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Lakewood Ranch, Florida: Your Perfect Florida Community

Lakewood Ranch, Florida: Your Perfect Florida Community    

Welcome to Lakewood Ranch

Greetings from Davida McDonald! Discover the unique charm and lifestyle of Lakewood Ranch.

History of Lakewood Ranch- Key Milestones

Lakewood Ranch is a master-planned community located in Manatee and Sarasota counties in Southwest Florida. The area was originally assembled in 1905 by John Schroeder as Schroeder-Manatee Ranch (SMR). The land was purchased by members of Milwaukee’s Uihlein family in 1922 for ranch operations such as timber and cattle. In the 1970s, the Uihlein family began to look for ways to develop the land for residential and commercial use. In 1980, SMR submitted a Development of Regional Impact (DRI) application to Manatee and Sarasota counties for the development of a master-planned community called Lakewood Ranch. The DRI was approved in 1989, and the first homes in Lakewood Ranch were built in 1995. Lakewood Ranch has grown rapidly since its inception. The community is now home to over 50,000 residents and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. Lakewood Ranch is a popular destination for retirees, young professionals, and families alike, and it is known for its high quality of life, its excellent schools, and its many amenities.

Here are some of the key milestones in the history of Lakewood Ranch:

  • 1905: John Schroeder assembles the land for Schroeder-Manatee Ranch.
  • 1922: The Uihlein family purchases Schroeder-Manatee Ranch.
  • 1980: SMR submits a DRI application for the development of Lakewood Ranch.
  • 1989: The DRI is approved, and construction begins on the first homes in Lakewood Ranch.
  • 1995: The first homes in Lakewood Ranch are sold.
  • 2005: Lakewood Ranch is incorporated as a community development district (CDD).
  • 2010: Lakewood Ranch is home to over 30,000 residents.
  • 2020: Lakewood Ranch is home to over 50,000 residents.
Today, Lakewood Ranch is a thriving community with a strong sense of identity. The community is known for its commitment to sustainability, its focus on education, and its many recreational opportunities. Lakewood Ranch is a great place to live, work, and play.

Reasons to Love Lakewood Ranch:

Here are just a handful of reasons why Lakewood Ranch is so special.
  • Sustainable living: Lakewood Ranch is a leader in sustainability, earning the Audubon International Gold Signature designation.
  • Top-notch education: Lakewood Ranch is known for its excellent schools, consistently ranking among the highest-rated in Florida.
  • Abundant amenities: Lakewood Ranch caters to a wide range of interests with its extensive array of amenities.
  • Strong sense of community: Lakewood Ranch fosters a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere with a strong sense of community.
  • Diverse neighborhoods: Lakewood Ranch offers a variety of neighborhoods to suit different preferences and lifestyles.
  • Convenient location: Lakewood Ranch enjoys a convenient central location.
  • Thriving economy: Lakewood Ranch boasts a robust economy, attracting businesses and industries.

 Architectural Styles in Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch is a master-planned community with a diverse range of architectural styles, reflecting its growth over time and the preferences of different builders and residents. Here’s an overview of the common architectural styles found in Lakewood Ranch, including Waterside:
  • Mediterranean Revival: Stucco walls, red tile roofs, arches, and terracotta accents. Courtyards and patios for indoor-outdoor living.
  • Mission Revival: Stucco walls, red tile roofs, exposed beams, and wrought-iron accents. Historical charm.
  • Florida Ranch: Single-story homes, low-pitched roofs, large windows, and open floor plans. Comfort and ease of living.
  • Coastal Contemporary: Clean lines, large windows, and flat or low-pitched roofs. Modern and sophisticated look.
  • Tropical Modern: Large windows, sliding glass doors, open floor plans, and natural materials. Integration with the natural environment.

Community Highlights and Awards

Recognized as an Audubon International Gold Signature Sustainable Community, Lakewood Ranch stands out for its commitment to quality living and environmental stewardship.
  • Lakewood Ranch is one of the first communities in the United States to receive the Audubon International Gold Signature Sustainable Community designation. This recognition reflects the community’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact and promoting sustainable practices.
  • Lakewood Ranch is home to some of the top-rated schools in Florida. The community has also invested in educational programs and resources, making it a great place for families with children of all ages.
  • Lakewood Ranch offers a variety of neighborhoods to suit different lifestyles and preferences. From gated enclaves with luxurious homes to vibrant town centers with shops, restaurants, and entertainment, the community provides diverse options for residents seeking a fulfilling lifestyle.

Education in Lakewood Ranch

Highly-rated schools are a cornerstone of the community, offering excellent educational opportunities from elementary to high school, and including private and public options.

General Education


  • Abel Elementary School
  • Anna Maria Elementary School
  • BD Gullett Elementary School
  • Gilbert W. McNeal Elementary School
  • Manatee Elementary School
  • Oneco Elementary School
  • Rogers Garden-Bullock Elementary School
  • Robert E. Willis Elementary School
Private Elementary Schools: Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School


  • Dr. Mona Jain Middle School
  • R. Dan Nolan Middle School
Private Middle Schools: Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School

High School:

  • Lakewood Ranch High School
  • Lakewood Ranch Preparatory Academy
Private High Schools: The Out-of-Door Academy

College Education

Public Colleges:

  • State College of Florida, Lakewood Ranch Campus: This is a two-year public college that offers a variety of associate degrees and certificates, and some bachelor degrees.
  • University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee: This is a four-year public university that offers a variety of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

Private Colleges:

  • New College of Florida: This is a four-year private liberal arts college located in Sarasota, Florida.
  • Ringling College of Art and Design: This is a four-year private art and design college located in Sarasota, Florida
  • Eckerd College: This is a four-year private liberal arts college located in St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Stetson University: This is a four-year private university located in DeLand, Florida.

Famous and Notable Residents

Lakewood Ranch is home to celebrities, who have chosen this community for its lifestyle and amenities.
  • The Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger purchased a $2 million Lakewood Ranch mansion for his ballet dancer girlfriend Melanie Hamrick and young son so she could be close to her family.
  • The guitarist and vocalist of the rock band Aerosmith, Joe Perry, has also made Lakewood Ranch his home. Perry is known for his love of golf and has been spotted frequenting the community’s many courses.
  • Known for his colorful commentary as a college basketball analyst, Dick Vitale dwells in Lakewood Ranch. He has been a vocal supporter of the community, particularly its commitment to education and sustainability.
  • The actress Jane Lynch, known for her roles in “Glee” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” has also resided in Lakewood Ranch. She regularly attends local events and enjoys the community’s vibrant atmosphere.

Local Favorites and Amenities

Discover local favorites for dining, shopping, and relaxation, making Lakewood Ranch a vibrant place to live and visit.

The Best Coffee Cafes in Lakewood Ranch:

  • Via la Casa Coffee & Wine Bar- Caffeine and vino
  • Kahwa Coffee- Fresh-roasted coffee
  • Doxa Coffee House- Quality coffee

The Best Lunch Spots in Lakewood Ranch:

  • Lucky Pelican- Casual seafood restaurant is a favorite among locals and tourists
  • Apollonia Mediterranean Grill- Mediterranean restaurant is known for its fresh, flavorful food and friendly service
  • Tandoor Fine Indian Cuisine- Authentic Indian restaurant offers a taste of India

The Best Dinner and Cocktails in Lakewood Ranch:

  • Speaks Clam Bar- Flavors of the Italian coast
  • Owen’s Fish Camp- Award-winning seafood restaurant
  • The Capital Grille- Exceptional cuisine, sophisticated atmosphere, and impeccable service


Things to Do in Lakewood Ranch

From beautiful beaches to shopping and parks, there’s always something to do in and around Lakewood Ranch.
  • Siesta Key Beach: This world-famous beach is known for its powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters. It’s a great place to relax, swim, sunbathe, or play in the sand.
  • St. Armands: This historic shopping district is home to various boutiques, specialty stores, and restaurants. Visitors can also enjoy the views of Sarasota Bay from the circle.
  • Sarasota Bayfront Park: 53-acre waterfront park in the heart of downtown Sarasota, Florida. The park offers stunning views of Sarasota Bay and the city skyline and various activities and amenities for visitors of all ages.
  • Marie Selby Gardens: These 15 acres of botanical gardens are home to various plants and flowers worldwide. Visitors can stroll through the gardens, visit the museum, and participate in educational programs.
  • Waterside at Lakewood Ranch: Waterside at Lakewood Ranch is a vibrant and upscale community in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. As a part of the larger Lakewood Ranch master-planned development, Waterside is known for its picturesque setting, encompassing seven lakes, new construction homes, and a vibrant live-work-play atmosphere. This community stands out for its emphasis on waterfront living, where residents can enjoy scenic lake views and various water-based activities. (More about Waterside Below)
  • UTC Mall & Shops: The University Town Center (UTC) Mall in Sarasota, Florida, is a premier shopping destination offering a diverse mix of over 150 stores, including high-end retailers and dining options. This expansive, state-of-the-art mall also features a range of entertainment and recreational facilities, making it a popular spot for both local residents and visitors.
  • Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium: This marine research and education center is home to a variety of marine animals, including dolphins, sharks, and sea turtles. Visitors can learn about marine life and conservation efforts at the aquarium, and even take a boat tour to see dolphins in their natural habitat.
  • Ringling Museum of Art: This museum is home to a world-renowned collection of art, including works by Rubens, Van Dyck, and Velazquez. The museum also features a circus museum, a mansion, and a variety of gardens.

Waterside at Lakewood Ranch

One of the key features of Waterside is its Waterside Place, a town center that serves as a hub of social and recreational activities. This lively area includes stylish shops, a range of dining options, and cultural venues, making it a popular gathering spot for both residents and visitors. Waterside Place also hosts events, farmers’ markets, and concerts, adding to the community’s dynamic atmosphere. Real estate options in Waterside are diverse, catering to a wide range of preferences and lifestyles. The community offers a selection of single-family homes, luxury apartments, and custom estates, many of which feature waterfront views and access. These homes are designed with modern living in mind, combining elegant architecture with functional and sustainable features. Waterside is also noted for its commitment to nature and the environment. The community boasts numerous parks, nature trails, and green spaces, encouraging outdoor activities and a connection with the natural surroundings. This emphasis on green living aligns with the broader ethos of Lakewood Ranch, which prioritizes sustainability and eco-friendly practices. For families, Waterside’s location is advantageous due to its proximity to top-rated schools, both public and private, offering excellent educational opportunities. The community is also conveniently situated near major highways, providing easy access to Sarasota’s beaches, cultural attractions, and business centers. Overall, Waterside at Lakewood Ranch presents a unique blend of luxury living, natural beauty, and community-centric amenities, making it a desirable destination for those seeking a high-quality lifestyle in the Sarasota area. *For a list of New Construction communities in Waterside in Lakewood Ranch, please send me a text or email.

Davida McDonald- Your Local Lakewood Ranch Realtor

I hope you enjoyed the Lakewood Ranch overview. It would be my pleasure to help you and your family on your home selling or buying journey.
CONTACT INFORMATION Davida McDonald PHONE: (941) 312-1074 ADDRESS: 443 John Ringling Blvd Suite F Sarasota, FL 34236 EMAIL: WEB:

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