8 Best Retirement Communities in California, According to Real Estate Experts – 24/7 Wall St.

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Retirement conjures imagery of crocheting and golf, early mornings of coffee and leisure, and early evenings getting to sleep before the sun goes down. As retirement age sets in, you have more time to occupy with leisurely activities than ever before and many people look to their retirement community to provide those opportunities.

Most dream of places with palm trees, ocean breezes, and warmer seasons. As we age and our bones get frail, we have less energy to expend shoveling snow and layering up our clothing. Not surprisingly, due to its temperate climate and year-round leisurely lifestyle, real estate experts say California ranks high among places for retirees to consider when purchasing homes for this stage of life. Below I’ve identified 8 of the best retirement communities in California, each with its own unique flair and personality. 

Why We Are Writing This

Few things are more important than your ‘home,’ and choosing where you live for the latter years of life is crucial. As a Realtor® in California, I enjoy providing the best options to home buyers and helping them find the perfect home for their lifestyle, especially during their retirement years. The following communities offer various options to suit almost any preference.


While I have personal and professional expertise in the California real estate market, I also dug through online real estate-specific blogs focused primarily on California retirement communities, many sourced through Home.com. The websites dive into the various features of the communities on our list, pinpointing the top retirement neighborhoods, taking factors like location, amenities, affordability, and overall quality of life into account.

8. Four Seasons at Bakersfield, Bakersfield

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Creme de la creme, Four Seasons at Bakersfield, is a top choice for retirees seeking an affordable yet heavily ‘catered-to’ lifestyle. This community offers a dream retirement layout featuring a clubhouse with a fitness center, outdoor recreational facilities, and various social activities. Perfect for those on a budget, Four Seasons at Bakersfield offers premium amenities at a more digestible price point. 

Located within convenience to the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Central Coast, Four Seasons at Bakersfield combines affordability, top-notch amenities, and scenic surroundings to enrich life after retirement.

7. Trilogy at Monarch Dunes, Wine Country

Napa, California | Napa Valley California Wine Country Vineyard Field Harvest for Winery

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California’s Central Coast is infamously known for being referred to as ‘wine country,’ and Trilogy at Monarch Dunes fits in perfectly to its backdrop as a resort-like retirement option. This upscale community features a golf course, a clubhouse with fine dining and social activities, and a spa worthy of any 5-star hotel. 

Retirees enjoy the proximity of Trilogy at Monarch Dunes to wine country, of course, the coastal attractions year-round in California. Located in Nipomo, retirees benefit from the mild climate. Whether you love to golf, are excited to experiment with the best wines in the world, or prefer to relax and take in stunning vistas, Trilogy offers a wonderful variety for retirees. 

6. The Villages Golf and Country Club, San Jose

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Based at the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, The Villages Golf and Country Club truly feels like you are escaping to an international retreat. This community offers a championship golf course, multiple clubhouses with dining options, weekly entertainment, and a state-of-the-art gym. The scenic, wooded atmosphere of the grounds adds to its charm, providing a serene holiday from the hustle and bustle of San Jose.

The best part? The Villages is just a short drive from downtown San Jose, giving residents easy access to city life. If you prefer to stay home, the community provides many activities, from gardening to wine tasting. 

5. Trilogy at Rio Vista, Sacramento

Sacramento, California | Dawn over West Sacramento, California

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Located near the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Trilogy at Rio Vista is a gorgeous option for retirees looking to make the most of their golden years. Residents love the 18-hole golf course, and the luxurious fitness center consistently gets top reviews. The community features an extensive network of walking trails and small parks to encourage outdoor enjoyment of the Delta region.

Trilogy at Rio Vista also provides ample opportunities for boating, fishing, and bird-watching, all in a relaxed, small-town atmosphere.

4. Ocean Hills Country Club, Oceanside

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Ocean Hills Country Club presents the perfect blend of California sunshine and the retirement lifestyle residents are looking for. This community feels like a resort in Mexico, with luxury amenities galore, like golfing, swimming, biking and tennis thanks to incredible weather any time of year. There’s also a community pavilion for social events.

3. Rossmoor Walnut Creek, Bay Area

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Rossmoor Walnut Creek is a relaxed retirement community surrounded by lush gardens and picturesque hillsides in the Bay Area. Most retirees come to Rossmoor for its amenities, such as its two golf courses, tennis courts, and a performing arts center, which offers a variety of high-budget performances all year round. There are also more than 200 clubs and organizations covering a wide range of interests such as gardening, travel, card games, and knitting, to name a few.

2. Laguna Woods Village, Laguna Hills

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For an incredibly picturesque retirement community, look at Laguna Woods Village in Orange County, CA. Known for it’s garden-like surroundings and comfortable year-round climate, this community offers a variety of cultural activities and high-end amenities like swimming pools, golf courses and world-class fitness centers.

Conveniently located near stellar beaches as well as the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego, residents have access a diverse range of activities and dining.

1. Del Webb Sun City, Palm Desert

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Palm Desert, CA, is home to the most holistic and appealing retirement communities in the country– like the grounds of this impeccable resort-like oasis called Del Webb Sun City. Palm Desert sits in the Coachella Valley, which is quite warm year-round. People seeking an active lifestyle will find Del Webb Sun City appealing as it’s a 55+ community with activities like golf, swimming, and billiards and plenty of social events.

Homes are priced anywhere from $400,000 to $1,000,000, depending on size and view. For those interested in golf and views of the greens, the home prices would lean toward the higher end of that range. Location-wise, you’re within close driving proximity to Palm Springs, which opens up a world of entertainment and dining options, as well as activities.


California’s diverse topography, vibrant culture, and wealth of amenities make it an ideal landing spot for retirees looking for the perfect place to call home. From luxurious coastal retreats to epic mountain getaways, these are the 8 best retirement communities in California. Offering an impressive range of amenities, stunning grounds, and packed calendars, these retirement communities allow residents to embark on new adventures and create lasting memories in their golden years.

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