October 6, 2016 — Our new list of the 100 most popular 55+ and active adult communities at Topretirements for 2016 is here, and there are surprises and new faces galore. There is also plenty of consistency – most of last year’s top 10 communities are back. We think that looking at the kind of communities that our visitors and Members are most interested in is valuable – particularly to see the types of 55+ communities that generate interest, and where they are located.
Speaking of our top 100 list, we want to stress that these are not necessarily the “best” 55+ communities – however someone might determine that. Rather, The top 100 communities were chosen on the basis of visitor popularity at Topretirements during the period January 1 to September 30, 2016 as reported by Google Analytics. The communities whose listings were viewed by our visitors the most were determined to be the winners. Please see the end of article for more details on the selection criteria. Related: See our “2017 Best Places to Retire List“>2017 List of the Best Places to Retire”
In the next section we will provide more about the kinds of winners that made the list.
Many new faces
Once again many communities made the top 100 list for the first time – 34 of them to be exact. The highest ranked newcomer was Stonebridge in Colorado Springs, Colorado at #8, followed by #14 ranked Toscana in Reno, Nevada. In total, 12 of the communities in the top 50 were new to our list. There are several possible reasons why a community makes this list for the first time. One is that they are added to our database and people reading our Daily Alert and weekly Communities newsletters (East and West) see them get reviewed. Another is they are located in a particularly popular retirement town or state. Or perhaps the review of the community and/or its attractions are unusually fetching. Whatever the reason, we think it is great that our Members want to read about all kinds of active adult and 55+ communities – you can never tell which one might be right for you!
The #1 Community strikes again
Once again the long-time #1 community, The Villages, is back on top, narrowly edging out last year’s winner, Fearrington Village near Chapel Hill, NC. The 2 communities could not be more different – in scale, amenities, and feel – a good representation of the variation in the choices available to retiring baby boomers. We didn’t rank another community that undoubtedly would be near the top of this list, Green Valley (in Arizona south of Tucson), because it is really more of a town and a collection of communities than a single entity like those on this list.
Speaking of diversity
The 2016 list has some unusual and exotic choices for retirement as well. One of them is the Shanti Nketan community (#80), which is for people of East Indian descent. There are 55+ communities in the Southeast, active adult choices in the the Rocky Mountains, manufactured home and RV communities in the Southwest. The list includes huge developments and tiny cohousing projects, all age communities, etc. – all kinds of options for every kind of retiree.
Most of the 55+ communities on this top 100 list are traditional active adult communities. Some are 55+ restricted, but most are not (although in reality most residents are over 50). Most offer clubhouses and amenities like swimming pools and fitness centers. A great many offer golf, but probably not the majority. But there are also a great deal of communities that don’t easily fit any mold – which makes them fun to explore. Note that if you are looking for a specific set of amenities, type of community, housing choices, or state you can use our Advanced Search to find both cities and communities that can narrow down your choices.
Most popular states – 2 surprises
When it comes to the states that have the most popular active adult and 55+ communities at Topretirements it is a 5 state race – once again Florida is far out ahead with 21 communities on the list. Of course it has an advantage in that there well over 250 communities in our Florida Directory of 55+ Communities, far more than any other state. It is not surprising that Arizona had 10 communities, but it was a bit of a shock to see Colorado get 17 communities in the top 100 (it had 9 in 2015), and Tennessee move up from 5 to 9 communities this year. Delaware had 10 winners, double what either of the Carolinas were able to rack up. The majority of the top 100 communities are located in the Sunbelt, mountains, or borderline Sunbelt.
And the 2016 winners are:
1. The Villages (The Villages, FL). The Villages sprawls over several counties and has well over 100,000 residents and 33 golf courses. Almost everyone has heard about The Villages (sometimes wild stories that are not representative), so it is no wonder that so many of our visitors read our review of this amazing community.
2. Fearrington Village* (Chapel Hill, NC). This beautiful community has a 5 star restaurant, bookstore, single family or town homes, and a Duke affilated CCRC on campus. Not to mention a working farm with its famous “Belties”- cows with a distinctive belt across their middle.
3. Millville by the Sea (Bethany Beach, DE) boasts a number of stunning coastal amenities, including: a community clubhouse with a pub and lounge areas, a resort-style pool with splash zones and an expansive sun deck, walking trail, lake, and a fitness center complete with a dance studio, computerized fitness library and the latest fitness equipment—and even a crab shack. These beach homes are masterfully distinguished by architectural styles inspired by the great coastal towns of the east.
5. Silver Sage Village (Boulder, CO).
This very interesting community is the most famous senior co-housing retirement community in the country. It is a very small community currently has 24 “Sagers” committed to aging in community. Built with input by future residents, the community shares its attractive common spaces. Occasionally there are rentals available.
6. Fairways at Savannah Quarters* (Savannah, GA). A gated community for active adults in coastal Georgia, with resort style amenities just steps from your front door.
7. Crossroads by Jensen Communities* (Aiken, SC). A gated, manufactured home community for active adults 55+, and features 1/4 acre treed homesites.
8. Stonebridge (New). This active adult lifestyle community is tucked into the very heart of Meridian Ranch, a 2,600-acre golf and recreation master-planned community near Colorado Springs (CO).
9. Balsam Mountain Preserve* (Asheville, NC). Mountain view homesites with elevations up to 4,700 feet.
10. Tellico Village* (TN). Situated on giant Tellico Lake, this community has 6,750 residents and is open to people of all ages.
11. Heritage Hill Country (Fredericksburg, TX). 55+, single family home.
12. Wildflowers at Wallkill (Middletown, NY). Single family homes in a gated, active 55+ community.
13. Smith Ranch Homes. A luxury gated community of condominium and villa homes in San Rafael, California.
14. Toscana (New) An established active adult community in Sparks, NV, (very close to Reno) with extensive amenities including more than 10 miles of hiking and biking trails.
15. Coquina Crossing (St. Augustine, FL) This 55+ community is made up colorful manufactured homes and offers resort-style amenities.
16. Carillon at Boulder Creek (Boulder, CO). A community of rental apartments in the heart of Boulder that offers independent and assisted living.
17. Woodside* This very large community in beautiful Aiken, SC, offers world-class amenities and a range of home types from villas to single family homes.
18. Riverbend (New Castle, DE). Townhomes, single family homes, large clubhouse.
19. Del Webb Naples (Ave Maria, FL). A community within the exciting new master planned community of Ave Maria.
20. Harbour Crest on Lake Chickamauga (Chattanooga, TN). Lakefront community of single family homes.
21. Indian River Colony Club* (Melbourne, FL). This community with lake and golf view homes is quite large with 23 lakes, more than 40 clubs, and every amenity including golf course and the At Ease Club.
22. Cresswind at the Ponds* (New). This gated community is beautifully integrated within the thriving larger community of The Ponds.
23. Lake Haven, Dunedin, FL. (New). The residents of this RV community have a tropical landscaped community and enjoy resort style amenities and an active 55+ lifestyle. The community is within 5 miles of metropolitan Clearwater.
24. Soleil Laurel Canyon*. A private and gated low-maintenance community in the beauty of the North Georgia foothills. Moved up from #92.
25. Lost Dutchman* (Apache Junction, AZ). Manufactured homes with amenities.
26. Sedona Shadows (Sedona, AZ). 55+ manufactured homes. Up from #99
27. Shady Lane Oaks. A 55+ manufactured home community in Clearwater, Florida with a clubhouse and many activities.
28. La Casa Blanca*. A manufactured home community in the low key community of Apache Junction, AZ.
29. Fairfield Glade *, Crossville, Tennessee. The community offers multiple subdivisions with a wide range of home sizes, price ranges, and views that include spectacular mountain, lake, golf and protected woodlands. (New).
30. Albuquerque Meadows (Albuquerque, NM). Carefree senior (55+) community living in affordable manufactured homes.
31. Black Creek Mountain (Chattanooga, TN). Single family homes, all ages.
32. Windmill Manor. A manufactured home community by Equity Lifestyle in Bradenton, FL.
33. Anthem Ranch*. New. This 55+ community is set in Broomfield, Colorado where it enjoys magnificent views of the Rocky Mountain foothills. World-class amenities, abundant outdoor recreation and a finely crafted lifestyle have made Anthem Ranch a hit with active adults.
34. Rocky Mountain Village. Condo apartments in lovely Evergreen, Colorado.
35. Valencia Lakes* (Tampa, FL). Offers resort lifestyle with its own waterfront recreation area.
36. Solivita* (Kissimmee, FL). 55+ with different home choices and 150,000 sq. ft. of amenities like the Riviera Spa and Palms Recreation Centers.
37. Reserve at Lakeshore (New). Garden apartments offering waterfront views of the lake and community amenities. Chattanooga, Tennessee.
38. Vandalia Cottages. (New). This small pocket neighborhood offers old-house charm, manicured gardens and yard maintenance, all within a short walk of downtown Franklin, TN. Four different cottage designs range from 1,240 sq. ft. to 1,805 sq. ft. and surround the central courtyards.
39. Port Charlotte Village (New). The Village, 45 miles south of Sarasota (FL), is unique with its winding tree lined streets and cul-de-sacs. Lot prices start under $20,000; Resale home prices start under $65,000.
40. Milltown Village . This active adult community near Wilmington, DE is made up of European-inspired homes and single level living with low maintenance.
41. Antelope Ridge (Colorado Springs, CO). A community of energy efficient, manufactured ranch homes.
42. Bay Forest (Bethany Beach, DE). An all ages master-planned community close to the beach.
43. Old Town Grayson (New). Beautiful brick-and-stone homes and generous amenities in the heart of an historic Southern town. Gated, active adult living.
44. Mountain Meadows. Based on the Craftsman movement, Mountain Meadows is a 55+ retirement community with condos in the Shakespeare Capital of America, Ashland, Oregon.
45. Sunflower (Fort Collins, CO). 55+ manufactured homes
46. Tranquility at Centerra* (New). An award-winning master-planned community in Loveland, Colorado. Homeowner’s will enjoy a lifestyle with lakes, a trail system, and parks, along with state-of-the-art amenities, activities. Three unique, ranch-style floor plans are designed for easy entertaining and everyday life.
47. Pot-Nets* (Millsboro, DE). There are 6 different and affordable Pot-Nets neighborhoods. For over 50 years, generations of families have enjoyed the simple pleasures of living in a land lease neighborhood here along the Delaware Inland Bays.
48. Brooke View. A gated community in beautiful Boise, Idaho for people 55 years of age and older. Established in 1968, it is still owned and operated by the same family.
49. Parkview Villas at Golden. A 55+ community of 100 beautiful patio homes in Golden, CO along the foothills of the mountains. Prices start in the mid $200’s and go into the $300’s. The homes are clustered around courtyards.
50. Willow Springs Reserve (Johnson City, TN). Custom one-level Villas with no steps and a host of features. Clubhouse.
51. Heritage Eagle Bend (New). This beautiful master-planned community designed for residents 45 and over is located in Aurora near Denver. This gated country club community offers a variety of ranch-style Single Family, Duplexes and Townhomes built around an 18-hole Arthur Hills designed championship golf course.
52. Scenic Hills (New). This community for active adults 55+ is located between San Antonio and New Braunfels (TX). Amenities include a 13,000 square foot clubhouse.
53. Rancho Mirage* (New) is a 55+ manufactured home community. It offers extensive amenities like a spacious clubhouse with performance stage, fitness center, billiard room, library, and catering kitchen. Located in Apache Junction, Arizona.
54. Bayside* . Voted “Delaware’s Community of the Year” in 2015, This master-planned waterfront resort golf community is located along the Assawoman Bay near Fenwick Island.
55. Meadowbrook Heights. An affordable senior community in Franklin, MA. The neighborhood is surrounded by lush trees in a peaceful residential area. There ae 59 duplex and triplex units, all with soaring nine foot ceilings, granite counters and maple cabinetry.
56. Cottages at Feathers Chapel (Blountville, TN). Maintenance-free luxury ranch homes with beautiful mountain or lake views.
57. Mountain View in Henderson, Nevada (New). The manufactured home community features such amenities as a well stocked library, horseshoe pits, game room, spacious clubhouse and fitness center.
58. Barefoot Bay (New). Located on the Indian River Lagoon (Inter-coastal Waterway), midway between Melbourne and Vero Beach. This is a well established community with dozens of clubs and non-stop activities, plus swimming pools, tennis courts, and bocci.
59. Cresswind at Myrtle Beach* (New). Buyers can choose from nine home plans. Cresswind is within biking distance to the ocean-side Myrtle Beach (SC) State Park and close to numerous golf courses. The community hotspot – Market Common – is a mere 200 yards away.
60. Sun Valley, AZ*. A friendly 55+ manufactured home community with Lost Dutchman State Park nearby, which offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and campsites on the western side of Superstition Mountain.
61. Del Webb Village at Deaton Creek (Hoschton, GA). A 55+ community for active adults that offers the charm of the north Georgia mountains, and all the amenities.
62. Montesa at Gold Canyon (Apache Junction, AZ – New). 55+ manufactured home community with a 2,700+ square-foot fitness center, water volleyball, shuffleboard, horseshoes and billiards, tennis courts.
63. Hawthorne at Leesburg, which has a marina on the river, was created by Colonial Penn Insurance, AARP, and the National Retired Teachers Association. 1100 homes; community now owned cooperatively. (New)
64. Cedar Bay Condominiums is an active adult community minutes from Bethany Beach. Cedar Bay is made up of two and three-bedroom condos in a 3 building complex, with a community swimming pool (New).
65. Big Fir in Bellingham, Washington (New). Maddox Creek meanders through the community with large stands of trees protecting the stream. Each home features design elements to make living easier, such as master suites on the main level, open layouts and maintained yards.
66. Villas at Pleasant Valley (New). Ranch-style patio homes offering aintenance-free lifestyle community in Longmont, Colorado, northeast of Boulder.
67. Bayfront at Rehoboth (Lewes, DE). Waterfront, single family homes.
68. Laguna Woods Village* (Laguna Woods, CA) One of the largest active adult communities on the west coast, just minutes from the Laguna Beach coastline.
69. Holiday Village Colorado (Colorado Springs, CO). Manufactured homes and many amenities
70. MacKenzie Place (Colorado Springs, CO). Independent and Assisted Living are offered in this community.
71. Creekside Village (New). An active adult community of 189 luxury condominiums in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania, just south of Philadelphia. Amenities include an award winning clubhouse, pool, and nature trails.
72. Tollgate Village (Franklin, TN). A master-planned community of cottages, townhomes, and custom homes.
73. Courtyards at Brandywine (Wilmington, DE). A 55+ active adult community offering carriage homes.
74. Talking Rock (Prescott, AZ). Community offers Ranch cottages, Ranch homes and custom homes, many with mountain views and a beautiful golf course that was designed in harmony with nature.
75. Blackstone (New). An all-ages Lennar community built around an 18-hole golf course, where homeowners enjoy a social membership to the state of the art clubhouse, fitness center, outdoor pool, tennis courts, meeting rooms, restaurant & bar facility
76. Marina Bay* (New). A new luxury community offering an amazing selection of villas and single-family homes in a spectacular location in Fort Myers, Florida.
77. The Coves* (Boone, NC). Master planned gated community in the North Carolina mountains.
78. Brentwood West * in Mesa, Arizona (New). Residents enjoy a range of amenities that include a newly renovated main clubhouse with grand social room, North Clubhouse with outdoor swimming pool, shuffleboard court, heated indoor swimming pool, and arts and crafts room.
79. Emerald Coast Estates (New). The gated retirement community of manufactured homes in Brookings, Oregon, is interspersed with natural wetlands, water features, green common areas and views of the Pacific Ocean.
80. Shanti Niketan, Mount Dora, FL. Certainly one of the more interesting communities on this list, Shanti Niketan offers condos and a lifestyle for people who don’t want to return to India for retirement.
81. Lost Lakes (New) in Cocoa, Florida.
82. Palms of Manasota. The first gay and LGBT active community in America (1994). Located between St. Pete and Sarasota. Does not appear that this community is still active, as they have no website. You can find homes for sale in the community by searching online.
83. Highlands at Dove Mountain. A gated community that overlooks the city lights of Tucson at an elevation of 3,000 feet, making summers cooler than other southern Arizona areas and outdoor activity available year-round.
84. Four Seasons at Silver Maple (Middletown, DE). A new active adult community offering one level living.
85. Brunswick Forest * (New). Features an active golf community lifestyle that attracts new families as well as empty-nesters, pre-retirement and retirees. Residents enjoy a full line of amenities including over 100 miles of trails, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness center, etc.
86. Penn National* (Chambersburg, PA). Named one of the “50 Best Master-Planned Retirement Communities in the US”.
87. On Top of the World* (Ocala, FL). A huge and very established active community with every conceivable amenity.
88. Jasper Highlands (New). Sitting atop the Cumberland Plateau in Kimball, Tennessee, outside of Chattanooga, this new 8,000 acre development has waterfalls, winding creeks, and a 50-mile mountain views.
89. Ardenwoods A Life Care Community in Asheville, NC.
90. Cresswind at Victoria Gardens, Deland, Florida * (New). Cresswind residents enjoy an expansive clubhouse with a fitness center, café, resort-style pool, tennis courts, pickle ball courts, a full-time lifestyle director.
91. Observatory Village . You don’t have to be an avid astronomer to appreciate Observatory Village in Fort Collins, Colorado, but this all ages community does boast a working Stargazer Observatory.
92. Pine Canyon*. A stunning, 600+ acre private golf community nestled in Flagstaff, Arizona’s charming high country amidst the breathtaking Coconino National Forest.
93. Valencia Bay* (Boynton Beach, FL). This 55+ community features a 10+ acre recreation area with tennis, pools, and more, plus a 39,000 square foot clubhouse with a full-time lifestyle director.
94. The Landings* . A luxurious private island community near charming Savannah, GA.
95. Bradenton Tropical Palms (New). A resident owned 55+ adult lifestyle community in Bradenton, Florida.
96. Village Walk (Bonita Springs, FL). A lakefront community of luxury single-family, patio, and town homes.
97. Lakeside Crossing * (New). The community boasts resort-style amenities including stocked fishing lakes, tennis courts, shuffleboard, and walking and biking trails.
98. Quail Hollow (New). An RV/manufactured home community beautiful views of Mt.Hood.
99. Dancing Willows (New). This community in Littleton, Colorado comes with easy access to light rail, an extensive network of bike paths that extend into Denver and over 1,477 acres of parks and open space.
100. Concordia on the Lake (New). It is a senior rental community for people 62 and better located in Littleton, Colorado. It is situated adjacent to the lakeside walking paths of Johnson Lake and Clement Park.
* Topretirements Advertiser
Here is a link to more than 3200 more active adult communities at Topretirements, findable by state and city.
How these results 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 hitting the top 100 are located in towns on the 100 best places to retire list 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 *
– 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.
– Another reason why so many communities are new to the list is that we continue to add new (and established) communities to our database. As they are added our members who subscribe to the Daily Digest and the 2 Communities newsletters (there is an East and a West edition) get links to them, and those visits count in this popularity contest. You can sign up for those newsletters here.
For Further Reference:
“2017 Best Places to Retire List“>2017 List of the Best Places to Retire”
Wow-36 New Active Communities Make the 100 List for 2015
Florida Dominates 2014 Top Active Adult Communities
What are your impressions of this list? Do you live in one of these choices are have you checked some out? Is there a community that you felt is overlooked? Please share your observations with your fellow members in the Comments section below.