We just returned from a week in The Villages. This 55+ community has its own zip code as it is home to over 145,000 people. Located outside of Orlando, Florida, The Villages has more than 71,000 homes, and that number grows daily with no signs of slowing down. They have their own fire and police departments, post offices, hospitals, and parks and recreation department. You can pretty much find any service you need within the community.
We have heard a lot about The Villages, and some friends of ours from St. Louis purchased a home there several years ago. I actually met them through pickleball, so this seemed like an opportunity to see them and play on some of the 100 pickleball courts located there.
We were the first guests at a newly listed AirBNB. The owners just purchased the property a month ago, though they live only 10 minutes away. The rental came with a golf cart, which was important as we flew in and didn't want to rent a car. You don't even need a car as golf cart paths connect you to stores, restaurants, recreation centers and the various town centers. As a bonus, our home had a swimming pool, hot tub, fire pit and small game room, so we had a lot to entertain ourselves with if we didn't feel like going out.
There are over 1,000 clubs, so if you are bored that is totally on you. It's like summer camp on steroids. Many people buy in there due to all the golf courses, which are free or very low cost to play on. We are not golfers, but we saw tons of people on the pickleball courts, tennis courts and softball fields. We did not see a lot of walkers, and one thing that surprised me was the lack of sidewalks. You have to walk on the golf cart paths, which also carry bicyclists. That seems a little dangerous, and maybe that is why not too many people were walking.
Overall we had a very nice time, and met some great people on the pickleball courts. We played at four of the different recreation centers. We also visited two of the town centers and enjoyed listening to live music, which happens every night at all the town centers. It was nice that we could get to the grocery store and multiple restaurants in less than 10 minutes in the golf cart.
While I would not personally want to live there full-time because it is so huge and lacks the sense of community that we have here, I definitely would consider going back especially if another couple joined us.