50+ Reasons to LOVE The Villages

The Villages isn’t the best selling community in the country for nothing. Below I’ve listed 50 reasons to love The Villages.

I titled this article “50+ Reasons…” because I’m hoping you will find something I missed and tell me about it in the comments at the end.

Ready? Here we go…

1. It’s Disney World for Adults – When we put the question out on Facebook of why you love The Villages, the fact that it is Disney World for adults was mentioned several times. Who could dispute this?

2. Great weather – I don’t know what its like where you’re sitting but it’s February here and we’re in the 60′s and 70′s most days. There’s just something about great weather that brightens your spirits…makes your body hurt less…and just makes life all around that much more enjoyable. Sure, who doesn’t appreciate the first snowfall of winter? But after that, its nothing but a headache.

3. Great People – The Villages biggest asset is it’s people. Time and time again on our Facebook page we heard how friendly people are. One person said “break down in your golf cart and see how long it takes other residents to come to your aid and you’ll see what we mean.” The Villages has people from all walks of life, who’ve all come together to live out their retirement dream. The happiness is contagious. Some people visiting The Villages for the first time can’t quite understand why everyone is so darn happy. Its just hard not to be when you’re living the life of your dreams in The Villages.

4. Location – At only about an hour from Orlando, it doesn’t take long to get from the adult Disney World to the real Disney World. Great for when the grandkids swing into town. And don’t forget all the other theme parks, shopping, and restaurants. And several people I know make it a point to hit several Orlando Magic (NBA) games each year. Then of course there’s Ocala, Leesburg, and Gainesville close by. It’s all within reach.

5. Golf Cart Accessible – Another popular answer from our Facebook friends was that everything is golf cart accessible. Who does not love this. It’s so much easier to get in and out of places quickly in your golf cart than it is your car. Of course some people could be more careful, and cool it on the speed and booze every now and then, but all in all, the golf cart lifestyle is one of the top reasons to love The Villages.

6. Cleanliness – The Villages has to be one of the cleanest hometown’s in America. I know the management works especially hard in this department and residents do their part too. A clean environment leads to cleaner living and more enjoyment of the beauty The Villages has to offer.

7. Every day is a vacation – No matter what your ideal day is like in The Villages, it most certainly does not feel like work. If it does, you’re doing it wrong.

8. Safety – Low crime rates. Fast emergency response times. High cardiac arrest survivability rates. Home to Florida Fire Chief of the Year. Enough said.

9. The Jingle – Come on, sing it with me … “The Villages, Florida’s Friendliest Hometown”. For many residents, hearing the now famous Villages jingle during commercials on national television was their first exposure to the community that would one day become home. Yes, some other communities have their own jingles, but none are as hard to get out of your head as The Villages jingle.

10. Affordable for (almost) anyone – I think the saying goes, “Live like a millionaire on a retirement budget” and that pretty much describes it. The Villages definitely offers a the amenities and lifestyle that many residents quite simply would not be able to afford elsewhere.

Harold Schwartz Statue11. Harold Schwartz and the Morse family – Developers tend to get a bad wrap. Its the same in most communities, not just The Villages. But truth be told, without the foresight of Harold Schwartz and the commitment to and guidance of his dream by the Morse’s, The Villages would not be the success it is today.

12. The Lighthouse – I do not care if The Villages is an hour plus from any ocean or inlet, the lighthouse takes you back to the coastal towns you may have visited as a kid. Who says time machines don’t exist? I think there’s one located in the top of that there lighthouse. Honest.

13. Legend and Lore – Speaking of which, how fun is it to seek out the plaques and signs detailing the “history” of this great place? Of course they’re all made up, but using your imagination helps you feel like a kid again, and The Villages team has done a great job of piling on the magical storytelling. I hear Brownwood is going to have some good stuff in this department.

14. MVP Athletic Center – When it’s time to get your sweat on, there might not be a better place to head than MVP Sports Club in Spanish Springs. Exercise, personal training, and spa services all in one convenient place. Of course MVP is not the only game in town as many of the rec centers have their own fitness centers and some of them are pretty good in their own right and more convenient depending on where you live.

15. Recreation Centers – Speaking of rec centers, never before has a community seen so many in one place. No matter where you live there’s one convenient to you. They serve not only as a place where you can go and play or exercise or practice your craft, but they are a place where bonds and friendships are formed. They play a more important part in the success of The Villages than I believe people give them credit for.

16. Lifelong Learning College – What a great name, as we should all strive to make a lifelong commitment to learning. What a great place to do it. With the motto “No tests, grades, pressure. Just Fun” this won’t feel like the high school or college you may remember. With regular classes on a variety of subjects, special speakers, day trips, and excursions, there’s something for everyone.

17. The Villages Regional Medical Center – The workhorse and cornerstone of healthcare in The Villages TVRMC makes sure residents get back in the game as fast as possible when injury or illness strikes.

18. Moffitt Cancer Center – It may have started off controversially, but I don’t think there’s anyone who would say they wish the Moffitt Cancer Center was not here conveniently in The Villages. Hopefully you and your loved ones will never need it, but if you do, you’ll be glad its there.

19. USF Health/The Villages Partnership – The Villages does not rest on its laurels. We already know its the “friendliest Hometown” and above I declare in the “Cleanest Hometown”. Well this partnership aims to make it the “healthiest Hometown”. Formed just last year this partnership is just getting warmed up but surveying Villagers about their health status and needs, and offering lectures to help teach about improving your health in many ways.

20. Shands – Not in The Villages but close by in Gainesville, Shands is there when you need it for more advanced medical care. It’s like an extra blanket of security that you hope you’ll never need, but glad that its close to The Villages.

21. Free Golf for Life – What a great deal and of course, a great selling point for The Villages. Free golf on all 29 of the executive courses, with more executive courses on the way. It doesn’t get any better than that.

22. The Villages Golf Academy – You’d be surprised how many people show up to The Villages having never swung a golf club in their life. Or maybe one spouse has played regularly but not the other spouse wants to join them on the course now that both are retired. In either case, newbie golfers can get top notch instruction right here in The Villages.

23. Championship Courses – The championship courses are some of the best tracks in the state. The Villages is expected to have 12 championship courses at completion but even without them, The Villages boasts more than 500 holes of golf. That’s more than any other community in the world. Unbelievable.

24. More than 1,800 (and growing) organized clubs and activities – “Something for everyone” is somewhat of a cliche but it is absolutely true in The Villages. If you can’t find a group, club, or activity that interests among the more than 1,800 available, well, I just feel sorry for you. But guess what, if that’s the case, you can create, organize, and publicize your own activity.

25. World’s Biggest Recreation Program – Villagers never lack things to do, but all of those activities are made possible by a large group of full-time, part-time, and volunteers who make it all come together. They obviously love The Villages, so we should also give them some love here in this article.

26. Camp Villages – Every summer The Villages hosts its popular program, Camp Villages. But this isn’t your typical “drop the kids off in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon” type of summer camp. Why would you expect anything that typical from The Villages? No no, this summer camp is for you AND your grandkids and features all kinds of activities that you and your grandkids can enjoy together.

27. Holidays in The Villages – Villagers know how to mark a holiday. Whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day, the 4th of July, Veteran’s Day, Christmas, or any holiday in between, you’ll likely be celebrating it with your friends throughout the community. Depending on the holiday there are parades, parties, performances, charity drives, and more. The Villages does not forget the true meaning and spirit behind each holiday, and neither will you.

28. The Villages Senior Games – Each year The Villages hosts regional senior game competitions with people competing in just about every sport imaginable. Golf, tennis, bowling, archery, track and field, and many many more. Hundreds of Villagers have gone on from this competition to compete in the Florida Senior Games, and then on to the National Senior Games. It’s great that, if you are an athlete, you don’t have to go far to put your skills to the test against other competitors.

29. Nightly Entertainment – Whether its a small local act or the occasional well know singer or group that is on stage, The Villages does a good job keeping residents entertained. Sometimes they even book presidential candidates to sing for the crowd :)

30. Arts & craft shows – It seems like almost every month there’s a new arts & craft show passing through town. Sure, some are better than others, but they’re always a good way to kill a couple of hours on the weekend.

31. Drinks on the square – We had at least one person throw out that their favorite thing about The Villages was being able to have drinks on the square. Well cheers to that!

Spanish Springs Lanes32. Spanish Springs Lanes – Home to 32 lanes that host bowling leagues and tournaments, as well as allowing the kids to get out of the hot summer sun by letting them bowl for free, Spanish Springs Lanes is a great place to spend a few hours practicing your form. I’m not much of a bowler in real life, but you don’t want to mess with me when it comes to Wii Bowling.

33. and 34. The Villages Homeowner’s Association and the Property Owner’s Association – They they both have different goals and different politics, The VHA and the POA are both great organizations looking out for the greater good of The Villages and it’s residents. If you haven’t joined already, you should really consider doing so. Both organizations have very low membership dues, so its really a no brainer to support those who are working hard for Villagers day in and day out.

35. The Villages Polo Club – Hosting more than 30,000 spectators a year, The Villages Polo Club is a great place to take in “The Sport of Kings”. Offering two full seasons between March and May then October and December residents seem to get a kick out of watching the matches in style.

36. Pickleball – It wasn’t invented here, but The Villages is considered the Mecca of Pickleball and ranked as the #1 Place to Live for Pickleball. If you’re new to the game, there’s no better place to learn one of the fastest growing sports in the U.S.

37. and 38. Spanish Springs and Lake Sumter Landing – The two current town squares will soon have to share the spotlight with a third, but they will continue to serve residents of The Villages well. Entering either Spanish Springs or Lake Sumter Landing you feel like you are being transported back in time. Your attitude changes. Your spirits are lifted. Everything is at your fingertips. Dining. Shopping. Entertainment. Friends. What a great concept.

39. Brownwood – Only those intimately involved with the development and construction of Brownwood know just how great it will be. In fact, even they are not sure yet exactly how big it will be in the end. But, hey, I’m gonna go ahead and go out on a limb here and say that we love it already. Can’t wait to see if finished.

40. The Villages Shuttle Bus – Really, can they make it any easier to get from The Villages to Orlando International Airport. Forget about driving yourself, and hop on the bus. For $65 roundtrip bring all your bags, golf clubs and pets. Who doesn’t love this deal?

41. The Villages Trolley Tour – Speaking of transportation, if you’re looking to kill some time, hop on a scenic trolley tour of The Villages. Now who doesn’t love a nice trolley ride every now and then?

42. The US441/27 Golf Cart Bridge – This one-of-a-kind landmark is the only public golf cart bridge in the United States that crosses a US Highway. Like they say, “Only in The Villages!”

43. 640 AM WVLG – Not many communities can boast their own radio station. “The Voice of The Villages” broadcasts news, weather and entertainment to residents.

44. and 45. Banner Mercantile and Market Square Mercantile – If you love The Villages, and I know you do if you’ve stuck with this article this long, you want to show off the fact that you call this place home. Well there’s no better place to do that than with some logo apparel from Banner Mercantile or Market Square Mercantile. But they don’t stop at just clothes. Pretty much any household good you can think of including cookware, glassware, and dishes can be yours emblazoned with The Villages logo.

Church on the Square46. Church on the Square – Whether you are religious or not, you will most certainly visit Church on the Square at some point while living in The Villages. In addition to being a place of worship, Church on the Square serves as host to a variety of musical productions each month.

47. and 48. Rialto Theatre and Old Mill Playhouse – Movies are my favorite pastime, and I know a lot of Villagers feel the same way. There’s nothing like buying a ticket, grabbing some popcorn and a soda and taking in the latest Hollywood movies. Luckily The Villages has two convenient places to do just that.

49. The Political Spotlight – Whether you like their politics or not, it’s always neat to see all the politicians passing through each year. Who could pass up the opportunity to speak directly to 86,000 people who turn out to vote in astoundingly high numbers? It would be a huge mistake to ignore The Villages on your campaign route.

50. The Book Signings – If we ever go 100% kindle e-readers and ditch the paperbacks I wonder what all the authors will sign when they pass through The Villages for book signings. Granted many of these authors are political figures, but some of them aren’t. In any case, its very cool to see your favorite authors come visit your hometown on their book tours.

Over to you. What did I miss? Tell me why you LOVE The Villages in the comments below.

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Comments

  1. The Recreation Programs is not yet accessible to people with disabilities. Can you give me the reason why shouldn’t it be accessible to them?

  2. Visited the Villages several times. Everyone has such a positive attitude on every aspect of their lives. It is catching.

  3. Janie Utterback says:

    Many Churches, large and small that provide not only spiritual enrichment but volunteers from the churches committed to helping people in this great community!! Just look at our Saturday edition of The Daily Sun to see the impact the Faith Community have on The Villages!

    Thank you for your great work! A picture of you would make it more personal!

  4. Milt VanMeter says:

    When I came here 8 yrs ago as a retired dentist with an avocation for performing arts, I was looking primarily for a place to act on stage. My first stop was Savannah Center on the Trolley tour and a dance group was in rehearsal. I was sold immediately and 12 musicals later, have have no regrets and having the time of my life, playing with my friends!
    I get away to NH in the summers now with my fiance, but generally come home early in late summer in order to participate for the fall shows and find myself getting “homesick” after a month or two away.

  5. Mike Johnson says:

    I am a retired military officer and lived all over the country and abroad. As inclusive as the 50 reasons you listed are, incredibly I easily found several other reasons to love The Villages.

    #1 – The Villages has the best traffic flow I have ever seen! Then you have to add mixing cars with golf carts and The Villages still comes out on top by far! Forget about traffic jams and just enjoy how courteous people are. To drive down the road next to or in line with cars and feel safe is unheard of…only in The Villages.

    #2 – We have the most courteous gate guards! They help insure our safety as well as always providing a welcome smile, directions, or other assistance. I know all my guests will be greeted well when they visit and that makes me proud to live in The Villages.

    #3 – Local merchants are some of the most friendly people I have encountered. I think it is a combination of the local area being a small town and maybe The Villagers being so happy wears off on them.

    #4 – Everything The Villages does or gets involved with is always done first class! I say that if something is wrong or broken, it won’t be for long. I know that either a resident will fix it or report it and The Villages will.

    #5 – There is a tremendous number of people here that have been at the top of their sport or craft and they willing take the time to pass on their knowledge for free. I joined the archery club and one member spent two hours one-on-one with me teaching me all facets of archery.

    #6 – Everyone has and takes the time to talk and connect with one another. This provides such a sense of community in both your particular Village or in The Villages as a whole. The first day I met my neighbor we talked for seven hours and this was two men!!

    #7 – People who are attracted to The Villages are active and out-going. They are like-minded wanting the sense of community and activities that The Villages offers. This means you can always find people to do things with.

    #8 – It is incedible to see how so many people can live so close to one another, so much activity going on, and still be quiet enough for you to sleep all day if you want!

    I could go on but I live in The Villages and have things to do!

    Mike Johnson

  6. thevillagesfloridabook says:

    Nice additions to the list Mike. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Mike Johnson says:

    My pleasure. If you ever need an ambassador for The Villages, please let me know. I use to be a business developer after retiring from the military and love talking with folks.

  8. Joe Hankin says:

    Great list! We are looking forward to our first visit later this month.

  9. Nanci Smucker says:

    Greetings from PA! We are anxiously awaiting yet another trip to The Villages in two weeks. This will be our third time. This time we will be staying with friends who moved there last month after, get this, WE were the ones who told them about this place and THEY moved here before us! What’s wrong with this scenerio??? Anyway, we miss them dearly and hopefully this trip we will purchase a homesite to build on in the future! Love this place!!

  10. You forgot the fantastic swimming pools – neighborhood pools, family pools, rec center pools. Great places to meet friends, lounge, sunbathe, swim, attend water exercise classes……. My favorite is the family pool at Sterling Heights. Swimming under the palm trees next to the golf course. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

  11. A dream community that I enjoy dreaming of joining when I retire.

  12. Claudia DuBois says:

    My husband, Tom, and I dearly love The Villages and still, after 2 1/2 years here, we pinch ourselves that we indeed live in paradise! We are retired Air Force and spent 39 years living all over the US and Germany, so we got to see many places which might be considered a retirement haven……absolutely nothing compares! And curiously, we were stationed at Ramstein AB in Germany (1985-88) with a Mike Johnson….same person?

  13. Judy Shirley says:

    You forgot our wonderful beautiful wildlife and protected areas, parks, and country clubs.

  14. Don’t forget the underground utilities and the land devoted to preserves and refuges. Very well planned. Unfortunately the local newspaper is very heavily slanted toward right-wing conservatism. The only drawback I’ve found so far!

  15. Mary Lou Shiveley says:

    We’ve been in The Villages for nearly ten years after having joined our Melbourne, FL neighbors on a Lifestyle Visit and actually building and moving in before they did. We, in turn, brought friends all the way from California. That’s one of the beauties of The Villages. Very few of us come alone. As soon as friends come to visit, they rush home to put their houses on the market and start packing! I’ve lived in Florida for a large part of my life and have never seen any other place like this place. So glad we found it just in time to retire and spend the rest of our lives enjoying the marvelous lifestyle.

  16. Allan Reid says:

    1 The most excellent boat tour/cruise out on Lake Sumter is a must for “newbies”.
    2 The 24 hour Community Watch does a great job helping to keep the crime rate so low.
    3 Live Entertainment that’s free 365 evenings a year (weather permitting) at the town
    squares and all the line dancing and 5-6 PM happy hour reduced price drinks .
    4 Great concerts at The Savannah Center and also Katie Belles.

  17. Landscaping second to none. Comparable to Disney.

    Tolerance to the left hand blinker.

    100 +/- restaurants.

  18. Doug Barber says:

    Due to family commitments my wife and I are not in a position to move to The Villages at this time but we visit often and it is our dream to move there one day. You have put together a great list and here are a few more reasons I thought of to love The Villages:

    1.Katie Bells – Residents only restaurant and bar with nightly entertainment.

    2. Not only music and dancing on the Town Squares and Katie Bells but other places like Margarita Republic, The Waterfront Inn etc.

    3.The Savannah Center Theater – Broadway type productions by local residents. Musical concerts by resident Choral groups, orchestras and bands. Oldie Concerts by tribute bands and national recording stars of yesteryear.

    4.The boat ride and tour on Lake Sumter. Sunsets on Lake Sumter could almost be its own category!

    5.Tons of special events not just on Holidays such as the Antique and classic car shows, the annual Chili cook off, Oktoberfest, Mardi Gras, College Colors day, just to name a few.

    6.In addition to The Villages radio station “WVLG”, The Villages also has its own TV station “WVN on Comcast Cable” featuring events and activities unique to the Villages, its own Newspaper “The Villages Daily Sun” and its own monthly magazine.

    7.In addition to the areas you mentioned under “location” you should also note you can make many day trips to places such as the beaches on either the East or West coasts, quaint cities like Mount Dora and Tavares (the seaplane capital of the world) or to local attractions such as Silver Springs where many Tarzan movies as well as other movies were filmed. There are others but you get the idea.

    Thanks and keep up the good work!

  19. thevillagesfloridabook says:

    Those are great Doug. Thank you for reading and contributing.

  20. We visited the Villages in October and fell in love with it. We are planning a return trip in May and plan to retire there next year. My husband has the webcan of the village squares on the computer under favorite things and he checks it every evening. He knows more about the villages then he does about our current hometown. We tell everyone we talk to about the Villages.

  21. As a Villager, and owner of Villages1.com, I’m always happy to hear about the good things that The Villages has to offer to visitors as well as homeowners. Forbes has The Villages as the top fastest growing (or the second fastest, depending on which link you read) small town…this is the kind of thing we like to see in the news media. Loved your book, too, Ryan!

  22. Jan Balzano says:

    Joe (my hubby) & me agree whole \eartledly with Mike Johnson. It’s a magic place.

  23. Gloria Whitman says:

    The Patriotism and the Values of the residents !!!
    – On all patriotic holidays, Veteran’s Day, etc. you will see flags along residents’ driveways and curbing. We also have our Veteran’s Memorial Park where many ceremonies are held.
    – Our values are high. We’ve all learned the value of hard work all our lives, and respect for one another, courteousness and helpfulness. Our neighbors become our “family” because we all look out for one another and help one another.
    – We have the best of a metropolitan area without the seedy side, and for those of us who grew up in small midwestern towns, we have the small town atmosphere and values.

  24. Linda Andry says:

    I think Harold Schwartz showed incredible insight to develop The Villages with all of the amenities we enjoy. How many cities were built by one man and his family? Where else do people lie awake at night trying to think of ways to make my life better?!
    The transportation trails especially for golf carts make every place golf cart accessible and safer to travel. They’re great and constantly improving.
    I love The Villages Daily Sun newspaper. It’s one of the fastest growing daily newspapers. It has thorough coverage of not only local events, but also national and international news.

  25. Janet Smith says:

    I love the neighborhood pools, where you have to be 30 yrs. old to be there. I never have to hear Marco Polo, while I’m trying to relax by the pool!!

  26. Marite Berman says:

    Another reason to love TV:
    Close to the beaches without paying premium coastal living expenses and salt erosion but, close enough to enjoy !
    L

  27. Great article… one typo:

    33. and 34. The Villages Homeowner’s Association and the Property Owner’s Association – They they (one they) is better :-).

  28. Ray Wheeler says:

    If only Harold Schwartz was here today I would personally thank him for his vision. However, since he is not (God rest his soul), I would like to thank for the Morse Family for continuing with his vision and dream. Thank You Morse Family !!!!!

  29. Joanna Newman says:

    I absolutely love The Villages! I can only say ditto to the many things already mentioned. The landscaping of the common grounds is mindboggling. The use only the most beautiful plants and flowers and change them each season! I would love to be able to “adopt” some that are removed to be replaced with the new season’s plants.

    One of the few things I wish we had though would be actual walking paths where we wouldn’t have to walk in the roads. Sometimes the golf cart lanes share the road. Walking along busy roads can be a bit scary.

    Otherwise…what a wonderful place to call home!!!

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