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100 Most Popular Active Communities for 2011

Category: Active adult communities

August 2, 2011 — Note: We updated this list in 2012 and 2013. See “Surprises Galore: Our 2013 List of Most Popular Active Adult Communities“. The Sun Belt and Delaware are where it’s at when it comes to popular active adult communities. That’s what we found in our new list of the most popular active adult communities for 2011. The only places outside of the sun belt to have communities on the list were Delaware which had 12 communities on the top 100 this year (up from 5 in 2010); The Village at Penn State in State College, PA.; and Sage Village in Boulder, CO. In an attempt to open it up and introduce more variety this year, we increased the list from 50 to 100. As in the past, the Sun Belt achieved near total domination over its colder brethren.

Florida, the runaway favorite, topped the 2011 list with an astonishing 40 communities.  Arizona followed Delaware with 11 communities, and then North Carolina, which had with 10.  South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia also had good representation. 

We take several conclusions away from these results:

– The Sun Belt and its neighboring Mid-Atlantic states, along with the Southwest, are overwhelmingly where people are looking to retire, at least when it comes to living in an active adult community. Florida is by far the most popular state for active communities at Topretirements.

– Delaware is red hot for retirement, even though it is not in the Sunbelt.  Its reputation as a low tax state, plus its great beaches and the pastoral Delmarva Peninsula are probably top reasons for that.

– As in the past, Green Valley, Arizona was the most popular active adult community for 2011.  Frankly we are surprised that Green Valley continues to beat out its perennial #2 challenger, The Villages (of Florida), because in general communities in the east tend to attract more attention than those in the west.

The top 100 communities were chosen on the basis of visitor popularity at Topretirements during the period January 1 to July 31, 2011. The communities with the most page visits to their listings were the winners. Please see the end of article for important details on the selection criteria.

And the 2011 winners are:
1. Green Valley (Green Valley, AZ) Green Valley, located in southern Arizona near the Mexican border, is a very large area with many active adult communities within it. (photo of Green Valley below courtesy of Wikipedia and Ken Bosma).

2. The Villages (The Villages, FL) (see picture following this list)
3. The Settlement at Powhatan Creek* (Williamsburg, VA)
4. Hampton Lake* (Bluffton, SC)
5. The Moorings (Vero Beach, FL)
6. Tellico Village (TN)
7. Silver Sage Village (Boulder, CO)
8. Holly Lake Ranch* (Tyler, TX)
9. Lake Weir Living* (near The Villages, FL)
10. Sun City (Sun City, AZ)

11. Valencia Reserve* (Boynton Beach, FL)
12. Fearrington Village* (Chapel Hill, NC)
13. Millville by the Sea (Bethany Beach, DE)
14. Laguna Woods Village (Laguna Woods, CA)
15. Enchanted Canyon (Prescott, AZ)
16. Hot Springs Village* (Hot Springs, AR)
17. Lakewood Ranch (Sarasota, FL)
18. Abacoa (Jupiter, FL)
19. Venetian Falls (Venice, FL)
20. Valencia Lakes* (Tampa, FL)
21. Biltmore Lake (Asheville, NC)
22. Bayside* (Selbyville, DE)
23. The Fountains at Lake Pointe Woods* (Sarasota, FL)
24. The Village of Casa Del Sol (Haines City, FL)
25. The Venetian at Capri Isles (Venice, FL)
26. Century Village (Deerfield Beach, FL) There are actually 3 Century Villages in Southeast FL
27. On Top of the World (Ocala, FL)
28. Fairfield Glade (TN)
29. The Orchard Villas (Apex, NC)
30. Lofts at Mica Village (Asheville, NC)
31. The Ponds (Summerville, NC)
32. Bay Crossing (Lewes, DE)
33. The Villages at Lynx Creek (Prescott, AZ)
34. Talking Rock* (Prescott, AZ)
35. Merrill Gardens at Parmer Woods (Austin, TX)
36. Harbor Cove (Sarasota, FL)
37. The Village at Penn State (State College, PA)
38. Querencia at Barton Creek (Austin, TX)
39. Doral Village (Clearwater, FL)
40. Shenandoah* (Winchester, VA)
41. Pelican Sound (Estero, FL)
42. Southern Meadow (Magnolia, DE)
43. The Cliffs at Walnut Cove (Asheville, NC)
44. Pine Lakes (Prescott, AZ)
45. Sun City Hilton Head (Bluffton, SC)
46. Four Seasons Charlottesville (Charlottesville, VA)
47. High Country Villas (San Diego, CA)
48. Sarasota Bay Club (Sarasota, FL)
49. Arlington Ridge* (Leesburg, FL)
50. West Bay (Lewes, DE)
51. Rarity Bay* (Vonore, TN)
52. Steiner Ranch (Austin, TX)
53. The Residence at SouthPark (Charlotte, NC)
54. St. Augustine Shores (Saint Augustine, FL)
55. Rive Isle (Sarasota, FL)
56. The Villages at Crest Mountain (Asheville, NC)
57. Oak Run (Ocala, FL)
58. Courtyard at the Gardens (Prescott, AZ)
59. Alameda Isles (Venice, FL)
60. Tri Par Estates (Sarasota, FL)
61. Cedar Valley (Rehoboth Beach, DE)
62. Callawassie Island (Beaufort, SC)
63. SummerGlen * (Ocala, FL)
64. Coral Cay Plantation (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
65. Bayfront at Rehoboth (Lewes, DE)
66. Sedona Shadows (Sedona, AZ)
67. Pelican Pointe (Venice, FL)
68. Cinnamon Cove (Fort Myers, FL)
69. The Fountains at Boca Ciege Key* (St. Petersburg, FL)
70. National Village at Grand National* (Auburn-Opelika, AR)
71. Pleasant Place (Paris, TN)
72. Venice Isles (Venice, FL)
73. Heritage Shores (Bridgeville, DE)
74. Sun City Tampa (near Tampa, FL)
75. Breakwater (Lewes, DE)
76. Woods Cove (Rehoboth Beach, DE)
77. Forest Lakes (Charlottesville, VA)
78. Verda Santa Fe (Sedona, AZ)
79. Soleil Laurel Canyon* (Canton, GA)
80. Albuquerque Meadows (Albuquerque, NM)
81. Longhorn Village (Austin, TX)
82. Victorian Estates (Prescott, AZ)
83. Century Village West Palm Beach (Palm Beach, FL)
84. Cypress Creek Village (Winterhaven, FL)
85. Del Webb Carolina Preserve* (Cary, NC)
86. Colony at the Grand (Fairhope, AL)
87. Century Village in Boca Raton (Boca Raton, FL)
88. Stonecrest (Ocala, FL)
89. Abbey Delray* (Delray Beach, FL)
90. Boca Chase (Boca Raton, FL)
91. Crowfields (Asheville, NC)
92. Sun City Grand (Surprise, AZ)
93. VillageWalk (Bonita Springs, FL)
94. Independence (Rehoboth Beach, DE)
95. Gulf Coast Village (Cape Coral, FL)
96. Mountainside at Wolf Laurel (Asheville, NC)
97. Roesville (Frederica, DE)
98. Coquina Crossing (St. Augustine, FL)
99. Verdae Village (Greenville, SC)
100. Trilogy Central Coast (San Luis Obispo, CA)

* Topretirements Advertiser
The Villages Florida
Parking lot at The Villages.
Here is a link to more than 1300 more active adult communities at Topretirements, by state.

Observations about the results and how they were compiled:
– This list is essentially a popular contest. The more times a community’s page was visited on our site, the higher it placed in the rankings. We believe this is an approximate indication of baby boomers’ interest in these respective communities, which they might or might not have heard of before.

– For the most part, the active adult communities making the list are in towns that are 100 best places to retire at Topretirements. In some cases (notably Prescott (AZ) or Asheville (NC), being the first 55+ community listed for a popular town could account for the high popularity of the community

– Not all communities were available during the entire 6 month period. Their rankings might be better or worse because of that fact
– Many of our Topretirements advertisers, who were no doubt helped by their preferred positioning on our site, made the top 100 list. Advertiser communities are identified by an *
– Finally, some of the larger, incorporated communities have additional, higher profile pages on our site, which also helps them in the rankings. Those include The Villages, Tellico Village, Hot Springs Village, Laguna Woods, etc.

For Further Reference:
See all the articles we have written about active adult communities in our blog.
2013 List of Most Popular Active Adult Communities
2012 List of Most Popular Adult Communities
2012 List of 100 Best Retirement Towns

What are your impressions of this list? Are you surprised the Northeast, Midwest, and Pacific Northwest were shut out? If you have visited or live in any of these communities please share your observations with your fellow members in the Comments section below.

Posted by John Brady on August 1st, 2011


  1. Hey, John; great group.

    We have been retired for a couple of years. We live in the Pacific Northwest, and spend the “summer” months at the homestead. The wife has her personal relational groups, and I barbecue, smoke food, mow the yard and work on my digital art and photography passion.

    We spend the winter months in southern Arizona, in a nice 5th wheel trailer with three slide-outs. The past two winters, we spent one month each at four different RV resorts. Next winter, we are going to spend two months at Palm Creek RV Golf Resort in Casa Grande, AZ, and two months at the Voyager RV Resort in Tucson, AZ.

    We enjoy and participate in many of the activities at these RV resorts. You might say we are very active in the winter in southern Arizona, and rest up during the summer in Washington State. We live within a two hour drive of Mt. Rainer to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west, Portland, Oregon to the south and Seattle, Washingnton to the north. While we are able, it seems like we are able to enjoy a meaningful retirement.

    Some day, hopefully in the far future, when we are not able to drag our “dirt yacht” around anymore, we will probably buy a park model home in a favorite RV Resort, and settle in for a winter in southern Arizona.

    We have friends who own double-wide mobile homes in the foothills of Yuma, AZ. When we get in our 80s, this might be the way to go, after we slow down and aren’t as physically able to engage in all of our favorite resort activates.

    And when we can no longer get around on our own and enter what I call the drool mode, we are counting on someone to shoehorn us into an old folk home for three squares and a bed. Hey; maybe some bingo!


    by Paddy — August 1, 2011

  2. […] 100 Most Popular Active Communities for 2011 […]

    by » Our 2011 Best Places to Retire List: The Sunbelt Rules Topretirements — August 2, 2011

  3. The Villages is a great place with more activities than most people can even imagine. Love The Villages!

    by Mandie — August 2, 2011

  4. Glad to see that Hot Springs Village, Arkansas ranks so high on this list. As the largest gated community in the nation (26,000 acres), Hot Springs Village is a retirement paradise. 9 Championship golf courses, 16 lit tennis courts and 26 miles of groomed nature trails make this a top choice for retirees and families alike. The cost of living in Arkansas is one of the best in the country as well. Hot Springs Village has virtually NO crime and residents have to worry about their safety! The weather is as close to perfect as you can get with mild summers and moderate winters.

    RE/MAX of Hot Springs Village develops, builds and sells homes in this wonderful community. They have FREE relocation packages on their website:

    by Jeff Hollansworth — August 3, 2011

  5. How is it possible that Colonial Heritage did not make the list and the Settlement at Powhatan Creek is number 3! Someone must have confused the two developments.
    Hi Shirley: Just to reiterate, this list is all about popularity. Doesn’t necessarily reflect quality. The Settlement was an advertiser at Topretirements for a couple of years and that increased visibility led to a lot of page views on this site. Colonial Heritage has gotten a lot of visibility in the last few months, they might make the list next year. I understand it is a very desirable place to live, per comments made here recently from Jay Michaels. – John Brady

    by Shirley — August 3, 2011

  6. Agree with your comment about the low crime rate in Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. We moved there several years ago and it is nice to know that you are safe and so are your belongings! Gated communities offer this type of security. Hot Springs Village Arkansas has its own police, fire and ambulance service and we absolutely love it here! So much to do and enjoy!

    by Clara Nicolosi — August 3, 2011

  7. in my life i have been lucky to have visited or lived in eleven(11) of the places on your 2011 top 100 list. my wife and i started our “where to retire” searching in 1996. she came to mexifornia, from Illinois and i came from Texas, 30+ years ago. the navy moved us both, but we were married to other people. we are going to check out Washington state in September. when we leave mexifornia, in 2013, we are going to explore America and probably end up in or around the Tennessee or North Carolina area. love the people, the trees, the rivers and the fresh air.

    by david huckabee — August 3, 2011

  8. I here alot about The Villages in Florida alot to do, but what about the homes and the cost of living there? I wouldn’t mind looking but I’m 3000 miles away. Any other great places to live in Florida? Active living, 55, gated with affordable homes. How do you deal with the weather? It’s that season! If you live in Florida I would like to here for some of you folks!

    by Brad — August 3, 2011

  9. While many of the places mentioned are terrific, I still prefer the valley of the sun near Phoenix, or the Tucson area. Beautiful sunny days 300+ a year, very low humidity, no hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc. Short drive to Sand Diego or Las Vegas and even shorter drive to the mountains & lakes to escape the summer heat. Very low real estate taxes and HOA fees. I tried FL but it is too humid for me and the hurricanes make me skittish about it as my cousin lost her house to one of them. We also have great amenities as either city is large and Phoenix has a huge amount of city-sized suburbs with their own amenities. The ‘burbs are safe (as is most of the city itself – some areas are bad, like any other large city)but everything is very close for our enjoyment. I’ve been all over and so far, AZ is still my favorite place to retire.

    by Joel — August 3, 2011

  10. It’s so interesting and inspiring to see how we differ in our perceptions of what makes the right kind of retirement experience. For some it’s the weather (guaranteed sunshine). For others, it’s being surrounded by water or mountains or perfectly groomed golf courses. For still others, it’s a rich local history, or a lively activities program. Of course, being with like-minded, friendly neighbors is high on everyone’s list. I think one of the reasons the community in the Shenandoah Valley fits Top Retirements’ popularity criteria is that it offers so much to so many — it’s full of such striking variety, including weather that changes with the seasons and hasn’t extremes of hot or cold.

    by Jan — August 11, 2011

  11. Where are the Midwest communities? The Front Range and the Black Hills are some of the most beautiful areas in the nation. Retirement living doesn’t have to be synonymous with year-round temperatures about 80 degrees. The winters in the Black Hills of South Dakota are actually so mild that a lot of active seniors can enjoy hobbies like golfing, hiking, and fishing all year. Spearfish, SD, is one of the largest growing retirement areas in the Midwest and for good reason–it’s tranquil, uncrowded, and less expensive than other states. New master-planned communities like Elkhorn Ridge Golf Estates and Frawley Ranch Estates (offer) top-rated golf and equestrian facilities. They’re worth checking out if the beach isn’t your thing.

    Editor’s note: Laura, it sounds like you work at Elkhorn. You should create a free Basic Listing for your community at Topretirements. Just use the “Add a 55+ Community” link in the top navigation to register and create.

    by Laura — August 25, 2011

  12. I have been going to Mesa AZ but would like to find a place with better air quality and some water (for the beauty of it) Like a gated community and to be able to walk for groceries and activities I live summers on Vancouver Is but love that sun in the winter. I am an avid lawn bowler so am looking for that too. Any ideas?

    by margaret — September 9, 2011

  13. […] further reference: The 100 Most Popular Active Communities at Topretirements for 2011 Best 50+ Community Awards at NAHB What Makes for a Great Community December 4 Newsletter: Award […]

    by » What Makes for Great Active Adult Communities Topretirements — February 13, 2012

  14. […] in the top 10, and Sun City would been somewhere in the 80′s. See our 2011 list of “The 100 Most Popular Active Adult Communities” for […]

    by » 2012 List of 100 Best Places to Retire – Sunbelt Remains on Top Topretirements — February 22, 2012

  15. I have a very dear friend that retired in Florida. After 9 years, he said it just became too expensive and the insurance too high. They sold and are now retired in Knoxville, TN and just LOVE it!

    by Jan — June 23, 2012

  16. […] For Further Reference: See all the articles we have written about active adult communities in our blog. Why the Villages is Perfect for Len and Ann Sunbelt Remains on Top in 2012 List of 100 Best Retirement Towns 100 Most Popular Active Adult Communities for 2011 […]

    by » Florida, North Carolina, and Delaware Dominate 2012 List of the 100 Best Active Adult Communities Topretirements — August 8, 2012

  17. […] Cons of Buying in Established Community Overall: What you see is all you are going to get – Your unit will probably not be new – retrofitting to your preferences will be limited and expensive – The longer the community has been around, the higher the average age of your neighbors – Compared to a newer community, it might not have the latest and greatest in amenities – The community has been shaped; it will be hard for you to influence its direction – Expensive and contentious repairs are waiting to happen: roads, elevators, roofs, painting, structural problems, clubhouse improvements, etc. – Even very established active communities can still get new problems. The Villages in Florida has been around for years, but there are still issues to be resolved about the status of its tax-free bonds and the fees paid to the developer. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle ||[]).push({}); For Further Reference: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy in an Active Adult Community What Sandy Learned from 8 Years of Visiting Active Adult Communities 100 Most Popular Active Communities: 2011 […]

    by » Pros and Cons: Should You Buy in a New or an Established Active Community Topretirements — June 17, 2014

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