February 23, 2021 — Want to know the active adult and 55+ communities Topretirements visitors are interested in learning about? We sure do, so we went through our user logs for the last 12 months, using them to identify the retirement communities that received the most online visits on this site. You will find the top 20 below – with many surprises mixed in with some sure things. Best of all, it is an interesting list with communities of all types from all over the country. That makes us happy, because it just not the same names all over again. Instead, there are many new communities for people to consider. Two of the winners are advertisers on this site, the rest are not.
Top 20 Active Communities for 2021
The Villages – Central Florida. Just about everybody has about this giant community. It spans 3 counties, has of over 120,000 residents, virtually every kind of amenity, and hundreds of clubs. 2000
January 29, 2021 — With 3,000 social clubs, more than 30 golf clubs, 89 swimming pools and dozens of taverns, The Villages in north central Florida does not seem like the kind of place where any residents could be depressed or bored. But, according to a new documentary film called Some Kind of Heaven, there may be a thin line between heaven and hell in the famous – some might say “infamous” — community.
The movie focuses on three subjects, two single people and a married couple, all four dealing with different personal demons. An 80-something male is the instrument of his own misery, a “vagrant” living out of his van and hanging out at the community pools hoping to find a lady who will take him home and tend to his goal of a life of leisure – all expenses paid. You likely won’t feel much sympathy for his plight; he is both cunning and conning.
By Jackie: (This was an unsolicited contribution by one of our Members who has retired to The Villages. It is so rich in detail we thought it had to be published on its own. See bottom of article for links to other articles on The Villages).
December 27, 2020 –
“The Villages is an incredible place to retire to”.
I spent the first 60 years of my life visiting family and friends mostly in Key West, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tamarac, Boca, Delray, West Palm Beach, Naples, Fort Myers, Clearwater, New Port Richey, Sarasota, The Villages and Ponte Vedra. I knew 10 years ago I wanted to move to The Villages (TV), but my husband was keen on either Naples or Delray. So about 4 1/2 years ago I decided to retire to Delray Beach after looking for a home to buy over a 5 year period. Then I stayed at my aunt’s house in The Villages for a long weekend for a family wedding. After that we decided to cancel our plans for Delray and move to the Villages instead. We have not regretted our decision.
Editor’s note:Larry is a frequent contributor to discussions here at Top Retirements, and we have learned much from him. We are happy to have him today as a guest to discuss what he has learned from helping individuals and couples find the best golf community for them (even if they don’t play golf!).
After 15 years of research, visits to 150 planned communities, more than 1,000 articles and hundreds of conversations with real estate professionals, golf directors, community board members and, most of all, the hundreds of clients I have worked with to identify the best community for them, I have come to a few important conclusions. I cover them, and more, in my new book, Glorious Back Nine, How to Find Your Dream Golf Home (which I could have titled, just as well, “Not for Golfers Only” since about half of those who live in golf communities never play golf).
Here are a few of the most critical lessons I’ve learned:
October 20, 2020 — Jaw-dropping amenities like indoor therapy pools, art galleries, and rooftop decks overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. Lifecare options along with concierges and celebrity chefs. For those who crave the bright lights and constant stimulation of an urban retirement, many new luxury options are coming. Expensive, yes, but what an interesting lifestyle for those with the means to pay for it! After all, if you have it, why not spend some of it to get the most out of your remaining years?
Retirement in a big city is not for everyone, but there is a small segment that really wants it. New York City, which has many older people but not that many senior retirement living choices, is adding a raft of them in the next year. One of the newest and fanciest is the Watermark at Brooklyn Heights. Converted from a luxury hotel built in 1928, it retains many grand features from that earlier era. For example, the former grand ballroom is now a dazzling restaurant. The Watermark community offers a full range of care from independent living to assisted living to nursing care. There are 275 units. Developers have included an amazing 50,000 sq. ft. of amenity spaces that incorporate three restaurants, a pool, and art gallery. A rooftop deck overlooks the Brooklyn Bridge. Watermark told the New York Times that it looked for 2 decades to find an urban spot like this. The reporting was in an article about “New Senior Housing Towers Coming to New York“.
September 23, 2020 — Always wanted to live on the water? Have a boat or thinking about getting one? Turns out there are a ton of places to retire where you can not only live on the water, but enjoy your community’s own private marina too. This article will show just 12 of the almost 150 communities in the Topretirements database that are on the water and include a marina as part of their amenity package. You can use “Advanced Search” to refine communities by State or other parameter. You will find many more exciting communities to choose from there.
Some of the communities who list these characteristics are fairly modest, offering a small dock or boat launch with a location on a lake or river. Here we tried to concentrate on developments where living on the water with your boat is either the main attraction or a very big deal. If we miss some that you think should be included, please let us know in the Comments section below.
September 16, 2020 — It is clear that consumer tastes are fickle, and that sure seems to apply to what retirees are looking for in an active adult or 55+ community. Certainly that is what we found when we analyzed our visitor logs from the first 8 months of 2020, looking for the 15 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“.
Changes from the 2019 list aplenty. More than half of the communities on this list are new to it this year, which is pretty exciting (see links below to last year’s list). All of the top 5 are repeat winners. The review for the most popular community on this list, Amelia Island Plantation, was viewed 1,330 times during that period. As usual there are several “no-brainer” choices like The Villages and Solivita, both located in Florida. Some winners were a bit of a mystery, and that includes The Cottages at Lakeview Road in Warner, GA. Nalcrest is a speciality community that caters only to retired postal letter carriers. Florida had 9 winners with the rest coming from Georgia (4) and South Carolina (2). Note that most, but not all, of these communities are designated 55 plus. But the majority of the residents in all of these communities would probably meet that qualification.
While these are the 15 most popular active adult communities on this site for FL, GA, and SC, they might not necessarily be the “best”. 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.
The most popular 55+ communities in the Southeast for 2020
Many, many thanks to the generous 300+ Topretirements Members who took the the time to fill out our survey on retirement community preferences. Your input confirms much of our past research and offers fresh perspective on others. Once again your favorite amenity was walking trails. You also wrote in almost 200 illuminating comments – we just wish we had room to highlight every one – because they all offer a unique perspective.
Highlights Everyone has their own unique take on retirement, that much is obvious from these results. That is particularly true if you look at the 134 comments made to Question 10, “Please describe your ideal retirement community”. Here are some of the top takeaways from the survey:
June 17, 2020 — Following up on the theme of a few weeks ago, how stereotypes affect where you might retire, we thought it would be interesting to highlight the amazing range of active adult, 55+, and baby boomer appropriate communities that exist. While to many people all active communities seem alike (clubhouse, golf course, tennis courts, and walking trails), there is, in fact, quite a range. The samples we have selected here are just a few of the many communities added to the Topretirements database since March (we generally add about 6 per week). We tried in these selections for a range of styles and locations across the country.
Our point: Not all retirement communities fit in the same bucket. We encourage you to do a little exploring to make sure you don’t miss one that might be exactly what you might are looking for.
Some interesting choices
The selections on this list cover a wide range of types. There are several traditional active adult communities (golf courses, etc.), intergenerational, independent living communities, independent living within a CCRC, Traditional Neighborhood Developments, urban rental loft apartments, Eco-Friendly, mixed use (commercial and residential combined), a cooperative development, and another with different ownership options including fractional ownership.
Carolina Park – Mt. Pleasant, SC. A master-planned community just a few miles from Charleston, this development offers several neighborhoods in a park-like setting. The community is connected through a network of pedestrian walkways, with The Residents Club as the central gathering place.
June 10, 2020 — For over 100 years, Florida’s warm winters, soft sandy beaches, and every imaginable kind of place to live has made it a retirement magnet. Some retirees come here as snowbirds for the winter months only, while others jump all the way in, moving to the Sunshine State to become full time residents. However they arrive, Florida is by far the most popular place in the U.S. for retirement. This article highlights the 14 most popular active adult and 55+ communities in Florida, as measured by visitor interest at Topretirements.com. You can see how the list changed by comparing the 2017 version of this article.