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Florida, North Carolina, and Delaware Dominate 2012 List of the 100 Best Active Adult Communities

Category: Active adult communities

Note: This article provides our 2012 list. Here is where you can go to see the “2014 List of the 100 Best Active Adult Communities
August 8, 2012 — The results are in, and Topretirements members and visitors are most interested in exploring active adult communities in Florida, North Carolina, and Delaware. Those 3 states accounted for 60 of the 100 most popular communities. Left in the dust were the 3 next most favorite states – Arizona (8 communities), Texas (7), and Tennessee (5). As was the case with our 2011 List of the Best Active Adult Communities, Sun Belt states achieved near total domination over their colder brethren. (See also: 100 Most Popular Towns for Retirement – 2014).

Florida, the runaway favorite, topped the 2012 list with an amazing 35 communities (it had 40 in 2012). North Carolina improved its showing from 10 to 13 on the 2012 list. Delaware was close on NC’s heels with 12 communities on the list – by far the best representation of any non-Sun Belt state.

We take several conclusions away from these results:

– Florida is by far the most popular state for active communities at Topretirements (of course we have by far the most community listings in that state – 300+).

– North Carolina’s geographic diversity makes it a natural place to consider for retirement, and there are lots of active communities to choose from. Baby boomers can choose to live near the shore, in a city, college town, or mountains.

– 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. Many folks from the northeast will find it familiar, and not too from their families.

– For the first time since we have been compiling this list, Green Valley (Arizona) was replaced as the most popular active adult community for 2012. The Villages, a giant community in Central Florida, has the honor of being our #1 most popular active community in the USA.

Golf is big at The Villages

– We find it refreshing to see how many new communities made it in 2012 – 31 out of 100 are new to this list. Some were advertisers on our site, some were not. Obviously our visitors are interested in learning about new communities to consider.

The top 100 communities were chosen on the basis of visitor popularity at Topretirements during the period January 1 to July 31, 2012. The communities whose listings were viewed by our visitors the most (as reported by Google Analytics) were the winners. Please see the end of article for important details on the selection criteria.

And the 2012 winners are:
1. The Villages (The Villages, FL). The Villages sprawls over several counties and has 75,000 residents and 33 golf courses. The Villages pages at Topretirements were viewed over 10,000 times by our members and visitors in the 7 month reporting period.
2. 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.
3. Tellico Village (TN). Situated on giant Tellico Lake, this community has 6,750 residents and is open to people of all ages.
4. The Settlement at Powhatan Creek (Williamsburg, VA)
5. Lake Weir Living* (near The Villages, FL)
6. Fearrington Village* (Chapel Hill, NC)
7. Hot Springs Village* (Hot Springs, AR)
8. The Fountains at Lake Pointe Woods (Sarasota, FL)
9. Laguna Woods Village (Laguna Woods, CA)
10.The Moorings (Vero Beach, FL)

11. Valencia Reserve* (Boynton Beach, FL)
12. Indian River Colony Club* (Melbourne, FL) (new)
13. Sun City (Sun City, AZ)
14. Silver Sage Village (Boulder, CO)
15. Millville by the Sea (Bethany Beach, DE)
16. Solivita* (Kissimmee, FL) (new)
17. Talking Rock* (Prescott, AZ)
18. Valencia Lakes* (Tampa, FL)
19. Holly Lake Ranch* (Tyler, TX)
20. Hampton Lake (Bluffton, SC)
21. Del Webb Carolina Preserve* (Cary, NC)
22. Biltmore Lake (Asheville, NC)
23. Peninsula on the Indian River* (Millsboro, DE) (new)
24. Moores Valley* (Asheville, NC) (new)
25. Fairways at Savannah Quarters* (Savannah, GA) (new)

Valencia Reserve in Boynton Beach

26. Fairfield Glade (TN)
27. Lofts at Mica Village (Asheville, NC)
28. On Top of the World (Ocala, FL)
29. Bayside* (Selbyville, DE)
30. The Orchard Villas (Apex, NC)
31. Southern Palms* (Ladson, SC) (new)
32. Lakewood Ranch (Sarasota, FL)
33. Royal Highlands (Leesburg, FL) (new)
34.Bay Crossing (Lewes, DE)
35. Waterside (Bethany Beach, DE) (new)
36. Avery Ranch (Austin, TX) (new)
37. Doral Village (Clearwater, FL)
38. The Village at Penn State (State College, PA)
39. Terravita* (Scottsdale, AZ) (new)
40. Pelican Sound (Estero, FL)
41. Venetian Falls (Venice, FL)
42. Enchanted Canyon (Prescott, AZ)
43. The Villages at Crest Mountain (Asheville, NC)
44. The Cliffs at Walnut Cove (Asheville, NC)
45.Bayfront at Rehoboth (Lewes, DE)
46. Heritage Shores (Bridgeville, DE)
47. Steiner Ranch (Austin, TX)
48. Cascades of Sarasota (Sarasota, FL) (new)
49. Trilogy Central Coast (San Luis Obispo, CA) (up from #100 in 2011)
50. Breakwater (Lewes, DE)

Talking Rock near the northern AZ town of Prescott

51. Querencia at Barton Creek (Austin, TX)
52. Longhorn Village (Austin, TX)
53. Callawassie Island (Beaufort, SC)
54. The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay* (St. Petersburg, FL)
55. Willow Springs Reserve (Johnson City, TN) (new)
56. Soleil Laurel Canyon* (Canton, GA)
57. Merrill Gardens at Parmer Woods (Austin, TX)
58. Bahia Vista Estates (Sarasota, FL)(new)
59. Lakes of Mount Dora (Mount Dora, FL) (new)
60. Village Walk (Bonita Springs, FL) (new)
61. Sarasota Bay Club (Sarasota, FL)
62. Century Village (Deerfield Beach, FL) There are actually 3 Century Villages in Southeast FL
63. Sedona Shadows (Sedona, AZ)
64. Mountainside at Wolf Laurel (Asheville, NC)
65. Cottages at Governors Landing (Knoxville, TN) (new)
66. Alameda Isles (Venice, FL)
67. Gulf Coast Village (Cape Coral, FL)
68. Albuquerque Meadows (Albuquerque, NM)
69. Riverbend (New Castle, DE) (new)
70. Harbour Crest on Lake Chickamauga (Chattanooga, TN) (new)
71. West Bay (Lewes, DE)
72. Crowfields (Asheville, NC)
73. Century Village West Palm Beach (Palm Beach, FL)
74. Central Park at Lakewood Ranch (Bradenton, FL) (new)
75. St. Augustine Shores (Saint Augustine, FL)

Southern Palms, an active community near Charleston

76. The Villages at Lynx Creek (Prescott, AZ)
77. Penn National (Chambersburg, PA)* (new)
78. Coral Cay Plantation (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
79. The Austonian (Austin, TX) (new)
80. The Venetian at Capri Isles (Venice, FL)

81. The Isles on Palmer Ranch (Sarasota, FL) (new)
82. Lawton Station* (Bluffton, SC) (new)
83. Hillcrest (CT)* (new)
84. Abbey Delray (Delray Beach, FL)
85. St. James Plantation (Southport, NC) (new)
86. The Tides at Charleston (Staten Island, NY) (new)
87. Coquina Crossing (St. Augustine, FL)
88. Sun City Tampa (near Tampa, FL)
89. Independence (Rehoboth Beach, DE)
90. Rarity Bay* (Vonore, TN)
91. High Country Villas (San Diego, CA)
92. Cedar Valley (Rehoboth Beach, DE)
93. Venice Isles (Venice, FL)
94. Bonita Fairways (Bonita Springs, FL) (new)
95. Liveoak Village (Gulfshores, AL) (new)
96. The Coves* (Boone, NC) (new)
97. Verda Santa Fe (Sedona, AZ)
98. Banyan Trace (Cape Coral, FL) (new)
99. Panarama* (Lacey, WA) (new)
100. Colony at the Grand (Fairhope, AL)

And for good measure
101. Olde Town Grayson* ( ) (new)
102. The Landings* (Savannah, GA)

* Topretirements Advertiser

Here is a link to more than 2000 more active adult communities at Topretirements, by state.

Observations about the results and how they were compiled:
– This list is essentially a popularity 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.

– Many of the active adult communities making the list are in towns that are 100 best places to retire at Topretirements. Communities listed with those towns have a better chance of making the list.

– Many of our Topretirements advertisers, who were no doubt aided 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.
Why the Villages is Perfect for Len and Ann
Sunbelt Dominates 2013 List of 100 Best Retirement Towns
2014 List of the Most Popular Communities

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 Admin on August 8th, 2012


  1. I’m surprised Sun City in Bluffton, SC didn’t even make the list. What’s the story?

    by Sherry Lee (Klingman) — August 8, 2012

  2. Good question Sherry. Sun City in Bluffton was very close to the top 100, as were any number of other communities. Sometimes a technicality could keep a popular community out of the running – for example if there was a small change in the name of the community the count could have been affected. Certainly Sun City in Bluffton is one of the most recognizable and interesting communities out there. All of which points out: Don’t be a slave to this list. It can point you in some good directions, but keep your eyes open and do lots of explorations.

    by Admin — August 9, 2012

  3. […] 2, 2011 — Note: We updated this list in 2012. See “FL, DE, and NC Dominate Our 2012 List of Most Popular Active Adult Communities“. The Sun Belt and Delaware are where it’s at when it comes to popular active adult […]

    by » 100 Most Popular Active Communities for 2011 Topretirements — August 9, 2012

  4. Be very cautious and ask a LOT of questions about an age restricted community that has a LOT of amenities, especially if it hasn’t transitioned from the developer to the homeowners. The potential cost for living in one of these types of communities can quickly spiral out of control, and this is often due to special interest expenditures by HOA board members and their hand picked committee members. Cliques are common, and if you aren’t in that select group your input is often meaningless and non-solicited.
    If you prefer being told virtually every action you can take with regard to the appearance of your home and yard, then by all means jump into one of these types of developments. But don’t whine after the fact about essentially forfeiting your rights at the entrance…

    by Denny — August 9, 2012

  5. Wow Laguna Woods Village in 9th in California?? ( among 10 best).Thanks to everyone who worked hard to make this happen. and all residents. Aug.15,2012

    by T.Yoony Lee — August 15, 2012

  6. The only reason that I could come up with is the builder pulte has a very bad reputation. There is a site regarding this builder across the country including bluffton. Just Google pulte builder. Many sad stories.

    by Skip — August 17, 2012

  7. Class action lawsuit for Sun City Bluffton for stucco failure, Very bad construction. Property taxes triple on housing on Jasper county side. Lived there for a while.

    by Rob — August 18, 2012

  8. Any thoughts on the retirement communities in Salem Oregon or Woodburn?

    by Shirley — August 31, 2012

  9. Is there anyone out there that can comment on Seasons at Prince Creek in SC? Or two new communities in DE – Riverbend or Silver Maple? Thanks.

    by Kathy — September 19, 2012

  10. This question came in from George:

    Are new construction, single family homes available in a community without an HOA in Naples – specifically unincorporated Collier County (other than The Golden Gate Estates and Naples Park)?

    Can anyone shed any light on this rather specific request?

    by topretirementseditor — February 16, 2013

  11. Does anyone have any thoughts on Valencia Lakes in Wimauma, FL? HOA Fees? Are you happy there? How is it for singles? Any comments would be appreciated. Thank you!

    by Dee — February 17, 2013

  12. […] in the top 10, and Sun City would been somewhere in the 80′s. See our 2012 list of “The 100 Most Popular Active Adult Communities” for […]

    by » 100 Best Places to Retire for 2013 Topretirements — February 18, 2013

  13. […] Rules: The 2011 List of 100 Best Places to Retire 100 Best Retirement Towns, 2nd Edition (2010) 100 Best Active Adult or 55+ Communities – 2012 My Search for the (almost) perfect Retirement Climate The Next Best 25: A List of Communities from […]

    by » 2012 List of 100 Best Places to Retire – Sunbelt Remains on Top Topretirements — February 18, 2013

  14. I didn’t see Sun City at Carolina Lakes (south of Charlotte NC) listed? Any reason for this?

    Answer: It is listed on our NC Active Community Directory

    hope that helps

    by Barbara — February 19, 2013

  15. […] Further Reference: Our 2012 List of the 100 Most Popular Active Adult Communities See all the articles we have written about active adult communities in our blog. Why the Villages […]

    by » Surprises Galore: The 100 Best Active Adult Communities for 2013 Topretirements — September 3, 2013

  16. Kathy
    Seasons at Prince Creek:
    HOA $293./mo
    and includes several things such as in house security, full lawn service, etc.

    by marilyn — September 4, 2013

  17. Does anyone out there who lives in Lakeside Crossings in Conway, SC have any comments about this community? Are you happy living there?

    by Valerie L. — December 16, 2013

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