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    A Guide to 55+ Active Living Communities in California


    Retire in the Great Outdoors in Beautiful California

    When you picture your ideal retirement, are you dreaming of sandy beaches, blue ocean waves, gorgeous mountain views, and plenty of things to do for an active low-maintenance lifestyle? If so, the sunny state of California could be the right choice for you!

    California is the third largest state by land area and offers retirees a variety of terrain and weather options. The state is geographically diverse, with flat coastlines alongside rugged, mountainous regions.

    Seniors can stay active in retirement through golfing, swimming, or hiking the trails at the many national and state parks. You’re never too far from the Pacific Ocean when you retire in California. The coastline is perfect for a stroll on the beach or a swim in the surf.

    Much of California receives little yearly rainfall, especially in the southern portion of the state. It snows in the winter months in the Sierra mountains, but many of the best 55+ active adult communities are located at sea level, offering a low-maintenance lifestyle to seniors. Droughts do occur, primarily in the summer months, during which time low water usage levels can be mandated.

    California’s residents come from diverse backgrounds, from first-generation immigrants from Europe, Asia or nearby Mexico, to people with Native American heritage. The state is very excepting of differing religions such as Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish and more. You can find places of worship and cultural centers throughout the state.

    For most regions of California, having a car for transportation is important. The state is large with many popular active adult communities falling outside or on the edges of the major cities. However, this is less of a concern for 55+ communities near urban areas like San Francisco and San Diego. These areas offer public transport, perfect for local excursions.

    When it’s time to travel during your active retirement, California welcomes the Amtrak train which connects to domestic locations throughout the state and across the country. Cruises set sail from the major coastal cities of San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco to destinations around the world.

    The state also features major international airports like the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and San Diego International Airport (SAN). These major travel hubs are gateways to destinations throughout North America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.


    Where to Retire in California

    As one of the largest states in the country, spanning almost the entire Pacific Coast, California’s various regions each have something unique to offer.

    From its mountainous areas to its incredible beaches, it’s hard to resist the temptation to spend your active retirement in California!

    Central Coast

    Seniors can explore the nature-centric rugged coastline of California’s Central Coast region. Towns like Hollister are a peaceful paradise with easy access to the state’s biggest metro areas to the north and south.

    Central Valley

    Nature and agriculture abound in the Central Valley, which features huge farms and popular cities like Fresno and Modesto.

    Other excellent places to retire in the Central Valley include Lebec, Bakersfield, and Stockton, which feature the charm of small towns with points of interest and attractions of larger ones.

    Desert Regions

    Known for their dryer climates and perpetual sun, you will find idyllic oases’ tucked away in California’s Desert Regions.

    The luxury gated communities of Rancho Mirage are especially appealing to many retirees, while Indio, the annual home of Coachella, has more all-ages communities.

    Gold Country

    The Gold Country gets its name from the historic California gold rush, which brought immigrants of diverse backgrounds to the region in the 1800’s.

    The region’s numerous museums, shopping, and dining opportunities make it as attractive a destination today as it was then. The area is considered one of the more affordable options for empty nesters looking to retire in towns including Loomis, Roseville, El Dorado Hills, Lincoln, Folsom, and Rio Vista.

    High Sierra

    Featuring some of California’s largest natural parks and wilderness areas, the High Sierra is the place to be for nature lovers! Active seniors can hike to waterfalls and through sequoia forests.

    In addition to natural beauty, towns like South Lake Tahoe are known for their excellent winter and skiing opportunities. The area also offers easy access to neighboring Nevada, with casinos in cities like Reno and Carson City.

    Inland Empire

    California’s Inland Empire features metropolitan cities like Riverside and Ontario, plus smaller regions like Temescal Valley. While most of the area is relatively urban, there’s also space for outdoor activities like biking and snowboarding.

    Los Angeles County

    As one of the most populous regions of California, Los Angeles County is home to big cities, travel hubs, and top-tier attractions such as sporting events and concerts.

    If you want to retire near the city without paying city prices, suburbs like Porter Ranch offer a more relaxed rural vibe without feeling completely isolated.

    North Coast

    Full of redwood forests and natural coastlines, towns in the North Coast like Eureka are ideal for nature loving 55+ adults seeking a more secluded and peaceful environment.

    The North Coast region of California reaches to the southern coast of neighboring Oregon and offers a picturesque coastline and plenty of hiking opportunities for those looking to stay active as they age with grace.

    Orange County

    Orange County in Southern California offers retirees beautiful beaches and many exciting attractions ranging from golf courses to dining options and high-end shopping centers.

    Explore Disneyland with visiting family or play outdoor sports in Buena Park.

    San Diego

    San Diego is one of the most popular destinations on the West Coast for retirees!

    55+ active adults can enjoy the mild weather of the area with activities like walking along a seaside boardwalk, hiking, and biking. Beach activities like swimming, surfing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding are available year round.

    For seniors looking to for a new San Diego area retirement home in a quiet location that still offers access to the city, try Fallbrook. Located to the northeast of Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton, the suburb is an excellent location for military veterans to retire!

    Bay Area

    Retire right along the waterfront in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is home to incredible beaches and notable vineyards in Napa Valley.

    Towns like Dixon are mostly rural farmland with big agricultural industries, though the Bay Area also includes burgeoning tech spheres like Silicon Valley.

    Shasta Cascade

    The scenic vistas of Shasta Cascade include waterfalls, forest, mountains, and even a few dormant volcanoes!

    It’s an ideal area for hiking, with Redding serving as an economic and industrial hub offering high-end shopping and dining options to seniors.


    Ways to Stay Active During Retirement in California

    Whether you’re looking for things to do on your 55+ community property or you’d like to explore off-property attractions, California has plenty of options, including casinos, golf course, nature trails, rec centers, and more!

    On-Site Amenities and Things to Do

    Lively activities await at many of California’s best senior communities!

    Clubs and interest groups meet both inside and out just steps from your new home, apartment, or condo. California’s 55+ communities offer active seniors a variety of things to do to stay healthy during retirement.  

    Take Part in Indoor & Outdoor Fitness

    Soak up the California sunshine with outdoor activities to get your blood pumping! Go on a hike through scenic locations, practice your sun salutations with yoga, play pickleball or beach volleyball, and even try your hand at surfing!

    On rare rainy days, stay active inside with on-site gyms and fitness centers, or take a fitness class like Pilates or aerobics.

    Relax with a Low-Maintenance Lifestyle

    Master planned, 55+ communities designed for active adults are often built with a low-maintenance lifestyle in mind. Builders understand that retirees want to spend less time doing lawn care or shoveling snow, and more time focusing on staying active and doing the things you love. 

    Spend the Afternoon at the Community Clubhouse

    Stop by your community’s clubhouse, mingle with your neighbors, and see what activities are on offer!

    Clubhouses in 55+ communities offer seniors enticing ways to stay active! Visit the rec center or join a club that allows you to explore your interests. Board games, book clubs, and arts and crafts groups are usual options to choose from.

    Since California is warm year round, many clubhouses also have an outdoor pool.

    Explore Attractions Around Town

    Outdoor activities and living a healthy lifestyle are popular for active adults that retire in California.

    Areas like San Diego are famous for their beaches, with oceanside sports like snorkeling, paddleboarding, and swimming being top choices for seniors. Alternatively, you can spend the day playing golf or on a wildlife hike in the state’s mountainous regions.

    Play a Weekly Round of Golf

    California offers golfers the chance to play a round while enjoying coastal views of the Pacific Ocean or the scenic beauty of one of the state’s inland areas.

    Golf is an especially popular activity for seniors in Southern California, where the weather is almost always warm and sunny, providing year round opportunities for a round of golf!

    Visit California’s Casinos

    Opportunities to gamble in casinos can be found across California, with an especially high concentration around Los Angeles and San Diego.

    Many of the states’ casinos are also resorts and spas, so you can enjoy an unparalleled pampering experience while you play games like slots, craps and blackjack.

    Hike in a Nature Park

    Go on an adventure through one of California’s many world-class nature parks!

    Both easy and more challenging hikes across the state offer active adults opportunities for wildlife photography, birdwatching, and even outdoor landscape painting if you’re looking for a unique experience during retirement.


    How to Know if California is Right for You

    If you want to spend your retirement in a beautiful state with warm sun and lovely year round weather, California is where you want to be!

    Outdoor activities are plentiful for active adults with a wide variety of things to do from swimming and yoga to visiting mountains, beaches and historic landmarks. For those who want to travel during retirement, California is filled with travel hubs, including international and domestic airports, train stations, and even cruise ports.


    55+ Housing Communities You’ll Find in California

    Purchasing a new home in California can be pricey, but many of its dedicated senior communities offer more affordable options, while also providing access to high-end amenities for residents.

    Types of communities for 55+ active adults found in California include all age communities, maintenance free communities, active adult communities and more.

    Golf Course Communities

    California’s warm weather means it’s always a good time to golf, and the state’s golf course communities take full advantage with convenient access to the course!

    Courses for all skill levels, putting greens and driving ranges can be found in golf course communities. Country clubs offering amenities that provide residents the full experience are common such as pro shops, dining and more.

    Many golf course communities are also age restricted communities or reserved for residents and their guests.

    Manufactured Homes Communities

    If you’re looking for affordable housing in California that still lets you maintain a sense of privacy, look no further than manufactured home communities.

    These free standing homes offer single story living and an independence you can’t always get with other senior housing. If you’d like to downsize in retirement, a mobile home may be the perfect fit for you.

    Luxury Apartment Rentals

    California’s luxury apartment rentals are often equipped with top-of-the-line amenities like large pools, fully modernized gyms, and gated access. Rentals are available in many layouts and often include private outdoor space like a balcony or patio.

    Many of California’s luxury apartment rentals are located along the beach, so you can sunbathe and swim with less responsibility in your new low-maintenance lifestyle.

    Condominium Communities

    In California’s more populous cities, space is at a premium, so condominium (condo) communities have become very popular!

    The communities can be found in metropolitan areas offering on-property pools and gyms with many off-property activities and attractions nearby. Also, Homeowner Associations (HOA) handle lawn care and issues outside your unit providing an easier lifestyle for residents.


    Taxes and Cost of Living in California

    California can be seen as an expensive place to retire, but in truth, there are many affordable places to live depending on the size and location of accommodations you’re looking for. For example, the picturesque central part of the state is typically cheaper than its northern and southern ends.

    You can lower your tax burden if you’re renting in a senior community rather than buying pricey property, which is ideal for empty nesters 55 and older who may be looking to downsize during retirement. Also consider what California has to offer in its ideal year round weather, diverse landscapes including mountains and beaches, travel hubs that can take you around the world and more!


    Healthcare Options and Services

    High-quality healthcare services can be found all across California, with facilities like the UC Medical Centers providing top-quality care for seniors.

    Additionally, healthcare plans, organizations, and services like Kaiser Permanente, MemorialCare, and Providence serve seniors throughout the state, looking to ensure affordable treatment is always available.


    Active Adult Living is proud to bring to you a handpicked listing of active senior retirement communities in California. Ensure a fulfilling, active and joyful life in any of the retirement communities in Northern California.

    Living that matches your lifestyle

    Never compromise with the way you have lead life until now! Our listing of 55 and over communities in Southern California ensures that you get what you want from a senior retirement home. Our listing is always up to date to ensure that you always have the best options at your disposal.

    Peace, tranquillity and joy await you in a retirement home of your choice.

    Explore our listing of senior communities in California to find the perfect home for your golden years.