Best Senior Living Communities

The Masonic Village at Elizabethtown has everything you'll ever need

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Senior living communities can vary based on size, cost, amenities, level of care, dining options, and more. Though it depends on the individual community, most are for adults aged 55 or 65 and older. The search for the best senior living community for you or your loved one can seem overwhelming and time-consuming, particularly if you're looking in multiple locations.

We researched more than 10 such communities across the country, including independent living and assisted living options, and compared them based on cost, location, and services. Here's our list of the best senior living communities to help you select the best fit.

Best Senior Living Communities of 2023

Best Overall : Masonic Village at Elizabethtown

Masonic Village at Elizabethtown

Masonic Village at Elizabethtown

Key Specs
  • Price: $2,038–$4,812/month, depending on your plan
  • Location: Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
  • Notable Feature: Situated on 1,400 acres of farmland
Why We Chose It

When looking for a retirement community that has everything to offer and then some, Masonic Village fits the bill with its 1,400 acres of farmland, multiple dining options, numerous activity options, and much more.

Pros & Cons
  • Over 30 different clubs and activities

  • All levels of care available, from skilled nursing to independent living

  • Seven restaurants

  • Situated on 1,400 acres of farmland

  • Entrance fee

  • Remote location, small town

  • Far from large hospitals


Masonic Village is located in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, which is about 20 miles southeast of the state capital of Harrisburg. The large campus is situated on 1,400 acres of beautiful farmland. It has all the services you may need, including a pharmacy, rehabilitation center, skilled nursing, in-home support, meals, and recreational activities.

Recreation options are endless, with more than 30 unique clubs and activities to keep you busy. You can spend your day in the art studio, at the fitness facility, at one of the three on-site pools, or in the non-denominational chapel. There's a shuttle to take you into town, although Elizabethtown in itself is quite small with less than 12,000 people, and an Amtrak station is close by.

The campus is fairly self-contained and there are many amenities such as a bank, convenience store, farmers market, computer lab, gift shops, hair salons, mail service, and libraries on campus. There are also seven restaurants and excellent culinary services.

Masonic Village has a monthly option and an entrance fee option, and monthly service rates are $2,038-$4,812, depending on your plan. There is everything from studio apartments to large townhomes and even stand-alone cottages.

Masonic Village reminds us of a fancy university campus, without classes and exams. If you are looking to escape the pace of a big city and want to retire in beautiful Pennsylvania, then Masonic Village is a great choice.

Best for Cold Weather : The Clare

The Clare

The Clare

Key Specs
  • Price: Not available online
  • Location: Chicago, Illinois
  • Notable Feature: Located in a big city
Why We Chose It

If you enjoy cold weather and big-city living but want to live in an upscale independent living apartment, the Clare in Chicago is our top pick.

Pros & Cons
  • Located in a busy city

  • Excellent dining choices

  • Large floor plans

  • Many extracurricular activities

  • High-rise building

  • Limited outdoor space


The Clare is located in downtown Chicago in the heart of the gold coast. It is steps away from shops, dining, entertainment, and cultural attractions, and it has a lot to offer. The Clare has spacious one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. Services include licensed nursing and care staff to help with daily tasks, medication management, health checks, spa services, and a robust activity program.

The property also has assisted living apartments, memory care, and skilled nursing. This continuum of care is important for those who want access to a higher level of care in the future should their health decline.

The Clare has a well-equipped fitness center, indoor pool, fitness classes, multiple dining options, and many outdoor patios and terraces. Several apartments have views of the city and the luxury design and décor will make you feel like you’re in a high-end hotel. Reviews online state that the staff is attentive and well-trained and the facility has earned multiple 5-star Medicare ratings. 

The Clare is close to hospitals, doctor's offices, and a major airport. If you or your loved one wants big-city living with all the conveniences of an upscale facility, then the Clare is a great choice. Pricing information is not available online.

Best for Extracurricular Activities : Shell Point Retirement Community

Shell Point Retirement Community

Shell Point Retirement Community

Key Specs
  • Price: Entrance fees range from $110,000 to over $700,000, plus monthly fees
  • Location: Fort Myers, Florida 
  • Notable Feature: Located on 700 acres
Why We Chose It

Best for active seniors, Shell Point Retirement Community is located on 700 acres along Florida's Caloosahatchee River and offers many extracurricular activities to keep you busy.

Pros & Cons
  • Seven distinctive neighborhoods

  • Resort-style living

  • Located on the water in Florida

  • Large community

  • High entry fees


Shell Point Retirement Community is a large resort-style community located in Fort Myers, Florida. It is designed for active seniors who enjoy the outdoors and want all the amenities of a 5-star resort. There are six different neighborhoods and all levels of care are offered, from skilled nursing to independent living.

The beautifully designed units, which range from apartments to single-family homes, provide all the services needed to continue to live full and productive lives. Services include assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), medication, meals, housekeeping, and a variety of recreational, social, and spiritual programs. The community also has screening rooms, billiard rooms, activity and craft rooms, as well as sunrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows.

Activities include boating, fishing, sailing, golf, tennis, fitness centers, outdoor pools, shuffleboard, and miles of walking trails. The variety of weekly class topics includes painting, ceramics, Pilates, yoga, gardening, and woodworking. Regardless of what you are interested in, there are many options to keep you busy.

Unlike some other retirement communities on our list, Shell Point has a high upfront entrance fee in addition to monthly maintenance fees. Those entrance fees range from $110,000 to over $700,000, but many are refundable based on the contract you sign with the community. Although it is one of the most expensive options on our list, the value is clear when it comes to what Shell Point has to offer.

Best for Warm Weather : Maravilla



Key Specs
  • Price: Pricing is not available online; low upfront costs; must pay a monthly residence fee
  • Location: Santa Barbara, California 
  • Notable Feature: 20-acre campus located in a medium-sized coastal town
Why We Chose It

If you’re looking for resort-style living in a warm and temperate climate, Maravilla in Santa Barbara, California, is a great option.

Pros & Cons
  • Located in Santa Barbara, California

  • Gorgeous resort-style campus

  • Many levels of care

  • No skilled nursing facility

  • Not a very walkable area outside campus

  • Expensive


Maravilla, owned by SRG senior living, is an independent, assisted living, and memory care facility located in Santa Barbara, California. Its upscale amenities, excellent food, and beautiful grounds make you feel like you are at a luxury resort. You can choose from independent living condominiums or apartments, assisted living apartments, or a memory care unit. One-, two-, and three-bedroom residences are available.

Amenities include two restaurants, a clubhouse and lounge, a fully equipped fitness center, a heated pool, movie theatres, a library, a billiards room, and a salon. There are weekly activities you can take part in and many opportunities to meet others in the community.

Reviews online state that the staff is attentive and caring and the meals are excellent. All SRG communities are accredited by CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities), which isn’t required by federal or state guidelines but has high standards for accreditation.

Although SRG communities offer low upfront costs, you must pay a monthly residence fee, which is higher at Maravilla than at other facilities in the area. This fee includes all amenities, two meals per day, utilities, housekeeping, on-call services, and transportation. Those who require a higher level of care will incur additional charges.

Although some monthly fees are tax-deductible, the tax burden in California is higher than in other states. Overall, if you're looking for a beautiful place to live in a warm and temperate climate close to the beach, Maravilla is a great place to retire.

Best for Low Cost : Provident Crossings Retirement Community

Provident Crossing Retirement Community

Provident Crossing Retirement Community

Key Specs
  • Price: Around $3,000–$4,800/month
  • Location: Round Rock, Texas 
  • Notable Feature: Adjacent to Austin, Texas
Why We Chose It

We chose Provident Crossing as the best low-cost community because it is located in tax-friendly Texas and offers an affordable, all-inclusive monthly package option.

Pros & Cons
  • All-inclusive

  • Low cost of living

  • Close to Austin, Texas

  • Fewer amenities than other communities

  • No assisted living


The Provident Crossing Retirement Community is located in Round Rock, Texas, one of the least expensive places to retire in the U.S. as listed by Kiplinger in 2019. The cost of living for retirees is 5.9% lower than the national average and Texas is a tax-friendly state for retirees.

This suburb of Austin gives you all the amenities of a large city; there are many dining options in town and the local art and culture scene is growing in this suburb of Austin, giving you all the amenities of a large city. Provident is an all-inclusive retirement community for individuals age 55 and older that offers studio, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. Amenities include full kitchens in each apartment, a 150-seat theatre, a 24-hour fitness center, social activities, and a wellness program.

Prices range from around $3,000 to about $4,800 per month. The all-inclusive rent includes 24-hour professional staff; an emergency alert system; a dining program that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner; room service; weekly housekeeping; transportation; and valet.

It is part of Resort Living Communities, which owns and manages communities all over the country. Reviews online state that the staff is friendly and accommodations are clean and well kept. We liked the company's travel incentive that allows you to stay at any of its sister properties free of charge.

Overall, if you’re looking for an inexpensive city to retire in and an all-inclusive living package, Provident Crossing is a great choice.

Final Verdict

Overall, the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown is our top pick due to its wide variety of options. Its huge campus is packed with activities and amenities, as well as seven restaurants. Plus, it offers all levels of care, making it a good fit for any retiree.

Compare Best Senior Living Communities

Best Senior Living Communities
Senior Living Community Price  Location Notable Feature
Masonic Village at Elizabethtown: Best Overall $1,919–$4,355/month, depending on your plan Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania  Situated on 1,400 acres of farmland
The Clare: Best for Cold Weather   Pricing is not available online Chicago, Illinois  Located in a big city
Shell Point Retirement Community: Best for Extracurricular Entrance fees range from $110,000 to over $700,000, plus monthly fees Fort Myers, Florida  Located on 700 acres
Maravilla: Best for Warm Weather  Pricing is not available online; low upfront costs; must pay a monthly residence fee Santa Barbara, California 20-acre campus located in a medium-sized coastal town
Provident Crossings Retirement Community: Best for Low Cost Around $3,000– $4,800/month Round Rock, Texas  Adjacent to Austin, Texas

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Senior Living Community?

Senior living communities are designed for individuals over the ages of 55 or 65 and cater to those who want assistance with things such as housekeeping, meals, and social activities. These communities offer many living options such as independent living homes and assisted living apartments and encourage their residents to remain active in their senior years.

What Are the Costs Associated With a Senior Living Community?

Most senior living communities charge a monthly fee that includes rent, housekeeping, and occasionally meals and other services. Some upscale communities also charge an entrance fee that can range from $500 to over $700,000. You may have to pay additional fees each month for extra services such as personal care or additional meals.

Are There Extracurricular Activities Offered at a Senior Living Community?

One of the best things about a senior living community is the variety of extracurricular activities available. Many communities offer amenities that are covered in residents' monthly fees, such as a fitness facility, library, social events, movie showings, and community outings. Others have art centers and their own chapels with daily services.

What Are the Benefits of a Senior Living Community?

Senior living communities offer you the luxury of living in an upscale community without the hassle of having to manage household tasks such as cleaning, meal preparation, and gardening. Many communities offer additional services such as help with ADLs, in-home therapy, and fitness training. There are also many extracurriculars, dining options, and often medication management right onsite.


We researched the best senior living communities offering many residential options, such as independent living homes and assisted living apartments, that encourage residents to remain active in their senior years. We also evaluated additional services such as help with ADLs, in-home therapy, and fitness training. In addition, we compared cost and location, along with the type of living options offered and campus size, to provide comprehensive choices.

An elderly couple embracing, enjoying an outdoor meal with the family in a courtyard

Hinterhaus Productions / Getty Images

Article Sources
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  1. Kiplinger. Texas in retirement: how all 50 states tax retirees.