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Ranking the best retirement communities across the country

There's places other than South Florida that deliver a well-rounded lifestyle for senior residents
  • In South Florida, Century Village at Pembroke Pines holds a massive clubhouse, expansive activities and low-cost living.
  • Sun City Texas in Georgetown, north of Austin, has almost 10,000 residents and three, 18-hole golf courses overlooking the Texas countryside.
  • Leisure Village East is within driving distance to the Big Apple; it provides senior residents with the opportunity to explore new hobbies and relax simultaneously.
  • Carillon in the southwest suburbs of Chicago holds a 27-hole golf course and pro shop.

Maintaining an active, vivacious lifestyle could be one of the keys to a long life. However, living in a retirement community amid golf courses, resort-style pools and communal clubhouses can be expensive, especially when you’re lacking a full-time income.

To determine which 55-plus communities offer endless amenities and an affordable price point, 55places.com released a list of the 25 best active adult communities across the nation, and many of them are — surprise, surprise — located in Florida.

Although the Sunshine State is a major attraction for retirees, communities near Houston, Chicago and New York City put exercise, convenience, luxury and low cost of living in harmony.

Pembroke Pines retirement community

The fifth best place to retire affordably is Century Village at Pembroke Pines in Broward County, Florida.

Pembroke Pines is located just west of Hollywood, in between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. This retirement community offers 7,700 condominiums ranging between 600 square foot studios to 1,500-square foot, two-bedroom units, each with parking and water or golf course views. Plus, affordable HOA dues provide an extensive list of comforts. A massive 135,000 square foot clubhouse, 1,042-seat performance theatre and an 800-seat ballroom are just a few of the highlights for Century Village residents.

Bird watching in Pembroke Pines/Flickr user Kenneth Cole Schneider

Bird watching in Pembroke Pines/Flickr user Kenneth Cole Schneider

For exercise, community members have full use of twelve shuffle board courts, an 18-hole golf course, 15 tennis courts and 23 outdoor swimming pools. The least expensive homes at Century Village retirement community cost under $100,000, while higher-end homes cost around $150,000.

Living near Austin at Sun City Texas


Around 30 miles north of Austin sits Georgetown, a suburb with sprawling Texas countryside views and a highly-rated retirement community called Sun City Texas.

Developed by Del Webb, Sun City offers 9,900 single-family and attached luxury homes costing anywhere between $100,000 to $500,000. Warm southern weather allows for year-round golf on one of the communities three courses, while the 86,000 square foot clubhouse is geared for indoor amusement.

Residents have full access to a dance floor and stage, billiards room, library, craft center and state-of-the-art fitness center spanning 20,000 square feet.

Leisure Village East in New Jersey

Homes at Leisure Village East in Lakewood, New Jersey — 70 miles south of New York City — are both affordable and accommodating. For less than $100,000, 55 and over buyers have access to a nine-hole golf course, 18,790 square foot recreation center and a boat-friendly lake.

Additional highlights include an auditorium, woodworking shop, bocce ball courts and outdoor pool. Home sizes range between 630 to 1,690 square feet in five different layouts, each outfitted with a screened porch to keep fresh air living a top priority.

Carillon in Plainfield, Ill.

Plainfield is located less than 40 miles southwest of Chicago, but feels like a world away from the city rush with a quaint community atmosphere and leisurely rural surroundings. Carillon in Plainfield, a 55-plus retirement community, holds over 2,000 residences with prices ranging between roughly $150,000 to nearly $400,000 per condo, townhouse, coach home or single-family property.

Ritz model in Carrillion/carillonhoa.org

Ritz model in Carrillion/carillonhoa.org

Keeping personal preferences in mind, Carillon boasts the highest number of retirement community amenities in the southwest Chicago suburbs, including a recently renovated clubhouse covering 32,000 square feet. Carillon residents have access to an indoor pool, spa, fitness center, ballroom, library, craft studios, billiards hall, sport courts and two outdoor pools — one of which accommodates visiting family members and children.

Taking outdoor activities to the next level, Carillon offers a 27-hole golf course, pro shop and full-service restaurant.

Email Jennifer Riner

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