Population of about 14,000, the city limits encompass approximately 7 square miles. An incorporated city, with elected mayor an city commission, Palmetto sits on the Terra Ceia Bay and the northern shore of the Manatee River. Parts of greater Palmetto border the Gulf of Mexico. The population of the overall area is about 22,000, including Terra Ceia, Memphis, and Gillette.
Primarily comprised of sprawling agriculture land, recently developed as residential neighborhoods, covers about 140 square miles. The sparse population is about 16,000 and is governed by Manatee County. Essentially located east of I-75, north of the Manatee River to the county line.
Populated by about 3,500 permanent residents, Ellenton is an unincorporated community and relies on Manatee County as its governing body. Located on the northern banks of the Manatee River and both sides of I-75, its primary claim to fame is the Ellenton Prime Outlets mall.
Located on the northern 1/3 of Anna Maria Island, with a population of about 2,000, Anna Maria might be the quietest part of the island. Pine Street is where most of the businesses are located, along with the pier. The city is incorporated with its own elected officials and government.
With about 4,100 permanent residents, Holmes Beach is the most densely populated part of the island. It is located in the center 1/3 of the island and is an incorporated city with its own government.
Though Bradenton Beach has a population is only 1,200, it is the busiest part of the island. Located on the southern 1/3 of Anna Maria Island, it has the heaviest concentration of vacation rentals, and restaurants, centered largely around Historic Bridge Street.
Lying in rural eastern Manatee County, due east of the city of Sarasota, Myakka City is a sparsely populated unincorporated town of about 6,000 people.
Bradenton lies on the banks of the Manatee River and the Intracoastal Waterway. The city is the home of over 54,000 full time residents. The greater Bradenton area is the permanent home to approximately 240,000 people (not including these other named areas listed here.) Bradenton is the seat of the county government and has its own city government, as well.
With a population of 20,000, Lakewood Ranch is the largest unincorporated town in Manatee County. It is a planned community with schools, a hospital, and businesses and falls under the governing umbrella of Manatee County. It lies east of I-75, primarily between State Road 64 and University Parkway. Parts of Lakewood Ranch lie in Sarasota County, but are mostly undeveloped.
The city of Sarasota is runs along the Intracoastal Waterway from just south of University Parkway to about Bee Ridge Road. It includes Lido Key and the northern tip of Siesta Key. With its own elected officials and government, it is also the seat of Sarasota County. Population within the city limits is a little over $53,000. The population of the "greater" Sarasota area is about 270,000.
Immediately to the south of Sarasota and home to about 6,200 full time residents, Osprey is a mostly residential area dissected by US 41 and running along the shores of the Intracoastal Waterway and east into Oscar Scherer State Park. It also includes about the northern third of Casey Key. Businesses are few and located almost exclusively on US 41.
Positioned just south of Osprey, from Oscar Scherer State Park to Dona Bay, is the community of Laurel, with a population of about 8,200. Laurel has a fairly active business community, providing services to the entire Osprey/Laurel/Nokomis area and Casey Key.
A small area of only 2 square miles on the mainland, plus the southern two-thirds of Casey Key, Nokomis has a population of about 3,100 people. Many of the businesses in Nokomis lie along Albee Road and the portion of Casey Key Road that intersects with it - mostly small inns and restaurants.
One of the first planned cities in the country, the city limits include Venice Island and a narrow portion of the adjacent mainland extending to the northeast. Within the city limits, the population is about 21,000. All the areas addressed as Venice include a population of about 57,000. The small downtown area is quaint, made up of primarily one-story buildings.
Just south of Venice and west of North Port, Englewood lies in both Sarasota and Charlotte Counties. Including Manasota Key its population is about 15,000.
Lying in the southeasternmost portion of the county, the city of North Port is an incorporated community with its own government officials and services. It includes the community once known as Warm Mineral Springs. With a population of nearly 60,000, it is sparsely populated compared to Sarasota and Bradenton. In area (square miles) it is 3 times larger city of Sarasota and more than 5 times larger than the city of Bradenton.