The Villages is an active retirement community located in sunny Central Florida. With about 115,000 residents as of 2015, it is still growing and new homes are being built across three Florida counties: Lake, Sumter and Marion.
Retirees are attracted to The Villages by its lifestyle, a combination of recreation facilities, entertainment venues and social clubs that are designed to enrich retirement living. The developer advertises The Villages as "Florida's Friendliest Hometown."
At the heart of The Villages are three old fashioned Town Squares where you'll find plenty of modern day fun, including free nightly entertainment, modern movie theaters, and a colorful assortment of shopping and dining opportunities.
Residents own their homes in one of more than 50 named villages. The oldest, Orange Blossom Hills, was built in the early 70s and is now referred to as the Historic Side. Each village ranges in size up to about 1,000 homes and has a mail station where residents collect their mail. All have a Neighborhood Recreation Center with an adult pool and facilities for shuffleboard, bocce, and horseshoes. Most have a larger Village Recreation Center that includes a family pool, meeting rooms, billiards and pickle ball courts. About a dozen Regional Recreation Centers include large event rooms, sports pools, tennis courts, basketball courts and a variety of limited sports like platform tennis and beach volleyball.
While visitors are welcome at all town squares, restaurants and businesses in The Villages, use of most recreation facilities is reserved for residents and their guests. Guest ID cards are available to those visiting friends and family, or renting a village home either directly from the homeowner or as part of The Villages Lifestyle Preview. Short term rentals in The Villages through sites like Airbnb usually include Guest ID cards.
The Villages is designed as a golf cart community and tens of thousands of golf carts share the residential roads with automobiles and bicycles. A system of multi-modal paths and tunnels keep golf carts separated from traffic on the broad boulevards where speed limits exceed 25mph. Dedicated golf cart parking can be found throughout The Villages, and it is common to see 4-5 carts parked perpendicular in a single parallel parking space, or 2 carts parked in a diagonal parking space.
A system of traffic control gates regulate the flow of traffic into residential neighborhoods. Despite the appearance of a gated community, all roads in The Villages are public. Residents swipe a card to open the gates and visitors need only to push the red button to open any gate. Numerous roundabouts regulate the flow of traffic on the boulevards.
Maps of The Villages are available for purchase at any of the Country Clubs. In addition, The Villages App is a free download and displays maps with routing for both cars and golf carts to any address or point of interest in The Villages.
- The Villages Golf Cars, 1075 Old Camp Road (Sumter Landing location), ☏ . Daily golf car rentals starting at $21.40.
- The Villages Transportation, ☏ , toll-free: . Shuttle service to Orlando International Airport and local taxi service.
- Village Airport Van, ☏ . Door to door shuttle service to Orlando International Airport.
- 1 Spanish Springs Town Square. The original town square has a southwestern look and feel to it. Live entertainment and outdoor dancing nightly from 5-9pm. The Sharon Performing Arts Center makes its home here, along with the Rialto Movie Theater. There is plenty of shopping and dining, and special events like a monthly classic car Cruise-In. Look for the statue of Howard Schwartz, the founder of The Villages.
- 2 Lake Sumter Landing Market Square. This colorful waterfront setting has the look of a quaint seaside village. There is free nightly entertainment and outdoor dancing from 5-9pm. Look for the Old Mill playhouse movie theater, along with a variety of shops and restaurants to choose from. Take a walk along the Lake Sumter Boardwalk, you just might see an alligator.
- 3 Brownwood Paddock Square. The newest town square is reminiscent of an early century Florida cattle town. There is free nightly entertainment and outdoor dancing from 5-9pm. Here you will find the Barnstorm movie theater, along with a variety of boutiques and restaurants to choose from. From the square, walk south on Meggison Rd and get a picture of the impressive bronze sculptures of a Florida cowboy on horseback herding cattle across the road.
- Play 9 holes of Executive Golf, ☏ , toll-free: . The Villages Executive Golf Trail consists of 36 nine hole courses. That's 324 holes of golf! These courses are primarily par 3 holes with the occasional par 4 or par 5. With 3 sets of tees, and difficulty rankings of 1 to 4, they will challenge even the most experienced golfer. Visitors with Guest ID cards are welcome. Free for Residents, $12 for Guests.
- Play 18 holes of Championship Golf, ☏ , toll-free: . Palmer Legends and Nancy Lopez Legacy are just two of the 12 Championship Golf Courses in The Villages. Ten of the courses have three nines for a total of 306 holes of golf. Visitors with Guest ID cards are welcome to play. $20 - $58, depending on time of day and season.
- Go for a swim. With dozens of pools to choose from, you won't have to go far to find a neighborhood adult pool or family village pool to take a dip. Resident or Guest ID cards are required. The Regional Recreation Centers have large sports pools for lap swimming and organized sports.
- Try a Recreation Activity. The Lifestyle section in The Daily Sun newspaper has a schedule of recreation activities, or you can pick up a copy of the weekly Recreation News at any Recreation Center. You will find clubs devoted to every imaginable hobby, sport or social group, so you're sure to find something of interest. Resident or Guest ID cards are required.
- Attend a Polo Match, ☏ . Fridays and Sundays during the Spring and Fall season. Tailgate along the sidelines in a golf cart or take a seat in the grandstands, and watch competitive polo with riders and horses from around the world. Get out there between chukkers (halftime) and stomp the divots with your fellow enthusiasts. $10 - $20.
- Enroll in Camp Villages. Summer camp isn't just for kids. Grandparents join their grandchildren for nine weeks of daily summer fun activities. Try a Golf Cart Scavenger Hunt or Knockerball (think soccer and bumper cars), or dozens of other challenging activities for grandchildren of all ages. Starts at $5, varies by activity.
- The Retirement Home you've always dreamed of. Start by taking an entertaining 30 minute Trolly Tour hosted by a village resident. You'll get a taste of village humor and see what's new in The Villages. Tours leave from the Lake Sumter Market Square sales office every 30 minutes during the day. If you want to see more, you'll have to ask for a sales agent. They won't come looking for you.
There are more than 90 restaurants located within The Villages and all are accessible by golf cart. You can find everything from fast food to fine dining. Many are located in the town squares and all are open to the public.
- 1 Legacy Restaurant at the Nancy Lopez Country Club, 17135 Buena Vista Blvd (At the North end of The Villages), ☏ . Elegant dining overlooking the Nancy Lopez Golf Course.
- 2 Palmer Legends Country Club, 1635 Palmer Way, ☏ . Fine dining overlooking the Arnold Palmer Golf Course
- Bar Kiosk. 4pm - 9pm, 2 for 1 Happy Hour 5pm - 6pm. Look for a Bar Kiosk in the corners of each Town Square. Soda, beer, wine, cocktails and snacks are available. It is open carry for drinks in the Town Squares, so pull up a chair and enjoy the live entertainment.
- 1 Comfort Suites, 1202 Avenida Central, Lady Lake, FL, 32159, ☏ .
- 2 Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 1205 Avenida Central North, ☏ .
- 3 The Waterfront Inn, 1105 Lake Shore Drive (Located in Lake Sumter Landing, the second of three town squares in The Villages), ☏ , toll-free: .
- The Villages Lifestyle Preview Plan, toll-free: . You can rent a fully furnished home for 4-7 days, complete with golf cart, bikes, free golf, movie tickets, et al. to "test drive" The Villages' "lifestyle." $99/night.
- The Villages Hometown Property Management, ☏ , toll-free: . Enjoy the full Villages lifestyle as a guest in a well-appointed rental home or villa. Rent by the week, month or season.
- VillagersHomes4Rent, ☏ . Rent a home in The Villages directly from the homeowner. Listings are available for weekly, monthly or seasonal rentals.
- Tune your radio to WVLG, AM640. The Villages station broadcasts news and entertainment from Spanish Springs Town Square and Lake Sumter Market Square, along with regular updates on what's going on in "Florida's Friendliest Hometown."
- Pick up a copy of The Daily Sun. The Villages local newspaper has a Lifestyle section jam packed with what's going on in recreation, entertainment and dining.