A Guide to 55+ Active Living Communities in California
Retire in the Great Outdoors in Beautiful California
When you picture retirement, do you see yourself living close to sandy beaches, warm desert nights, gorgeous mountain vistas, and rolling farmland? Does the idea of having a variety of activities and venues within a few hours drive to choose from every day sound like a great way to spend your days? If so, California is the right choice for you!
California is the third largest state by land area. The state offers active older adults a variety of terrain and weather options. The state is geographically diverse, with flat coastlines, sunny deserts, rugged mountain ranges, and fertile valleys. .
Golfing, paddleboarding, mountain bike trekking, and hiking are just a few activities residents can spend their days doing. 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. Mountain ranges dot the interior of the state, featuring ski resorts and old growth forests.
California is ethnically diverse. The state welcomes all who want to call it home. The indigenous tribes were the first in the region.They were followed by the European rancheros, miner 49ers, railroad workers, farmers, and dock workers. Hispanic and Asian cultures have strong ties to the Golden State. African-American culture is ingrained in the cultural identity of California.
California is a car-centric state. It’s size means that many active adult communities are outside of the major cities. Urban areas like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego have safe and reliable public transportation. While Amtrak runs regular service from one of the state to other.
Many residents will use regional airports to fly domestically, both inside and outside of the state. The international airports, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and San Diego International Airport (SAN) are perfect for travel to both domestic and international locales. Ocean cruises regularly embark from the major ports for local and international locales.
Where to Retire in California
Active older adults have unlimited options when it comes to choosing a retirement community in California. Whether you’re seeking an endless summer or a mild four seasons, there’s something for everyone here!
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. If you’re looking to retire in a valley surrounded by forest, with convenient shopping and dining options, this may be the town for you.
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 encompases the area north of San Francisco to the Oregon border. The picturesque coastline is bounded by mountains and rivers and offers residents plenty of hiking, fishing, hunting, and mountain biking opportunities.
Featuring some of California’s largest natural parks and wilderness areas, the High Sierra is the place to be for nature lovers! During the summer, active adults can mountain bike the trails that wind past waterfalls and rise above the alpine to the home of the long-living Bristlecone Pine. In the winter, the High Sierra is features world-class skiing at multiple resorts.
In addition to natural beauty, towns like South Lake Tahoe are known as the regional hub for your shopping and healthcare needs. The area also offers easy access to neighboring Nevada, with casinos in cities like Reno and Carson City.
The Gold Country gets its name from the historic California gold rush. The mountains of this region were rich in gold, and many an adventurer was called to the region with hopes of finding their fortune. The state capital, Sacramento, is located here on the banks of the state’s largest river delta.
Today, the area is considered one of the more affordable options for empty nesters looking to retire. Towns like Loomis, Roseville, El Dorado Hills, Lincoln, Folsom, and Rio Vista are all built to accommodate the needs of active older adults who want to live the California lifestyle.
Retire in style in the Bay Area. This area encompasses everything from the cosmopolitan San Francisco, through the multicultural neighborhoods of Oakland, and out to the vineyards of Napa Valley. No matter what part of the Bay Area you decide to call home, there’s a golfcourse or hiking trail right around the corner.
This region is represented by professional teams in all the major sports. Residents cheer for championship teams like the San Francisco 49ers (NFL) and the Golden State Warriors in the NBA. San Jose is home to the Sharks ( NHL) and the Earthquakes in the MLS. The MLB has both the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics.
Towns like Dixon welcome residents looking for the rural lifestyle. While people wanting a busier lifestyle can find the right home in home along the bayfront. Silicon Valley to the south and Vallejo to the east offer a variety of housing options for active retirees.
If a rugged coastline dotted with golf courses is your retirement dream, California’s Central Coast is the place for you. Towns like Hollister are a peaceful paradise with easy access to the state’s biggest metro areas to the north and south.
Nature and agriculture abound in the Central Valley. This region is growing with popular cities like Fresno and Modesto anchoring the surrounding farmland.
Other excellent places to retire in the Central Valley include Lebec, Bakersfield, and Stockton. The towns in the region are affordable offer everything from a sultry delta to an arid high desert lifestyle.
Low Desert Regions
Known for their dryer climates and perpetual sun, you will find idyllic oases’ tucked away in California’s Low Desert Regions. Golf is the number one activity for resident’s of California’s deserts.
Luxury gated communities like those in Rancho Mirage are especially appealing to many retirees. While the town of Indio, caters to all-ages communities.
California’s Inland Empire features metropolitan cities like Riverside and Ontario, plus smaller regions like Temescal Valley. While the area was once home to California’s citrus groves, the land now boasts affordable housing developments, planned communities with shopping and healthcare, and abundant golf courses.
The Inland Empire is home to mountains, valleys, deserts, casinos, and Ontario International Airport (ONT). Some of the world’s best rock climbing and mountain bike trails are conveniently located in and around Joshua Tree National Park. Fishing, boating, and skiing are just “up the hill” in the San Bernardino mountains. Vineyards and avocado groves give residents the feeling of a rural lifestyle that’s only a quick drive to shopping, dining, and healthcare.
Los Angeles County
As one of the most populous regions of California, Los Angeles County has a lifestyle option for everyone. The city of Los Angeles (LA) is ideal for retirees looking to stay close to the action. Whether you make your home a condo by the beach, or a house in the Hollywood Hills, you will be living a metropolitan lifestyle with the perks of luxury shopping and fine dining alongside celebrities of all genres. The professional sport teams have huge stadiums to accommodate their local fans. You can watch MLB’s LA Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Or choose between two NFL teams, the LA Rams and the LA Chargers. Basketball also offers a choice of teams between the LA Lakers and the LA Clippers. Hockey is represented by the LA Kings.
If you want to retire near the action without paying city prices, suburbs in the San Fernando Valley, like Porter Ranch , offer a more relaxed vibe that’s only a car ride away from downtown.
Orange County is Southern California’s hidden gem. The region is home to one of the oldest age restricted communities in the state. The development of Leisure World opened up the county to retirees by offering age-specific services in the surrounding communities. Active older adults will find Orange County convenient to beautiful beaches, golf courses, fine dining, and high-end shopping centers.
Other suburbs around Orange County include Buena Park, and Huntington Beach. Santa Ana is home to the county’s John Wayne International Airport. Amtrak has many many stops from San Clemente in the south to Anaheim in the north.
San Diego is the southernmost county in California. Many active older veterans return to San Diego county to spenbd their retirement years. This area of Californiais a 55+ paradise, offering everything from the ocean to the desert, first class healthcare and luxury casinos.
Due to San Diego’s mild climate, 55+ residents enjoy outdoor activities year round. Sailing, fishing, paddleboarding, and surfing are at your dooorstep. Hiking and mountain bike trails lace through the many reserves that separate housing developments. Use any of the bike paths that follow the rives or freeways to easily commute to shopping, medical appointments, or a leisurely patio lunch.
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. Surrounded by avocado groves, strawberry fields, and horse trails, Fallbrook offers residents housing options from all age communities, manufuactured homes, and luxury apartments. All withing easy reach to Oceanside and Escondido.
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 courses, nature trails, community recreation centers, and more!
Staying Active In Your Community
Whether you want to enjoy it alone or with other like-minded adults, you’ll find your favorite activity at your door step. California’s 55+ communities offer active older adults a variety of things to do to stay busy in retirement.
Utilize the Fitness Center
Community fitness centers come equipped with all the bulky equipment that you need to start your day. Use the treadmill or elliptical for a quick jog. The free weights are perfect for optimizing your muscle strength and bone density as you age. Group exercise classes are the a great way to routinely see your neighbors while practicing yoga or zumba.
Sunny days and low humidity are perfect for exercising outside any time of the day. Practice your putt on the private putting green. Compete with your neighbors in a friendly game of pickleball or tennis on courts set up for the exclusive use of residents. Swim laps or participate in water aerobics in the community pool.
Relax with a Low-Maintenance Lifestyle
Master planned, 55+ communities design homes for active adults that appeal to a low-maintenance lifestyle. Residents want to spend more time on the golf course or bike trail instead of mowing the lawn and fixing sprinklers. Pool service, street sweeping, and other services are all covered by the management team.
Activities at the Clubhouse
Clubhouses are the heart of any active older adult community. It’s here that residents gather for neighborhood parties, stop in to pick up their mail, or take part in a game night, book club, or crafts class.
Some clubhouses come with a communal kitchen or bbq area to feed a crowd. Some offer special guest events for the exclusive enjoyment of residents. Regular poker nights or quilting clubs meet in the community clubhouse too.
Staying Active in The State
Golf Rounds Beckon
With over 900 golf courses scattered around California, playing golf is near every community. Whether it’s a regular meet up with your buddies at the local course, or a special round on one of the finest courses in the world, California offers golfers the chance to play a round in a multitude of environments.
Golf is an especially popular activity for older adults in Southern California. There are over 600 golf courses located between Santa Barbara and Otay Mesa. These range from public courses with ocean views to members only oases in the desert.
Visit California’s Casinos
Opportunities to gamble in casinos can be found across California. The state offers over 80 casinos on Indigenous land from the Oregon border all the way to Mexico!
Many of the states’ casinos are also resorts and spas. You can enjoy an unparalleled pampering, a round of golf, live entertainment and your favorite slots and table games without leaving the property.
California’s western border is the Pacific Ocean. Up and down the coast, active older adults will find their favorite aquatic activities. Sailing, sport fishing, SCUBA, and surfing are a small portion of the activities residents can do to stay fit on the coast.
Inland areas, are blessed with many rivers and lakes that encourage rafting and freshwater fishing. When the snow melts in spring, many of the state’s arroyos come back to life making hiking and mountain biking a little more challenging.
Professional Sports Teams
California residents are blessed with multiple sports teams. Retired residents are able to watch an afternoon Major League Baseball game in person. Stadiums that cater to the NFL, NBA, and NHL dot the state make for friendly rivalries no matter the sport or season.
55+ Housing Communities You’ll Find in California
California’s lifestyle can be pricey, but many find that with a little compromise active older adults can afford a community that fits their budget. The size of the state as well as the variety of housing options make California’s active older adult communities available to all!
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.
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.
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 every stage of life.
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.
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