best of the best 2022

America’s Top 100 Amenity Communities

Whether you are looking for the perfect retirement destination for a new active lifestyle while still working, you can find any amenity for the lifestyle you desire in these top communities. These communities are located throughout seven regions within the United States and Internationally.

Each year ideal-LIVING surveys our readers to determine the most popular destinations and amenities and the following are the top communities from waterfront to mountain and lake communities with golf, tennis, pickleball, watersports, hiking and biking trails, fitness centers, and spas. We invite you to choose a region, then explore communities to visit.

Top 10 Reasons to Live in a Planned Community

  1. The People. When asked what residents like most about a planned community, the answer is almost always “the people.” Relocating to the community that is right for you makes it effortless to meet people and make friends.
  2. Sense of Community. Almost everyone in a planned community has moved from somewhere else. It’s a very welcoming environment, and they want for you to be a part of the community.
  3. Walkabilty. The top amenity requested by Ideal-LIVING readers is walking trails. The good news is almost every planned development has a network of walking trails throughout to help residents stay in shape.
  4. Live a Healthy Lifestyle. It’s easy to stay healthy when you are surrounded by world-class amenities that encourage a healthy lifestyle, from golf, tennis, and pickleball to pools and workout facilities with fitness classes and even fitness directors.
  5. Proximity to Health Care. As planned developments attract a large number of retirees, quality medical centers and hospitals are generally nearby.
  6. Social Clubs. Join any type of club that interests you. If there isn’t one, you can always start one, and others will join you. From cycling to walking and book clubs to walking groups, you’re sure to find at least one that suits your needs.
  7. Sense of Security. Many planned communities are gated with 24/7 security.
  8. Beautifully Maintained Homes. Planned communities have architectural guidelines that ensure the design integrity of the home.
  9. Lush Landscapes. Planned communities are built around perfectly managed green spaces (especially when there is a golf course) that are filled with beautiful flora and fauna.
  10. A Chance to Give Back. Community organizations within the developments offer an environment to volunteer your gifts.

The Carolinas

It’s easy to see why retirees are flocking to the Carolinas. The kind of blue skies that people write songs about. World-class universities and medical care.

Georgia & Florida

From the end of the Appalachian trail to crystal clear waters, Florida and Georgia have it all. These two Southern states are known as retirement destinations for more than one reason.


Looking for a four-season climate, a halfway point between the warmth and charms of the South and the cool breezes and cities of New England, and a place to call home? Mid-Atlantic states have you covered.


From the Appalachian Mountains in the east to the banks of the Mississippi River in the west, Tennessee truly is a land of natural wonders and truly is one of the best places to live.

The South

Beaches, barbecue, bluegrass, and beyond. The South has its own culture, and it’s known for its own brand of hospitality. From more popular destinations like Florida and the Carolinas to up-and-coming states like Mississippi and Arkansas, everyone can find something to love about the South.

The West

Picture yourself surrounded by mountains and blue skies in every direction. The American West is a frontier full of wonder. National parks abound with opportunities for camping, hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking, and so much more.


What is the best thing about living internationally? Affordable health care? Low tax options? Warm tropical climates? The fact that the weight of the world seems to lift itself off your shoulders? We'll let you decide. Every day is a new chance for exploration when you are living abroad.

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ideal-LIVING Summer 2021 Issue