8 Best Retirement Communities in USA in 2023

two senior couples eating and drinking in a kitchen

Choosing where to spend your retirement years is a big decision. 

 

A recent study from ProMatura found that people who live in retirement communities are overall happier and sometimes healthier than older adults who haven’t moved into one.

 

So if you’re looking for the best retirement communities in the US, you’ve come to the right place. 

 

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the top-rated retirement communities across the country to ensure you’re fulfilled in a 55+ community.

 

Whether you’re looking for an active community with plenty of amenities or a more relaxed setting, there’s sure to be something on this list that’s perfect for you. We’ve divided them into eight categories to help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

 

#1 Best for Nutritious and Healthy Food: Evanston, IL

Best retirement community for Nutritious and Healthy Food: Evanston, IL

When it comes to finding the retirement communities that offer the healthiest (and yummiest) nutrition in the US, The Mather’s Evanston is a top pick. They offer a variety of dining options that are not only nutritious and healthy but also delicious. 

 

The Culinary Institute of America-trained personnel create dishes with locally-sourced ingredients, and there is a variety of dining room choices to please any palate. If you’re a foodie, this is definitely the retirement community for you.

 

However, this luxurious menu comes with a hefty price tag. Entrance fees start at $450,000, and monthly payments start at $4,000 with a one-time move-in fee of $50,000. If you are considering The Mather, prepare ahead of time; you may be placed on a two-year waiting list.

 

#2 Best for Amenities: SunCity, AZ

Best retirement community for Amenities: SunCity, AZ

The best retirement communities in the US offer a variety of amenities and activities to keep residents busy and engaged. SunCity in Arizona is one such community, with over 200 chartered clubs and special interest groups available. 

 

Whether you’re interested in painting, pickleball, or wine, there’s something for everyone. And fun fact – they were the first 55+ community in the country.

 

Prices start at below $100,000 and go well into the $800,000 range. With those price ranges, we’re confident you’ll find your perfect second home. 

 

#3 Best Access to Healthcare: The Hearthstone, WA

retirement community with the Best Access to Healthcare: The Hearthstone, WA

The Hearthstone is a wonderful retirement community that provides various services and care options. It’s in Seattle, and it features a stunning setting with many pleasant and clean public spaces. 

 

They offer a wide range of health services to their residents, and they’ll help you age in place. Whether you are looking for short-term rehabilitation, skilled nursing, assisted living, or memory support, The Hearthstone has you covered. 

 

Additionally, the community is open to the public so anyone can take advantage of its excellent healthcare facilities.

 

The cost of continuing care at The Hearthstone starts at $2,233/month with entrance fees starting at $195,000; which is lower than many other places on this list. 

 

#4 Most Secure: Laguna Woods Village, CA

Most Secure retirement community: Laguna Woods Village, CA

Laguna Woods Village is the safest retirement community in the United States. Located in Orange County, California, it’s gated with 24-hour security. Residents can feel confident that their safety is always a top priority. 

 

In addition to the tight security, Laguna Woods Village offers a wealth of amenities, including two golf courses, seven clubhouses, and over 250 social and cultural activities.

 

The prices range from the low $200,000s to mid $1Ms and many residents agree that it’s a great investment — not only are you investing in a lifestyle, but you’re also investing in amazing real estate.

 

#5 Best for Recreation: Canoa Ranch, AZ

Best retirement community for Recreation: Canoa Ranch, AZ

If you’re looking for a retirement community that offers plenty of recreation opportunities, look no further than Canoa Ranch in Arizona. This active adult community is part of the Green Valley Recreation organization (GVR) — a non-profit that provides amenities, events, and recreation opportunities to its members. 

 

Thanks to 13 recreation centers and six fitness centers, as well as dance, swim, tennis, and other clubs, the residents under GVR’s umbrella have plenty of opportunities to stay active, healthy, and engaged.

 

With a price range of $100-$700,000, you’re bound to find something that sparks your interest. Be warned that a GVR membership comes with a steep membership fee of $2,616 and a monthly cost of $493, but it’s completely worth it if recreation is a top priority for you.

 

#6 Best for Pets: Bonterra at Woodforest, TX

Best retirement community for Pets: Bonterra at Woodforest, TX

If you’re looking for a pet-friendly retirement community because you’re not ready to part with your furry friend (hey, we get it), we suggest Bonterra at Woodforest in Texas. This all-inclusive community welcomes residents and their fluffy companions with open arms. 

 

The Admiral Bark Park, named after the first pooch who lived there, has loads of open spaces where dogs can run freely, as well as water stations and shaded areas for R&R.

 

Wondering how much a house at Bonterra costs? Their homes start in the low $300,000s and climb up to the mid $700,000s.

 

#7 Most Affordable: Floral Lakes, FL

Most Affordable retirement community: Floral Lakes, FL

If you’re looking for an affordable retirement community that still offers plenty of activities and amenities, Floral Lakes is a great option. While it may not be the least expensive retirement community around, it’s undoubtedly the most affordable on our list. 

 

And you get a lot of bang for your buck. This 55+ community has a 10,000 square-foot clubhouse that features a fitness center, aerobics and dance studio, sauna, arts and crafts studio, and library, to name just a few.

 

With homes starting below $100,000, this is a great opportunity to get some affordable housing with access to sandy beaches. 

 

#8 Best for Continued Education: Vi at Palo Alto, CA

Best retirement community for Continued Education: Vi at Palo Alto, CA

Lifelong learning is a must, and the best retirement communities ensure you’re facing new challenges daily (you know, the good kind of challenges that boost your neuroplasticity). One of the best retirement communities for continued education is definitely Vi at Palo Alto

 

The community is situated across Stanford University, and it offers its residents the opportunity to get back on campus. Not only does this open up the opportunity for daily intellectual stimulation, but it also helps you develop a growth mindset and intergenerational relationships.

 

What’s not to love? Maybe the pricing. With entrance fees starting in the $900,000s and monthly payments starting at $5,470, Vi at Palo Alto is assuredly the most expensive community on our list. If you have the funds, though, it’s certainly worth checking out.

 

Finding Your Perfect Retirement Community

The list of best retirement communities in the US we’ve provided can give you a good starting point as you research your options. 

 

Keep in mind that what’s important to you may not be important to someone else, so you’ll want to tailor your list based on your own needs and preferences. Finding your ideal retirement community is as individualized a process as you are. 

 

It depends on what matters to you the most, whether it’s amenities, personalized care, events and activities or access to healthcare. 

 

Basically, find clarity on your ideal active, engaged, and healthy retirement lifestyle before house hunting in retirement communities.

 

No matter your priorities, there is a perfect retirement community out there for you. 

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portrait of Cyn Meyer, founder of Second Wind Movement and a certified retirement life coach
Cyn Meyer 

Retirement Life Coach

As a certified retirement life coach since 2018, Cyn has helped thousands of older adults turn their retirement years into remarkable years full of growth, purpose, and passion. Through her signature program Rewire My Retirement, she helps people achieve their best life across the 5 Rings of Retirement, which covers topics Growth, Community, Health, Giving Back, and Finance.


Cyn combines specific life coaching tools, neuroscience, and her extensive background in marketing (spanning 17 years) to make a powerful impact with Second Wind Movement – an organization dedicated to providing educational resources and coaching for seniors.

With meticulous research, insight, and passion, Cyn’s mission is to usher in a new wave of positive experiences for generations of retirees.

portrait of Cyn Meyer, founder of Second Wind Movement and a certified retirement life coach

Cyn Meyer 

Retirement Life Coach

As a certified retirement life coach since 2018, Cyn has helped thousands of older adults turn their retirement years into remarkable years full of growth, purpose, and passion (beyond the stereotypical financial planning side of retirement). 

She combines specific life coaching tools, neuroscience, and her extensive background in marketing (spanning 17 years) to make a powerful impact with Second Wind Movement – an organization dedicated to providing educational resources and coaching for seniors.

With meticulous research, insight, and passion, Cyn’s mission is to usher in a new wave of positive experiences for generations of retirees.