Lakewood Ranch is a large master-planned community that is located about halfway between Bradenton and Sarasota on Florida's west coast. Lakewood Ranch offers more than a dozen different neighborhoods offering both age-restricted and family-friendly living across more than 31,000 acres.
Lakewood Ranch sold 2,574 new homes last year, making them the #2 best selling master-planned community in the country, right behind The Villages.
Though there are a few small, non-age-restricted part of The Villages, by most definitions it is an age-restricted community, which makes Lakewood Ranch the #1 selling “multi-generational” community in the country.
Several readers as well as personal friends of mine have moved there, and I can say from experience it is definitely worth a look in your quest to find the perfect retirement community for you.
Here's what we'll be covering in this massive guide:
- Life at Lakewood Ranch
- Lakewood Ranch Neighborhoods
- Lakewood Ranch Rentals
- What’s Nearby Lakewood Ranch?
Life at Lakewood Ranch
From shopping and dining to healthcare and activities, everything about life at Lakewood Ranch is designed to be special. And because of its size, the community is able to offer a wide range of features to appeal to many different types of residents.
Shopping and Dining
With more than 200 shops and restaurants spread across three commercial districts, you are never going to be very far away from a delicious meal or a first-class shopping spree here at Lakewood Ranch.
Main Street at Lakewood Ranch offers residents the ideal downtown experience filled with an eclectic collection of boutiques and eateries. Main Street is also the home of Lakewood Ranch Cinemas, as well as regular concerts and festivals throughout the year.
At the northern end of the community, Lakewood Ranch residents can enjoy the 37-acre retail development known as The Green at Lakewood Ranch. There are more than two dozen businesses here, including Earth Fare and LA Fitness.
Waterside Place is the newest commercial destination at Lakewood Ranch, and it offers a wide range of restaurants and retail stores that are perfectly integrated with apartment living, all right on the water.
Parks and Trails
While many of the Lakewood Ranch neighborhoods are built around walking trials, the entire community has access to a vast collection of parks and trails. Whether you are looking for a casual stroll, an exciting hike, or a trip to a dog park, there is something for every type of outdoor enthusiast to enjoy here!
Bob Gardner Community Park, James L. Patton Community Park, Heron’s Nest Nature Park, Greenbrook Adventure Park, Summerfield Community Park, and Country Club Community Park are all located within the community, and that isn’t even getting into the dozens of state and local parks located just outside the community.
Outstanding medical care is also a staple here at Lakewood Ranch, and there are nearly a dozen different medical facilities spread out across the community. With so many to choose from, residents here have access to multiple options without ever having to travel outside the community.
Lakewood Ranch Medical Center is a 120-bed acute care hospital with an extensive system of fully-integrated inpatient and outpatient services.
In addition, there are a number of on-site general practitioners, dentists, and specialists, plus facilities like the Lakewood Ranch YMCA and a number of fitness centers designed to improve everyone’s quality of life.
Lakewood Ranch has also been selected to be the home of the Brain Health Initiative, which is described as “a landmark, multi-generational research initiative that will have a global impact on brain health.”
Clubs and Activities
Clubs and activities are another essential part of the Lakewood Ranch experience, and like everything else around this community, residents have more than a few options at their fingertips.
Several of the Lakewood Ranch neighborhoods have their own lifestyle programming, which includes a team of employees that is completely focused on coming up with fun things to keep residents busy throughout the year.
Then there are the resident clubs and groups, which cover just about every activity and interest you could possibly imagine from sports and hobbies to social organizations and religious groups. It may not have as many clubs as The Villages, but the number is steadily growing.
Lakewood Ranch is home to more than 50 different charities that work to keep residents busy through giving back to the community and various other causes.
Residents can get involved with groups like the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund, the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club, and the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch.
The Market at Lakewood Ranch
Finding fresh produce is never a problem thanks to The Market at Lakewood Ranch, which is a farmers’ market held in the parking lot of the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center every Sunday morning from 10 am to 2 pm.
The Market at Lakewood Ranch usually features more than 50 local vendors, so there is never a shortage of delicious options and healthy produce.
Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club
With 54 holes of golf across three courses, two award-winning clubhouses, and a 400-yard practice range, everything about Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club is designed to create a world-class experience.
In addition to being the community’s hub for golfers, there are also lots of social events that happen here, and residents also have access to a 24-hour fitness facility, 20 tennis courts, 12 pickleball courts, and a state-of-the-art golf academy.
Premier Sports Campus
While the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club is a prime destination for golfers and tennis players, residents interested in other sports can pursue their passions at the Premier Sports Campus.
This massive facility offers 140 acres of fields that are designed to serve everyone from young people learning sports to semi-professional level adults looking for serious competition. There are a total of 22 full-size fields that host a wide range of sports leagues, tournaments, and camps.
Sarasota Polo Club
The Villages is well-known for their polo club, but not many people know that polo is also big at Lakewood Ranch, and has been for almost three decades now.
The Sarasota Polo Club boasts a total of seven polo fields across their 130-acre complex, and residents can come out to see the action every Sunday throughout the winter season.
Music on Main
Live music is essential to any great community experience, and Lakewood Ranch embraces that with Music on Main from 6 pm to 9 pm on the first Friday of every month.
Food vendors, beer trucks, and other vendor booths line both sides of Main Street to make this event one of the biggest regular happenings in Lakewood Ranch.
Other Notable Events
While we have already highlighted some of the biggest regular events like The Market and Music on Main, it is worth pointing out that we are barely even scratching the surface of what Lakewood Ranch has to offer its residents.
There really is something for everyone here, and that includes regularly scheduled activities and events like Sunday Morning Yoga, Ranch Nite Wednesdays, Community Nature Walks, Classic Car Wednesday, Community Bike Rides, and so much more!
Lakewood Ranch Neighborhoods
With everything from low-maintenance condominiums to huge single-family houses, Lakewood Ranch offers a neighborhood option for just about every type of family and budget. You can search available Lakewood Ranch homes here.
Each neighborhood has its own unique mix of home styles, amenities, and budgets, so make note of which ones get you most excited so that you can narrow down the options and find the perfect destination for your family.
Here are a handful of the new neighborhoods currently being developed at Lakewood Ranch:
*Before we jump into the different neighborhoods of Lakewood Ranch, let me just say that if you were to explore them all on your own, it can get confusing very quickly, trying to keep every neighborhood, builder, and sales consultant straight.
To help you out, I've teamed up with a Realtor in Lakewood Ranch who has already helped a handful of my readers buy homes there, to guide you through this process. You can connect with him here.
Cresswind Lakewood Ranch
Cresswind Lakewood Ranch is a 55+ gated neighborhood of about 650 single-family homes spread out across 250 acres in Manatee County. Residents here have access to a 5.2-acre recreation center that includes a private clubhouse, fitness center, tennis courts, and a swimming pool.
Del Webb Lakewood Ranch
As one of the largest names in developing 55-plus communities, it should be no surprise that Del Webb has a massive footprint here at Lakewood Ranch.
The Del Webb Lakewood Ranch neighborhood is comprised of 1,300 attached and single-family homes along with a full assortment of resort-style amenities.
Esplanade at Azario
From the developer:
“Live a year-round vacation and never have to pack. That’s the Esplanade lifestyle you’ll realize at Esplanade at Azario Lakewood Ranch. Experience a new level of inspired living and enjoy an exciting array of planned resort-style amenities. From relaxing pursuits to active recreation, you’ll have plentiful opportunities to stay active, get fit and revitalize. It’s a luxurious, sophisticated experience that rivals a world-class vacation resort. With an on-site lifestyle manager to point the way, you’ll soon discover that the possibilities are endless at Esplanade.”
Harmony is a neighborhood of townhomes that offers the latest in space-saving design combined with a fantastic location right next to CORE and close to some of the most popular shopping and dining locations in Lakewood Ranch. Amenities here include access to a private clubhouse, a resort-style pool, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.
Residents of Indigo at Lakewood Ranch tend to think of their gated neighborhood as its own private village that includes amenities like a private clubhouse, pool and spa area, fitness center, and pickleball and bocce courts. Indigo also offers an on-site lifestyle director to assist you with staying active.
Lakewood National Golf Club
The 36 holes of Arnold Palmer-designed golfing are the focal point of the Lakewood National Golf Club neighborhood, but residents here also enjoy non-golf amenities like sports courts, a resort-style pool, and a tiki bar and restaurant.
Park East at Azario
From the developer:
“Park East at Azario Lakewood Ranch by award-winning homebuilder Taylor Morrison offers a beautiful selection of distinctive single-family homes paired with exciting planned neighborhood amenities! Each home includes designer features, chef-inspired kitchens, flexible customizing options and attractive curb appeal.
If you’re looking for your Florida dream home, look no further than Park East at Azario Lakewood Ranch. Ideally located in southeastern Manatee County, you’re close to a myriad of shopping, dining, schools, entertainment and recreational opportunities.
Residents of Park East at Azario will enjoy access to the planned amenity park which will include a pool with spa, sand volleyball court, basketball court, pet parks, playground, corn hole lawn, and sports field.”
With stunning views of the nearby wetlands, nature lovers are clearly the ideal residents for Savanna, where every home has its own private outdoor space. The neighborhood also offers residents a full seven acres of first-class amenities.
The Isles is a Toll Brothers neighborhood that offers two different collections of flexible floorplans inside Lakewood Ranch. Interesting architecture is the obvious trademark of this neighborhood, but some might argue that the resort-style amenities are an even bigger draw.
The Lake Club
Luxury living is the focal point of The Lake Club, which is a gated neighborhood of lakefront single-family homes. Amenities here include a fabulous 20,000 square foot Grand Clubhouse, as well as a fitness center, tennis courts, and a full activities calendar.
Not only is Waterside the first Lakewood Ranch village in Sarasota, but it is also unique in that it is actually comprised of two separate neighborhoods.
The Shoreview neighborhood at Waterside offers homes with views of the seven lakes and 20 miles of shoreline, as well as all of the standard amenities, with prices starting in the $800k's.
Lakehouse Cove is the other neighborhood at Waterside, and this one is dedicated to recreation enthusiasts as it has its own kayak launch, a playground, and a dog park.
Woodleaf Hammock is a family-friendly gated neighborhood that offers spectacular views of local lakes and nature preserves. Amenities here include a pool, pavilion, tot lot, and pickleball courts.
Again, if you'd like the help of a Realtor who has helped several of my readers explore and buy in Lakewood Ranch, you can get in touch with him here.
Lakewood Ranch Rentals
If you just want to dip your toe in the water and try out Lakewood Ranch by renting there for the time being, you are in luck! You can search available Lakewood Ranch rentals here.
What’s Nearby Lakewood Ranch?
Not only is there an amazing amount of things to see and do inside the Lakewood Ranch community, but there are also dozens of reasons to check out the surrounding communities for arts and culture, sporting events, beaches, and travel.
Arts & Culture
Lakewood Ranch is known for placing a strong emphasis on arts and culture through many of the things happening right in the community, but there are also dozens of outstanding arts and culture destinations nearby.
Residents who are passionate about the arts have the good fortune of being surrounded by attractions like the Manatee Performing Arts Center, the Village of the Arts in Bradenton, and the Ringling Museum of Art.
With a location just an hour south of Tampa, there are opportunities for residents of Lakewood Ranch to check out professional sporting events throughout the entire year thanks to local teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
In addition to those local teams, Sarasota is the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles, and the Pittsburgh Pirates call nearby Bradenton home for their spring training.
Depending on traffic, residents of Lakewood Ranch can be relaxing on some of the most beautiful beaches in Florida in less than 30 minutes.
- Lido Key (15 miles)
- Siesta Key (19 miles)
- Anna Maria Island (22 miles)
- Longboat Key (23 miles)
- Clearwater Beach (60 miles)
Airports & Travel
Traveling to and from Lakewood Ranch is always a breeze thanks to the fact that the community is located near four different airports.
The Sarasota Bradenton International Airport is just 20 minutes from the community, but residents have access to even more flights by heading up to Tampa International Airport or down to Southwest Florida International Airport.
And then there is also the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport for even more options.
Hotels & Lodging
Because Lakewood Ranch has such an amazing location along the Gulf right between Bradenton and Sarasota, there is no shortage of excellent hotels offering reasonable rates.
Every major hotel chain has options in the area, so whether you are loyal to Marriott, Hampton, Hyatt, or Radisson, there is an option that will fit your style and budget.
Many of the options located near the community offer discounts for anyone visiting Lakewood Ranch, so make sure that you call and ask about getting a better rate before you book anything!
With so many lifestyle amenities, housing options, and nearby attractions, it’s no surprise that Lakewood Ranch continues to be one of the fastest-growing master-planned communities in the entire country. No matter what type of lifestyle you might be looking for, there is an excellent chance that you will find the perfect version of it here.