Been thinking about moving to a golf cart community? You’re not alone! Golf cart communities are gaining popularity across the United States, especially in areas that attract retirees. These communities don’t allow traditional vehicles, only golf carts, and everything a resident needs-doctors, grocery stores, movie theatres, libraries and more, are easily accessible on their cart. Since golf carts are open and not designed for harsh weather, you’re most likely to find these communities in warm weather areas like the Florida, the Southwest, and Southern California.

Golf carts can be found on the streets of Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, CA, Greenville, SC and Peachtree City, GA. Peach Tree alone boasts 11,000 golf carts among its 13,000 homes. You can find them in dozens more communities across the country as well. Golf carts are easier to handle than traditional vehicles, making them attractive to senior citizens, and depending on the laws in the local area, may not even require a license to operate. In some places kids as young as 12 can legally operate them as long as they are accompanied by an adult.

In California’s Coachella Valley, plans are being made for the creation of a 45-mile path for golf carts, bikes and pedestrians. It will link eight towns consisting of hundreds of thousands of residents. Environmentally, golf carts are a sound choice. They don’t generate pollution, and their size means no need for giant, ugly parking lots. They’re quiet and relatively easy to maintain. Owners can consult sites like Blockbuster Golf Cars Inc. for parts and repair information.

There are a few drawbacks. They don’t go much faster than 25 miles an hour, and since they are electric they do need to be recharged regularly. They are also often limited to the communities designed for them and not permitted on highways. They can also be problematic in bad weather. While there are removable covers available to keep you dry, they will not protect you from lightning strikes, so they shouldn’t be operated during thunderstorms.

Driving a golf cart may not require a license but it does require the same common sense as driving a car. Don’t drive intoxicated, or carry more people or load than the cart is designed for. Never let kids operate it unsupervised and never let a kid under 12 operate it at all. Don’t text and drive, and pay close attention to the road in front of you and the surroundings around you. Safety first!