I get this request all the time, “show me something like The Villages but closer to the coast”.
There's nothing quite like The Villages, but when I get this request, I do have a place in mind:
Valencia at Riverland in Port St. Lucie
Yes, there are a few compromises you'd need to be willing to make, but if “like The Villages but closer to the coast” is what you are after, this is about as close of a match as I think you'll find.
Read on for why I think that, including the similarities, and a few differences.
One of the big things I chalk much of The Villages' success up to is that it has been one builder/developer at the helm since the beginning. Yes, things have evolved there through the different generations of family members running the show, but in every case they continue to do what they believe is best for the community because their name is on the line.
The same holds true for Valencia at Riverland. GL Homes is the family-owned company and sole builder/developer behind Valencia at Riverland. They've built more than 100,000 homes throughout the state since their founding in 1976, and like The Villages they only build in Florida.
Golf Cart Lifestyle
The golf cart lifestyle is one of the major things that attracts people to The Villages.
Valencia at Riverland has that too:
Multiple Neighborhoods or “Villages”
Looking at this site plan you can see how Valencia at Riverland has separate neighborhoods like The Villages does, that are all connected by the Paseo Greenway you learned about above:
Also, and this is probably purely by accident, but The Villages has always been developed from North to South (for the most part). Now the future sections of Valencia at Riverland are also mostly to the South.
Also like The Villages, all of the amenities and recreation centers (Valencia calls them social clubs) are open to all residents, no matter which Valencia at Riverland neighborhood you actually live in.
It's not like this in a lot of other places. Lakewood Ranch comes to mind. If you live in Del Webb Lakewood Ranch, you can't just go in and use the Cresswind Lakewood Ranch amenities, and vice versa.
Trolley Tours vs. Tram Tours
Both communities are known for their sales tours.
While The Villages is famous for its Trolley tours, at Riverland they have something similar called the Rivertram:
What are the compromises?
For one thing, Valencia at Riverland is much much smaller than The Villages. For some people that will be a plus, for others it's a minus.
The Town Center will be at the heart of Valencia at Riverland and will offer a mix of commercial and retail space, similar to the town squares in The Villages, but again, on a much smaller scale.
While there are hundreds of clubs, shows, trips, activities, and a variety of events to keep residents busy in Valencia at Riverland, it's a far cry from the thousands of clubs and activities, plus free nightly entertainment that you'll find in The Villages.
Because The Villages is practically in the middle of the state, there's less to worry about in the way of hurricanes.
And there are no golf courses in Valencia at Riverland. There are plenty of great courses in Port St. Lucie though, but if you are a golfer, it's tough to beat having 700+ holes at your beck and call like they have in The Villages.
But if you can live with those few compromises, I think Valencia at Riverland is definitely worth checking.
You can request more information from the developer right here: