A Guide to 55+ Active Living Communities in Arizona
Retire to the Sunny Desert Oasis of Arizona
Though it’s best known for its Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona is also a great place for retired, active adults to pursue what they love, whether that’s golf, swimming, hiking, or picking up a new hobby.
With sunny skies throughout the year and plenty of stunning desert landscapes, Arizona is a highly attractive place to live for those 55 and older. Much of Arizona is arid flat desert terrain with year round temperatures that rarely dip below 40F in the winter or rise above 110F in peak of summer. If you’re looking for a change in climate, the mountainous region of Northern Arizona experiences the four seasons, where autumn colors or a weekend ski trip are within a few hour’s drive away.
Arizona’s best 55+ communities are picturesque oases with lots to do for long-term residents. There’s a surprisingly diverse choice of desert-friendly plants that grow well in a low-maintenance xeriscape setting. Growing your own fruits, vegetables, flowers, and herbs is possible year round in raised, irrigated home garden beds and orchards for those who enjoy the hobby.
Many of the most popular places to live in Arizona for active 55+ seniors are master-planned communities with move-in-ready single story homes, perfect for empty nesters looking to downsize and age in place.
Popular cities like Phoenix and Tempe offer high-end dining and shopping opportunities while still maintaining a relatively conservative, rural charm that persists across the state. Historically, Arizona has been home to a number of indigenous tribes, and the cultural impact of these tribes can still be seen today.
Whether you’re looking for the lifestyle advantages that come with living in an age-restricted community or you want the vibrancy of an all-ages neighborhood, you’re sure to find a place to live in Arizona that best suits your lifestyle!
Popular Areas for Retirees in Arizona
Among 55+ residents of Arizona, Phoenix and the surrounding areas are the most popular choices thanks to the great array of activities well-suited to an active lifestyle.
Consider moving into a community in Phoenix’s East or West Valleys, or look at housing outside of the Phoenix area. Many of the most popular areas for retirement are near each other and if you’re looking to travel as part of an active lifestyle, the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) is just a short drive from the best retirement locations in the state.
Phoenix East Valley
The Phoenix East Valley metropolitan area has plenty of nearby wilderness pockets to explore. Active residents enjoy fun activities like river tubing and kayaking in Tempe Town Lake, and hiking through Lost Dutchman State Park. The variety of shopping, dining, entertainment and art options rival that of a big city.
Phoenix West Valley is a beautiful section of Maricopa County that includes the scenic suburbs of Peoria, Buckeye, El Mirage, and Surprise. This is a booming district that routinely hosts live events like concerts, comedy shows, and sporting events.
Check out West Phoenix’s shopping malls and entertainment centers, or tee up your next round of golf. It's easy to stay active in this attractive valley!
Outside of Phoenix
While Phoenix is one of Arizona’s most popular destinations, there are plenty of great towns outside the city limits as well!
Popular locations include the luxury, outdoor-centric Scottsdale which is filled with golf courses, spas, and high-class eateries, as well as Florence, a historic suburb with many museums and buildings constructed in the Victorian architectural style.
The rural community of San Tan Valley is especially popular with those who are 55 and older, offering many quiet residential neighborhoods and leisure activities like hiking and nature tours.
Arizona’s Best Activities for Active Residents
Arizona is an ideal state for those seeking an active retirement. Check out activity groups, outdoor excursions, and other fun things to do within your community and around town!
Staying Active Within Your Community
There are plenty of indoor and outdoor on-property activities to enjoy in Arizona’s active older adult communities.
For those who want to work out close to home, many residential communities have their own fitness centers and gyms. Some have walking trails that wind through the property while many feature dog parks and DIY grooming stations so your pets can stay just as fit and healthy as you!
Swim in the Community Pool
Arizona’s desert climate means that pools are available for year round use. Most 55+ communities feature pools and spas for residents to use at their leisure.
In addition to providing relief from the heat, swimming is a great way to stay active as you get older. Water sports like water aerobics and lap-swimming, put less stress on the joints than other high-intensity land based workouts, while reaping the same health benefits. Many seniors use hydrotherapy to stay fit in spite of chronic pain, while others simply enjoy the fun of staying active.
Visit the Community Center or Clubhouse
Many 55+ residential areas feature a private community center or clubhouse. These recreation centers offer the perfect opportunity to meet your neighbors and house a variety of activities, many of which are great for staying active!
Indoor activities often include a collection of board games, group exercise classes, and meetups for interest groups like book clubs, card games, and arts and crafts. Outdoors, you’ll find options such as tennis and pickleball courts, scenic walking trails meandering through desert landscaping, and golf courses or putting greens.
Enjoy a Low-Maintenance Property
The desert climate of Arizona means most roads are flat, easily walkable, and golf-cart friendly. It also means that properties don’t require much maintenance and you won’t have to spend your weekends maintaining the lawn, raking leaves, or shoveling snow.
Many 55+ residences also offer access to a community garden, where you can rent your own raised bed to grow your favorite desert-friendly produce with other like-minded community residents.
Explore the Nearby Off-Property Areas
Arizona has an abundance of fun and interesting things to do that aren’t far from residential communities. Shopping opportunities include large malls and locally-owned shops with handmade goods. The abundance of casual dining options include authentic Mexican, American, Asian, and Mediterranean fare. While fine-dining options, like traditional steakhouses and modern, multi-course, haute cuisine, are perfect for special occasions.
Take a day trip to standout art museums like the Phoenix Art Museum, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson. Arizona also has plenty of live music venues that put on concerts from rising stars and golden oldies alike.
Culturally-specific gathering places are common in Arizona, including meeting spaces for different ethnic groups as well as religious centers like churches and temples. The diversity of cultures in Arizona is one of the most exciting reasons to call it home!
If you’re planning to travel during your retirement, Arizona has multiple international airports, the largest of which is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX). If you’d prefer not to fly, the Amtrak train picks up in Maricopa, the closest station to Phoenix. Convenient bus transfers to the Flagstaff train station are also available direct from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Trains head to major destinations such as San Diego, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Chicago!
Also not far from the many of the most popular 55+ communities in Arizona is Mexico! At just under three hours by car from Phoenix and Tempe and about an hour and a half from Tucson, the border towns are very accessible for seniors.
Play a Round of Golf
With year round sunny weather and a generally drier climate compared to other areas of the country, golf can be enjoyed 365 days a year in Arizona!
Arizona is home to over 300 golf courses in a variety of styles and layouts, so you never have to travel far to find one. Some standout courses include the Rio Verde Golf & Social Club, Phoenix Scottsdale Golf, and the We-Ko-Pa Golf Club.
Hike the Trails
While there are opportunities for taking a stroll around the property at most 55+ senior living communities, there are also many scenic hiking trails that offer new experiences and an opportunity to challenge yourself!
Arizona is home to a diverse array of permanent and migratory wildlife. Keep your cameras and binoculars at hand to observe the incredible variety of bird life that you’ll encounter throughout the year. Some of the larger animals you may see include deer, wild horses and donkeys, coyotes, and the occasional mountain lion.
Any time of year, pre-dawn hikes to the local summits are rewarded with gorgeous sunrises over the valley. Flash floods are common in normally dry canyons due to snow melt and monsoons. It’s important to stay aware of your surroundings as the ruggedness of the natural environment includes an element of danger.
Popular tourist spots like Sedona and the Grand Canyon offer opportunities for hiking, camping, and water sports for seniors. You can also find local trails that wind through picturesque regions of the desert, such as Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak.
Win Big at the Casinos
You don’t have to travel all the way to Las Vegas to try your luck!
There are many casinos in and around the Phoenix area while other destinations in the state have casinos too! Popular casinos can be found in towns like Flagstaff, Scottsdale, Mohave Valley, and more.
Why Arizona Could be the Perfect New Home for You
Arizona is one of the most senior-friendly states in the country, and it’s an ideal retirement spot for people looking to relax but also stay active and healthy!
It’s a popular choice thanks to its excellent health services, low-maintenance lifestyle, affordable cost of living and consistently sunny and warm weather. It’s especially desirable for active older adults who love having new experiences.
Arizona offers a retirement full of discovery and adventure, where you can golf, hike, stay fit, explore stunning desert landscapes, gamble, visit art museums, and celebrate diverse cultural events.
Explore Arizona’s Most Popular Types of Communities
There are various types of active older adult residential options in Arizona to choose from. You’re sure to find one that suits your budget and lifestyle needs. Some of the most popular are listed below.
Courses of all sizes and types abound in Arizona! Some offer professional-level design, private membership, and added amenities, while others are designed for all levels of the public whether they’re a novice or casual golfer. Many communities offer putting greens and driving ranges for residents to practice honing their skills in between rounds.
Manufactured Home Communities
Seeking a budget-friendly way to enjoy Arizona’s active older adult Arizona lifestyle? Buying or leasing a manufactured home in one of Arizona’s manufactured home communities, is an affordable option.
These communities are either resident-owned or land-lease, both of which come with advantages.
Luxury Apartment Rentals
If you’re looking forward to total relaxation and living a life of luxury, be sure to check out luxury apartment rentals in Arizona.
Leasing a luxury apartment allows active older adults the benefits of resort style living with the flexibility of being free to move if they find a more appealing community. Luxury apartments come with many of the same amenities that appeal to 55+ residents without extra costs. Some of these features include outdoor entertainment areas with pools, spas, and BBQ facilities, tennis/pickleball/ basketball courts, modern fitness centers, clubhouse and activity centers, dog parks, secure parking, and other high-end features that you might expect to find at 5-star hotels.
Luxury apartment floor plans are appealing because they often are on a single-floor, have elevators to upper floors, great views, modern appliances and fixtures, and high quality flooring and window coverings. Unit sizes range from studios to three-bedrooms and often feature a private patio or balcony.
Condominium (condo) communities encourage a sense of shared community between residents, while also offering amenities that are exclusive to the residents. They're the perfect midpoint between the higher costs of maintaining a single-family home, and the impermanence of leasing an apartment.
The advantage of condo living is the maintenance is the responsibility of the Homeowners Association. Anything that needs to be repaired or replaced outside of your unit’s walls is paid for through a set monthly due. In Arizona, there are condo communities that are dedicated to 55+ residents as well as communities that welcome residents of all ages.
Arizona Cost of Living and Taxes
Arizona is one of the most affordable states in the Southwest United States. Compared to neighboring states, the property taxes in Arizona are affordable. The abundance of sunshine makes solar panels the optimal way to produce energy, while taxes on goods and services remain moderate. The proximity to commercial farms keeps the costs of fresh produce and dairy reasonable.
Employment options abound for those seeking to supplement their income or remain active in the workforce. One popular way to subsidize resort living is to work part-time on a golf course for some pocket money and reduced green fees.
In fact, the cost of living even in well-known cities like Phoenix and Tucson is fairly affordable, especially when compared to other states’ metropolitan cities.
High Quality Healthcare in Arizona
Arizona offers numerous general practitioners, specialists, and emergency healthcare organizations throughout the state, all of which are made more accessible to residents through programs like the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), the state’s Medicaid agency.
It’s home to the renowned Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, as well as other standout facilities like Banner-University, St. Joseph’s, and Abrazo. Managed care insurance plans supplement Medicare in Arizona to give you even greater choice in how you take care of your health. Many of these managed care plans have contracts with medical offices near retirement communities and cater towards the active older adult lifestyle.
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