15 Pros and Cons of Living in Sun City Center, Florida

What is Sun City Center, Florida?

Sun City Center is a 17-square mile age-restricted, 55+ planned community located just south of Tampa. It has a current population of 23K residents, with a median age of 72 years old.
Sun City Center (SCC) is ranked in the Top 1% of the Best Places to Retire in America. In the following, we will explore what makes SCC such a great place to live and provide some insight into aspects of the area that are not so great.

Is Sun City Center, Florida a Gated Community?

No, there are no fences and gates around Sun City Center. Inside SCC limits, there is one smaller community called Kings Point which is gated from the rest of SCC. However, the vast majority of SCC is ungated.

Safety is maintained through a traditional police force, as well as a robust volunteer neighborhood watch team.

10 Benefits of Living in Sun City Center, Florida – Pros

Sun City Center (SCC) offers its residents a nice retirement life, at a decent price. Enjoy everything the community has to offer, all without leaving your golf cart. 

A photo of a sunset over Tampa Bay. The sky is orange in color, the sun is a soft yellow. Bay waters can be seen in the front and you can barely see some tall buildings in the back.

1. Great Winter Weather

The Sun City Center (SCC) area experiences 244 days of sunshine every year, but it also gets 54 inches of rain, which is twice the national average. It is the perfect combination of sun and rain to keep the area lush with green. Summers do get hot and humid with highs in the 90s, but the winters are a cool and dry 60 degrees.

2. Designed for All Your Needs

The planned community of Sun City Center (SCC) was designed to have everything a resident needs inside of its town limits. In other words, a resident could theoretically survive without ever leaving SCC. The community has shopping, restaurants, health facilities, churches, a Post Office, and more.

3. Drive Your Golf Cart Everywhere

SCC is a golf cart community, which means golf carts are allowed on the roads and there is special golf cart parking at most stores. These golf carts are usually inexpensive to purchase and maintain. You don’t even have to pay Florida for registration on the cart. 

See our previous post for more information about the pros and cons of living in a golf community.

A photo of a white golf cart. It is parked on a brick walkway. Towards the back is the lush rolling green of a golf course.

4. Plenty of Golf

If you want to use a golf cart for its original purpose, there are plenty of golfing opportunities in the SCC area. There are 11 golf courses in SCC, with another 38 courses available within 20 miles. All of the SCC courses are private, but 26 of the courses just outside of SCC are public.

5. Nearby Medical Care

As mentioned in Pro #2, Sun Center City (SCC) is designed to offer its residents everything they need within the town limits. This includes having the South Bay hospital inside SCC and a large variety of doctor officers scattered near the hospital. 

The South Bay hospital receives average reviews and is not ranked as a top hospital in Florida, but it is adequate for general and emergency needs.

For specialty needs, there are several top-ranked hospitals in nearby Tampa Bay. These Tampa hospitals include Tampa General (#4 in the state), St. Joseph’s (#12), AdventHeath (#25). 

6. A Good Location

Sun Center City is located 30 minutes southeast of Tampa Bay. This location gives residents convenient access to Tampa amenities including its hospitals (Pro #5), as well as its airport, sporting/concert entertainment, and everything else common in a big city.

In addition, SCC is located about an hour from Disney and 1.5 hours from Orlando. 

Lastly, an assessment of a Florida town would not be complete without talking about beaches. Apollo Beach, which sits on Tampa Bay, is just 15 minutes away. If you are interested in swimming in the beautiful Gulf waters, then Bradenton Beach is about 45 minutes away and Siesta Key is about 1 hour.

An older lady is doing an exercise, raising her leg while touching her foot. She is dressed in a bright yellow jacket, blue jeans, and orange shoes. She is in a park with trees behind her.

7. Plenty of Activities

A self-contained retirement community is not complete unless they have resources to keep their residents active. SCC has a great Community Center:

There’s a state-of-the-art fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, a top-notch softball facility, and many well-equipped rooms for a variety of arts and crafts. We have 10 tennis courts, four pickleball courts, three immaculate lawn bowl greens, shaded horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, dog parks, and a billiards room. There are large and small rooms for dances, meetings, theatre productions, cards, a computer lab, and much more.”

The SCC community center supports over 60 clubs including fitness, arts & craft, games, dance, and more

8. Plenty of Nature

Residents looking to escape the traffic and bustle of Sun City Center (Con #15) have plenty of opportunities to escape to nature. 

The Little Manatee River State Park is on the southern edge of SCC. This 2,400-acre preserve is home to some of the most pristine swamp habitats in Florida. The park has over 18 miles of trails, a campground, and full amenities. 

After exploring Little Manette, you can head a little north and check out the 1600-acre Bullfrog Creek Mitigation Park. And there is plenty more undeveloped land to the southeast and east of SCC.

If you need advice on where to hike or want to make new friends, you can bet there is a hiking club waiting for you (Pro#7).

9. Low Crime Rates

Sun City Center enjoys crime rates that are below national averages as there are no young folks running around causing trouble. SCC is also home to a robust neighborhood watch organization with 1200 volunteers driving around the neighborhood looking for troublemakers.

10. Low Cost of Living/Housing

Sun City Center has a lot to offer its residents, so it is a bit surprising to find the area is relatively inexpensive when compared to similar communities in Florida. Overall, SCC has a total cost of living that is 5% lower than national averages, driven mostly by the fact housing is 25% lower than the national average ($243K in SCC versus $291K national).

5 Downsides of Living in Sun City Center, Florida – Cons

Every location has its imperfections and now we’ll look at the factors that residents of Sun City Center (SCC) may not enjoy.

A photo of a Cyprus swamp. Still water is seen in the front, several Cyprus trees are in the back.

11. Hurricane Risk

No assessment of a Florida community would be complete without mentioning the risk of hurricanes. In fact, the city of Tampa Bay is considered one of the Top 5 cities most at risk of damage due to a major hurricane. The area has an 11% chance of being hit by a hurricane each year. 

The most recent major storm was in 2004 when Category 4 Hurricane Charley made landfall just south of Tampa and caused $16 billion in damages.

There is good news for the residents of Sun City Center: SCC is not directly on the water; it is about 5 miles from the coast. This puts the SCC area away from the risk of storm surge and sea-level increases due to climate change. However, SCC could still be vulnerable to the heavy winds and rains of a major storm.

12. Lack of Diversity

89% of Sun City Center residents are White and, no surprise for a retirement community, the median age is 75 years old. So SCC is a very homogeneous community of elderly White folks riding around (slowly) in golf carts. 

There is diversity in the surrounding neighborhoods, but due to age and having children, they are unable to move inside SCC.

13. Your Grandchildren Are Welcome to Visit, Not Stay

The residents of SCC love it when their grandchildren come to visit …but only for a maximum of 30 days. You must be over 19 years old if you want to live with your grandparents inside SCC. Folks 18 and under cannot stay in an SCC home for more than 30 days. 

Children can be troublemakers and the large neighborhood watch group (Pro #8) is dedicated to protecting the neighborhood from these young hooligans. Residents who are found to be “harboring young ones” may face legal action if the problem isn’t resolved quickly.

There are 3 red blocks sitting on a wooden table. They spell HOA. A man's had is seen, placing a little wooden house on top of the blocks.

14. Strict Homeowner Associations 

Sun City Center does not have just one homeowner association (HOA). The city, which is only 17 square miles in size, is actually divided into more than 100 neighborhood HOAs. That means there are nearly 6 HOAs per square mile inside SCC. 

If you want to live in SCC, which is truly beautiful and well-maintained, you’ll need to become intimately familiar with your HOA rules. You should assume someone is always watching; neighbors, HOA board, neighborhood watch volunteers, etc.

15. Dense Development and Traffic

Sun City Center has experienced exponential growth over the last decade or two. What started out as a slow-paced rural community has matured into a more urban feel. Having 23K residents in 16-square miles means SCC has a population density of 1,300 people per square mile, which is 231% denser than the Florida average. 

Many residents consider this growth to be a good thing. A decade ago, there were few restaurant and store options to drive your golf cart to. Thanks to development, residents now have a nice selection to choose from. Most of this commercial development has taken place along Route 674, the only major road inside SCC limits, which cuts right down the center of the community. 

The retail development attracts visitors from outside SCC (younger folks can’t live in SCC but they can still travel to its retailers). In addition, developers have been busy building new homes in order to keep up with demand. 

The end result is that Route 674 gets packed with bad traffic. Online reviews show many of the elderly residents dread having to go on 674.

A photo of a sunset over Tampa Bay. A large bridge is at the center of the photo. Orange skies in the back, calm waters in front.

Is Sun City Center, Florida a Good Place to Live?

If you are over 55 years old, then yes Sun City Center is a great place to live. In fact, Sun City Center (SCC) is ranked in the Top 1% of the Best Places to Retire in America. This community is designed to have everything a resident needs within its borders (Pro #2), and all are reachable via your golf cart (Pro #3).

However, you should understand that the community enforces strict rules in order to keep the area safe and beautiful (Con #14). Also, realize that the area has undergone rapid development over the years, and no longer has a slow-paced rural feel (Con #15).

What are the HOA fees in Sun City Center, Florida?

Homeowner Association fees inside Sun City Center are a modest $300 per year (just $25 per month).

How Far is Sun City Center, Florida from the Beach?

Sun City Center is in a great location with convenient access to both Tampa Bay and Orlando (Pro#6). Apollo Beach, which sits on Tampa Bay, is just 15 minutes away. If you are interested in swimming in the beautiful Gulf waters, then Bradenton Beach is about 45 minutes away and Siesta Key is about 1 hour.

What Does it Cost to Live in Sun City Center, Florida?

Sun City Center is relatively inexpensive when compared to similar communities in Florida. Overall, SCC has a total cost of living that is 5% lower than national averages, driven mostly by the fact housing is 25% lower than the national average ($243K in SCC versus $291K national).

What is the ZIP code for Sun City Center, Florida?

33573

What is the Sun City Center, Florida Crime Rate?

Sun City Center enjoys crime rates that are below national averages as there are no young folks running around causing trouble. SCC is also home to a robust neighborhood watch organization with 1200 volunteers driving around the neighborhood looking for troublemakers.

What County is Sun City Center, Florida In?

Hillsborough County

What is the Temperature in Sun City Center, Florida?

Winters are a cool and dry 60 degrees. Summers get hot and humid with highs in the 90s.

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