Why Sarasota is one of the best places to live and raise a family in Florida
Whether you’re planning a winter retreat or moving permanently to paradise, discover Sarasota. Our area in southwestern Florida benefits from clear waters, gulf breezes, incredibly white sand beaches, and a high quality of life.
It’s no secret that Sarasota is consistently rated as one of the top places to live, work or retire (Reason #1). Money Magazine ranked Sarasota 7th for “Top Places to Retire Young (#2).” Kiplinger’s ranked it one of the top 10 retirement areas (#3). Condé Nast Traveler ranked in the top 15 “Best Small Cities in the U.S.” (#4) Forbes named Sarasota as one of the best places for business and careers (#5). And the list goes on.
TripAdvisor’s 2017 Travelers’ Choice Awards ranked the Sarasota County shoreline No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 5 in the world (#6). Siesta Key Beach was the only U.S. beach included on the international list. It also earned the #1 spot as America’s best beach in 2011 and again in 2017 based on the “Dr. Beach” survey by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University (#7).
Why all the hype? Our powdery white sands are sugar-fine quartz—not just beautiful but cool even on the hottest day. Plus Siesta Beach amenities of cafes, cleanliness, and the nearby Siesta Key village enhance the beach-goers experience.
White sands extend along the Sarasota coastline so beach aficionados have other favorites from Lido with its public pool, Turtle Beach (also a good area for kayaking (#8) to Nokomis and Venice Beach, right down to the nature lover’s Caspersen Beach, known for shelling (#9) and finds of prehistoric sharks’ teeth.
Warm weather virtually year ‘round is a major draw for those who enjoy sailing (#10), fishing (#11), golfing (#12), playing tennis (#13), biking (#14), or kayaking in protected waters.
You can discover Sarasota’s tropical birds with bird-watching (#15) at the Celery Fields, strolls along shaded paths through green spaces and especially in our beautiful parks. One of the largest in Florida, Myakka State Park is popular for airboat rides (#16) that cruise past alligators (#17), its hiking trails (#18), campgrounds (#19), and “alligator bites” to try in the café.
The Legacy Trail is popular for biking, roller blading (#20) and strolling (#21). The trail stretches over ten miles from south Sarasota to Venice and is being extended north to downtown Sarasota soon.
Selby Gardens, one of the nation’s leading botanical gardens (#22), studies, collects and showcases orchids and epiphytes. Its peaceful grounds along Sarasota Bay create a serene retreat plus a more active educational section, especially for children.
Speaking of children- or grandchildren– one my favorite spots is Mote Marine (#23). The serious marine research facility provides fascinating displays of sea life and even includes the opportunity to pet a stingray (stingers removed, of course; and here’s hint: they feel like velvet!)
Historic Spanish Point (#24) in Osprey provides a view of old Florida history from a unique archaeological display of an ancient Indian shell mound to pioneer homesteaders’ chapel and home, all within the shaded grounds of Bertha Palmer’s former winter estate along Little Sarasota Bay.
A Cultural Haven
Sarasota has long been associated with the arts and our reputation keeps growing. The Ringling Museum (#25) complex ranges from John and Mabel Ringling’s original acquisitions to modern exhibit spaces including the dramatic new Center for Asian Art in the Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt Gallery of Asian Art. Also on the campus are John and Mabel Ringling’s Ca d’Zan mansion and the Circus Museum.
The recently opened Sarasota Museum of Art (SMOA) (#26) part of the Ringling College of Art + Design, the dynamic visual arts facility with a growing international reputation.
Special events in Sarasota range from elegant to casual. The ‘Season’ from October through May is replete with sophisticated Galas and Charity events and the Sarasota Opera (#27). The internationally acclaimed Van Wezel Performing Arts (#28) and Asolo Repertory Theatre (#29) set the pace for theatre-goers. A number of other troupes such as the Sarasota Ballet (#30), Florida Studio Theatre (#31). West Coast Black Theater (#32) and others consistently set high standards.
Hundreds of other events showcase the arts including the Sarasota Film Festival (#33), Sarasota Music Festival (#34), art fairs (#35), sand sculpting contests (#36), and the Chalk Festival (#37) which attracts international artists who create giant 3D illusions and art on the pavement.
Shopping & Dining
Serious shoppers and casual browsers can entertain themselves throughout Sarasota. Downtown Sarasota’s streets (#38) include smart shops, cafes and fine dining. Just across the Ringling Bridge from downtown, upscale St. Armands Circle (#39) is known for trendy fashion boutiques, Florida memorabilia, casual cafes and gourmet restaurants.
The mega-sized Mall at University Town Center (#40) is a compendium of the glass-enclosed two-story mall surrounded by additional shops restaurants and service areas.
Dining in Sarasota (#41), both indoor and outdoor, fits the variety requested by our residents from continental cuisine to Italian, Thai to seafood, local farmers’ markets (#42) to gourmet imports. Whatever your taste buds crave, you’ll enjoy it here.