Lakewood Ranch, Florida, is a renowned master-planned community spanning across eastern Sarasota and Manatee Counties. This meticulously designed area is celebrated for its picturesque parks, extensive walking and biking trails, and top-tier golf courses. With its beautifully landscaped surroundings and a variety of amenities, Lakewood Ranch offers a balanced lifestyle for residents of all ages.

Lifestyle

Lakewood Ranch provides a vibrant and active lifestyle. The community’s numerous parks and green spaces offer endless opportunities for outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and picnicking. Residents enjoy a rich calendar of events, from farmer’s markets to music festivals, fostering a strong sense of community.

The area boasts a variety of dining and shopping options, with local boutiques and restaurants catering to diverse tastes. Wellness and fitness are integral parts of life here, with several state-of-the-art fitness centers, yoga studios, and wellness spas available. The presence of top-rated schools and healthcare facilities adds to the quality of life in Lakewood Ranch, making it an ideal place for families and retirees alike.

Dining and Shopping:
Lakewood Ranch offers a diverse culinary scene with a range of dining options. From upscale restaurants like Grove, which offers American cuisine in a sophisticated setting, to casual eateries like Lucky Pelican, known for its seafood, there is something for every palate. Shopping is equally varied, with local boutiques and major retailers available at locations like Main Street at Lakewood Ranch and The Mall at University Town Center.

Wellness and Fitness:
Wellness is a cornerstone of life in Lakewood Ranch. The area is home to several fitness centers, including the Lakewood Ranch Athletic Center, which offers state-of-the-art gym facilities, fitness classes, and personal training. Yoga studios and wellness spas are also plentiful, providing residents with opportunities to relax and rejuvenate. The community’s emphasis on health is further supported by top-rated healthcare facilities like the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center.

Events and Activities:
Lakewood Ranch hosts a variety of community events throughout the year. From the Farmers’ Market at Waterside Place, offering fresh produce and artisanal goods, to music festivals and holiday celebrations, there is always something happening in the community. These events help foster a strong sense of community and provide ample opportunities for socializing and engagement.

Community Features

Lakewood Ranch is known for its well-planned infrastructure and community amenities. The community features multiple residential villages, each with its own unique charm and character, ranging from luxury estates to family-friendly neighborhoods. Many of these villages are gated, providing an added sense of security and exclusivity.

Downtown Lakewood Ranch:
Downtown Lakewood Ranch serves as the vibrant heart of the community. This area is bustling with activity, offering a variety of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. It hosts regular events, including festivals, concerts, and farmers’ markets, fostering a lively community atmosphere.

Waterside:
Waterside is one of the newest additions to Lakewood Ranch, featuring a beautiful lakeside setting with a mix of residential, retail, and dining options. Waterside Place, the central hub, includes waterfront restaurants, boutique shops, and community spaces, all designed to enhance the living experience.

Golf Courses:
Lakewood Ranch is home to several premier golf courses. The Lakewood Ranch Country Club features three 18-hole courses designed by renowned architects, offering challenging play for golfers of all levels. The King’s Dunes, Cypress Links, and Royal Lakes courses provide scenic views and top-notch facilities, making it a golfer’s paradise. Additionally, the Lakewood National Golf Club, an Arnold Palmer-designed championship course, offers an exceptional golfing experience with its beautiful layout and well-maintained greens.

Polo Fields:
Lakewood Ranch is known for its polo fields. The Sarasota Polo Club, located within the community, offers an exciting polo season from December through April. The club features nine world-class polo fields and hosts matches that attract both local residents and visitors from afar.

Farmers’ Market:
The Farmers’ Market at Lakewood Ranch is a favorite weekly tradition, featuring over 100 curated vendors offering farm-fresh produce, prepared foods, and specialty items. The market, located at Waterside Place, operates year-round every Sunday, providing a lively atmosphere and a variety of goods for residents and visitors alike.

Parks and Nature Trails:
The community is designed with sustainability in mind, incorporating green building practices and preserving natural habitats. The abundance of lakes, wetlands, and wildlife areas adds to the serene environment. Recreational facilities, including tennis courts and swimming pools, are readily available, promoting an active and healthy lifestyle.

History

Lakewood Ranch’s history is rooted in its development as a master-planned community in the mid-1990s. The area was originally part of the sprawling Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, a working ranch that covered approximately 31,000 acres. This vast expanse of land played a significant role in the region’s agricultural history, primarily dedicated to cattle ranching, timber, and citrus groves.

The transformation into a residential community was driven by a vision to create a self-sustaining, integrated community with a focus on quality of life. Major developers, including Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, Inc., played a crucial role in the planning and development of Lakewood Ranch. The developers emphasized preserving the natural beauty of the area while integrating modern amenities and infrastructure.

Over the years, Lakewood Ranch has grown significantly, evolving into one of the most sought-after residential areas in Florida. Specific communities within Lakewood Ranch, such as Summerfield, Greenbrook, and Country Club, each offer unique living experiences. Summerfield was one of the first neighborhoods developed, known for its family-friendly atmosphere and abundant parks. Greenbrook features a variety of home styles and amenities, including adventure parks and dog parks. Country Club, a gated community, offers luxurious homes and access to the private golf courses of the Lakewood Ranch Golf and Country Club.

Future plans for Lakewood Ranch continue to focus on sustainable growth and enhancing the quality of life for residents. New developments are in progress, such as additional residential villages, commercial spaces, and recreational facilities. The Waterside district, for example, is set to expand further, adding more waterfront dining, shopping, and cultural attractions.

The community’s commitment to long-term planning and development ensures that Lakewood Ranch remains a desirable place to live. The integration of modern amenities, preservation of natural beauty, and continued expansion reflect the vision of the original developers, making Lakewood Ranch a dynamic and thriving community.

Nearby Attractions

Lakewood Ranch is conveniently located near a variety of attractions and points of interest. The community is just a short drive from the cultural and recreational offerings of Sarasota, including the Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota Opera House, and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

For beach lovers, the pristine shores of Siesta Key and Lido Key are easily accessible, offering beautiful white sand beaches and clear waters. Nature enthusiasts can explore the Myakka River State Park, one of Florida’s largest and oldest state parks, known for its diverse wildlife and scenic landscapes.

In addition, Lakewood Ranch is close to several shopping destinations, such as The Mall at University Town Center, which features a wide range of retail stores, dining options, and entertainment venues. The proximity to these attractions enhances the appeal of living in Lakewood Ranch, providing residents with a perfect blend of tranquility and convenience.

Community Development District (CDD) Fees, also sometimes called Stewardship Districts, are a notable aspect of living in Lakewood Ranch. These fees contribute to the maintenance and development of the community’s infrastructure and amenities. They help offset homeowners and condo association costs, ensuring that the community remains well-maintained and that residents have access to high-quality facilities. This system makes the manicured appearance of Lakewood Ranch affordable and sustainable.