Arizona’s 15 Most Popular Active Adult and 55+ Communities

Category: Active adult communities

October 18, 2017 — The allure of Arizona’s warm winters, mountains, and deserts has made it a retirement magnet for a long time. Although most people who retire here come from the midwest or west of the Mississippi, it also attracts a fair number of retirees from the East. Some retirees come here as snowbirds for the winter months only, while others move to the Grand Canyon State full time. However they come, Arizona is one of the most popular places in the U.S. for retirement. This article highlights the 15 most popular active adult and 55+ communities in Arizona, as measured by visitor interest at Topretirements.com.

We encourage you to use our Arizona Directory of Active Communities to explore the more than 150 active adult and 55+ communities we have reviewed there under 36 towns. You can also use our Advanced Search to find communities by state, size, expense, type of community, amenities, etc. – you’ll be sure to find what you are looking for.

A geographically diverse state
To people who haven’t experienced it, Arizona might seem to be one big desert baking in the sun. But in reality it is several different geographic areas. There are tall mountains in many parts of the State, including Mt. Humphreys near Flagstaff at over 12,000′, plus some good size mountains in the south. We encourage people who are interested in a warmer retirement to spend some time exploring these different areas. Arizona has two big cities, Phoenix and Tucson. It also has former cowboy towns (Prescott and Yuma), and recovering ghost towns (Bisbee).

Mountains in Southern Arizona Mountains in Southern Arizona

Arranged by geographic region
A development has to really stand out to make it into the top 15 in such a competitive environment. Green Valley in southern Arizona was the #1 most popular community – no surprise since it actually is a collection of so many communities and Home Owner Associations. We were pleased to see the winners represent a wide variety of communities – from giant master planned developments with multiple neighborhoods and every amenity like Cantamia, to smaller manufactured home and RV communities. Rather than list them in descending order for the whole state, we are going to group them by geographic areas (although their rank in the State is noted). So here you go, AZ’s top 15 communities sorted into the areas they are in.

Southern
Tucson and its many surrounding is the heart of southern Arizona. The terrain is interesting with many mountains, hills, and deserts. Further south you run into the #1 community on this list, Green Valley. It extends almost all the way to Mexico. Yuma is tucked into the southwestern corner.

1. Green Valley in the very southern part of the state is actually a collection of active communities with 59 Home Owners Associations. To see the 15 we have listed under Green Valley, go to Green Valley Communities.

Central
The Central part of Arizona includes the huge Phoenix Metro and its many suburbs and outlying towns. A number of the top 15 communities on this list are from Apache Junction located to the east of Phoenix.
2. La Casa Blanca. The beauty of the Superstition Mountains sets the stage for this quaint and friendly desert oasis in the East Valley (Apache Junction). The community is a gated community of manufactured homes.

La Casa Blanca La Casa Blanca

3. Lost Dutchman is another Apache Junction community. The RV/Manufactured home property has three community centers and a wide range of outstanding amenities.

4. Sun Valley is in the heart of the Arizona desert in Apache Junction. The area is rich with western heritage and legends, and is bordered by the Superstition Mountains to the east, and the Goldfield Mountains to the north.

5. Rancho Mirage . Residents in this Apache Junction community enjoy a variety of resort-style amenities and a calendar full of planned activities and events. Amenities include a clubhouse with performance stage, fitness center, billiard room, library and catering kitchen. Outside, residents enjoy a heated swimming pool and spa.

7.Sun City (the Original!). Sun City Arizona, north and west of Phoenix, was not only the first 55+ active adult community in Arizona, but also the first in the country. Del Webb started Sun City Arizona in 1960 and it now has over 26,000 homes, 11 golf courses and countless amenities and social clubs. It is renowned for its incredible home values, low property taxes and minimal association fees.
Sun CitySun City

8. Brentwood West. This community features a lifestyle enhanced by the stylish Southwestern flair of the “City of the Arts”. Surrounded by all of the excitement of urban living in Mesa, residents enjoy art festivals, fine Southwestern dining, concerts, museums, galleries, exciting sport events, and more.

10. Sun City Grand . The third Del Webb active adult community in Phoenix’s northwest valley hosts a bountiful lineup of amenities, social activities and golf courses. Residents of Sun City Grand cherish their smaller community for its newer homes in a quiet, un-congested location in Central Arizona. There are 17,000 residents.

12. CantaMia. Located in the foothills of the Estrella Mountains near Phoenix, surrounded by lush desert and abundant wildlife, CantaMia at Estrella is located within the 10,000+ acre master planned community of Estrella, along with a Village Center and 500 acres of parks and hiking trails.

13. Encore at Eastmark opened in 2015 and is the addition to the popular master planned community of Eastmark located in Mesa, Arizona. It is specifically planned and designed for 55-Plus active adults, featuring a state-of-the-art Village Center with a luxurious resort pool, fitness center, class facilities.

14. Hacienda de Valencia. An age qualified, gated community in Mesa designed to offer the most in retirement living. There is an array of social activities like dances, potlucks, games and planned trips.

nullSun Lakes Arizona

15.Sun Lakes of Arizona is made up of five country club style neighborhoods that each have their own golf course and amenity center. A generous assortment of world-class amenities and social activities cater to the non-golfers who reside in this age-restricted community to the south of Phoenix.

Northern
The northern part of the State includes Flagstaff, Sedona, and Bullhead City (along the Nevada border). This is where the Grand Canyon is located. The area tends to be high desert with some significant mountains, and is cooler year round.
6.Sedona Shadows offers an affordable RV/manufacture home lifestyle accented by a wide range of activities including hiking, swimming, water aerobics, and golfing at nearby courses.

9. The Reserve at Fox Creek offers a range of amenities, an activities director, and a calendar of planned events. Located in the center of the community overlooking a natural arroyo, the million-dollar clubhouse with covered picnic area provides the perfect spot to enjoy breathtaking sunsets and scenic mountain views. It is in Bullhead City in the northwest part of the state.

11. Pine Lakes is an affordable 55+ land-lease community, one mile high in the tall pines, where the homes meet the forest. The community offers views of the nearby mountain peaks and dense forest in the beautiful Prescott area.
Pine LakesPine Lakes

About how we compiled this list
To come up with this list we reviewed our site logs from Jan 1 to Sept 30 of this year. The 15 Arizona communities that were viewed the most made the list. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are the “best” communities, but in this one important dimension they have succeeded in attracting member and visitor attention on our site.

Comments?. Do you have a favorite Arizona active community you think should have made this list? What area of the State do you think is the best for retirement? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

For further reading:
15 Most Popular Active Communities in Florida
100 Top Active Communities for 2016
Affordable Places to Live on the Waterfront
The Southwest: 10 Great Places to Retire That Won’t Break Your Budget




Posted by Admin on October 17th, 2017

17 Comments »

  1. I’d add Province in Maricopa to the list. Wonderful amenities, great neighbors, many activities, a town of about 50,000 that has most of what we need, and easy access to Phoenix for entertainment, specialized medical care, the airport, and more . The cost of real estate is usually lower than it is in Phoenix, but the quality is comparable.

    by Carl — October 18, 2017

  2. Not sure why —unless it is related to paid advertisements by those listed that Saddlebrooke is not listed and a few other Tucson communities.
    With the very high numbers of sales and Saddlebrooke having more amenties and golf courses than others.
    Saddlebrooke is on Northern edge of Tucson area with slightly milder temperatures than Tucson and a lot cooler than Phoenix. Sits in foothills of the Catalinas with fantastic views and topography that is much more interesting than the flat desert.
    Clubhouses, performing arts center, and multiple golf courses
    Was just voted top adult community in Tucson area.

    by Sara — October 18, 2017

  3. After checking many communities near and around Phoenix my wife and I decided on Victory at Verrado in Buckeye, AZ. Victory being a 55 community with its own amenities, but we also are part of the larger master plan of Verrado and are allowed to use those amenities also. We love that Victory is built in the White Tank Mountains.
    We also checked out Wickenburg Ranch in Wickenburg, CantaMia, Sun City Festival, Sun City West, Sun City Grand, Trilogy at Vistancia and PebbleCreek.
    We did several stay and plays and have friends that live in Sun City and Sun City West. We narrowed our search down to Sun City Festival, Victory and Wickenburg Ranch. Victory won out and we are in the process of having our built that we hope to be completed early 2019.

    by Bruce — October 18, 2017

  4. Bruce, just a question, why so long to build your home? Fourteen months seems a bit extreme. Back in 1975 we built our home here in CT in 3 months and moved in. All was complete. Of course there was some time buying the property in the beginning before we built but that was maybe a month. What kind of home are you building?

    by louise — October 18, 2017

  5. So many great communities in the Tucson area for consideration. Saddlebrooke Ranch, Saddlebrooke, Sun City Oro Valley, The Highlands at Dove Mountain, Del Webb at Dove Mountain all north of Tucson. All with full amenities, most with golf courses, pools, pickleball, clubhouse, restaurant, tennis. etc. Do consider Tucson, cooler in the summer than Phoenix, and much less traffic.

    by Loretta — October 19, 2017

  6. To answer Louise questions. When we purchased we were told 6-9 months. I believe the builder is being kind as we have a lease on the apartment until the end of March. They are trying to get the closing date and our move out dates to be as close as possible so we don’t have rent and a mortgage to pay. We had found a model house in Sun City Festival already built that had us excited, but as we started discussing they would not budge on a 60 day closing date. We would have spent over $12K paying rent and mortgage, HOA fees, utilities and only living in one.
    We are building a Lennar home 2 bedroom 2 bath about 1800 sq. ft. One thing I forgot to mention in my previous post is Victory uses 4 different builders in the community, that allows for a different look and feel in the community. One other thing we loved about Lennar was all their homes have access to the laundry from the master bedroom walk in closet. Believe me it sold my wife as some houses you need to take your dirty laundry from the master bedroom through the kitchen to the laundry room.

    by Bruce — October 19, 2017

  7. Sorry to have to post again so soon, but I just read an article on 55 places about the 20 most luxurious communities for 2017 and Victory at Verrado in Buckeye, AZ was number 3.

    by Bruce — October 19, 2017

  8. From Barbara: This is where the right community really makes a difference. I live in SaddleBrooke, outside of Tucson, where folks say if you’re bored, you’re either dead or stupid. This 55 + community really has something for everyone. Yes, most people are couples, but there are tons of activities that are welcoming to people who are widowed, divorced or never married. My husband and I do socialize with those not necessarily coupled. If we like them, we like them.

    People who live here range from former corporate executives, to teachers, astrophysicists, lawyers, doctors, bowling alley owners, artists etc etc etc. I don’t think anyone really cares. I think people here are more interested in living in the moment. There are tons of things beyond sports from games to numerous volunteer activities to artistic endeavors. If you want social opportunities then abound, but if you want to be less social, that is okay too.

    Not all 55+ communities offer this range of activities, but some do. Prices here range from the $200s to over $1 million. Just do your research.

    by Admin — October 24, 2017

  9. Comment from Kathi:
    First, thanks for such an informative web site. It has a lot of good, very useful information. I have a comment/suggestion. My comment is in regards to the median age of the residents. I am actively searching for a 55+ Active Adult Community in the Phoenix metro area that has a younger residential median age (mid 60’s). New construction communities can give an approx median age of people buying in, but if a community has been in existence for 25 years it seems like the community median age my be much older. I appreciate any help you can offer.

    Response from Editor:
    You are correct that newer communities can give an approx median age of residents, because most are recent buyers. It is possible to get the same info for older communities, but you might have to work harder for it. Real estate agents probably have a good sense of that, as do sales offices in those communities. If the community has no sales office you can try interviewing residents or managers, or visit the community yourself. In general, the longer the community has been around, the older the residents. But like all generalizations, it is not always true. Good luck!

    by Admin — July 3, 2018

  10. Check out Trilogy at Verde River in Rio Verde – A fairly new development with just a little over 200 homes built. It has a small 55 + community within the larger mixed age community.

    by Susan — July 4, 2018

  11. Bruce, you said you checked out Sun City West and know people who live there, can you tell me about why there are so many different HOA amounts? Also what you liked and didn’t. Is the community in good condition or is it needing a lot of updates? Do they have a lot of RULES? I ‘m not looking for the many amenities just basics and to live with people my own age. Thank you for any information or from anyone with info.

    by Sandyg — July 6, 2018

  12. Sandy, The first time we made a visit to Sun City West my wife and I both commented on how pristine and clean the community looked. Believe most of the home lots are larger compared to the newer communities being built today. Don’t know about the different HOA fees, our friends pay $145 a month. Property taxes are lowered in Sun City & Sun City West, compared to other communities. Don’t believe the HOA rules are iron clad, as my friend just put in a new patio and plants without having to get permission, that wouldn’t happen in our community. You hear things about HOA rules but I believe some folks have nothing better to do then watch for violations and submit complaints. I believe it would be less if the folks turning in violations had their name attached to the complaint, presently they’re anonymous. We have met the neighbors of our friends and all are great people, one allowed us to take oranges and grapefruit from their trees.

    by Bruce — July 7, 2018

  13. Bruce-what does the $146 HOA fee cover besides trash removal? Yard work? Just curious as that seems really low.

    Thanks.

    by Jennifer — July 8, 2018

  14. Jennifer from what they have told us the HOA covers the common areas of the community. They also have access to their club which has an indoor pool, gym, library and craft rooms. Golf is not included as all the courses are public. Their yard work is not included neither is trash. Most of the homes have desert landscaping requiring little yard maintenance.
    Del Webb Sun City Festival has an HOA of $145(researched when checking out homes there) so I think it is about standard. We pay in $200 month at Victory in Verrado.

    by Bruce — July 9, 2018

  15. I just saw on the news about the monster dust storm in the Phoenix area. I wonder how residents deal with it. It looks bad and part of the weather issues there.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2018/07/10/one-of-the-most-incredible-sights-monster-dust-storm-sweeps-across-southern-arizona/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.36d1cdbedd9c

    by JoannL — July 11, 2018

  16. The bad dust storms seem to be around Phoenix and on I-10 from Casa Grande to Phoenix. I have been just south of Tucson for almost 2 years now and have not seen one.

    by Pat Reynolds — July 11, 2018

  17. Regarding the Phoenix dust storms….If you live down in south Phoenix like I-10, Mesa, Apache Junction, and Casa Grande areas…that is where they get the large dust storms that pick up dust north of Tucson and head toward those South areas of Phoenix. They die down as they start hitting cities. I live way up North Phoenix/Scottsdale and have never seen that. Folks need to check into the sandy and wind areas around Phoenix before you buy! Do your homework anywhere you consider moving. Personally I would not live down there and be around that.

    by Loralee — July 11, 2018

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