Lakewood Ranch VS Sarasota

Sarasota vs Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota are two of Florida’s most popular cities that attract new residents from all of over the country and even the world. Due to the great weather and growing economy, the Gulf Coast of Florida has become a top destination for families, snowbirds and investors looking to make Florida their home. 

While Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch are located in the same area (Lakewood Ranch is only 12 miles from Downtown Sarasota) these communities are quite distinct from each other and In this article we will compare Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota across six different categories to help you decide which community is the best fit for your lifestyle.

Age and History

Lakewood Ranch is a relatively new community, founded in 1995, and has grown rapidly in the last few decades. On the other hand, Sarasota is an old city that dates back to the early 1900s. 

Sarasota has an impressive history that spans several centuries, including Native American settlements, Spanish colonization, and the Ringling Brothers Circus’ establishment that is responsible for many developments in the community. Sarasota has managed to maintain its historic charm with several old buildings and museums.

When it comes to age and history, Sarasota definitely has more history and character.

Lifestyle, Culture and Entertainment

Lakewood Ranch is a planned community that has been designed to provide residents with a comfortable and convenient lifestyle. Lakewood Ranch has numerous parks, walking trails, golf courses, and shopping centers. The city has a low crime rate and top rated schools making it an ideal place to raise a family.

On the other hand, Sarasota is a bustling city that is known for its vibrant culture, arts, and entertainment. Sarasota is home to several cultural institutions such as the Sarasota Opera, Asolo Repertory Theatre, and Sarasota Ballet. Sarasota has a lively downtown area, which is packed with shops, restaurants, and bars.

Lakewood Ranch is definitely a quieter, more laid back community. If you’re looking for more excitement that a big city provides, then Sarasota might be a better choice for you.


Lakewood Ranch’s economy is heavily reliant on real estate, healthcare, and retail sectors. Lakewood Ranch has attracted several companies, including LECOM School of Dental Medicine, which has established a campus in the city. Sarasota’s economy is diverse and includes sectors such as healthcare, retail, hospitality, and tourism. Sarasota is home to several large companies, including PGT Innovations and Tervis Tumbler.

When it comes to the economy, it’s important to point out that due to their vicinity to each other, it’s quite common for residents to commute back and forth for employment. It’s also worth noting that with many companies allowing remote work, this has made it possible for professionals to relocate to Lakewood Ranch from out of state while keeping their current career.

Sarasota has a diverse economy
Downtown Sarasota

Housing and Real Estate

Lakewood Ranch is known for its luxurious homes and master-planned communities. Lakewood Ranch has a wide range of housing options, including single-family homes, townhouses, and condos. Lakewood Ranch is constantly expanding, and several new communities are currently under construction including family focused, 55+ adult lifestyle and luxury communities. Many communities in Lakewood Ranch are gated although not all are.

Sarasota, on the other hand, is a much older and established city and has a mix of old and new homes. The city is known for its unique architecture and historic homes, which are highly sought after. Sarasota also has a number of neighborhoods that are undergoing gentrification and are very popular with investors and renovators looking for the southern culture and charm of “Old Florida”. Prices in Sarasota can range widely from affordable cottages to multimillion dollar waterfront mansions.

Housing options in Sarasota include apartments, condos, townhouses and single-family homes.

Lakewood Ranch Master Planned Community

Parks and Recreation

Lakewood Ranch has a strong focus on parks and recreation and has several parks, nature preserves, and walking trails. The community has a number of golf courses and several sports complexes, including Premier Sports Campus, which hosts several sports events throughout the year.

Sarasota has several parks and nature reserves, including the Myakka River State Park, which is a popular spot for hiking and kayaking. The city is also home to several golf courses and sports complexes, including the Ed Smith Stadium, which is the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles.

Waterfront homes in Sarasota
Sarasota Polo Club in Lakewood Ranch

Sarasota vs Lakewood Ranch

In conclusion, both Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota offer excellent options for those looking to relocate to Florida. While Lakewood Ranch offers a comfortable lifestyle with modern amenities, Sarasota offers a rich history, culture, and entertainment. Ultimately, the choice between the two cities would depend on you individual preferences and priorities.

Looking for a home in Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota or the Surrounding communities? Contact us today to get started!