Northern California
Retirement Communities

...are you going to San Francisco?

San Francisco scene
San Francisco water scenePhoto by K Patalsky

Northern California retirement communities on the coast are characterized by cool and fresh air rarely going over 80 degrees in the summer.

The state escapes the sticky climate of the East Coast.   The coastal area is Mediterranean, the inland areas can be hot but rarely humid, and the high mountains can be very cold with lots of snow.  

Northern California coastal towns can go for days or weeks in the summer with foggy cool days.  Most affected are San Francisco and Monterey.

I can't imagine anyone not wanting to live here. Of course, it is far from the East Coast where family may reside.  All of California is a great place for retirement living.

Contents on this page:

San Jose-Silicon Valley-Bay Area

Santa Cruz-Coast: Santa Cruz, Scotts Valley, Watsonville

Los Banos-Inland from Watsonville

Walnut Creek


Sacramento Area: El Dorado Hills, Sacramento, Elk Grove, Lincoln Hills, Roseville, Auburn, Rio Vista, Manteca

Sonoma County-Wine Country: Napa, Santa Rosa, Sonoma

Marin County: San Rafael


Find by Price/Location/Map

Most Popular on this Page

Newest Communities in Northern California Chart

Separate pages for No. California:

San Jose/Silicon Valley/Bay Area

Oakland Bay BridgeOakland Bay Bridge
Oakland Bay BridgeOakland Bay Bridge

Inland from Santa Cruz you cross the Santa Cruz Mountains into San Jose and the famous Silicon Valley.  The climate in this area differs from the coast with occasional very hot days in the summer.  See our article on California for more on climate.

The major cities in the Silicon Valley area (referred to as the Bay Area) are Sunnyvale, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Mateo, Redwood City, upscale Los Altos Hills and Los Altos, Santa Clara, Campbell, Milpitas, Saratoga, Los Gatos, San Jose, and Fremont.

San Francisco and Oakland are also considered part of the Bay Area. The larger communities with lots of amenities are few due to how expensive land is in this area.

San Jose and the Bay Area listings, go here.

Santa Cruz County (On the Coast)

Capitola-By-The-SeaCapitola-By-The Sea

Let's start with the coastal county of Santa Cruz, midway between San Francisco and Monterey on the Northern California coast and "over the hill" from San Jose. 

The main cities in Santa Cruz County are:

  • Santa Cruz (college town for the University of California)
  • Scotts Valley
  • Capitola
  • Soquel
  • Aptos
  • Watsonville (more affordable area)

There are retirement communities, apartments and many mobile parks.

  • Dominican Oaks - Apartment retirement living in Santa Cruz in quiet setting behind Dominican Hospital. Affordable month/month rent. Independent living while providing a service package. Nearby Pacific Ocean. Santa Cruz provides healthy living and is one of the best towns for Northern California Retirement Communities. Half hour drive to Monterey and Carmel.   Call for luncheon tour.
    Ph: 831-462-6257 - 3400 Paul Sweet Rd., Santa Cruz
  • Brookdale at Oak Tree Villa - Scotts Valley near Santa Cruz. Now owned by Brookdale Living Communities. Also offers assisted living as well as independent living. This is one of those communities where the surrounding environment is almost more important than the community because it offers so much.
    Ph: 831-438-7533 - 100 Lockewood La., Scotts Valley
  • Pajaro Village - 800 small and mid-sized homes for over 55. Quiet, small-town feeling. Resales. Check with local Realtors. Watsonville area is a more affordable area 15 miles to Santa Cruz. Always check California homes for any geologic hazards.
    Ph:  1-831-761-3855 - 739 Bronte Ave., Watsonville  
  • Valley Heights Retirement apartments for over 65. Independent living apartment complex offers amenities including 2 meals/day, housekeeping, 24-hour security, market rate rents. 
    Ph: 831-722-4884 - 925 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville
  • Piedmont Court - Historic Co-op building for over 55 - Prices vary. Contact local Realtors or contact me for recommendations of Realtors.  260 High St, Santa Cruz. 

There are a few unique manufactured home retirement communities in this area and many senior mobile home parks.

Los Banos

Going inland about an hour from Watsonville, in Santa Cruz County, is Los Banos.  Good location that is still close enough to San Jose to enjoy its amenities but far enough away for a country lifestyle.  Prices will be more economical as well in this area.

LOCATION:  Los Banos

FEATURE:   Country area approx. 1+ hour (80 mi.) from San Jose

CONTACT:  Auction Dr. and West H St. - 888-408-6590

From mid-$200's by K Hovnanian.  Gated community of single homes with luxury amenities. Nice lower-priced area not too far from San Jose.

Resale in Walnut Creek

LOCATION:  Walnut Creek

FEATURE:    Large Rossmoor (Leisure World) community - Resales

CONTACT:   Ph: 925-932-1162 (Realty) - 1641 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek

Just outside San Francisco. Beautiful area for a Northern California retirement community.  Easy drive to the wine country, San Francisco or major Bay Area attractions.     

New in Brentwood (East Bay)

Trilogy® at the Vineyards model home

Photo by Trilogy® at Shea Homes - The Vineyards

Trilogy® at the Vineyards

LOCATION:  Brentwood

FEATURE:   One hour to San Francisco

CONTACT:   Ph: 800-685-6494 - 1700 Trilogy Parkway, Brentwood - appts recommended for Fridays (open noon-5)  - Other days:  9-5

Brentwood - 481 acres. Single story homes, adjacent winery and golf. Unique features. East Bay foothills one hour from San Francisco. Start approx. low $500,000's.   Ask about Shea Green Certified Homes.

New in Brentwood by Shea Homes:

LOCATION:  Brentwood

FEATURE:    Attached homes with loft 

CONTACT:  1511 Spumante Lane, Brentwood; 866-696-7432 - Open Daily

Small to spacious duplex homes starting in high $400's - homes are approximately one hour from San Francisco - clubhouse, pool and more.

Sonoma County - The Wine Country

Another personal favorite area. Highly recommended area for great climate, clean air and water, country ambience, wineries and gourmet dining. Luther Burbank, who resided in Santa Rosa, said of Sonoma County, "the chosen spot of all earth."

New and Resale


FEATURE:    In wine country with great Northern California climate

CONTACT:    Ph:  1-888-327-8111 - 1800 Atrium Pkwy., Napa

In the midst of the wine country.  Rental apartments plan starting $2520./month (verify) or community care plan with deposit and monthly fee.  Contemporary style with Mediterranean influence.

Note: See by Appointment 1-707-320-2207

More recently, adding fine dining venue, Aquatic Center, 92 large apartments. 

LOCATION:  Santa Rosa

FEATURE:   Sonoma Wine country - Resales

CONTACT:   6391 Pine Valley Dr., Santa Rosa - Open 11-5 Daily - 707-539-1611 - 3 days notice to schedule a resident tour or call local Realtor

30 minutes to Pacific Ocean - one hour to San Francisco in the wine country of Sonoma County. North of Napa. Approximately 3000 homes - 35 years community for over 55. Newest part of the community is now under construction and will be the last neighborhood built on Oakmont's 1255 acres--called

  • The Orchard at Oakmont Over 55 Community in Santa Rosa - consists of 167 homes (80% free-standing homes and others are multi-units). Two golf courses (Oakmont Golf Club memberships).  Sold out now.  6575 Oakmont Dr., Santa Rosa
  • The Meadows of Oakmont - Prices range from $500,000-$800,00. 1 1/2 miles from The Orchard at Oakmont. Only 36 single homes - homes sold fast.  Willow glen Homes.
  • Oakmont Gardens - Independent and assisted living at Oakmont Retirement Village.  Also respite program.
    301 White Oak Dr., Santa Rosa - 707-861-0075


FEATURE:   Meals and housekeeping included in rent

CONTACT:   Ph: 707-939-7856 -  405 West MacArthur St., Sonoma

80-unit apartment complex in this beautiful area.  So many community amenities yet is on a month-to-month rental basis. Fee starts at $3100. (verify as rents can change) for studio and goes up for larger.  Also, 2nd person fee.  Includes meals, housekeeping and more.  There is an on-site Activity Director.

Marin County - Upscale and just over the Golden Gate Bridge 


Smith Ranch homes in San RafaelPhoto by Smith Ranch Homes

LOCATION:  San Rafael

FEATURE:    Near San Francisco in wine country

CONTACT:    Ph: 800-772-6264 - 400 Deer Valley Rd., San Rafael

15 miles north of Golden Gate Bridge and an easy drive to the wine country.  Beautiful and upscale area in California. On 30 acres - Luxury resale condominiums and villas - Wellness Program - Own your home and monthly fee for outstanding services and amenities - Concierge, Clubhouse and much more. 

New in Sacramento Area

  • Coming Venture at The Collective

LOCATION:  Manteca in San Joaquin County

FEATURE:     In master community The Collective

CONTACT:   Join VIP List now

By Taylor Morrison to Manteca - single medium to spacious 2-bedroom homes.

LOCATION:  El Dorado Hills

FEATURE:   1 1/2 hours to Lake Tahoe 

CONTACT:   4689 Golden Foothill Parkway, El Dorado Hills - You can call for more information to:  877-368-8464 - Open Daily

El Dorado Hills north of Sacramento - By Lennar -  Small town feeling yet close to Sacramento. (approx. 1 1/2 hours drive to Lake Tahoe)   

3 Collections:

  • Estates - Large single homes from $600's in Phase II
  • Legends at Heritage El Dorado Hills -  spacious singles from $400's
  • Mosaic - singles from upper $300's

New in Roseville:

LOCATION:  Roseville

FEATURE:  Gated  493 single homes comprised of 3 communities

CONTACT:  4073 Afterlight Lane, Roseville - 916-905-1615 - Open Daily

From small to large square footage homes by Lennar in 3 neighborhoods.  Pricing starts $400's.  

Sacramento has been popular for "boomers" to get away from urban areas like the Bay Area. Lake Tahoe is a mere 2 hours drive away. Being so close to the mountains, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite is what makes Northern California communities so great.

Lake Tahoe shorelineLake Tahoe - the water is that blue most of the time
Lake Tahoe shorelineLake Tahoe shoreline

Resales in Sacramento Area

  • Heritage at Vineyard Creek by Lennar - Large singles was priced from upper $300's.  Newest design features and some with casita.  7463 Golden Stars Way, Sacramento
  • Destinations at Vineyard Point - Sold out - check for resales - Sacramento - By national homebuilder Lennar - gated resort-styled community of 2- and 3-bedroom smaller homes (and smaller prices) started at mid-$100's - a private clubhouse for over 55's - This community is in Lennar's "Everything's Included" program which adds special features to your purchase. (verify information) 
    7501 Chevelle Way, Sacramento

Resale at Elk Grove (Just south of Sacramento):

Elk Grove has beautiful countryside and farms.

  • Glenbrooke by Del Webb at Elk Grove near Sacramento.  Sold out.  Started from $200's to $400's. 2 and 3-bedroom homes with amenities. Offers free day pass.  9985 Westminster Way, Elk Grove
  • Four Seasons at Westshore - Sacramento - Gated community by K Hovnanian - California-styled architecture. 26-acre lake. Started mid-$200,000. Pool,spa,outdoor fireplace and barbeques, bocce and much more. Resales only. Please check with local Realtors. (See new communities starting in $300's in Westshore)
  • Four Seasons Winter at Westshore - Sacramento - Gated resort community of small to spacious single homes started low $300's - Known for miles of walking trails - 6-acre lake - walking trails - Natomas area.  By K Hovnanian.  4021 Del Arco Lane (Sales Office) 
  • Four Seasons Spring at Westshore (sold) - Sacramento - Large ranch homes - Started at upper $300's - resort-style living.   4021 Del Arco Lane, Sacramento   

Resales at Lincoln Hills (North of Sacramento):

  • Del Webb's Sun City at Lincoln Hills  
    Single-story living condominium homes, villas and single family homes. Four mild seasons. Lake and pier fishing. Massage rooms. Halfway between Lake Tahoe and San Francisco. Resales only - check with local Realtors.  Ph: 916-625-4000 (H/O) - 965 Orchard Creek Lane, Lincoln, Ca.

Apartments at Roseville (North of Sacramento):

  • Sierra Regency - Roseville -  So many retirement community amenities and on a month-to-month basis. Fee includes meals, housekeeping, community amenities and more.  Indoor heated pool.
    Ph: 916-786-3173 - 1015 Madden La., Roseville
  • The Club - Roseville near Sacramento - By Del Webb - 2 and 3 bedroom homes started at $271,990. Amenities for those seniors still working such as on-site concierge, 24-hr fitness center, wi-fi hot spots.  2159 Langtree Dr., Roseville
  • Sun City Roseville  - Sun City is an older over 55 community developed by Del Webb now with resales only. 1200 acres of single family homes from 900 to 2600SF. 27 holes of championship golf, Timber Creek Lodge (clubhouse) is center of activity. Restaurant and sports bar, library, indoor and outdoor pools.  
    Ph: 916-774-3880 - 7050 Del Webb Blvd., Roseville

Auburn (North of Sacramento) 

Between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe-Sierra foothills area is very popular with seniors. It is warmer than living in the higher elevation mountains in the winter yet close to mountains for lakes, fishing trips and other outdoor activities.

  • The Oaks of Auburn by Holiday Touch - Holiday Retirement Corp. - Auburn is in the Sierra foothills and easy drive to Lake Tahoe. Apartment homes for rent with services.
    Ph: 530-392-4090 - 3250 Blue Oaks Dr., Auburn

New Homes at Rio Vista

Trilogy at Rio Vista model home

Photo Credit: Trilogy® at Shea Homes - Rio Vista

LOCATION:  Rio Vista

FEATURE:   Luxury Golf resort community starting mid-$300's  

CONTACT:  800-685-6494 - 222 Summerset Dr., Rio Vista - open daily

East of San Francisco - Gated resort community near Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

Explore their Center for Higher Learning. Some of the possible subjects are: computers/internet, digital photography, foreign languages, pottery.

The Golf Vista Club features facilities for pool, indoor running track, aerobics, cardio equipment, weight training machines, personal instructions and Fitness Studios for classes. 


  • Woodbridge by Del Webb in Manteca  

In Manteca, country area between Sacramento and Bay Area.  Large luxury homes South of Sacramento.  Two and three-bedroom homes started low $300's.  Community has gorgeous clubhouse, pools, many more amenities and 18-hole putting course.  1451 Americana St., Manteca

Resale Homes at El Dorado Hills (North of Sacramento):

  • Four Seasons at El Dorado Hills - by K. Hovnanian - gated community in Sierra foothills - within 90 minutes to Lake Tahoe.  Four Seasons Drive.

Chico (2 hours north of Sacramento)

View Larger Map

The town of Chico is in a beautiful location north of Sacramento and 1 1/2 hours from Lassen National Volcanic Park known for beautiful scenery, area hunting and fishing.

Sycamore Glen community in Chico
  • Sycamore Glen Chico - This retirement community could be listed in our apartment category since it is on a month-to-month lease basis but has so many community amenities. Included in monthly rate is all-day restaurant-style dining.  

Also offering weekly housekeeping, laundry facilities, utilities except phone, 24-hour staff available, emergency response system. Amenities include a library, beauty shop, exercise room, theater, and cozy area with fireplace. Studio and one-bedroom units. Their website lists the rates.
Ph: 530-894-0384 - 1199 Diablo Ave., Chico

Most Popular 55+ Communities on this Page*

NAMELocation Link
1. Smith Ranch HomesSan RafaelSee More
2. MeadowsNapaSee More
3. Heritage Vineyard CreekSacramento See More
*As determined by amount of click-throughs.


Find by Location:

View Northern California in a larger map

San Jose, Santa Cruz, Watsonville
Walnut Creek, San Rafael, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Napa
Brentwood, Elk Grove, Roseville, Auburn, Lincoln, Rio Vista, Eldorado Hills, Manteca, Sacramento

Find by Price:

Key to Starting Prices:

 $ -Under $100,000 
$$ - $100,000 to $200,000 - $$$ - $200,000-$300,000
$$$$ - $400,000-$500,000
$$$$$ - above $500,000

$$ - Pajaro Village | Valley Heights | Rossmoor | Destinations at Vineyard Point | Trilogy at Rio Vista | Smith Ranch Homes (up to $$$$$)   |   Four Seasons at Los Banos
$$$ - Glenbrooke | Four Seasons at Westshore | The Club Roseville | Woodbridge   |   Heritage at El Dorado Hills  | Four Seasons Winter   |   Four Seasons at Beaumont
$$$$ - Trilogy at the Vineyards  |   Heritage at El Dorado Hills   |   Meadows at Oakmont   |   Solaria

Lower-priced areas are:

  • Areas around Sacramento  
  • Los Banos

Newest 55+ Communities in Northern California Chart



Location/Start Price


1. Meadows Napa ValleyNapa/CCRCSee More
2. Four Seasons WinterSacramento/$200'sSee More
3. Four Seasons Los BanosLos Banos/mid-$200'sSee More
4. SolaireRoseville/$400'sSee More
5. Barcelona Brentwood/$400's See More

› Northern California

Also See:

San Francisco Bay Area 

Southern California lake

Southern California

Pacific Ocean surf

San Diego

California home prices out of your range?  There's a way to find affordable housing in California: manufactured homes: 

manufactured home

Manufactured Homes in California