Your Guide to 55+ Communities – Where to Age in Place


When you’re embarking on the golden years of retirement, you’re likely looking forward to more leisure time, fewer responsibilities, and the opportunity to do more things you love. For many, this chapter of life sparks a search for the perfect living environment that supports an active, fulfilling lifestyle. Enter the world of 55 and older communities.

55 plus communities a haven for anyone ready to embrace their retirement years who isn’t excited about the concept of a mother-in-law suite. These unique neighborhoods offer more than just a place to live, too. You’ll find supportive communities where you can adventure with peers in similar life stages. With amenities tailored to enhance your lifestyle and homes designed for optimal comfort, 55 and older communities in the US are reshaping the concept of retirement living.

If you’re considering moving to one of these neighborhoods, we’ll provide all the information you need to choose the right one. 

Pros and Cons of 55 Plus Living

What are 55+ communities’ pros and cons? You may be familiar with some of them, but we’ll review them in depth to help you make the right decision. 

Pros of 55+ Communities

Enhanced Security: Gated access and security personnel provide residents with peace of mind and a more secure living environment.

Community of Peers: Living among others of a similar age and lifestyle creates a strong sense of community and belonging. There’s plenty of opportunity to socialize and meet new people. 

Maintenance-Free Living: 55 and over communities often come with maintenance services for homes and common areas, allowing residents to enjoy a worry-free lifestyle. 

Amenities and Activities: From clubhouses and fitness centers to hobby groups and even programming, you’ll find plenty of options to keep you entertained. 

Quiet Environment: With age restrictions in place, these communities tend to be quieter and more peaceful than typical neighborhoods. 

Active Lifestyle: Many communities offer facilities like golf courses, swimming pools, walking trails, and fitness classes to stay healthy. 

Cons of 55+ Communities

Residency Restriction: One of the possible problems with over 55 communities is the limit on who can live in the community, which can sometimes affect family visits or younger family members joining the household.

Monthly Fees: Many 55+ communities offer extensive amenities, which can lead to higher HOA fees or community fees. 

Limited Diversity: Living exclusively with people of a similar age group may not appeal to everyone since it limits intergenerational interactions. 

Resale Considerations: Selling your home in a 55+ community may be slightly more challenging since the buyer pool is restricted to those in the same age group. 

Rules and Regulations: Residents of these communities must adhere to community guidelines, which some may consider restrictive. 

Community Management: Quality of life can heavily depend on the community’s management and the HOA’s effectiveness.

Where Are the Best 55+ Communities?

55 and older women kicking water by a dock while laughing about it.jpg

New retirement communities are popping up all over the US these days, but which areas of the country are considered the best for this lifestyle? Let’s cover a few of the most popular locales. 

Florida: The Sunshine State

Florida is commonly associated with retirement thanks to its warm climate and beautiful beaches. (No income tax doesn’t hurt either!) Cities like Sarasota, Naples, and The Villages offer an array of senior communities that cater to every lifestyle — from golf enthusiasts to beach lovers and even those looking for cultural experiences. The abundance of sunshine ensures an active lifestyle is possible year-round. And another perk? Florida’s popularity among 55+ citizens has led to an abundance of top-tier healthcare facilities. 

Arizona: A Desert Oasis

Arizona’s appeal lies in breathtaking landscapes — from the Grand Canyon to the Sonoran Desert — providing a stunning backdrop to retirement life. The state is a favorite among retirees thanks to its dry climate, which can help with certain age-related health conditions. Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson are home to numerous 55+ communities offering everything from hiking and biking to arts and crafts. 

South Carolina: Southern Charm

Combine the warmth and hospitality of the South with an affordable cost of living for an ideal retirement location. South Carolina offers a mild climate, historic attractions, and plenty of beaches. After all, what is a 55+ community without recreation options? Areas like Hilton Head Island, Myrtle Beach, and Bluffton are known for their retirement communities, which provide a mix of leisure and adventure, from golf and tennis to boating and fishing. A bonus? South Carolina’s rich cuisine adds to the allure. 

California: Diverse and Scenic

For those seeking a little variety in retirement, California offers an unmatched blend of natural beauty from beaches to mountains and deserts. Regions like San Francisco Bay, San Diego, and Palm Springs are home to diverse 55+ communities catering to many interests and lifestyles. While the cost of living is higher than in many other states, the trade-off is often access to high-end amenities, excellent healthcare, and a broad range of cultural activities. 

Texas: Affordable and Friendly

Texas stands out for its affordable cost of living, diverse cities, and famously friendly communities. (The state motto is “friendship,” after all.) Offering a bustling art scene in Austin and Houston and a serene landscape in Hill Country, 55+ communities in Texas often focus on spacious living and community engagement, blending the best of both worlds. 

What to Look for When Choosing a 55+ Community

55 and older man painting on an easel while a woman cheers him on behind him

Once you’ve narrowed your locations, it’s time to consider more specifics. Let’s examine some areas to consider before choosing your new home. 

Look closely at documents about community or HOA rules and fees. After a closer look, you may notice charges or nuances that make a community less appealing. 

Pro tip: Have your real estate agent review these documents with you. They’re well-versed in these types of contracts and may be able to spot things you’d missed. 

Know which amenities you want. If you’re an avid golfer, look for communities with golf courses. Love swimming? Make sure you’re near a pool or a beach! You may even find communities centered around arts and crafts, reading, or whatever activity you love. 

Research the community’s reputation. Read online reviews or speak to any residents you know personally. While online reviews should sometimes be taken with a grain of salt, it’s good to know if others are having a less-than-pleasant experience in the neighborhood so you know what to look out for. 

Ensure you have access to healthcare. Retirement can be full of fun and adventure, but aging comes with new health considerations. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with what healthcare facilities are available nearby in case you need them.


Even with all the information, navigating a real estate transaction can be challenging. Why go it alone when you don’t have to? IDEAL AGENT can match you with a local real estate professional to help you through all the steps. Working with an agent who specializes in senior communities takes a lot of pressure off and allows you to start enjoying your retirement that much sooner. 

Want help finding a 55+ community? Connect with your agent today!

Frequently Asked Questions

As of early 2024, mortgage rates have gone down slightly and are expected to continue decreasing. But they will not likely drop to pre-pandemic levels.  

Purchasing a home in a 55+ community is not necessarily cheaper than buying a similar home elsewhere — but it’s almost always less expensive than an assisted living facility. So they’re a great choice if you don’t need regular assistance or medical care and prefer to live independently.  

While there is no set age you must join a 55 and older community, many people begin searching right after retirement. Factors in the decision include health, economic, and social conditions. It’s best to consult with loved ones, financial advisors, and a real estate agent to determine the right time for you.
Typically, no. Some states do have rules that allow for 20% or less of the community to be under 55, but the best way to know is to ask the community you’re interested in.
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