Master planned communities have a long history in Florida; the ﬁrst one in the United States was built more than 450 years ago in St. Augustine. Now they are a popular choice among home-buyers across the state and have become synonymous with easy Florida living — but it takes more than pretty landscaping and a neighborhood pool to impress these days.
In Wesley Chapel’s Epperson, water-loving residents can snorkel, paddleboard or swim across a 7-acre man-made Crystal Lagoon, the ﬁrst of its kind in Florida. Not only will residents of the newly developed Westshore Marina District have access to the bay, but they also has tons of outdoor and indoor amenities you’d expect — like pools, walking trails and pavilions — and some you might not, including community bikes, kayaks and paddle boards and an indoor virtual golf simulator.
For those that love to hike, FishHawk Ranch in Lithia has more than 30 miles of walking trails in addition to pools, clubhouses, parks, and grocery stores, retail shopping centers and restaurants.
Bexley in Land O’ Lakes also has miles of trials that meander through residential and conservation areas and a bicycle park and BMX pump track for bikers of all ages to enjoy. Down the street, Starkey Ranch has not one but four dog parks for its furry residents and a community garden for the two-legged ones.
Most planned communities also focus on bringing residents together. Families who reside in Apollo Beach’s Waterset neighborhood access to the kinds of swimming pools, water slides and splash park you’d expect to see at an Orlando hotel, plus a grand lawn where residents gather to enjoy live music and community events throughout the year.