Palm Trees or Pickleball? Are you exploring your options for retiring in Lakewood Ranch? It is a popular place to call home, leading the nation as the #1 master-planned community. But is it a good fit for you?
I have lived in Lakewood Ranch (in a 55+ community) for over a decade, and I have seen the changes and experienced the growth.
Is it still a peaceful and relaxing environment to enjoy retirement?
It is a popular place, but you should also be aware of some of its downfalls. Every place has trade-offs; you decide what you can live with.
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I like the saying, “Forewarned is forearmed.” If you know about a problem or situation in advance, you can deal with it when necessary.
😎Weather in Lakewood Ranch
This location attracted me because I could enjoy a warm winter and be somewhat insulated from hurricanes. Being inland protects you from most storm damage and helps with homeowner’s insurance.
See the Article: Living in Sarasota VS Naples, Which is Best?
About a year and a half ago, our area experienced the effects of a 100-year storm. The hurricane hit south of us in the Bonita Springs area.
However, the eye of the storm passed right through here. So, how did we fare? We did sustain minor wind damage, such as downed trees and lost roof shingles (on older homes).
However, the newer homes with concrete roofs and up-to-date building codes saw no damage to the homes.
One of the reasons people like retiring in Lakewood Ranch is partly due to the sunny days and warm winters.
What is the average temperature in Lakewood Ranch? During the winter months, there are roughly 3-4 days of rain per month.
- The average temperature from January to March is 75 degrees.
- The coldest month is January.
- January evenings can be chilly, with lows in the high 40s to low 50s.
Summers are our rainy months, and this coincides with hurricane season.
- The average temperature in Lakewood Ranch during the summer months is 90 degrees, with lows in the upper 70s to low 80s.
- July and August are the rainiest months.
- Each month has about 13-15 days of rain. But we don’t have rainy days like up north, where it is all day. This is a short, heavy rain, and then the sun comes back out.
Yes, it can be hot and humid. If you are from the Midwest, this is just a regular summer. Except it goes until October here.
Floridians live for the fall and winter. We take vacations and visit family up north in the summertime.
And when we are not out of town, we keep outside activities until evening.
I must be honest; most of us are sick of the heat after September. The humidity decreases in November. So, there are a few months when it becomes difficult to tolerate the heat and humidity. I keep reminding myself it’s better than ice and snow.
🏡Homeowner’s Insurance in Lakewood Ranch
If you have been considering Lakewood Ranch as a place to retire, you probably have heard that insurance rates have increased. Plus, the insurance providers are dropping some. That is all true in some parts of Florida.
See the Article: Pros & Cons of Living in Lakewood Ranch
As we all know, insurance is a risk-based business. Therefore, your insurance will go up if you have an older home in a flood zone or near the coast.
Plus, if your home has delayed maintenance, a roof that needs to be replaced, or an old A/C, your policy could be canceled.
But what does insurance look like in Lakewood Ranch?
According to Sam Tabachnick, who owns Blue Crest Insurance locally, new construction and newer homes didn’t see rates rise compared to others around us.
Yes, there was a cost of living adjustment on policies. However, the majority of Lakewood Ranch homeowners didn’t experience the dramatic hike as portrayed on TV.
My homeowner’s policy in 2024 did go up about $200 from 2023. That was the first rate adjustment in 2 years.
Older homes that were not maintained had older roofs, air conditioning units, and aged water heaters experienced rate hikes.
In addition, older homes not built to current hurricane standards and without storm protection were the majority of rate hikes and policy cancellations.
The key to keeping your insurance rates from substantially rising is to maintain your home and replace your older water heater and a/c. Or, purchase a newer home with current building codes and storm protection.
Plus, stay away from the ocean and out of flood zones. I know the dream of walking on the beach and looking at the sunrise/sunset every day. But that comes with a hefty price tag, not to mention the hordes of tourists.
Florida does have higher insurance rates than other parts of the United States. However, we are not the only hurricane or Mother Nature state. South Carolina, North Carolina, California, and Arizona have all seen insurance rate hikes due to storms, fires, floods, or droughts.
🥳Lakewood Ranch Social Groups
One of the first questions asked of me when speaking with a client about retiring in Lakewood Ranch is how easy it is to meet new people. Moving is hard, even when you are young. But starting over after you have built a base of friendships or have family nearby is even more challenging.
See the Article: Del Webb vs Cresswind Here
Community & Social Opportunities
Having a strong sense of community with social opportunities and making new friends is really where Lakewood Ranch shines. It’s a large enough town to have access to conveniences but small enough to get around and meet people.
Retiring doesn’t have to be just sitting around and watching TV. Now that the time is yours, finding things that interest you or new hobbies is what you worked so hard for!
You will find community and social get-togethers in most neighborhoods in Lakewood Ranch. Numerous neighborhoods here have full-time activities directors to facilitate parties and group functions.
However, participating in events outside of your immediate neighborhood brings a sense of community and offers a variety of entertainment.
Things to do in Lakewood Ranch for Retirees
Here are some things for retirees to do in Lakewood Ranch. Whether it’s social get-togethers, a friendly round of golf, or a game of pickleball, you won’t be bored!
- Over 60 Clubs for activities and special interests. Whether it’s a book, wine, or fishing, you can find it here & plenty more. If you don’t see a club promoting your hobby, you can propose one.
- 6 Golf Courses are located in the community, and an additional 76 courses are within 20 miles.
- Music On Main: This event happens in downtown Lakewood Ranch on the 1st Friday every month from 6 PM – 9 PM. The downtown transforms into a fun block party with a live band, food trucks, games & activities.
- Ranch Night-Wednesdays: Every Wednesday evening, Waterside becomes the hangout for cornhole tournaments, tasty treats, a night market for artisanal goods, and fun!
- Sunday Farmer’s Market: With over 100 vendors from around the area, you can enjoy fresh bread, farm-fresh produce, specialty items & gifts. Bring your yoga mat for free yoga in the park once you’ve done your shopping.
- Other Monthly Events: Something is always happening in the Ranch.
- Live Music: What better way to have dinner outside on a beautiful Florida evening than to listen to live music? Many restaurants take advantage of our cool or cooler evenings and offer live music.
- Local Businesses such as Arts a Blaze offers pottery and ceramic classes. Fine Wines on Main does wine tastings and other wine-related events throughout the year.
The downside to living here is that there are few things to do or places to eat late at night. For example, I recently arrived late from a DC flight, and my husband and I just wanted to sit down and have a small dinner and a drink.
We couldn’t do it easily in Lakewood Ranch. We had to eat just outside the area near the mall. It is a minor inconvenience, but you need to consider it if you like to dine late.
In addition, all the live theater and other art events will be in Sarasota, about a ½ hour away.
🏥Healthcare in Lakewood Ranch
As you investigate retiring in Lakewood Ranch, thoughts of sunshine, travel, and leisurely mornings likely come to mind. But amidst the excitement is the reality of finding new healthcare providers and a good hospital.
Having someone you can trust and build a medical relationship with is worth its weight in gold.
Someone once told me, “Thank goodness I live in a beautiful place with warm weather, golf, and good beaches.” “Because good healthcare providers want to live there, too.”
That statement seems to be true: the better the destination, the better the doctors.
- Lakewood Ranch Medical Center: This 120-bed facility with acute care is accredited by The Joint Commission. The medical center has emergency services, general and robotic surgery, breast care, cardiology, and stroke. Awards & Accreditations: Acute Heart Attack Ready Certification, Gold Seal of Approval, and Stroke Honor Roll Elite Mission. Top General Hospital for Outstanding Quality & Safety.
- Orthopedic Specialists: There are several orthopedic groups with offices in Lakewood Ranch.
- Urgent Care: There are 5 urgent care facilities and 2 pediatric
- Physician groups: There are several physician groups with primary care doctors and specialists, such as cardiologists, neurologists, and urologists.
Hospitals Nearby Lakewood Ranch
These are the top-rated hospitals located in proximity to Lakewood Ranch. Research, compare options, and find a healthcare provider who becomes your partner in navigating the years ahead.
Remember, a healthy retirement is a happy retirement.
Blake Medical Center Bradenton
Sarasota Memorial Hospital
HCA Florida Sarasota Doctors Hospital
Tampa General Hospital
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa
🚔How Safe is Lakewood Ranch?
Everyone wants to retire to a safe, secure neighborhood with minimal crime and a supportive environment. So, just how safe is it here?
Lakewood Ranch has significantly lower crime levels than the rest of the United States. Its current ranking is 4.9, with the average being in the US 22.7, according to Bestplaces.com. In addition, the property crime rate is also lower than the national average. You can get additional statistics at Bestplaces.com.
When I wrote this article, I used the website spotcrime.com to enter my zip code (which is in Lakewood Ranch). I found petty theft, domestic disturbances, and suspicious person reports. No major crimes were reported.
You can also use Familywatchdog.com to check for registered offenders. By the way, there are no registered child sex offenders living in Lakewood Ranch as of this publication.
🚦Traffic in Lakewood Ranch
How is the traffic here? Traffic is relative based on where you are coming from. This planned community has a network of interconnected roads running behind most neighborhoods. Because of this design, it minimizes the need to rely on the busy main roads, reducing traffic congestion for everyone.
Plus, new roads are underway, further alleviating traffic flow on major arterial routes.
However, we do have traffic here. I see it mostly during work commuting and the winter months from January to April. In addition, Interstate 75 can get busy during morning and evening commutes.
Three major roads in the Ranch run east to west: University Parkway, St. Rd 70, and St. Rd 64. All three roads will provide access to the interstate 75.
St. Rd 70 cuts right through the middle and is the busiest. For grocery store and other convenience trips you can take the more minor roads without traffic.
Beware: Speed can be an issue here. The back roads are new, flat, and have less traffic. As a result of these factors, you will find people that drive FAST. It’s been an issue, and the authorities are aware.
Occasionally, they will run radar, but it needs to be more consistent.
⛳️Golf Cart Use
Can you use a golf cart throughout Lakewood Ranch?
Some gated communities such as Esplanade and Del Webb, will allow golf carts inside their community. Plus, if your cart is street-legal, you may use it on smaller local roads. But should you?
I recommend not driving your golf cart to the grocery store, etc. In part due to the speed at which residents drive on the local roads.
Although retail and dining are grouped together and near the various neighborhoods, it would seem ideal to use your golf cart. However, Lakewood Ranch is over 50 square miles, it’s just too far and somewhat dangerous to use your golf cart.
*Questions About Real Estate in Lakewood Ranch & Sarasota: Email: Sandy.Williams@ExpRealty.com or Call 941-564-9491*
✅Summary-Pros & Cons Retiring in Lakewood Ranch
Lakewood Ranch could be considered an attractive place to call home. But does it tick all the boxes for an ideal retirement haven?
📍Location: Lakewood Ranch is ideally located between Sarasota and Tampa and is a short drive from some of the best beaches in the United States. Lakewood Ranch, as well as the surrounding areas, offer access to major medical and top-rated specialists.
🚔 Crime & Safety: This area has significantly lower crime levels than the rest of the United States. According to bestplaces.com, the crime ranking is 4.9 compared to the average in the US at 22.7.
🥳 Things to do for Retirees in Lakewood Ranch: The community has over 60 social clubs with various interests. Plus, you’ll find downtown Lakewood Ranch or Waterside events every weekend.
🚙 Traffic: Lakewood Ranch has its share of traffic, especially during commuting times and high season (winter). However, the savvy locals use a series of connecting roads behind neighborhoods to avoid significant congestion.
⛳️ Golf Carts: Some neighborhoods are golf cart friendly. However, driving a golf cart around Lakewood Ranch is not advisable. Lakewood Ranch is big, over 33,000 acres, and even though you may have a street-legal golf cart for your safety, I would recommend it.
📑Homeowner Insurance: Florida has seen rates increase due to older construction and homes that have delayed maintenance. However, newer construction homes didn’t experience the rate hikes others have.
While every retiree has unique priorities, Lakewood Ranch’s blend of sunshine and social opportunities makes it a strong contender for your golden years.
🕵🏼Search Homes for Sale in Lakewood Ranch
Yes. Currently, there are two age-restricted communities in Lakewood Ranch, Del Webb and Cresswind. There is a new Del Webb starting construction in 2024 in Lakewood Ranch.
Golf Carts used in Lakewood Ranch are allowed on the small, local roads, provided your golf cart is street-legal. However, I wouldn’t recommend using your golf cart throughout Lakewood Ranch. Lakewood Ranch is big and the locals drive fast. So safety could be an issue.
Lakewood Ranch has a strong sense of community, is safe, and offers quality healthcare. However, traffic and real estate prices are topics to consider before making a move.
Yes. End of 2023 to Early 2024. Lakewood Ranch Real Estate Market trend is experiencing prices slightly declining, an increased inventory, and more price reductions or sellers taking less money.
People move to the Ranch for a variety of reasons. However, the popularity mostly has to do with its location, ease of travel, good weather, safety, proximity to beaches, award-winning schools, and pride of ownership.
I have been in real estate sales for over 24 years. I am originally from the Midwest and have lived in beautiful Florida for over a decade. My career sales are over 2,300 homes sold. There aren’t too many obstacles I haven’t encountered throughout my work history. I provide you with honest advice backed by years of experience and understand that a real estate purchase or sale is your top priority.
Nationally recognized. Licensed FL Real Estate Instructor. Contact me at Sandy@SandyWilliams.com or call 941-564-9491