By Sherry Jackson
Arizona is a popular place to retire, and for very good reasons. We have a great quality of life with warm winters and abundant sunshine throughout the year. Add in a favorable tax structure for seniors, plenty of health care, continuing education options and a relatively low crime rate and cost of living, and it’s easy to see why so many people spend their retirement years here.
According to 55Places.com, a website featuring active adult communities in the United States, there are 59 “active-adult” or “55+” communities in the Phoenix metro area. That’s a lot to choose from. Are you looking for resort-style amenities? Do you prefer a large community with lots of activities to choose from or do you prefer a smaller community where you feel like a closed-knit group? Here are four of the best in the Valley to consider.
Robson Resort Communities’ PebbleCreek is active-adult living at its finest. The 2,360-acre community features resort-style amenities with two championship golf courses, a state-of-the-art sports and aquatics center, pickleball and tennis courts, on-site restaurants and resort-style pools.
“Our search for the right active adult community was a three-year process,” says Carol T., a current homeowner at PebbleCreek who did not want her last name printed. “We considered eight states and ultimately chose Arizona for dry heat, sunshine and lack of major storms/hurricanes. We visited 22 communities in Arizona. We ultimately chose PebbleCreek for five reasons: One, a huge selection of amenities, clubs, pools, golf, creative arts, tennis, pickleball and a performing arts theatre. Two, access to great health care as we age. Three, a gated and patrolled community. Four, quality builder reputation. Five, location — easy access to shopping, restaurants and a major airport.”
For golfers, the two championship courses offer plenty of challenges and options with spectacular views of the White Tanks Mountains as a backdrop. Tuscany Falls features 27 holes with rolling fairways, lakes and large greens. There’s also four tee boxes on each hole to accommodate golfers of all skill levels. The Eagle’s Nest course has 18 holes with a variety of Bermuda grass fairways and large lakes. On-site Pro Shops and Golf Pros means you’ll have everything you need for a great round.
Not a golfer? That’s OK, PebbleCreek has plenty of other amenities. At the Sports and Aquatics Complex, you can choose to lounge by the resort-style pool or take your grandkids to the separate Grandchildren’s Pool. PebbleCreek also offers an indoor pool, state-of-the art fitness center, fitness studios, whirlpool, steam rooms, a tennis complex, pickleball courts, bocce ball and basketball courts, and a café and snack stand to wind down and relax.
It’s not all about being active at PebbleCreek. A 47,000-square-foot clubhouse offers a place to meet up with friends and neighbors or take in a concert or show at the 332-seat Renaissance Theater.
Two community restaurants mean you never have to venture far for a great meal. Both Eagle’s Nest Restaurant and Toscana’s Grill offer plenty of tasty options. Want to grab a beer and watch the game? PebbleCreek’s got that covered too at the Bar & Lounge at Toscana’s.
Residents can also explore their inner artists at the Creative Arts Center. Several studio rooms offer hobbies and crafts such as woodworking, painting, beading, sewing, pottery and ceramics and stained glass. If you’re looking to join a club, PebbleCreek has plenty that fit a variety of interests.
PebbleCreek Sales Office
3003 N. 164th Avenue, Goodyear
Encore at Eastmark, Mesa
Encore by AV Homes is Eastmark’s 55+ neighborhood nestled within the 3,200-acre Eastmark master-planned community. Encore features its own clubhouse with fitness center, pool, tennis and pickleball courts, arts and craft rooms and café.
“My husband and I love living in Encore,” says Cheryl Breirland, an Encore resident. “Yes, the community is beautiful. Yes, the floor plans are spacious, open and comfortable. Yes, there is always plenty to do. But, hands down, we love living here because of the people—friendly, generous, inclusive, welcoming, interesting and great fun.”
Encore features a 15,000-square-foot clubhouse with a large fitness room and additional “movement” rooms for Zumba, yoga, circuit tracing and line dancing. There’s a craft studio with two kilns so homeowners can explore ceramics, pottery and other crafts. A billiards room comes equipped with three commercial-grade pool tables. Plenty of clubs have already been formed in this newer community, which offers residents the ability to meet up with their neighbors and explore mutual interests.
Outdoors, there are two tennis courts, four pickleball courts and two bocce ball courts. When completed, Encore will have about 70 acres of beautifully landscaped open space with cemented trails benches, downlighting and doggie stations.
“I like that all residents have common desires, such as peaceful living, respectful neighbors and a clean environment,” says Encore resident Ernie Rossid. “The clubhouse and pool are wonderful. The community is quiet and well maintained. I also enjoy that Encore is close enough to shops while not being too near major traffic.”
Encore at Eastmark
5620 S. Encore, Mesa
Trilogy at Verde River, Rio Verde
Bordering the Tonto National Forest, Verde River, a Trilogy by Shea Homes community, offers nature lovers a spectacular setting near plenty of recreational opportunities such as hiking, biking, fishing and boating. Its North Scottsdale location also means it’s close to a bevy of restaurants, retail and other services.
Within the community, a brand new clubhouse provides a grand living room where neighbors can meet and socialize. You’ll also find the Market Place, a coffee bar, sandwich shop and small grocery store. The Needle Rock Kitchen & Tap is the community’s signature restaurant with a wood-fired grill centerpiece, preparing meals above a natural flame. The Chef’s Table features a private wine storage program and private dining for close family and friends.
The 18-hole Tom Lehman championship golf course is noted for its strategic design and the sheer beauty of the views of the Verde River, Tonto National Forest and Four Peaks. A Courts & Sports Complex includes four tennis courts (one stadium), four pickleball courts, bocce ball and a croquet lawn. An on-site outfitter offers bike rentals and kayaks for paddling on the river. Rio Verde also has a large fitness center featuring the latest and greatest in high-intensity interval training and personal training equipment.
A circular, resort-style pool and separate lap pool provide a nice respite to relax and take in the desert views or swim some laps. Eddy’s Poolside restaurant means you don’t even have to leave your lounge chair for a quick bite to eat or refreshing beverage. Want more indulgence? The Alvea Spa offers plenty of rejuvenation services.
Residents can also explore their creative side at the Art Loft, composed of a studio, art yard and lawn. Or take part in a cooking demonstrations or class at Helen’s Kitchen.
“I’ve been Trilogized,” says resident Frank DiMaggio (cousin to famous baseball player Joe DiMaggio), who moved to Trilogy’s Verde River a couple months ago. “It’s the people here. They’re very friendly and welcoming. The views from our backyard of the mountains is so peaceful and quiet. This is our last chapter of life. Some of us only have one page, others have three or five pages. We all need to live life to the fullest. When I wake in the morning, I’m just so excited to be here.”
Trilogy at Verde River
28525 N. Verde River Way, Rio Verde
Sun City Festival, Buckeye
In 1960, Del Webb built the first 55+ active adult community in Arizona and the country — Sun City. The community now boasts more than 26,000 homes with many different neighborhood choices. One of the newest communities is Sun City Festival by Del Webb (Del Webb is now owned by Pulte Homes).
Sun City Festival features a 31,000-square-foot recreation center including a resort-style pool with waterfalls, lap lanes and a spa. A world-class fitness center offers the latest equipment with a group fitness studio.
If golf is your game, tee off at the 18-hole course managed by Troon Golf. You can also play pickleball, bocce and tennis in a brand new state-of-the-art complex. Softball fields, basketball and volleyball courts offer plenty of sports activities to choose from.
The Festival Dog Park provides ample room for Fido to run around, giving residents the opportunity to socialize with neighbors. Bar 28, a new outdoor bar and patio, provides a great place to socialize and spend time with friends and family. The community also holds monthly lifestyle events including dances, performances, street fairs and pool parties.
Exercise your mind at the Arizona State University Lifelong Learning Academy, where residents can take classes in a wide variety of curriculum and programs taught by ASU instructors. A 9,000-square-foot Crafts Studio with a wood shop and glass arts/ceramics and pottery studios offers classes and space to indulge in a new (or old) hobby. Residents can also take part in more than 30 different clubs and interest groups.
“I love all the chartered club and interest groups,” says Gail Esler, a three-year resident. “We looked at 15 different communities before deciding on Sun City Festival. We choose it because of the friendliness of the staff and people here. We also love all the lifestyle events.”
Sun City Festival management office
1600 W. Broadway Road, Suite 200, Tempe
Need even more options? Here are some other great 55+ communities to consider:
|Sun Lakes||Sun Lakes||Robson Resort Communities|
|Encanterra||San Tan Valley||Trilogy by Shea Homes|
|Sun City Anthem at Merrill Ranch||Florence||Del Webb|
|Victory at Verrado||Buckeye||Lennar Homes, Maracay Homes, Taylor Morrison, CalAtlantic Homes and TW Lewis by David Weekley Homes|
|Leisure World||Mesa||resale homes only|
|Mountainbrook Village||Gold Canyon||Shea Homes|
|CantaMia at Estrella||Goodyear||AV Homes|
|Robson Ranch||Eloy||Robson Resort Communities|