Sunday, September 9, 2012

Laguna Woods Village Active Adult Community

Laguna Woods Village, on the outskirts of the town of Laguna Beach, California, has been chosen as one of the 2012 Top Ten Best Active Adult Communities in the United States by Top Retirements.  I have to agree with their assessment of Laguna Woods Village, since that is where I live.

It is a lovely retirement community, just four miles from the beach and surrounded by open land ... including the horseback riding trails shown in the photo.  It is also adjacent to the 20,000 acre Laguna Wilderness area.  Whether you like having all the advantages of living in an urban area or you enjoy time in the outdoors, this community has something that should appeal to nearly every retiree.

Advantages of Laguna Woods Village

Laguna Woods Village has a wealth of recreational choices and amenities, including a 27 hole golf course, a nine hole golf course, five outdoor swimming pools, two fitness centers with on-site trainers, ten tennis courts, four paddle tennis courts, lawn bowling courts, shuffleboard courts and numerous ping-pong and pool tables.  Two garden centers make it possible for people who love to garden to enjoy this activity in an area that has been set aside for that purpose.  There are also seven clubhouses, an elegant golf starter building with restaurant, an equestrian center with community owned horses, and a community center.  Part of the twenty-three acres of equestrian trails are shown in the photo that accompanies this article.

One of the clubhouses contains a theater where residents can enjoy live performances throughout the year.  Another clubhouse is devoted to artistic endeavors and contains woodworking and art studios, as well as a sewing room.  The other clubhouses have rooms that are appropriate for club meetings, parties, dances and social activities.

Speaking of clubs, Laguna Woods Village has over 200 official clubs.  Many of these clubs organize their own special parties, outings and trips.

The recreation department also offers a variety of exercise classes and activities.  The equestrian center offers trail rides and horseback riding lessons to the residents, as well as their adult children and grandchildren over the age of ten, at very affordable prices.

In addition, nearby Saddleback College offers approximately 200 free emeritus classes in and near the community.  Several Southern California casinos have buses that pick up residents and provide free transportation to and from the casinos.  There is also a free bus system that operates within the community, as well as to nearby shopping malls and doctors' offices.

Home prices vary dramatically.  Most co-ops can be purchased between $150,000 and $350,000.  Condominiums can be purchased from $200,000 to over $1 million for some of the larger homes with garages and views.  There are also high rise condominiums with prices that range from $10,000 to $350,000.  These prices are general and there are properties that are available outside these ranges.  This is just intended to give you an idea of what to expect.  Cooperatives are less expensive because they are older and there are more restrictions and financing complications involved.  However, they are a very good deal, especially for people who have sold a home in the Midwest and are looking for a bargain in Southern California.

Laguna Woods Village is a very safe community.  It has one of the lowest crime rates of any town its size in California, partly because the entire community is walled, with fourteen guarded gates and a private security force.  In addition, with so many senior citizens who are home during the day, it is very difficult for strangers to enter a home without someone noticing.

Laguna Woods Village is also well located in Orange County, California, just four miles from beautiful Laguna Beach.  This lovely nearby town not only features beautiful beaches, but also has numerous art galleries, shops, and restaurants, as well as fun art festivals in the summer.

There is no question that Laguna Woods Village qualifies as an active adult community.  Most of the residents have a full daily calendar of activities, which can include bridge, line dancing, yoga, water aerobics, art classes and much more.

Disadvantages of Laguna Woods Village

There are approximately 18,000 residents of Laguna Woods Village, living in about 12,000 condominiums and cooperatives.  Almost all of the housing units have one or two bedrooms and one or two bathrooms, which is smaller than many residents were accustomed to prior to living in Laguna Woods Village.  Most of the housing units are assigned only one parking spot in a carport.  While some of the condominiums have the appearance of single family homes with one or two car garages, none of the cooperatives have that option.  As a result, most residents have an adjustment to make when they move to Laguna Woods Village.  The majority of them no longer have a single family home with a private garage.

In addition, nearly all of Laguna Woods Village was built in the 1960's and 1970's.  Although many residents have updated their condominiums and condos, there are still many units that need to be modernized.  Whether or not the property has been updated is usually reflected in the price of the property.

There are also several layers of government in Laguna Woods Village, which does create some friction.  The cooperatives, condominiums and high rise towers each have their own governing association, with different HOA fees and services. Above all of these associations is another layer of government called the Golden Rain Foundation, or GRF.  GRF hires the maintenance people for the entire community.  Since Laguna Woods Village is also a city, there is a city government that needs to be dealt with from time to time, especially if you decide to make improvements to your property.  It can seem cumbersome to deal with all these governing bodies until one gets accustomed to it.

Bottom Line on Laguna Woods Village

Essentially, this community is a wonderful place to live and, after living here the past eleven years, it is hard for me to imagine growing old anywhere else.  Although there are disadvantages anywhere you live, the advantages of living in this community far outweigh any problems we have experienced.

If you are looking for more retirement ideas, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article to find information on finances, places to live, medical issues you might expect during retirement, family issues and more!

You may also be interested in reading:

Finding Niche Retirement Communities
Garden Spot Village Community for Seniors in PA
Cheap Places to Retire
The Best Sunny Places to Retire

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Photo of Laguna Woods Village equestrian trail from author's private collection.


  1. Informative article. Do you need a car for medical facility access?
    Thanks for the time you put into this article.


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