Mary Collandra
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Manatee County has consistently been named one of the best places to retire in the country and the reasons are obvious. The laid back lifestyle, cultural charm, average 75° year-round temperature, and island feel are just some of the reasons that set Manatee County apart as a residential destination. 

No matter what is drawing you to Manatee County — whether it is transferring to a new job, retirement, or looking for a great place to raise your family — the city has everything you need. The area is known for amazing water views, aquariums, and a laid-back vibe. 

Bradenton Weather

The summers can be extremely hot, but the cool breeze off of the water makes the temperatures more than manageable. The highs in the summer range between the mid-80s and the low 90s. The winter months are the coldest but rarely get below 40 degrees, with an average of around 50 degrees. The time of year that boasts the best weather in the area is between late February and early May as well as late October to early December. These times of year are cooler but still full of sunshine. 

The area does see a decent amount of precipitation, though the amount varies significantly from year to year. The wettest season in the area is from June through September, with over a 40% chance of rain on any day. The lowest chance of precipitation comes in late fall. 

Bradenton Demographics

Bradenton is considered an average-sized city just shy of 50,000 people, with over 20,000 households residing in the city. It does have a relatively higher population density, however, with just over 4,000 people per square mile. While the racial makeup of the city is primarily Caucasian, there is still some diversity in the mix with African Americans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders making up most of the rest of the population. 

The area has many families but is also known for its large retirement population, with 25% of the population over the age of 65. The average age of residents is 42 years old. Median household incomes are lower than much of the nation, with a median income of $34,902 in the city and a median family income of $42,366. Unlike many other cities in Florida, many of the residents of the city were born in the state of Florida. 

History of the City

The history of Bradenton can be traced back to the 1840s when Joesph and Hector Braden built a log cabin just south of the river in the hopes of establishing a new plantation along the Manatee. Unfortunately, Hector Braden drowned in 1846. 

The tragedy did not deter his brother, however, and soon Joesph had a built a sugar plantation and a sugar mill where the Braden and Manatee Rivers meet. By the early 1850s, his plantation home was completed and became referred to as "Braden Castle." While the house is no longer intact, you can still see the ruins today, and the area was a popular spot for picnics in the earlier 1900s.

The property had fallen into disrepair after mounting debt caused Joseph to lose the property and return to Tallahassee in 1857. The area finally saw more growth in the 1870s when it was established as Fort Braden and drew in a number of investors and business owners. 

The first mayor of the city suggested the name Bradentown in honor of Joseph Braden. The original name was misspelled though, and the area was known as "Braidentown" until the railroad came through in the early 1900s, and the name was changed to the proper spelling. 

The town became a tourist destination during the 20s and began to flourish. As the town grew, a new city hall and courthouse were constructed. As tourism became a mainstay in the city, it eventually changed its nickname and motto to "A Friendly City." 

Living in Bradenton

Bradenton has a high livability score, with top marks in amenities and weather. One of the popular reasons for residents to move to Bradenton is that the city and surrounding areas offer plenty to see and do both. Some of the most popular area attractions include the South Florida Museum, Bishop Planetarium & Parker Manatee Aquarium, De Soto National Monument, and Robinson Nature Preserve. 

Another important factor that prompts many people to consider a move to the area is the affordability of the local real estate. The median price for a home in the city is around $135,000, which is over 18% lower than the average in the state and considerably lower than the national average. Even though the housing costs are low, the area is still expected to achieve steady appreciation over the year, with an appreciation average of 4.9% on property during the year and 10.7% projected five-year growth. 

Best Neighborhoods in Bradenton

There is a diverse range of neighborhoods in the city of Bradenton, and determining which area is best for you will have a lot to do with how much you can afford to pay for your home as well as what type of lifestyle suits your taste.

Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch is made up of more than 20 unique villages. Each offers distinctive homes & amenities, so we offer something for every size family and every stage of life. Some have golf courses, some are gated, some are 55-plus. All are close to our town centers and A-rated schools. Compare them all to find the combination that suits you.

Top 10 Reasons to Relocate to Lakewood Ranch

  1. Lakewood Ranch is the 2nd Best Selling Community in the US for 2020
    In 2020, Lakewood Ranch was officially ranked as the 2nd best-selling master planned community in the entire US by RCL & Co, a well-respected and independent real estate consulting firm. Located just east of I-75 at the University Parkway exit, the 48-square mile community of Lakewood Ranch offers residents a high-quality of life with a centralized town center, endless shopping and dining options with the new University Town Center Mall (UTC), top-rated schools, 150 miles of recreation trails, area parks and more.
  2. Florida Has No State Income Tax
    The lack of a state income tax is one big benefit of living in Florida. This means that you keep more of your hard-earned dollars. In place of a state tax, the state of Florida earns dollars from the millions of tourists that visit our state each year through a 7% sales tax (state level) and a 5% tourist tax (county level) on revenues from rental properties and hotel stays that are for a term of 6 month or less. Once you become a Florida resident, you will be thankful for the tourists as they pay your share of the state taxes.
  3. Lakewood Ranch Offers Real Estate at all Price Points
    As a top-rated, master-planned residential community, Lakewood Ranch offers residents housing options at all price points from the low 200's to over $5 Million. The average Lakewood Ranch home price in early 2021 is $438,766. Whether you're a young family starting out or you're seeking your perfect retirement home, you're sure to find housing at your ideal price point. Lakewood Ranch has 18 approved home builders including national builders as well as local builders. For exact housing prices and a list of current Lakewood Ranch homes matching your criteria, contact Abigail Altier, our Lakewood Ranch relocation expert listed on this page.
  4. Lakewood Ranch is a Top-Rated Golfing Community
    The Lakewood Ranch community was designed with golfing and golf-course living in mind. There are four golf courses within the master-planned community which are all certified Audubon international sanctuaries. Within the main Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club (LWRG & CC) are the two main courses of Cypress Lakes and the King's Dunes which offer a combined 54 holes of golf. Both courses were designed by Arnold Palmer and private to members only. The 3rd course is the Royal Lakes Golf Course located in Country Club East, and offers 18-holes of superb golf. This course is also private to members only. The 4th golf course in LWR is the Legacy Golf Course which offers 18 holes of golf and was designed by Arnold Palmer as well. This is the only non-private course in all of Lakewood Ranch open for public pay. Additionally located on the Ranch is the private Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, which offers an 18-hole championship course designed by Tom Fazio.
  5. Lakewood Ranch Offers Lots of Resident Amenities
    As a top-master planned community, Lakewood Ranch was created with abundant resident amenities in mind. The grande Lakewood Ranch County Clubhouse offers 44,000 square feet of space with casual and fine dining options. The clubhouse also includes a newly-renovated, 20,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art athletic center and a tennis facility with 20 courts. Lakewood Ranch also has a smaller 16,000 square-foot Clubhouse at The Lake Club with abundant amenities as well.
  6. Lakewood Ranch Offers Year-Round Recreation
    Lakewood Ranch offers year-round recreation for the outdoor enthusiast with its 150 miles of interconnected trails and sidewalks. Even the majority of its streets were designed with bike lanes in mind. Lakewood Ranch also opened its Premier Sports Campus in 2011 which is a multi-purpose facility offering 22 full sized mixed-use fields for soccer, lacrosse and other organized team sports. Just west of the Interstate is the new Nathan Benderson Park which offers a 3.7 mile exercise trail around its lake which is often home to national rowing championships.
  7. Lakewood Ranch Offers Polo Matches
    Upon the opening of the Sarasota Polo Club in 1991, tailgating and watching a polo game in Lakewood Ranch has been a popular past time for many. From early December through mid-April, players from around the world come to compete on Sunday afternoons where the public is welcome to attend this 130-acre facility. General admission tickets are $12 per adult and children under 12 are free. Tickets are available at the gate, which opens at 10am Sunday mornings, and the polo matches begin at 1pm. In addition to Polo, Lakewood Ranch is also home to the Sarasota International Cricket and Rugby Club.
  8. Close Proximity to University Town Center Mall & Nearby Shopping
    When you live in Lakewood Ranch, you are centrally located around endless dining and shopping options. Just west of Interstate-75 is the new University Town Center Mall with its many restaurants and upscale department and boutique stores. Along the University Parkway corridor are many shopping plazas offering popular restaurants, healthy-living grocery stores and trendy craft beer establishments. Just north of Lakewood Ranch is the Ellenton Premium Outlet Mall which offers 130 designer and brand outlet stores for the whole family.
  9. Lakewood Ranch is a Top Florida Retirement Community
    For many of the reasons listed on this page, Lakewood Ranch has become a top-rated Florida retirement community. For those who choose to relocate to Lakewood Ranch for their retirement years, they will enjoy a high-quality of life in a picturesque natural Florida setting, enjoy many amenities including golf, tennis, biking and nearby beaches, enjoy many local restaurants with outdoor dining options, have access to quality healthcare and medical providers as well as enjoy a beautiful home in one of the many maintenance-free communities on the Ranch.
  10. Lakewood Ranch Offers Two Town Centers
    Lakewood offers residents two town centers for its residents to gather, have fun with their families and friends while enjoying outdoor performances and events, restaurants and shopping, as well as local amenities including movie theatres and the like. The first Lakewood Ranch town center was Main Street which officially opened in late 2006. The second town center of Lakewood Ranch is the new Waterside Place which is currently under construction (coming 2021) and will reside just south of University parkway in Sarasota County. Waterside Place will include waterfront restaurants, local shops, recreational activities as well as be the future home of The Players Centre for Performing Arts.

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