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17 Most Popular 55+ and Active Communities in the Southeast

Category: Active adult communities

March 5, 2019 — We were curious to find out which of the thousands of 55 plus communities at Topretirements attract the most attention from our Members and visitors. So after examining the data from the last 6 months of 2018, here are the 17 most popular communities in the Southeastern states of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. This article complements a similar one for the Southwest: “15 Most Popular Active Adult Communities in the Southwest for 2019“.

The results are a combination of those that are: “of course” (The Villages and several very large Cresswind and Valencia communities that advertise here), a few “head shakers” that we never expected to make this list, and some pleasant “surprises”. The choices cover a wide range – from really big (The Villages), to 55+ communities within larger master planned developments (Cresswind), to special interest (Indian River Colony Club), to inexpensive manufactured home and RV communities popular with snowbirds (Citrus Park and others). Note that most, but not all, of these communities are designated 55 plus. But the majority of residents probably would meet that qualification in all cases.

While these are the 18 most popular active adult communities on this site for these three states, they might not necessarily be the “best”. That is for you to determine, based on how well they fit your needs. One big takeaway here is how important it is to spread your net wide when researching active adult and 55 plus communities. There are thousands of choices that might work for you, but you won’t even find out about them unless you look around. If this list does anything for you we hope it expands your horizons. If you are interested in moving to a particular area, at least do an Internet search to get a good idea of the possibilities before you just settle on one you or your friends have heard of. There are many good choices awaiting you!

The most popular 55+ communities in the Southeast

1. Cresswind at Victoria Gardens, Deland, FL . Located within the master planned Victoria Park in Deland, this 55+ community offers an impressive array of amenities. Those include pickleball courts, horseshoe pits, event lawn, numerous parks, lakes and nature trails, not to mention the championship golf available at the Victoria Hills Golf Club. There’s also a bank, pharmacy, salon, nail spa, dry cleaners and other services at the adjacent Village Center.

2. Valencia Cay At Riverland, Port St. Lucie, FL Here is another 55+ community located within a much larger development. Homeowners will enjoy resort-style living with an array of wonderful amenities right in their own neighborhood, and will also have the added benefit of being among the first residents to live at Riverland. The amenities include a spectacular 34,000 square foot Clubhouse and over 5 acres of recreation.

3. Cresswind at Lake Lanier. Gainesville, GA. Located in Gainesville on Lake Lanier, Cresswind offers 55+ lakeside living and an Audubon-designated sanctuary. There is a full suite of social and recreational amenities designed for the active adult lifestyle.

4. The Villages, Florida By this time just about everyone has heard about this giant active community that spans 3 counties in Central Florida. Practically every amenity and club ever heard of is represented here. The people who live here tend to be active, and they love it. Golf cart friendly, here you go!

5. Indian River Colony Club, Melbourne, FL. One of the more unusual communities on this list, IRCC is designed for former military personnel.   There are 773 individually owned 2-4 bedroom single family homes with abundant wildlife and beautiful golf course views. It offers great homes and a fabulous lifestyle.

6. Woodside, Aiken, SC This community is a good example of the hundreds of active communities that offer an exceptional experience, but that many people don’t know of it. Open to all ages, it has a list of world-class amenities that shape and enrich the quality of day-to-day life.  There are plenty of active and social opportunities at the community’s social hub – The Reserve Club – from award-winning golf, including a Nicklaus Design course, swim and USTA certified racquet pavilion now featuring a dedicated pickleball court, elegant clubhouse with fine and casual dining facilities, nature trails, and a calendar full of lively social events and dozens of clubs and special interest groups.

7. Cresswind Charleston, Charleston, SC. This gated 55 plus community of 600 homes is integrated within the larger community of The Ponds while maintaining its own privacy. There is a full list of resort-style amenities. Residents can take a short walk to the 12,000-square-foot clubhouse, enjoy pickleball and tennis, or participate in activities at the event lawn and amphitheater. Additionally, homeowners can enjoy cooking and yoga classes or bocce ball.

8. Barefoot Bay, Sebastian, FL is a unique 55+ community made up of highly customized, upscale manufactured homes in Sebastion, FL. The location on the Indian River Lagoon (Inter-coastal Waterway), midway between Melbourne and Vero Beach, is ideally situated and within an hour of Kennedy Space Center, and Canaveral National Seashore. Just a few miles south of Barefoot Bay you will find the Sebastian Inlet for great fishing. This is a well established community with dozens of clubs and non-stop activities.

9. Amelia Island Plantation, Fernandina Beach, FL. Located near Florida’s border with Georgia, Amelia Island Plantation offers a unique lifestyle to people of all ages. There are tremendous beaches, a world class tennis center, resort hotels, homes, villas, and multiple great golf courses. Nearby Fernandina Beach offers a cute town to explore and find entertainment in.

10. Freedom at San Salito, St. Augustine, FL This new, active adult 55+ neighborhood is situated in the San Salito master-planned community in Saint Augustine, Florida. The gated community features single story, low maintenance homes with covered lanais, and amenities which include a swimming pool, bocce ball courts, dog park, and an amenity center with a lifestyle director.  Homeowners also have access to the many amenities of San Salito.

11. Summit of Dahlonega, Dahlonega, GA.  A gated, active adult community for 55 and older near beautiful Dahlonega. It is near Lake Lanier and a national forest. Here you will find elegant condominiums surrounded by nature.

12. Cresswind Peachtree City, Peachtree City, GA. This new 55+ community is located within Peachtree City, which has amazing resources and commercial centers. Here you will find single-family ranch homes, a spacious 17,000 sq. ft. Clubhouse with indoor and outdoor pools, fitness center, sports courts and more. The community is connected to over 100 miles of golf cart and biking paths that wind throughout Peachtree City. Homes priced from the upper $200’s.

13. Tropical Palms, Bradenton, FL An award winning resident-owned 55+ adult lifestyle community in Bradenton. Enjoy warm tropical breezes, world famous beaches and spectacular sunsets. Community amenities include clubhouse, exercise room, pool, library, and picnic area. Resale homes priced under $25,000.

14. Citrus Park, Bonita Springs, FL. RV and Mobile home community that offers over 900 RV sites and more than 500 home sites. The community is not explicitly 55 plus, but most residents are. It features 3 heated swimming pools, softball fields, tennis courts, a recreation hall, and many scheduled daily activities and social events. The home lots offer a front and backyard with lake or canal view. Popular with snowbird rentals.

15. Caribbean Naples, Naples, FL A 55+ active adult, manufactured home community located in beautiful Naples, the jewel of Florida’s crown. From the moment you arrive, you are greeted with miles of beaches where you can soak up the sun, fish, sail, collect one-of-a-kind sea shells, or witness a vibrant sunsets.

16. The Oaks at Blue Ridge, Blue Ridge, GA. A 55 and over gated active adult community. It is just 5 minutes to the lovely small town of Blue Ridge. Walking trails, covered pavilion, planned community center. The Oaks offers the opportunity for simplified living in a beautiful mountain community coupled with the ease of low-maintenance, compact homes offered at a sensible price point. Priced from $175K – $225K.

17. Lake Haven, Dunedin, FL Homeowners here enjoy resort style amenities and an active 55+ lifestyle. They also appreciate the benefits of being within 5 miles of metropolitan Clearwater, and their close proximity to tranquil beaches, area shopping, medical facilities, and transportation services. New homes priced under $80,000.

A note about how this list was compiled. To develop it we reviewed our site logs from July to the end of December, 2018. The communities whose web pages were visited the most were the winners. In some, but not all cases, the communities advertise on Topretirements.com, which means they had a better chance of being noticed. Various other factors could have influenced the popularity (e.g.; when they were added or updated), but we believe the choices represent a fair example of the many different kinds of 55+ and active adult communities available.

For further reading:

Comments? Please share your Comments and observations below.

Posted by Admin on March 4th, 2019

8 Comments »

  1. To my knowledge, Woodside Plantation (Aiken, SC) and Amelia Island Plantation are not age-restricted. Indeed, you will see some school buses coming through the community on weekday mornings and afternoons. An interesting survey/article would rank the reasons why retirees feel the need to move to an age restricted community. In any event, I know of dozens of “open” communities, with and without golf, where retirees are almost exclusively the residents. They are either remotely located, far from schools, for example, or priced at levels that young families cannot afford yet.

    by Larry — March 5, 2019

  2. When clicking on community websites it would be good to see the community HOA docs and also board minutes, etc. I’ve found some docs for a few communities but most keep them behind the “residents only” wall. I asked a realtor about obtaining those for one community and was told they are available after an offer is made but what if there are things about the HOA or their rules that would kill the deal? We are also cautioned to check the number of non-paid HOA dues, number of vacant houses, etc. but how is that information obtained when considering a purchase?

    by Jean — March 5, 2019

  3. Any helpful feedback (pros and cons) on possibly retiring in the Charleston, SC area? We are planning on visiting the area in April. We are not hikers, bikers or camping people…more like beach, pool, shopping, going out to bum around, markets. Thanks! Is SS taxed in SC? Will rent at first for sure. Any and info appreciated.

    Editor’s comment: Certainly a lot of places to choose from in the Charleston area. Suggest if you haven’t already, start with this mini-guide to retirement in SC https://www.topretirements.com/state/South%20Carolina.html and then check out towns and communities in our SC Directory, https://www.topretirements.com/active_adult_communities/South_Carolina.html Good luck!

    by Brenda — March 6, 2019

  4. We moved the last few comments that discussed finding rentals to a more appropriate Blog article:
    “Renting Frustrations Lead to the Snowbird Dilemma-Rent or Own”
    https://www.topretirements.com/blog/real-estate/renting-frustrations-lead-to-the-snowbird-dilemma-rent-or-buy.html/#comments

    by Jane at Topretirements — March 13, 2019

  5. Does anyone have any information or comments on Cresswind, the new 55-plus community on the east side of Charlotte?

    by PatR — April 30, 2019

  6. Hi PatR,

    My wife and I toured that facility last August and given the newness of it, they were only able to show the plans for the entire community and the tours of the model homes. Our feeling was they were a tad too focused on home sales and less about the community as a whole, which was more important to us. The location was convenient to downtown, all be it a drive, and the nearby area’s community offerings were OK, but nothing really walkable, We did not pursue further efforts with them because it did not have the feel we were seeking, and we were put off by the press to seel lots verses make a true match. They had staff that were transplants to the facility as it was so new, and our rep had been with the location 2 weeks and could not really offer more than the modles and a description of the build design process which they were very proud of. they stressed a holistic view of the build and disign process, outlining multiple hours seeking alignment to our needs, but we felt that it was long on promises. We just did not get the feel that it was right for us. Hope this perspective helps and good luck on your search.

    by BruceB — April 30, 2019

  7. Hi PatR
    If you go to the Topretirements.com website you’ll see Search Retirement Towns by State. Cresswind has an ad under North Carolina. There are also other 55+ communities. You can also use the search bar to look for any articles in which Cresswind is mentioned.
    You may also want to post your question on the Forum under Charlotte. You can find it in the drop down menu.
    Hope this helps!

    by Admin — April 30, 2019

  8. You might want to take a look at the Cresswind over the border in Fort Mill (or Indian Land – not sure which address they use) SC. It was being built about 2 years ago when I was living nearby so I don’t know if it’s done or not. I only eliminated it because the builder couldn’t customize the master bath to put in a big soaking tub….yeah, I was being picky. It had a gorgeous dog park, security, putting green and more. It had turned the former camp cabins into a mini-post office, craft cabin and other amenities. I thought their construction was better than Pulte’s at the large Sun City within 5 miles (although that Sun City had a public golf course, the typical huge community center with indoor and outdoor pools, clubs, and more). As I moved back north, an outdoor shopping center was being built nearby. Both communities had a library, Publix, Harris Teater market and more within 5 miles. Best of all, it was only 16 miles or so from Charlotte but taxes were 1/3 of NC taxes, lowest gas prices in the country, and more. Construction was booming, including a movie theatre complex on the SC side of the border. If I were hunting for negatives for these SC communities, it would be the increasing traffic and the lack of a really close hospital in a medical emergency, better medical care and physician availability over the border in NC, and the library was on the small side. I really loved the Charlotte area. I lived in an all-age neighborhood when I retired there at the beginning of 2018.

    by Kate — May 1, 2019

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