7 great homes for retirees

Live richly in these active adult communities

Take a vibrant city with a nice climate, add the benefits of an activity-rich adult community, and you have a great recipe for your leisure years.

Using Forbes' 2014 list of the 25 Best Places to Retire, we shopped for homes in age-restricted, active adult communities in some of the best retirement cities in the nation.

The amenities of these homes differ, but they are all located in communities where retirement is the focus, offering everything from walking trails to spas and pickleball courts.

You'll find that home prices on our list range from about $109,000 to $359,900, or a monthly payment of roughly $434 to $1,420 per month, assuming a 20% down payment at today's average mortgage interest rates.

Forbes picked each of these communities based on qualities like weather, cost of living and availability of activities suited for seniors.

Let's start our tour in a warm-weather town with above-average air quality that just so happens to have been named after a Prussian prince.

Fredericksburg, Texas

Address: 301 Chase Oaks Place
Price: $297,500
What you get: Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, 2,414 square feet
Price per square foot: $123

This brick veneer home offers a lot of bang for the buck. It has a nice terraced patio entrance with a custom wood door and sidelights. Inside, the family room has wood flooring, a media center, surround sound and a limestone fireplace. There's also a limestone bar with granite that opens into the kitchen, which offers granite counters, maple cabinets and custom recessed lighting. The office features built-in cabinets, and the master bedroom offers a walk-in closet, a study, a shower, a garden tub and double vanities. Step outside on to the covered porch for views of large oak trees and a well-landscaped lawn.

The home is located in Heritage Hill Country, a 55-or-older community with 60 acres of landscaped property, including nature trails. The clubhouse has a fitness center, pool, spa, library, kitchen, dining area and a great room with a fireplace. Koi ponds can be found throughout the community, and a small creek runs throughout. HOA fees are a modest $105 per month.  Forbes gives Fredricksburg high marks for its low crime and high walkability.

See more photos of this Texas home.

Barbara Irwin; Heritage Realty; 830-889-4133

Boise, Idaho

Address: 421 South Curtis, Home 320
Price: $249,000
What you get: Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1,852 square feet
Price per square foot: $134

This ranch-style home offers single-floor living, great for the retiree who doesn't want to navigate stairs. We especially love that this home sits right above the Ridenbaugh Canal, which is used to divert water from the Boise River for irrigation. From the covered backyard patio, enjoy a relaxing view of the landscaped berm and water below. The house has a well-lit open floor plan with lots of windows and tube skylights. Other standout features include a remote control gas fireplace, large pantry and an insulated and finished three-car garage.

This home is located in Brook View, a 55-or-older gated land-lease community. Since it's a new home, the land lease goes month-to-month when the home is purchased and renews each month. But watch out, financing can be tough with this type of home purchase. The monthly lease is $428.36, which includes use of the homesite, property taxes and on-site management. It also includes community bonuses like a social membership and planned activities at the clubhouse. Among Boise's pluses, according to Forbes: its arid climate and many volunteering opportunities.

See more photos of this Idaho home.

Michelle Richardson: Brook View; 208-344-2491

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Address: 2525 NW 62nd St. Apt. 209
Price: $109,900
What you get: Three bedrooms, three bathrooms, 1,746 square feet
Price per square foot: $63

This is condo living, but don't be misled: This home offers nearly as much space as the others on our list for half the price per square foot. And this unit has been updated to the tune of $32,000. That includes new paint, crown molding and patio doors. There's also new carpeting, a custom closet and new lighting. We particularly like the 12-foot bay window that looks out into the community. There's also a balcony with a view of the park. The kitchen is functional but hasn't had any significant updates.  

This condo is located in the 54-unit Imperial Terrace, a quiet and serene gated community for those who are 55 or older. The community offers a pool, a laundromat and small common areas to sit in and enjoy the outdoors. Cookouts and other activities with community members are common, but nothing is mandatory. The HOA fees are a somewhat steep $596 per month but include maintenance and utilities. Forbes says the cost of living falls 7% below the national average.

See more photos of this Oklahoma home.

Jane Rauh; Keller Williams Realty Elite; 405-848-2554

Venice, Florida

Address: 1530 Maseno Drive
Price: $245,000
What you get: Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1,685 feet
Price per square foot: $145

It's hard to beat Florida as a retirement destination. And this Venice villa with vaulted ceilings makes the Sunshine State even more enticing. We think you'll spend some quality relaxation time out on the screened-in lanai. There's also a nice kitchen with Corian counter tops, dark wood cabinets, a breakfast bar and a dinette area. The master bedroom features a walk-in closet and a large master bathroom, equipped with dual sinks and a shower that is handicapped-accessible. There are tile floors throughout most of the home — easy cleanup after a day at the beach — and the bedrooms have carpet.

The age-restricted Venetian Falls community is about a 20-minute drive from the gulf. But the community offers almost everything else. The recreation area includes a heated pool and spa and a heated resistance pool. There's also an Internet café, a fitness room, meeting rooms and game rooms. Add a putting green, walking trails and social activities, and it's difficult not to enjoy the retirement lifestyle. At $701 per month, the association fees are the steepest on our list.

See more photos of this Florida home.

Tennie Capps: Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate; 941-921-4434

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Address: 665 Duff Road, Sewickley
Price: $315,400
What you get: Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1,779 square feet
Price per square foot: $177

This 55-and-over community is located just northwest of Pittsburgh in nearby Sewickley. But we chose it because it's a new development. On the other hand, this is definitely not a move-in-ready situation. The Washington model features single-level living with an open-style layout. The living room backs up to a large island and spacious kitchen, which allows for easy entertaining through the great room and dining room. The kitchen includes stainless-steel appliances, granite counter tops and wood cabinets. You'll also find nine-foot ceilings and handicap-accessible doorways. The master bedroom has walk-in closets and a Jack-and-Jill bathroom. Wood floors run throughout the home.

Sewickley Ridge offers numerous amenities. You'll find a 7,700-square-foot clubhouse with a heated pool and a fitness center. There's also a billiards room, a sports bar and a lounge. Want some planned activities? Just ask the full-time lifestyle director. You'll pay $150 per month in HOA fees for those benefits.  Why Pittsburgh? Forbes says this city offers a large number of doctors per capita and ranks high for volunteering.

See more photos of this Pennsylvania home.

Megan Babp Cook; Traditions of America ; 412-534-4232

Tucson, Arizona

Address: 1936 W. Misty Hollow Lane   
Price: $206,000
What you get: Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1,650 square feet
Price per square foot: $125

Did somebody say golf? This townhome sits right across from the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort, a one-time PGA Tour stop. In addition to the year-round warm climate, we think you'll love the walk-up courtyard area in front of the home and the full-length private covered patio in the back. You'll find sliding glass doors in both the spacious master bedroom and the living room, both of which open out onto the patio. The kitchen offers tile floors and standard appliances. It also has a breakfast nook. And to the north, you'll find a limited view of the Tortolita Mountains — not a bad way to spend mornings in retirement.

The Fairfield community is no slouch when it comes to amenities and activities. There's an active recreation center, a pool, a spa, an exercise room, tennis courts and shuffleboard. Plus, there are plenty of walking, or jogging, paths throughout the community to boot. HOA fees are just $108 per month. Need a little nightlife? Downtown Tucson is just a short 20-minute drive.

See more photos of this Arizona home.

Stephanie Ybarra: Tierra Antigua; 520-544-2335

Brevard, North Carolina

Address: 21 Gawanv Court
Price: $347,000
What you get: Three bedrooms, two bathrooms, 1,806 square feet
Price per square foot: $192

Nestled in the Connestee Falls community, this home features views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which you can take in from a large covered porch. Built in 2006, it's a newer home that offers an open floor plan and lots of natural light. There are wood floors throughout, high ceilings and a stone fireplace in the living room. The kitchen has stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops and wood cabinetry. There's also a large two-car garage and an unfinished basement. The biggest bonus — there's an $8,000 one-time fee paid by the seller with an acceptable offer by Oct. 31, 2014.

Connestee Falls is a nature lover's paradise, with woods, mountain streams, lakes, waterfalls and hiking trails. It's not age-restricted, but the average resident is around 60 years old. The community boasts an 18-hole golf course, a heated pool, a wellness center, bocce ball, tennis courts and pickleball courts. There are also four stocked lakes for fishing, boating and swimming. And the clubhouse offers dining, a full bar, a sports grill and a performance arts center. HOA fees are $2,632 per year. Forbes likes this town for its low crime rate and below-average cost of living.

See more photos of this North Carolina home.

Bridgette Shuler; Connestee Falls Realty; 828-885-2015

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