A Beautiful Over 55 Community

Retire Near the Beach in Southern California

Seniors today have a much greater choice of retirement villages throughout the United States than we could have ever imagined only a few decades ago. If you are interested in moving to California, and you or your spouse is at least 55 years old, there is one community that might be of particular interest. Laguna Woods Village in Orange County, California is a delightful place to call home. It is also a popular spot for some seniors who wish to own a second home. Below is a photo of one of the seven clubhouses, followed by some information which you might find useful in your retirement planning and to help you decide if Laguna Woods Village is right for you.

Clubhouse One in Laguna Woods VillageCredit: Photo taken by author, Deborah-Diane

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General Information:

Laguna Woods Village has approximately 18,000 residents living in about 12,700 condos and co-ops spread over 2,095 acres. It is about 4 or 5 miles from the Pacific Ocean, just inland from the charming, world famous town of Laguna Beach.

The facilities include 7 clubhouses, 5 pools and hot tubs, 2 fitness centers, 2 golf courses, and a stable with rental horses, 40 stalls, an arena and 3.5 miles of equestrian trails. There are also shuffleboard courts, lawn bowling greens, bocce courts, tennis and paddle tennis courts, billiard rooms, craft workshops, computer labs, 2 garden centers with private garden plots available to residents, over 250 community clubs, a library, and an auditorium/theater for live shows. The craft workshops include equipment for jewelry making, sewing, woodworking, painting, photography, sculpturing and ceramics. Most of the facilities are free for residents to use. In addition, the community operates a free bus service that will take you throughout the community and to nearby shopping areas.  There is a very nominal fee to play golf, as well as small charges to use the equestrian center, join clubs, or to pay for special events.

Because of its size, there are always plenty of homes for sale in this California retirement village. All the homes are either condos or co-ops. They range from small, apartment-style condos to larger condos that look like single family homes or duplexes. There are over 90 different floor plans. Private units either be purchased or leased from individual owners. People who lease have full use of all the facilities. There are a variety of different floor plans and price ranges ... from less than $100,000 to over $1,000,000.  Rents range from about $1300 - $2800 a month.  This makes it one of the more affordable spots to find homes for sale or lease in California. Most of the homes were built in the 1960's and 1970's, and many of them have been extensively updated over the years. Because the exteriors of the homes are maintained by the association, there is a full-time staff of plumbers, carpenters and gardeners who handle maintenance and landscaping.

If you are considering moving to Southern California, you might like to know that Orange County has an extremely mild, temperate climate. It rains only about 15 inches a year, and it is not unusual to go months without rain spoiling your day.

Qualifications to live in Laguna Woods Village:

As part of your retirement planning, here are the basic qualifications you need to be aware of before trying to purchase or lease a property:

Each condo must be occupied by at least one person who is at least 55 years old.

All other residents in the condo must be at least 45, although spouses, registered domestic partners, and healthcare assistants can be younger. (Yes, that 55 year old can have a "trophy" wife or husband!)

You have to be approved by the board of directors, and owners must pass certain income and asset requirements.

Community and Nearby Activities:

Golf, tennis, horseback riding, dances, trips, hundreds of clubs, and live entertainment are just some of the reasons that you may decide that this lovely Orange County, California communities is one of the best places to retire. There are an unbelievable number of things to do.  No one could do everything.  Many of the 200 clubs frequently organize special parties and trips. Several Southern California casinos bring buses in to take residents on day trips to the casinos. The theater offers a wide variety of live entertainment options.

Laguna Woods Village is also located on the edge of the town of Laguna Beach, California. Laguna Beach has its own selection of restaurants, live theatre, museums, art galleries, resort hotels, and shops. Within a twenty minute drive of Laguna Woods you can visit Disneyland, Newport Beach, Irvine and many other popular destinations.

About an hour drive north of the community is the city of Los Angeles, an hour south is the city of San Diego, an hour east is Palm Springs and a two-hour trip up into the mountains will take you the ski town of Big Bear.  It would be hard to find another retirement community anywhere in the United States that has such a variety of activities that are so nearby.

The community also has its own low-cost fiber optic cable television system which offers over 80 channels.

Community Safety:

Laguna Woods Village is fully gated, with gate ambassadors on duty 24-hours a day. The community has its own security force with patrol cars that drive throughout the community around the clock. The crime rate is one of the lowest in California.

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