What is it like to live in Lakewood Ranch? With an increasing spotlight in the real estate world, Lakewood Ranch has been making headlines as a dream destination for many.  But does this community live up to the hype?

pros and cons of living in lakewood ranch

Join me as I share my personal experiences, as well as feedback from residents, in this comprehensive guide and unravel the pros and cons of living in Lakewood Ranch. 

When people call or email me about the potential of buying a home in Lakewood Ranch, one of the first questions they ask me is…Is Lakewood Ranch a nice place to live?  

See the article: Living in Sarasota VS Naples Here

That is a hard question because “nice” is a relative term.  I lived in Miami for 13 years before I moved to Lakewood Ranch. So, to me, yes, this place is paradise. Comparatively, Lakewood Ranch has less traffic, crime, and expense than major cities such as Miami or Chicago.

However, Lakewood Ranch is not for everyone.  

pros and cons living in lakewood ranch

You can skip this article if you want to avoid living in a planned community with neighborhoods guided by rules and regulations.

Because Lakewood Ranch is a master-planned community, this area has development rules and regulations.  

You Might Like the Article: Best Villa Neighborhoods in Lakewood Ranch

As a former City Planner, I personally like order and planned growth.  Not only does it protect property values, but it goes a long way to the quiet enjoyment of one’s residence.  

Great Planning & Real Estate Protection

When I first started investigating Lakewood Ranch as a place to call home, one thing stood out.  The majority of the undeveloped land is owned by one entity.  It’s now a corporation.

However, historically, parts were owned by the Uihlein family and the Schroeders.  These two families formed a corporation; generations later, family members still play an active role in the development (corporation). 

Planning Lakewood Ranch

Why is this important?  When one entity owns most of the vacant land, it can plan for growth, organize where businesses are placed, and have a comprehensive plan for what the future of an area will look like.

See the article: New Construction: Is Using a Realtor Worth It?  

Most people don’t think about the importance of planning a community until a business, such as a fast food place or car dealership, is being proposed directly behind their home. Bad development can kill your resale value, not to mention the nuisance of outdoor lighting, smell, and noise. 

In addition, controlling growth is proactive. Future housing developments are being planned years in advance. However, their releases are timed and limited.

As a result, the supply and demand of housing stock remain balanced (as best it can be). This allows prices to remain stable.  Plus, investments remain solid without huge dips in real estate prices.

No Age Restrictions

Lakewood Ranch is a multi-generational community. Although there are a few neighborhoods located in Lakewood Ranch that do have age restrictions for ownership, the majority do not.

See the Article: Pros & Cons of Living in a Del Webb

Many families are relocating together to Lakewood Ranch but choose different neighborhoods. Finding the right neighborhood that fits your lifestyle is one attraction of Lakewood Ranch.

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦Lakewood Ranch Demographics

How big is Lakewood Ranch?  Lakewood Ranch covers over 33,000 acres or roughly 50 square miles. It has over 10,000 areas of lakes, 150 miles of trails and over 22 neighborhoods. What are the residents of Lakewood Ranch like? Let’s take a look.

demographics of lakewood ranch

Average Age

Although Lakewood Ranch is highly sought after as a place to retire, the median age is 52.  According to the Census Reporter, the average age of Lakewood Ranch is about 20% older than other communities in Florida (avg. age 42.3 yrs) 

  • 22% of the population is between 0-19 yrs old
  • 26% of Lakewood Ranch’s population is between 40-60 yrs old
  • 18% of the population is 60-69 years old
  • 16% of the people living in Lakewood Ranch are 70-79 yrs old

Average Income in Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch’s median household income is roughly 1.5 times above the state’s average. The median household income is $110,026.

  • 25% have a household income between $50K-$100K
  • 34% have a household income between $100K-$200K
  • 21% have a household income above $200K

Race & Ethnicity

Male Population (50%) Female (50%)


  • 82% Caucasian
  • 9% Hispanic
  • 2% Asian 
  • 2% Black
  • 2% “Other”

Overall, Lakewood Ranch’s population is wealthier and a little older than a typical Florida community. However, it lacks diversity. 

👎Cons of Living in Lakewood Ranch

What are some of the negatives of living in Lakewood Ranch? Every community has tradeoffs; it depends on what you can live with. As a resident here are a few things that come to mind having lived here for almost a decade.

If relocating from a larger geographical area, consider whether you can live with the tradeoffs or find alternatives.

  • Lack of Diversity
  • Big & Spread Out
  • Expense-Is it?
  • Quiet
  • Traffic-When & How Much

I will explore each one of these in depth below.

🎯Lack of Diversity

Stephen Covey once said, “Strength lies in differences, not similarities.”.  

Without diversity, things can be well, just dull.  

What you will find here are homogenous communities needing more cultural diversity.  You can find some diversity, but you must actively seek it out.

Even though the demographics mentioned above point to an unvaried population, as Lakewood Ranch grows, it will change. 

🧭Lakewood Ranch is BIG & Spread Out

Have you ever been to Las Vegas or a large resort on vacation?  The developments are set back with winding roads, and you can’t really see anything from the road.  Well, Lakewood Ranch is similar.  

Map of Lakewood Ranch

Typically, the neighborhoods in Lakewood Ranch are set back away from the main roads.

This has some advantages because it can protect your home from road noise. But if you live in a larger community, driving out of it takes several minutes.  

I must admit, when I first moved into Del Webb, I got lost several times the first week we lived there.

Moreover, most communities are large, some with over 1100 homes.  If you are looking for a smaller neighborhood, they can be found, but it is not common.  

Although commercial shopping, such as grocery stores and other conveniences, are located conveniently nearby, you will have to drive to get to most.  Yes, you may be able to ride your bike to some places, but taking your golf cart is out of the question.

💰Is Lakewood Ranch Expensive?

Is Lakewood Ranch Expensive?

Lakewood Ranch does have a reputation for exclusivity and can be expensive to live in.  When the median household income exceeds the state’s by 1.5 times, you can expect housing to be slightly more costly. 

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Home prices range from $330K to over $2 million, with the average listing price being $695,500, according to Realtor.com.

However, the developer of Lakewood Ranch has been offering more affordable housing options and is introducing additional builders to appeal to various income ranges.

Plus, new rental developments are coming as well.

Overall, Florida has seen an increase in population partly due to its great weather and no state income tax. So, Lakewood Ranch is one of many areas that has experienced a rise in real estate prices.

Since this is the #1 planned community in the United States, its popularity has increased real estate prices. But, if you own here and own, chances are you will not see significant decreases either.

CDD Fees

There is one additional expense every property owner must pay: a CDD fee or Stewardship fee.  What is a CDD or Stewardship fee?  It is a yearly fee that is included with your property tax bill.  

I equate it to a large HOA that covers an extended area and maintains the local infrastructure, such as roads, drainage, and landscaping throughout Lakewood Ranch.

Although Lakewood Ranch has Stewardship fees, other areas in Manatee County and Sarasota County also have them.  Some fees can be even higher than those of Lakewood Ranch.

🤐Lakewood Ranch is Quiet

Yes, this is suburbia.  Although Lakewood Ranch has recently had numerous new restaurants open, as well as the addition of a new downtown called Waterside, things are still pretty quiet around here.  

Empty street in Lakewood Ranch

Most restaurants close around 10 PM, and there is little nightlife.  You can find some late dining in Waterside and the original downtown Lakewood Ranch.  

Otherwise, your best bet is around University Park Mall or Sarasota which is about a 7-10 min drive from Lakewood Ranch.

Regarding other entertainment, such as live music, movies, or the arts, Lakewood Ranch has an independent movie theater, and a few restaurants will have live music during dinner.  

But, if you are looking for an urban environment with performance theatres and other art venues, Lakewood Ranch doesn’t offer that yet.  You will have to go to Sarasota, St. Petersburg or Tampa.

🚙Lakewood Ranch & Traffic

Traffic in Lakewood Ranch

Although Lakewood Ranch has excellent urban planning, it does have its fair share of traffic, especially during commuting times.  

Interstate 75 can be congested during morning and evening commute times.

The 2 main corridors, State Rd 70 and State Road 64, can get congested. State Road 70, which runs through the middle of Lakewood Ranch, is busier.

The savvy locals take the back roads, which run parallel to 70 & 64, and only use those 2 major roads when necessary.

In addition, new roads are being built inside Lakewood Ranch to alleviate traffic along State Road 70 and provide better access to the interstate. 

I don’t want to downplay the traffic.  But, when you live in an area that ranks #1 in the best places to retire, part of the growing pains does involve issues such as traffic.  However, comparatively, the traffic is much less than in major cities across the US. 

Seasonal Traffic

Does the traffic in Lakewood Ranch increase during the season (winter months)?  Yes. Attractive areas in Florida that offer great amenities and proximity to top beaches in the United States will see increasing traffic during the winter months.  

Who doesn’t love 75-degree weather in January?

Even though over 80% of Lakewood Ranch’s residents are full-time, we see an influx of traffic during the winter months.  It can be frustrating. But without tourists, we would be paying state income tax.

👍🏼Pros of Living in Lakewood Ranch

What are the advantages of living in Lakewood Ranch?  People come here for many different reasons.  Some are looking for a safe place, while others want the opportunity to get to know their neighbors and enjoy the resort-style amenities many neighborhoods offer.

Whatever your reason for exploring this community, you have plenty of options.

⛳️Lakewood Ranch Amenities

What makes this master-planned community so popular?  Not only is it the design, but this multi-generational town offers over 150 miles of multi-use trails and bike paths.  

Get the List: Top 9 Active Communities in Lakewood Ranch

With over 40% of land dedicated to open space and recreation, finding a place to enjoy the outdoors to play a round of golf, pickleball or practice yoga is within a few minutes of home.  

Polo (Sarasota Polo Club)  

Amenities in Lakewood Ranch FL

The polo grounds in Lakewood Ranch have been hosting polo matches since 1991.  Polo season begins in late December and runs until early April. 

There are theme weeks, half-time entertainment, food and drinks too.  And you cannot forget about the traditional divot-stomping.  Go early and enjoy tailgating events as well.

Golf Courses in Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood National Golf Course

There are six golf courses in Lakewood Ranch. Four of the six golf courses in Lakewood Ranch are in bundled golf neighborhoods.

In addition, according to GolfLink.com, there are another 76 golf courses within 20 miles of Lakewood Ranch.  

Of the 76 golf courses, 42 are public, 6 are municipal, 1 PL, and 26 are private. 

Premier Sports Campus

These fields are home to amateur, collegiate, professional and national leagues.  Whether you enjoy soccer, Cricket or La Crosse, or Rugby, it’s here & more.  With over 140 acres of pristine fields and 3,000 stadium seating, you enjoy outdoor sports day and night. 

  • Racquet & Aquatics complex coming to the Sports Campus:  2 competition pools, a therapy pool, office space, and meeting rooms will be the latest addition.  Plus, if you love Pickleball, you will have more chances to play—twenty-four new pickleball courts, 14 of which will be covered. There will also be 14 tennis courts included in the complex.  

Parks in Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch Amenities

The parks offer something for everyone.  If you are looking for a dog park, splash park, or a quiet walk in a shaded area, you can find it here.  

Get Your List: Best Dog Parks in Sarasota/Bradenton

In addition to the parks throughout the area, many neighborhoods offer additional residence-only parks. Every community park in Lakewood Ranch provides something different. Here is what you can expect.

  • Dog Park
  • Fishing Lakes
  • Kayak/Boat Launch
  • Nature Trails
  • Splash Park
  • Basketball Courts
  • Volleyball Courts

🏥Does Lakewood Ranch Have a Hospital?

Does Lakewood Ranch Have a Hospital

Yes, Lakewood Ranch has a 120-bed hospital across the street from the downtown center. This is an acute care facility with inpatient and outpatient services.

However, this is more than just a hospital. It is a 30-acre medical campus with additional medical offices providing primary and specialty care.

Does Lakewood Ranch Hospital Have a Pediatric Unit?

Yes, Lakewood Ranch Hospital has a pediatric unit that also includes an isolation treatment area with a separate entrance as well as a pediatric exam room.

Other Medical Services

Additional medical offices throughout the community provide a comprehensive range of services, for example, cardiology, memory care, and orthopedics.

There are also four urgent care centers located throughout Lakewood Ranch.

🛍️Three Town Centers

One pro of living in Lakewood Ranch is access to commercial areas. There are three town centers in Lakewood Ranch.  Each area has a unique offering, such as specialized eateries, exercise studios, remote office space, and more.

best neighborhoods lakewood ranch

What is a town center? They are the large commercial plazas located in Lakewood Ranch.  

In addition to the town centers, you’ll find neighborhood plazas focusing on convenience needs, such as grocery stores, dry cleaners, and smaller restaurants.  

Whereas the neighborhood plazas are there to provide service to nearby residents, the town centers are more of a focal point within the community.  They offer larger restaurants and organize events, such as the farmer’s market, throughout the year

Waterside Place

Waterside is the newest addition located in the southern portion of Lakewood Ranch. Not all the commercial spaces are taken yet. But there are several new restaurants and shops nearing completion. What you will currently find in Waterside are Pilates and Yoga studios, specialty boutiques, a variety of restaurants, and a distillery serving craft cocktails.

Pros and cons Living in Lakewood Ranch

Adjacent to Waterside is a large park with volleyball, play equipment, and walking trails.

Waterside is a pedestrian-friendly shopping area that hosts various events, such as the Farmer’s Market, corn hole tournaments, and live music on the weekends.

Main Street

This convenient location (in the center of Lakewood Ranch) is the “original” downtown. Not only does this downtown area offer a variety of restaurants and brewpubs, you can also enjoy a wine bar, catch a movie or play a round of miniature golf.

pros & cons of living in lakewood ranch

Main Street is also home to Music on Main and other events throughout the year.

Additionally, you will find several specialty shops, an arts and crafts studio, and a few places to work out.

The Green

This center is more of what you’ll see in a suburban environment.  Whereas Waterside Place and Main Street are pedestrian-friendly and very walkable, The Green is more car-oriented.  

Ideally located just off State Rd 70, The Green has a variety of fast food restaurants, a gas station, a CVS pharmacy, and a large LA Fitness. 

While numerous grocery stores are located throughout Lakewood Ranch, The Green has the only specialty grocery store, Fresh Market. 

All three town centers are easily accessible within a few minute’s drive from most neighborhoods in Lakewood Ranch.

📍Lakewood Ranch’s Location

Where is Lakewood Ranch, Florida located? Lakewood Ranch is located in Manatee County in the southwest section of Florida. Lakewood Ranch is approximately 17 miles from the Gulf Coast.

One central point that is attractive about living in Lakewood Ranch is its location.  Being situated between Tampa, and Sarasota allows many to enjoy city life without the hassle of living in and dealing with the noise and heavy traffic.

Pros & Cons Living in Lakewood Ranch. airports close to Lakewood ranch

Sarasota, Tampa and St. Petersburg are a short drive and offer fine dining, great shopping, arts and entertainment.  

Spend the afternoon at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, walk along the marina, and wrap up with dinner by the water while listening to live music. 

But there is more to its location…

✈️Access to Airports

If you will be traveling or having family and friends visiting you, then you know how important easy and affordable access to airports is.

One common theme most people who live in Lakewood Ranch enjoy is the access to 4 airports within 1 hour’s drive.

  • Sarasota Airport (SRQ): This little gem isn’t so little anymore.  But it is still convenient to get to and navigate through.  It is getting easier to find flights to major cities at SRQ.  Super friendly staff, it still has a small-town feel to the airport, but not for long.  It is expanding with a new wing.
  • St. Pete-Clearwater International (PIE): If you want a direct flight to the Midwest, look here first.  More than 60 non-stop flights originate out of this airport daily.  You can also fly to the Bahamas out of this airport.
  • Tampa International (TPA): This is a hub for Southwest Airlines, United Express, Silver Airlines, and more.  Over 22 airlines fly in and out of Tampa airport. On average, there are over 500 flights a day at this facility.
  • Punta Gorda Airport (PGD): Don’t underestimate this little airport.  When I can’t find a flight with a good schedule or price, I look here.  This airport flies to the Midwest with Allegiant and to the East Coast.  Non-stop service to more than 50 + destinations. 

🏖️Nearby Beaches

You can enjoy the beautiful beaches the Gulf Coast offers without living in a tourist area.  You know the saying, “It’s a great place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there”?  This holds true for coastal or island communities.  

Pros and cons living in Lakewood Ranch. Beaches nearby

If you go early to the beaches, access is easy, and you can select parking.  Arriving late is another story, especially during the winter or weekends. 

Having lived on Anna Maria Island, I can attest to the multitude of tourists and the horrendous traffic on that island in peak seasons. 

Go, enjoy and come back to Lakewood Ranch.

  • Siesta Key: The southernmost barrier island in Sarasota County. Siesta Key Beach has ranked in the top 3 best beaches in the United States. The word is out, and this place can get crowded. Going off-season will allow you to enjoy everything without the crowds.
  • Longboat Key: This quiet area offers 12 public beach access points.  Getting to Longboat Key is easy, connecting from Sarasota or Anna Maria Island.  Out of all the locations, Longboat is the most understated in terms of commercial activities. 
  • Lido Key: Located just off the coast of Sarasota and near St. Armand’s Circle. This hidden gem probably has half the crowds of the other islands and offers great places to eat and grab a cool drink after a hard day at the beach.
  • Anna Maria Island: Located just off the west Bradenton coast, this is the most northern of the barrier islands and my favorite.  Why drive when you can take the trolley up and down the island?  This island is a little less commercialized than Siesta Key. 

🏡Lakewood Ranch Houses for Sale

Researching the Pros & Cons of Living in Lakewood Ranch also includes searching homes for sale in the area. You can see houses by clicking on the pictures.


Living in Lakewood Ranch does come with pros and cons. Is it right for you? Here is a summary of the feedback I received from my clients who live here as well as my personal experience.

  • Lakewood Ranch is big and you usually have to drive to go to the grocery, dine out, etc. It is quiet, and most places close around 10 PM. If you dine late, you might want to bump dinner time up an hour.
  • Currently, this community is homogenous and needs more diversity. The community is still growing, and with growth will come a mix of cultures.
  • This area is wealthier than most of Florida, and the population is slightly older than average.
  • Lakewood Ranch can be more expensive, which is due in part to the demand of living here and the wealth of its population.
  • There are some art and other forms of entertainment, but most will be found outside Lakewood Ranch in other cities such as Sarasota, Tampa, and St. Petersburg.
  • Lakewood Ranch has a great location with easy access to some of the best beaches in the United States. In addition, the proximity to 4 airports provides a choice in travel and allows for price comparisons.
  • Lakewood Ranch is a well-planned community, rich with amenities. The future of this area includes control for quality growth while protecting real estate values.

For more information about Lakewood Ranch, contact Sandy at Sandy.Williams@EXPRealty.com.

Why Is Lakewood Ranch So Popular?

Lakewood Ranch is not only sought after because it is a well-planned community but also offers a variety of amenities, award-winning schools and is conveniently located in Sarasota and Tampa.

Are There CDD Fees in Lakewood Ranch?

Yes. Lakewood Ranch, like newer areas of Parrish and Sarasota, does have CDD or Stewardship fees. Those fees maintain the common grounds, provide for infrastructure improvement and fire service.

What is the Average Income in Lakewood Ranch?

The median household income in Lakewood Ranch is $110,026. This is 1.5 times higher than the average household income in Florida.

What is the Average Age in Lakewood Ranch?

The average age of someone living in Lakewood Ranch is 52 yrs. The average age of Lakewood Ranch is about 20% older than that of other communities in Florida (avg age 42.3 yrs)

Does Lakewood Ranch Have a Downtown?

Lakewood Ranch has 3 commercial areas: Main St, Waterside, and The Green. Each area has a unique offering. But all will have restaurants, shopping, and other services. Main St. and Waterside are pedestrian-friendly, with ample sidewalks and sitting areas.

Does Lakewood Ranch Have a 55+ Community?

Yes. Lakewood Ranch has two established 55+ communities. The first is Del Webb, located just off St. Rd. 70. The second is Cresswind, just off Uihlein Rd. A 3rd 55+ community is planned for Lakewood Ranch (a new Del Webb) will break ground in late 2024.

pros and cons of living in lakewood ranch
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pros and cons of living in lakewood ranch
Explore the pros and cons of living in Lakewood Ranch. Questions answered in this blog are, Is Lakewood Ranch Expensive, Does Lakewood Ranch have traffic? How old are people in Lakewood Ranch? Get the details here.
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