Best Retirement Communities in Northern California

For many older people, moving to a retirement community is the answer to their dreams. 

If you’re considering retirement communities in Northern California, we want to help you make the best choice for your needs. In this article, we will explore some of the best options for your golden years.

1. Trilogy at Rio Vista

Trilogy at Rio Vista sounds like the perfect place for active adults who love to be outdoors. The 18-hole golf course, beautiful clubhouses, and gated resort style community offer amenities that will keep you busy as a retiree! For those of us looking for a more quiet lifestyle but still want access to activities as well, Trilogy is located just outside the San Francisco Bay Area so there are plenty of other activities available.

CityHome Price RangeBest For
Rio Vista, CALow $300s – Mid $600sActive Adults

Amenities

Trilogy at Rio Vista has some wonderful amenities including:

  • Three pools
  • Movie theater
  • 18-hole golf course
  • Fitness Center
  • Four tennis courts
  • Four bocce ball courts
  • Cyber cafe 
  • Center for Learning
  • Card room 
  • Business center

Activities

Trilogy at Rio Vista is a very active community with options ranging from Ballroom dancing to BBQs. Other activities include:

  • Cards
  • Ceramics
  • Choir
  • Reading
  • Walking
  • Biking
  • Billiards
  • Aerobics and dance
  • Arts and crafts
  • Swimming

Nearby Attractions, Restaurants, and Events

Since Rio Vista is home to a number of enjoyable attractions and since you’ll be so close to the Bay Area you’ll never be bored. Some of your options include:

  • Enjoying local wineries
  • Fishing at Lake Berryessa
  • Tour the Western Railways Museum
  • Eat seafood at The Point Restaurant (they have almost 1,000 reviews with a 4.3 star rating on Google!)
  • Relax and enjoy the waves at Sandy Beach Park
  • Catch the Ryer Island Ferry 
  • Shop local wares at the Deltas Farmers Market
  • Camp at the Brannan Island State Recreation Area
  • Cut flowers at the Meadows of Isleton
  • Enjoy a brew at the Mei Wah Beer Room 

Online Reviews

In general, people seem to enjoy Trilogy at Rio Vista, but some complained about the wind and run down facilities.

“I’m glad I decided to rent here first before considering purchasing. The constant wind is tiresome. (I should’ve realized this after seeing the wind farm outside of town.) The golf course has been neglected and the restaurant needs much improvement. The local grocery store isn’t managed well, and it’s a 20-minute drive to the nearest city for shopping. On the plus side, most of the neighbors appear to be friendly and the nearest hospital (Kaiser) is 20 minutes away.”

– Gregory S, January 2021, 55Places.com

“An hour from San Francisco. An hour from Napa, Sonoma, Sacramento and the ocean. Gated community, with a golf course that we newly own. So never a worry about it closing. Presently being upgraded. Nice green spaces. Sacramento River is right on the town, so boating, fishing are nearby. 90 clubs with friendly people, many in the active 55-70 age group. You won’t find a more reasonable place to live and enjoy! My home is 3 years old and we love it! Never had a problem and Shea was great, and the lifestyle is like a vacation! I do wish the malls were closer than 17 miles, but I am now used to it.”

– Linda J, January 2020, 55Places.com

How to Get in Touch

You can view Trilogy at Rio Vista homes that are currently for sale here

2. Four Seasons at Westshore

Located just outside of Sacramento, Four Seasons at Westshore has an idyllic location and a resort style feel that offers rural scenery along with easy access to urban amenities like banks, shops, restaurants, hospitals, and more.

This unique community contains an all-ages section along with an age-restricted adult neighborhood. It sits on a 26-acre lake with fountains and promenades and also provides residents with access to 31 acres of parks and nature preserves. 

CityHome Price RangeBest For
Sacramento, CALow $300s – Mid $650sOutdoor Enthusiasts

Amenities:

You’ll be able to access all kinds of amenities at Four Seasons at Westshore, including:

  • Lodge
  • Fitness center
  • Arts and crafts studio
  • Outdoor pool
  • Walking and biking trails
  • Tennis and bocce ball courts
  • 26-acre lake 
  • Horseshoe pits 
  • Outdoor fireplace and barbeque area
  • Ballroom 

Activities:

You won’t be bored for a single second at Four Seasons at Westshore! Some activities you can participate in include:

  • Billiards
  • Bingo
  • Dancing
  • Exercise
  • Art
  • Computers
  • Movies 
  • Walking and biking
  • Cooking
  • Bocce ball

Nearby Attractions, Restaurants, and Events:

Of course, you’ll also be able to tap into a large network of local attractions, too, including: 

  • Have a stroll on the Old Sacramento Waterfront
  • Catch a flight from Sacramento International Airport
  • Partake in the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee
  • Enjoy the Gold Rush Days
  • Take a dip in Lake Tahoe
  • Unwind in the Asha Urban Baths
  • Take the grandkids to Defy Sacramento, the region’s best trampoline park
  • See the sights at the California State Fair
  • Enjoy a beer on the Sac Brew Boat beer tour (or three, or four!)
  • Catch a movie at the drive-in theater

Online Reviews :

For the most part, people have great things to say about Four Seasons at Westshore. Of course, there are a few folks who say that the fixtures are outdated or that they don’t like the appearance of the homes, but this is purely a matter of personal taste.

“We have lived here for 5 years now and have been overall very happy with the community. When we moved here we needed something still convenient to downtown as my husband was still working full-time in Sacramento!”

 – Susan L., May 2013, 55places.com

“I was so relieved to see my Aunt find a place that made her happy and truly active.  This place is a blessing and I hope whoever moves into the one that just went up for sale on Hovnanian Drive is as happy as she was.”

-Ariel V., 2020, Google Reviews

How to Get in Touch:

You can view more information about the builder and view available homes here.

3. Esplanade at Turkey Creek 

A 55+ community in Lincoln, CA, Esplanade at Turkey Creek is a brand-new adult community of 850 single-family homes.

The homes for sale here range in size from 1408 to 2985 square feet. You’ll be able to access daily conveniences and healthcare providers and the airport is just 40 minutes away. 

CityHome Price RangeBest For
Lincoln, CALow $500s – Mid $600sBig City Living

Amenities:

There are countless amenities for retirees to enjoy at Esplanade at Turkey Creek, including: 

  • Clubhouse
  • Multipurpose room
  • Spa
  • Pools
  • Tennis and pickleball courts
  • Walking and biking trails
  • Restaurant and bar
  • Game room
  • Fitness center
  • Cafe

Activities:

In addition to the amenities we mentioned before, Esplanade at Turkey Creek will also allow you to access some of the following activities:

  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Pickleball
  • Biking
  • Working up a sweat in the fitness center
  • Golfing
  • Lounging in the spa
  • Playing some board games in the game room
  • Having a drink at the restaurant and bar
  • Relaxing with friends in the clubhouse 

Nearby Attractions, Restaurants, and Events:

Can’t sit still for long? Don’t worry. At Esplanade at Turkey Creek, you can visit some of the following nearby attractions:

  • Shop for all the gear and food you need at WalMart, the Lincoln Food Mart, or CVS
  • View crafts and wares from local artisans at the Sprouts Farmers Market
  • Take a stroll around Coyote Pond Park 
  • Toss some Frisbees at McBean Memorial Park
  • Educate yourself at the Lincoln RC Museum
  • Putt around at Lincoln Hills Golf Club (this golf course has some of the best views in CA!)
  • Try your luck at the Thunder Valley Casino
  • Try axe throwing at Impact Axe
  • Cuddle farm animals and sample farm wares at Fiddyment Farms and Animal Place
  • Go kayaking at Mother Lode River Center

Online Reviews:

Since it’s brand-new, Esplanade at Turkey Creek does not yet have any online reviews.

How to Get in Touch:

Since it’s a new development, there aren’t any homes listed for sale at Esplanade at Turkey Creek yet. However, you can view models and floor plans here

4. Leisure Town

Another well-established retirement community in northern California is Leisure Town, located about halfway between Sacramento and San Francisco. This 55+ community is home to 1150 single-family residences in a tight-knit neighborhood.

Leisure Town has a jam-packed social calendar with groups for sewing, crafts, bingo, pinochle, and more. 

CityHome Price RangeBest For
Vacaville, CALow $500s – Low $1MSocial Seniors

Amenities:

You won’t miss a thing when you transition to the retirement community at Leisure Town.

  • Clubhouse
  • Billiards
  • Multipurpose rooms
  • Gardening plots
  • Walking and biking trails
  • Swimming pools
  • Bocce ball courts
  • R.V. parking
  • Performance stage 
  • Library

Activities:

At Leisure Town, you’ll find plenty to do. Here are some activities you’ll be able to participate in here:

  • Wildlife viewing
  • Horseshoes
  • Lawn bowling
  • Bocce ball
  • Running and walking
  • Bridge
  • Social outings
  • Quilting 
  • RVing
  • Boating

Nearby Attractions, Restaurants, and Events:

Of course, you can also visit some of the following nearby attractions, restaurants, and events:

  • Go shopping at Nut Tree Plaza and Vacaville Premium Outlets
  • View all the scenery and sights of the famed Bay Area
  • Take a drive down the Pacific Coast
  • Go fishing or boating on Lake Tahoe 
  • Check out local wildlife at the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area (yes, grizzly bears too!)
  • Take a swim in Lake Berryessa
  • Sample local wines on the Bear Flag Wine Tours
  • Go hiking at Lagoon Valley Park
  • Enjoy the seasonal Candy Cane Lane festival (it makes the Christmas season truly one-of-a-kind!)
  • Take a paddle with Napa Valley Paddle

Online Reviews:

Reviews for Leisure Town are mixed with some reviewers complaining about the dues with others praising them for their affordability (go figure). Here are a few to note:

“An Active Adult Retirement community I didn’t know existed! Affordable homes that are just the right size to be able to maintain but still have time to get out and enjoy the amenities! From the fitness center and pools to the bocce tournaments and friendly neighbors… I am happy to have found this community! THE HOAs are only $65/month!!!”

-Wanda B., February 2019, 55places.com

“Buyer beware If you are looking to live in Leisure Town, be prepared not to get what the dues you are paying for have slowly declined, however the dues keep going up each year. Leisure Town has failed to properly keep our green strips mowed and trimmed along the edges, even after several complaints. Also, the yards are to be maintained and when driving through LTHA you will find more homes not being maintained causing property to decline due to its neighboring poor maintenance.”

-KiKi, July 2019, SeniorAdvice.com

How to Get in Touch:

You can learn more about this active adult community here

5. Sun City Roseville

At Sun City Roseville, you’ll feel right at home. Here, you will benefit from all of the amenities you could possibly dream of, including the Timber Creek Recreation Lodge on site. This lodge offers 52,000 square feet of amenities, from a clubhouse with a fitness center and indoor lap pool to a grand ballroom with a stage. 

You’ll be able to choose from 25 different single-family floor plans, with homes ranging from around 900 to well over 2600 square feet. All homes are low-level and offer low-maintenance landscaping, perfect for seniors who were hoping to be able to relax a bit more in retirement! 

CityHome Price RangeBest For
Roseville, CALow $400s – Mid $900sRelaxation

Amenities:

You’ll find everything you could possibly need at Sun City Roseville. Some amenities include:

  • Computer labs
  • Recreation lodge
  • Billiards room
  • Restaurant
  • Fitness center
  • Indoor pool
  • Ceramics studio
  • Driving range
  • Golf course
  • Grand ballroom 

Activities:

There’s plenty to do at Sun City Roseville (besides just lounging in the sun, that is!). Here are some of the best things to see and do:

  • Walking
  • Going biking on the biking path
  • Horseshoes
  • Volleyball
  • Grilling 
  • Reading in the on-site library 
  • Analyzing business decisions in the Wall Street Room
  • Golfing
  • Swimming in the 25 meter indoor lap pool 
  • Learning Zumba in structured classes

Nearby Attractions, Restaurants, and Events:

Make sure to check out the following attractions if you decide to call Sun City Roseville your home:

  • Enjoy a bite to eat at Timbers Restaurant
  • Participate in the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee
  • View all the sights and sounds of the Music Circus
  • Visit Old Town Sacramento (don’t forget the camera!)
  • Get your check-ups at Sutter Roseville Medical Center
  • Catch a flight from Sacramento International Airport 
  • Go shopping at Westfield Galleria Mall
  • Take a dip in Folsom Lake
  • Go deep with Black Chasm Cavern tours 
  • Bring the grandkids to the Wacky Tacky amusement parks (just don’t tell their parents about all the sugar you’ll give them there!) 

Online Reviews:

People can’t praise Sun City Roseville enough! Reviewers love the wide variety of lots and homes available as well as the amenities. Some do complain about their experiences with maintenance, so be aware of that when you’re searching for a home. 

“Sun City Roseville is extremely unique. A wonderful place to live. First, being located in the city of Roseville. Has everything an active senior could want, Restaurants, movie theaters, shopping, medical including three major hospitals close by.Sun City Roseville offers two golf courses, Restaurant, indoor and outdoor pools, too many activities to list….A great selection of home styles and sizes including many with view lots. My wife and I love it here, you will too. It’s simply a beautiful well kept community with friendly residents.”

-Scott T, June 2019, 55places.com

“My experience renting a home in sun city for 2 years was very bad. The current owner purchased the home from a couple who moved into Eskaton and NEVER cleaned the home professionally before I moved in a month later. The deferred maintenance, lack of professionalism on the part of the property manager and constant time lost away from work to meet handymen to replace the garage door & remote…and so on.”

-Kathy S, August 2018, Yelp.com

How to Get in Touch:

You can learn more about the active lifestyle at Sun City Roseville here.

6.The Vineyard

The Vineyard is a retirement community in northern California that is aptly named! A gated community, it is designed for adults 55+ with a charming clubhouse and access to countless activities. 

A small, intimate community, the Vineyard is home to just 208 single-family homes. These homes are a bit smaller, with the majority averaging 1600 square feet. Most have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a den. You can add built-in features like wet bars, bookcases, and more. Each home has a stucco exterior, a small backyard, and a two-car garage for you to enjoy, too. 

Best yet, the Vineyard offers a small-town charm. You’ll be able to access banks, grocery stores, medical facilities, and more with ease. 

CityHome Price RangeBest For
Redding, CALow $200s – Mid $400sSmall Town Charm

Amenities:

You’ll feel perfectly cared for when you choose to live at the Vineyard. Some popular amenities here include:

  • Shuffleboard court
  • Clubhouse
  • Walking and biking trails 
  • A playground for the grandkids to enjoy 
  • Ballroom
  • Bocce ball
  • Playground
  • Courtyard
  • Pool
  • Two ponds 

Activities:

Don’t forget about all the activities you can participate in here, either! You might choose to participate in:

  • Go swimming in the outdoor pool
  • Bocce ball
  • Shuffleboard
  • Walking and biking
  • Meet up for coffee at the clubhouse
  • Bunco 
  • Catch a lively game of bingo
  • Bridge
  • Go bowling in the on-site alley 

Nearby Attractions, Restaurants, and Events:

Be sure to check out these nearby attractions at The Vineyard:

  • Visit Turtle Bay Exploration Park
  • Catch a show at the Cascade Theatre
  • Take a tour of Lake Shasta Caverns
  • Go for a walk on the Sundial Bridge (not for those who fear heights!)
  • Go for a hike around Crystal Creek Falls
  • Enjoy a spooky Halloween tour at the Dreams of Darkness Haunted House
  • Learn more about the solar system at the Schreder Planetarium
  • Go paddling with Trinity River Rafting
  • Go hiking at Whiskeytown Falls
  • Cast a line to catch some fish at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

Online Reviews:

Reviews are positive for the Vineyard. Reviewers appreciate the easy access to the waterfront along with the safety and convenience experienced here. However, some folks complain about the water district that serves the area. 

“We’ve been here for nearly 5 years now. It’s so peaceful here. We love walking the lakes and using the pool in the summer. I love having an HOA that helps keep our subdivision looking beautiful. My only drawback is the water district that serves the Vineyard. They are, at times, arbitrary and difficult with their rate changes.”

-Travel B, May 2015, 55places.com

“For anyone with an RV this community is great. Convenient parking and the community is gated so when we’re out on the road we feel safe leaving our house behind. We’ve been here a couple years and got a pretty good deal on a 2 bedroom place.”

-Susan L, June 2013, 55places.com

How to Get in Touch:

You can learn more about life at the Vineyards here.

How Many Independent Living Facilities Are There Near Northern California?

All in all, there are about 20 independent living facilities in northern California with hundreds of other options scattered around the state. There are so many retirement communities in northern California that it can be difficult to choose! 

It’s important to take the time and think about how you want your life after work to be. Do you want a place that is close-knit, or do you prefer something more secluded? Are there certain amenities that are necessary for your lifestyle, such as a golf course or clubhouse? 

What Are the Advantages of Living in a 55+ Community?

As we grow older, the importance of a retirement community increases. There are countless advantages associated with living in a 55+ community. 

Among them are convenience, easy access to the resources you need, socialization, and affordability. The retirement communities in northern California offer all of this – and more. 

Retirement communities offer a sense of community and family that is hard for some seniors to find in traditional living situations. They also provide an opportunity for socialization and companionship with others who are going through similar life transitions as well as resources such as transportation, housekeeping assistance, stimulating activities, and more.

You will find that these facilities are well equipped with facilities like an onsite medical center, wellness program, fitness center and more! These services as well as other amenities make it easier for seniors to live their lives comfortably without having to worry about anything else.

Conclusion

Northern California isn’t’ the cheapest place you can live in the country, though it’s far from being the most expensive. This region of the state is much more affordable than its southern counterparts, and while some of the most expensive cities are located here, it is also possible to find more reasonable places to live with a lower cost of living.

Whatever your preference may be, there’s likely something out there waiting for you. Consider these top retirement communities in northern California as you begin your search. 

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