As you probably know, The Villages is a “quaint” little hometown in Central Florida that is currently home to about 125,000 people, 50,000+ golf carts, 500+ holes of golf, and so much more.
I get asked all the time why I don't talk about The Villages more on this site and my answer is that I have a whole other website and book devoted solely to covering The Villages. It is that BIG of a deal.
Without further ado, here are some of the most frequent questions I've been getting since Wednesday.
1. Is there a way to visit The Villages to check things out?
Yes. The Villages offers what they call a Lifestyle Preview Program. For between $99/night in the off-season to $199/night in the busy season you can come to The Villages for 4-7 nights, depending of course on availability.
The Villages will set you up in one of their “Creekside Cabanas” at Lake Sumter Landing, one of the three town squares. Your accommodations also include the use of a golf cart during your stay so you can blend right in with the locals and see what all the fuss is about.
2. Are the other communities listed on Florida for Boomers as “golf cart friendly” as The Villages?
Some are and some aren't. Definitely ask this question of each community you check into.
That said, more and more people everywhere are becoming more energy conscious especially as it relates to their transportation, and with many retirement communities going the way of being their own self-contained cities, golf cart friendliness is on the rise.
3. I heard something about free golf. What's the deal with that?
“Free golf for life” is something The Villages has included in their TV commercials and advertisements for many years now.
The Villages currently has 42 “Executive” 9-hole courses that are free for residents to play. You do have to pay a cart fee, or a trail fee if using your own cart.
In addition, there are 12 Championship courses. Most of these have 27 holes, and residents are automatically members of these courses as well, but they are not free to play.
4. What if I don't play golf?
Golf is not the only game in town, by any means. I know lots of people that live in The Villages who do not play golf and neither does their significant other, yet they manage to stay plenty busy.
Staying on the athletics side, The Villages has a pretty decent tennis program, and they have been called the “Mecca of Pickleball“. There are a couple bowling alleys, around 60 Recreation Centers (amenities vary), an athletics club and more.
Each year The Villages hosts regional senior game competitions with people competing in just about every sport imaginable. Hundreds of Villagers have gone on from this competition to compete in the Florida Senior Games, and then on to the National Senior Games.
Beyond golf and sports, The Villages has the World's Largest Recreation Department” which currently manages more than 2,400 clubs, organizations and activities. There's literally something for everyone.
There's also nightly entertainment in the Town Squares. Most of the time it will be smaller acts but sometimes The Villages gets in notable performers in some of the other venues like Savannah Center.
Here's a video of Davy Jones (R.I.P) performing one of his hits in The Villages last year:
5. Is The Villages too good to be true?
Ask most of the 130,000 residents and I think they would tell you everything you've heard is true and more. A few weeks ago I posted an article titled “50+ Reasons to Love The Villages” and Villagers could not get enough of it.
But, The Villages is not without its rough edges.
Several residents complain about the media being tightly controlled by the developer. You almost never see or hear anything that would detract from the positive image The Villages tries to project at all times.
We all know that no one place can be perfect at all times, but you wouldn't know it by reading the local paper, watching The Villages TV channel, or listening to The Villages radio station.
The best way to figure out whether to include The Villages on your “maybe” list as far as Florida retirement communities are concerned is to learn more about it and schedule a visit.
If The Villages sounds interesting to you, you can check out my other website and pick up a copy of Inside The Bubble to learn more.