The Villages vs. On Top of the World

Some people describe On Top of the World in Ocala as a miniature version of The Villages, and that’s a fairly good description.

“The Villages Light” if you wish.

Frankly, The Villages is too big and too crowded for a lot of people, and smaller communities like On Top of the World that offer the same or similar amenities are a better fit for them.

Let’s look at a few key aspects and help you decide what’s right for you.


One of the biggest complaints I hear about The Villages is that it’s in the middle of nowhere. This complaint is mitigated quite a bit by the fact that, really, pretty much anything and everything you’d need can be found within the community.

Residents call it living in “the bubble”…thus, the name of this website. Venturing outside the community is called going “outside of the bubble”. For some, this is great…totally what they’re looking for, while others yearn for more diversity in the surrounding community.

On Top of the World gives people that diversity with its location in Ocala. You get the active adult lifestyle you want within the community itself, but you also have a more “typical” representation of daily life outside the community gates.
Ocala, called the “Horse Capital of the World” because so many thoroughbred horses are raised and trained there, is one of the most scenic Florida locales, and is rich in history, culture, shopping, and dining.

So if I had to pick a winner as far as location goes, I’d have to say On Top of the World, but you might have different tastes.


When complete, On Top of the World is slated to have around 22,000 homes, making it about 2/5 the size of The Villages. Again, personal preference will rule the day here.

Are you looking for smaller and perhaps more close-knit, or is bigger better for you?


On Top of the World has most of the same amenities you’ll find in The Villages, just fewer of them because there’s far less people to serve.

Clubhouses. Golf. Tennis. Organized activities and more than 200 clubs. A town square with entertainment Friday and Saturday nights. A farmer’s market. Restaurants, coffee shops and a pub. An art gallery. Dog parks. A spa. Basketball courts. Walking trails. An indoor pool (something The Villages DOES NOT have). And much more.

Real Estate

Home prices and sizes at On Top of the World are pretty similar to what you’ll find in The Villages. Prices currently start in the mid $100k’s.

We’ve mentioned this in other head-to-head’s, but one thing I know a lot of people are looking for is the concept of “maintenance-free”. It’s very hard to find in The Villages, but On Top of the World offers a whole maintenance-free section where all of your home’s exterior maintenance and lawn care is taken care of. It’s “lock and leave” convenience for those who travel frequently and/or just want less hassle with those types of issues in retirement.

Which community should you choose?

Some of our head-to-head comparisons come down to location, but while we gave On Top of the World a slight edge in the location department, this decision really comes down more to size of community than anything else.

Whichever way you choose, we don’t think you could go wrong with either On Top of the World or The Villages.

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