What started as just another small retirement subdivision in the 1970s, then known as Orange Blossom Gardens, quickly expanded to what is known as The Villages today, a retirement that covers roughly 32 square miles in Lake, Sumter, and Marion counties and continues to expand.
The appeal and popularity of the community come from the endless number of activities and amenities it offers its residents.
With 38 executive golf courses and 12 championship courses, golfing is the largest activity offered to residents, making The Villages the largest single golf community in The world with 648 total holes.
Aside from golfing, the community offers many other ways for residents to enjoy their time in the Florida sun such as pickleball, tennis, swimming, biking, woodworking, and hundreds of other activities.
1The Villages Town Squares
During their early years, the community was centered around their main town square, Spanish Springs, a beautifully designed town square with Spanish-style architecture throughout the area.
Spanish Springs brought an exciting lifestyle with nightly live entertainment on the square, a variety of restaurants, shopping, and areas to simply lounge around the elegant Spanish fountains and stone walkways.
The Spanish-style homes and town square attracted retirees and working seniors from all over the world and homes began to sell rapidly, so much so that homes were being sold before they were even built!
Soon thereafter, The Villages expanded into Sumter county and a new town square emerged, Lake-Sumter Landing, a coastal-themed town square that features vibrant pastel-colored buildings lined along a boardwalk on the edge of a large man-made lake.
Just like Spanish Springs, Lake Sumter Landing offers nightly entertainment, shopping, and dining experiences as well as boat rides on the lake, lakeside dining, beautiful nautical scenery including a lighthouse, and a long boardwalk to relax and take in the beauty of the coastal town.
Next, was further expansion into Sumter County with the addition of a third town square, Brownwood. As each other town square was built with a specific theme in mind, Brownwood was built with a rustic western theme featuring log cabin styled buildings. The square includes all of the same activities as the others including the entertainment, dining, and shopping all surrounded by buildings reminiscent of living on a ranch.
2Golf Carts in The Villages
Connecting the three town squares, are a series of dedicated golf cart paths allowing residents to commute easily from one square to the other without the worry of traffic. The network of golf cart paths makes traveling from anywhere in the community a cost-effective and joyous experience. Most residents that live in The Villages rarely use their vehicles unless they are going outside of the community. Even local businesses such as Wal-Mart, Target, Publix, and many others have included golf cart parking spaces in their parking lots.
Outside of the town squares, there are still many other amenities and activities to enjoy like swimming in one of the many public swimming pools, tennis courts, pickleball courts, a woodshop, and hundreds of social clubs to join.
With so much to offer and so many things to do, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming for newcomers to take in. That is why we put together a list of tips on things you should know or do before moving to The Villages to make your transition smooth and enjoyable so that you can become a long time resident of this wonderful community.
3Plan Your Lifestyle Visits
Before making the move, you want to be able to know exactly where to move to. With the three squares available now and The Villages constantly expanding there are many options to choose from when it comes to finding the perfect spot to call your new home.
The Villages has so much to offer, it is impossible to see everything available to make the right choice in just a day’s visit.
That is why we recommend every potential future resident to plan what we call a Lifestyle Visit. A lifestyle visit is a short or long stay where you can enjoy everything The Villages has to offer. Check out the neighborhoods, dine at the local eateries and restaurants, attend some of the social clubs’ meetings, play a few rounds of golf, and much more.
The difference in a Lifestyle Visit and a normal visit is where you choose to stay. Rather than staying in a cramped hotel room and having to deal with other hotel guests, parking, or check-out times, during a Lifestyle Visit you can stay in an actual home or villa located in The Villages to get the full effect of life as a resident.
Choose from one of over 200 fully furnished vacation homes to be your Lifestyle Visit home. You can choose to say just a few days, weeks, or even months at a time. Aside from being fully furnished, some homes even include a golf cart so you can save on renting one and see the ease and beauty it is to explore the beautiful community sights on the golf cart paths. In some select vacation homes, you can also entertain some of your new friends in The Villages with outdoor kitchens and barbecue grills.
During your lifestyle visit, you can check out the different town squares and neighborhoods and find out which one is the best fit for you to live closer to.
4Make Seasonal Visits
When choosing a place to live, you must know everything about that neighborhood including how the area is affected by the different seasons and weather.
It is hard to gather that information with a single lifestyle visit. That is why we highly recommend multiple visits scheduled during different seasons throughout the year.
Book a lifestyle visit vacation home in the summer to see how well you fare the Florida heat, or in the fall or winter to experience the colder months and seasonal activities. A springtime visit will show you the spring showers of Florida and point out the areas of The Villages may gather more rainwater than others.
5Upgrade to a Long-Term Rental
Once you have narrowed down your desired neighborhood and are ready to make the move, upgrade from a lifestyle visit to a long-term rental. This will allow you to be a full-fledged resident of The Villages without having a permanent obligation allowing you to experience a full year in the neighborhood you selected to see if it is the right fit.
Renting a long-term rental will give you all full access to all of the privileges of a resident including free golf, resident access to special events, activities, and amenities, and more.
Browse available rental homes that come unfurnished or fully furnished to make the move easier for you with some homes coming fully equipped with everything but your toothbrush.
6Partner With a Realtor in The Villages
We highly recommend partnering with a local realtor that knows the area.
You can talk to a Realtor at any time, but we recommend connecting with one right away. Some realtors, like Down Home Properties offer full services to help you every step of the way including a vacation home during your lifestyle visit, long-term rentals for your extended stay, and real estate sales for making the final decision.
Sit down with your realtor and talk to them about what you are looking for in a home, what areas of The Villages you like, and what some of your favorite hobbies and activities are.
A dedicated Realtor will work hard to find the right home for you that matches all of your needs keeping you close to your favorite neighborhood, town square, amenities, activities, and more!