement savings you’ve been working hard to build.

Retirement Planning Tips

  • Before you decide to move to an active retirement community, you should make sure your finances are in order. Develop a drawdown strategy around all your sources of income. Our guide to retirement income planning strategies can help.
  • Generally, the last retirement account to touch should be your Roth IRA. This way, it can grow tax-free for as long as possible.
  • Moving to a retirement community is a huge financial and personal decision. But you don’t have to do it alone. A qualified financial advisor who has your best interests in mind can help you navigate the process. We can help you find one. Our SmartAsset financial advisor matching tool can connect you with up to three financial advisors in your area. We’ve vetted each one, but you can review their qualifications and meet them face-to-face before deciding to work with one.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/asiseeit,/©iStock.com/asiseeit, ©iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages

Javier Simon, CEPF® Javier Simon is a banking, investing and retirement expert for SmartAsset. The personal finance writer's work has been featured in Investopedia, PLANADVISER and iGrad. Javier is a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing. He has a degree in journalism from SUNY Plattsburgh. Javier is passionate about helping others beyond their personal finances. He has volunteered and raised funds for charities including Fight Cancer Together, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
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