A Guide to 55+ Active Living Communities in Pennsylvania
History, Food Culture & Rural Charm Await Seniors in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania’s unique mix of outdoor activities and vibrant history makes it an ideal location for 55+ active adults to retire. Diversity is everywhere in the state, from its residents to its four seasons and geography.
Regions range from mountains to coastline, each offering a unique feel to its residents. Food culture is ingrained in the society with the state hosting numerous food festivals throughout the year. There are also an abundance of farms, serving fresh fruits and veggies at local farmers markets plus signature foods like pork rolls, philly cheesesteaks, and scrapple!
Pennsylvania has a large Jewish community, especially around the Philadelphia area. Rural regions, like those are around Lancaster, are known as Amish Country. This is the perfect setting for someone interested in a more bucolic lifestyle.
For opportunities to learn and stay active, seniors can visit Pennsylvania’s various museums and historic sites. As one of the first European colonies in America, many colonial era landmarks remain, such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
For empty nesters looking to travel during retirement, the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is the largest in the region, with six additional international airports throughout the state. Day trips to nearby states like New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut are easy by car, on the Amtrak train or on the Greyhound bus.
Pennsylvania’s Unique Regions
While Pennsylvania is more rural than some of its northeastern neighbors, there’s still a variety of different places to live, offering different lifestyles to seniors. Spend your retirement near the beach, explore the wilds in the mountains, or live among history in the state’s most famous cities.
The region surrounding Pittsburgh is known as Greater Pittsburgh. The closest suburbs make it easy to enjoy the attractions, shopping, and events in the city while still getting some peace and quiet. These include Cannondale, Monroeville, and Gibsonia.
Other towns in the area like Canonsburg and Houston lie a little farther away from Pittsburgh, to the southwest. Monaca and Sewickley are right along the Ohio River bend to the north, so water sports like fishing and boating are common there.
Historic Harmonyhas had a large Lutheran community since its founding. Beaver Falls’ claim to fame is its Beaver River Trail for biking and hiking.
Tucked next to the Delaware River, Delaware Valley is also known as the Greater Philadelphia Area. It includes historic towns that date back to colonial times like Phoenixville, Downington, West Grove, and Coatesville. Each town offers unique historic sites and a small town vibe.
The forested region of Pennsylvania Piedmont features farmlands and farmers markets galore. Rural regions like Hatfield, Easton, and East Petersburg are full of parks and community markets. Suburban areas such as Bath and Ambler have downtown areas with restaurants, stores, breweries, and historic buildings.
Active older adults that love to shop are sure to enjoy Whitehall, which has the biggest shopping district in the Lehigh Valley area. Pennsylvania Piedmont also encompasses Lancaster, home to one of the most famous Amish communities in the United States.
Gettysburg is the perfect location for people that love Civil War history. Walk through the National Military Park, the site of Gettysburg National Battlefield, and learn about the famous conflict at local museums.
Pennsylvania Dutch Country
Pennsylvania Dutch Country is best known as the heart of Amish Country, though it is also home to other religious groups like the River Brethren and Mennonites.
The area has many cultural sites, especially around Allentown. This major city is rapidly growing, offering its 55+ active adults shopping opportunities and award winning parks.
In Erie County, Northeastern Pennsylvania includes outdoor hotspots around the Endless and Pocono Mountains. Scranton is an industrial town that maintains a quaint vibe with natural beauty. Stroudsburg’s historic buildings surround a lively downtown with restaurants and boutique shops.
Central Pennsylvania is rural, featuring farm country and woodlands. Rolling hills surround Lebanon, which is notable for its high average population happiness and low crime rates.
How to Stay Active During Retirement in Pennsylvania
Renowned for its casinos, forests, and diverse weather, Pennsylvania is a paradise for 55+ active adults. See all the ways you can spend your time learning, exploring, and relaxing when you retire in the state.
Activities Available On-Property in 55+ Communities
Many 55+ communities in Pennsylvania have parks and gardens with their own walking and biking trails. Some even have putting greens where you can practice your stroke.
For pet lovers, look for communities with private dog parks where your dog can socialize and exercise too! These communities may also have convenient onsite grooming stations.
Check Out the Clubhouse
Spend time with your fellow like-minded residents at the community clubhouse. This space is convenient for playing games, practicing a craft, or cheering on your favorite team.
No matter the season, there’s a sport that you can take part in with your fellow residents. When the weather is warm, the Clubhouse offers an airconditioned place to enjoy an after-game ice-cold beverage with your teammates. Bocce ball, pickleball, and tennis are great ways to stay active in fitness and the community.
Hit the Fitness Center
On-property fitness centers offer state-of-the-art fitness equipment and modified classes aimed at residents who enjoy the routine of daily exercise, no matter the weather. These onsite Fitness Centers offer senior friendly workouts. Some communities offer instructor-led Pilates, yoga, Crossfit, and dance classes.
Swim in Indoor/Outdoor Pool
Swimming is an excellent activity for residents experiencing the physical limitations brought on from years of high impact sport. The buoyancy of the pool alleviates pressure on the joints while still allowing for a satisfying workout. Some communities have private outdoor pools, while others have heated indoor pools that can be used year round.
Things to Do for Seniors Around the State
Pennsylvania offers empty nesters many off-property things to do to stay active during retirement. Casinos like the Poconos and Mount Airy are popular with those who enjoy trying their luck at the slots, sports book, or tables. Fishing, road trips to the state’s historical sites, shopping for collectables, and dining on local fare, are also great ways to stay active.
There’s a Pennsylvania museum for just about any interest, from history to hobbies and beyond!
Check out paintings and sculptures at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, visit the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania to see full-sized historical railcars, and learn about American history at The National Civil War Museum. Museums are always looking for knowledgeable volunteers or part-time docents who have a shared passion for their offerings.
Attend a Professional Sporting Event
Pennsylvania is home to multiple professional sports teams located in the cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Notable franchises include the Flyers and Penguins in the NHL, the Eagles and Steelers in the NFL, the Philadelphia Union in the MLS, the 76ers in the NBA , and the Phillies and Pirates in MLB.
Pennsylvania has hunting seasons for deer, elk, wild turkeys, black bears, and various small game. Most hunting is allowed through the fall and early winter months.
Why Pennsylvania Attracts Retirees
Seniors love retiring in Pennsylvania because there are so many things to do during retirement. Fishing, hunting, golf and motorsports make it easy to remain active in your golden years. You can also visit the casino or a historical site to learn about the state’s past.
It’s easy to travel in Pennsylvania as well, as it’s home to international airports in Philadelphia, Lehigh Valley, and Pittsburgh. The rest of the northeast and the tri-state area is only a few hours away by car. However, given the state’s reputation for delicious restaurants and food festivals, you may not want to leave!
These communities tend to be more peaceful and feature amenities useful to 55+ adults like an indoor pool, fitness center and communal kitchen.
Condominium (condo) communities allow seniors to own their unit while not being responsible for exterior maintenance. Condos are popular with seniors looking to downsize and can be a more affordable option than a stand-alone home.
Condo communities in Pennsylvania can have gated access, covered parking and shared amenities such as a pool, clubhouse and fitness center.
Manufactured Home Communities
Pennsylvania’s manufactured home communities are a low cost housing solution for seniors looking to spend less on housing and more on staying active during their retirement.
These communities are often located near natural parks and forests while still being located within a short drive of the closest city.
Pennsylvania Healthcare for Seniors
Pennsylvania has numerous healthcare facilities dedicated to 55+ adults. Chronic condition care, routine checkups, and emergency care are all available at institutions like the Penn Medicine multi-hospital system and Jefferson Health in the Philadelphia area.
Additional healthcare systems include Tower Health in Reading and Virtua near the South NJ border.
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