Top Rated Arizona Snowbird Communities
by: Clint Harritt, September 10, 2023
These are the best Arizona communities for snowbirds based on price, location, and lifestyle.
I’ve lived in Arizona since 2018 and had the privilege of visiting some of the top snowbird communities in the Phoenix area. I’ve talked with dozens of snowbirds about their experience buying real estate in Arizona. I’ve found the most desirable neighborhoods for winter visitor’s second homes. Here are the rankings.
1. Encanterra – Queen Creek, AZ
Encanterra is one of those communities that leaves you breathless as you drive through the guard-gated, flower-lined, exquisite entrance. Just inside, the endless green of golf course grass and bustle of golf carts await as you drive over streams and view the magnificence of luxury single homes with outdoor pools, pergolas, BBQs, and views.
I received a tour of the amenities, feeling like I was in a 5-star Italian resort on steroids. Very few communities in Arizona can compare to this. I visited with multiple owners, met with the HOA activities director, and toured homes for sale. Ask anyone over sixty years old in the Phoenix area where they want to live, and the answer is “Encanterra. It’s just beautiful.”
Price: $550,000 – $2,000,000+
Amenities: 10/10. All that you can ask for. Pools, restaurants, coffee shop, clubhouse, member clubs, classes, exercise, sports. All this comes in a daily email with 15+ daily events. Encanttera has a strong community in a first-class setting.
Location: 7/10. Slightly outside the Gilbert/Mesa area means further driving to the airport. The plus side is that all the local shopping and restaurants are brand new.
Lifestyle: 10/10. The best of the best for a community in Arizona. An additional benefit is some neighborhoods here are 55+.
Pros: Golf and community are the two significant reasons owners buy at Encanterra.
Cons: Golf membership is pricey and regulated, with a waiting list of several months to own. Some home sales have the golf membership included.
Best For: Golfers and Social Lites
Overall Rating: 9.5/10. Encanterra makes the top ranking on our list of Arizona snowbird communities.
Email [email protected] if you have questions about Encanterra or want to purchase Arizona snowbird real estate.
2. Morrison Ranch – Gilbert, AZ
A community with a rich history, Morrison Ranch is home to the landmark Gilbert silos, two large lakes, and miles and miles of walking trails.
I live in Morrison Ranch and can tell you this is a beautiful, unique place. There are wide open spaces, exquisite sunrises over the lake, and plenty of nearby amenities. It’s a trendy area with boutique coffee shops, farm-fresh restaurants, and downtown Gilbert nightlife.
The abundance of trees in Morrison Ranch allows for shaded walks, more efficient homes, and an upscale feel. Automobile companies such as Toyota can often be found filming commercials in the neighborhood – it has that all-American feel.
Although Morrison Ranch is primarily family-oriented, the peaceful areas are perfect for snowbirds to enjoy.
Price: $600,000 – $1,800,000+
Amenities: 7/10. Although Morrison Ranch does not have social activities or clubs, there are beautiful lakes, tennis courts, pickleball, and miles of walking sidewalks with large open spaces.
Location: 10/10. Excellent location near Agritopia, downtown, Riparian Preserve, The Tyler, San Tan Mall, and many new shopping developments under construction.
Lifestyle: 7/10. Excellent for those who enjoy nearby restaurants, shopping, and outdoor activities.
Pros: The master-planned design with tree-lined streets makes you forget you are in the desert.
Cons: In winter, teenagers zoom around on dirt bikes. Not a 55+ community.
Best For: Walking, Pet Lovers, and Fisherman
Overall Rating: 8.5/10.
Email [email protected] if you have questions about Morrison Ranch or want to purchase Arizona snowbird real estate.
3. Mountain Bridge – Mesa, AZ
Mountain Bridge is a community that has it all. From beautiful amenities to reasonable prices, golf nearby, and a social calendar, the community is perfect for snowbirds. There are many events throughout the year, such as live music, movie nights at the pool, Woofstock, car shows, Christmas with Santa, and much more. Not to mention all the community amenities, such as a clubhouse, fitness center, community pool/spa, tennis, and pickleball courts.
One fantastic benefit at Mountain Bridge is The HOA covers far more, which makes home maintenance hassle-free. The HOA covers the exterior of your home, roof, front landscaping, heated pools, spas, tennis & full fitness center.
Mountain Bridge is a gated community with a private and secure atmosphere. Some neighborhoods are 55+.
Price: $550,000 – $1,700,000
Amenities: 9/10. The amenities at Mountain Bridge are top notch but you pay for it in HOA fees. There are multiple golf courses nearby but not on-site.
Location: 5/10. Northeast Mesa has fewer amenities but is a growing area.
Lifestyle: 9/10. Mountain Bridge is an excellent choice for those seeking an outdoor and social lifestyle.
Pros: Smaller homes available for couples that include large yards and views. A secure community is great for lock and leave.
Cons: A bit of a drive to amenities and restaurants, yet only 25 minutes from Scottsdale, AZ.
Best For: Grandparents, Entertaining, and Active Lifestyles
Overall Rating: 8/10.
Email [email protected] if you have questions about Mountain Bridge or want to purchase Arizona snowbird real estate.
4. Encore at Eastmark (55+) – Mesa, AZ
Within the expansive 3,200-acre master-planned community of Eastmark, Encore has a range of activities, from resident-led interest groups to delightful breakfasts or lunches at the Proving Grounds cafe. Among the many options, residents can indulge in pickleball, Rummikub, dog walking, cycling, happy hours, and enriching educational workshops, among many others. The community also offers various classes: Yoga, glass painting, line dancing, ceramics, pottery, and invigorating water aerobics.
Nestled within this expansive landscape, Encore enjoys picturesque tree-lined streets and a network of interconnected biking and walking paths, all elegantly framed by lush greenbelts.
Price: $490,000 – $700,000
Amenities: 9/10. A resort-style heated pool, hot tub, tennis courts, bocce ball courts, and pickleball courts.
Location: 4/10. East Mesa has fewer amenities but is a growing area and a quick drive to Gilbert and Queen Creek.
Lifestyle: 7.5/10. Great social activities combine with an on-site eatery and a dedicated Encore club.
Pros: Home prices are more affordable.
Cons: A bit of a drive to amenities and restaurants, yet only 20 minutes to either Gilbert or Queen Creek.
Best For: Social Lifestyles and Budget-Conscious
Overall Rating: 7.5/10.
Email [email protected] if you have questions about Encore at Eastmark or want to purchase Arizona snowbird real estate.
5. Sterling Grove (55+) – Surprise, AZ
Sterling Grove is billed as a modern country club. Golf is a central part of the lifestyle at Sterling Grove. The primary homebuilder here is Toll Brothers, a high-end, quality builder. Sterling Grove is the only community I have not visited in person on this list, but the amenities, location, and pricing make it a fit for one of the top options. I’ve also included Sterling Grove because they offer condominium options that can fit the budget-conscious home buyer.
Price: $399,000 – $1,400,000
Amenities: 9/10. Exceptional facilities such as a secluded golf haven, an expansive 20,000 sq ft gathering hub, an exquisite dining venue, a café adorned with skilled coffee artisans, three pool areas, a wellness sanctuary, a cutting-edge fitness hub, a versatile movement studio, and an array of recreational courts for tennis, bocce, and pickleball.
Location: 4/10. Located on the west side of Phoenix, AZ means a further drive to new amenities and restaurants.
Lifestyle: 7.5/10. Excellent social and amenity living for snowbirds.
Overall Rating: 7.5/10. This community is tied with Encore at Eastmark with a 7.5/10 rating.
Pros: Golf, high-end semi-custom homes, condominiums
Cons: Surprise, Arizona, is on the west side of Phoenix, an older area of the Phoenix metro.
Best For: Golfers, social-lites, and lock-and-leave.