The Best 55+ Communities in America

Published November 18, 2020

The reward for decades of working hard and saving money is getting to enjoy your twilight years in retirement. The ideal retirement looks different from person to person, with some choosing to spend their post-work life in their longtime homes or moving closer to family. For many, however, moving to a community dedicated to and designed for people of retirement age is the ultimate way to live out the remainder of their lives.

These kinds of communities exist from coast to coast in America, and offer residents a boatload of features and amenities that make them ideal places to live, relax, have fun, and generally just live their lives to the fullest in retirement. With so many 55+ communities out there, it can be hard to figure out which ones offer the most comprehensive amenities. Thankfully, we’ve done that work for you.

Methodology
Our Coventry Direct team reviewed over 2,600 55+ communities featured on 55Places.com. For every single community featured on the site, our team gathered information on the affordability and availability of homes, the age of homes in the community, age restrictions, and security features. We also evaluated the amenities for each community and tracked how often different keywords relating to overarching themes such as exercise and wellness, entertainment, business and tech, surroundings/the outdoors, and gaming appeared in each.

Using these data points, we were able to assign each 55+ community a community details score and an amenities score, each on a 50 point scale. Those two scores are then combined into an overall score, which allowed us to rank all 2,600+ communities based on how much they have to offer residents. The results of our evaluation are below!

 

 US map showing the 25 best 55+ communities

We decided to first highlight the 25 best 55+ communities on a single map. Florida’s The Villages® easily took the top spot overall, with a perfect amenities score and a very high community details score. This comes as no surprise to us here at Coventry, as The Villages® is home to tens of thousands of retirement-aged people, making it the nation’s largest retirement community. The entire metro area is tailor-made to accommodate an active and robust 55+ lifestyle. With over 50 golf courses, numerous theaters and entertainment dedicated to the community, and beautiful Florida weather, there is a reason some people call this community “Adult Disney World,” which is no small claim considering that actual Disney World is just an hour away! 

Also performing well in our evaluation is a number of Sun City properties, with three different communities operated by the company all making the top five overall. Those high-performing communities are all located out west in three different cities – Arizona, Nevada, and California. Rounding out that top five is another Florida location, On Top Of The World in Ocala, in fourth place. 

Despite the common idea that all retirees move to Florida exclusively, our rankings actually show that it is possible to find incredibly high-quality retirement living all across the nation. Only three of the top ten communities were located in the Sunshine State, with just as many Arizona locations showing up at the top of the rankings. Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, and California also make appearances in the top 10.

 

Map of Florida showing the best 25 communities for 55+

Map of Arizona showing the best 25 communities for 55+Map of California showing the best 25 communities for 55+

While we wanted to recognize that amazing 55+ communities exist from coast to coast, we would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t also acknowledge that many, many people dream of spending their retirement in the warmer climates of places like Florida, Arizona, and California. To that end, we wanted to take a deeper look at the top 25 retirement communities in each of those states according to our metrics. The results of these state-specific examinations can be seen above, allowing interested parties to see the community details and amenities scores for each, as well as exactly where each is located within their respective states.

 

US map showing the locations for top 25 communities for 55+ for exercise and wellness

US map showing the locations for top 25 communities for 55+ for outdoor activities

US map showing the locations for top 25 communities for 55+ for entertainment

We also wanted to highlight the top-rated communities based on the kinds of things different people may find most important for their own retirement. To do that, we looked at the individual scores we assigned to each community in Exercise and Wellness, Entertainment, and Outdoor Activities, and then mapped out those results.

These individual component scores are on a 1-5 scale, with 5 being the highest score a community could earn. For each of these specific categories, we found at least 25 communities with perfect scores in each area, which is quite an accomplishment. In the cases of ties, we used the actual number of times our tracked keywords in each category appeared to determine which communities should be ranked higher. 

Incredibly, and speaking to just how impressive it is as a retirement community, The Villages® had a perfect score in each of these categories AND the highest number of matching keywords, giving it the top spot in each of these evaluations in addition to the top overall finish we mentioned earlier.

 

Made with Flourish

Of course, each of those previous graphics only touched on a fraction of the 55+ communities our team analyzed. For anyone interested in reviewing details on communities in your state, or a specific community not mentioned above, we have created this searchable database of all 2,600+ communities we looked at, including the scores we gave them. Clicking column headers will arrange columns from most to least or vice versa, and the search box in the upper left corner can be used to look for specific communities based on the community name or the city or state they are located in.

We hope this look at the best and brightest places to enjoy life after hitting 55 has been illuminating and informative. For anyone ready to leave the rat race and looking for ways to fund their dream retirement, Coventry Direct is here to help turn your life insurance policy into the funds you may need!

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