Relocating To Sarasota?
First of all, CONGRATS! You have chosen to relocate to a top 10 small city in the U.S.A. according to WalletHub, the personal-finance website. Additionally, Sarasota ranked as the #1 city to retire according to U.S. News & World Report (2017). Sarasota ranks a the highest levels of happiness among the country’s 100 biggest metro areas, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index! Many more accolades have been earned including #1 Beach in the USA according to Dr. Beach (2017). Sarasota welcomes an average of 4 million visitors each year. There is no wonder, after-all, there are 13 public beaches with over 30 miles of white fluffy sand spread among the beachfront. To sum it all up, you are making a BRILLIANT choice to relocate to Sarasota!
The “Snow Bird” Season
People move to Sarasota for so many reasons, however Sarasota is known for it’s “Chamber of Commerce” weather! Sarasota presents very clear skies from October through June. It’s very common to enjoy those royal blue skies, white puffy clouds, and a gentle breeze! During this period, it is either clear, mostly sunny, or partly cloudy about 65% of the time. As we get closer to summer, a “muggier” period begins which lasts for approximately 7 months (April to November). To a new resident particularly, it will feel pretty darn humid and oppressive about 35% of the time. In July, it’s down right muggy for us all. It gets better though! By January, it rarely feels muggy at all! Once you live through 1 full year of weather, your body will be more acclimated to the changes in Florida weather. But hey, there is no snow and ice! “Snow birds” from the North (you know, part-time residents, second home buyers, retirees, and vacationers) usually arrive just after Thanksgiving, and usually depart back up North after Easter in April.
Sarasota Rainy Season
Overcast skies are observed about 35% of the time. June-October we experience overcast conditions about 65% of the time, with an almost daily rain shower that occurs in early to mid afternoon, but usually only lasts a short period of time. Sarasota experiences a rainy season from June-September, with about a 40% chance of rain on any given day. When we hit August, the odds of rain jump to about 70%. Most rain fall occurs towards the end of August, with an average total accumulation of 5.5 inches. You can actually see localized rain storms as you drive in I-75, where you will have no rain, and see a “wall of rain” coming at you from 1 mile away. It’s typically a very heavy and even sometimes a sideways rain! It usually is very localized, and will only last a few minutes.
By November, rain has greatly reduced to an average total accumulation of about 1.5 inches. From November through May are the glory days of Sarasota weather, with blue skies, low humidity, and little rain, with gorgeous temperatures in the 70’s. This is about the time snowbirds make the migration to Sarasota! (We sure don’t blame you!)
Wind & Hurricanes
Sarasota experiences more wind from September 19 through May typically, with a recorded average wind speed of more than 8.5 miles per hour. The less windy times are from May-September, where average wind speed drops to about 6.3 miles per hour. Hurricane season technically begins in May, and extends through November 30th, but typically, we experience the greatest chance for hurricanes in September and October, where the water temperature reaches it’s highest points.
Sarasota, as the folk tale goes, is protected from hurricanes. The American Indians who once occupied the Sarasota land knew it was a safe place, which is the reason why they decided to live here. It has been said that the American Indians blessed Sarasota and made it safe from hurricanes. Some very much believe it, others are a bit more pessimistic. One thing is true however, Sarasota has never been a bull’s-eye for any major hurricane since records began in 1871. Sarasota has sustained damage from storms of years past, but no direct hits!
Sarasota Average Temperature in Degrees By Month:
Source: U.S. Climate Data
Sarasota School Information
Sarasota currently includes 53 schools, which include 23 elementary, 7 middle, 6 high, 3 combination, and 1 alternative School. Additionally, Sarasota provides 1 technical school, 11 charter schools, and 1 virtual school. The school requires over 250 buses to transport the children each day! There are a total of over 43,000 students, and the district contain over 5000 employees. There are 2750 teachers, and over 60% of them hold a masters degree or higher education. The district produces an average of 2500 graduates annually. Additional, Sarasota overs 2000+ adult and community enrichment classes each year!
Grades and Academic Performance
Sarasota has an outstanding reputation for school performance, and is one of only two districts in the state of Florida to receive an A grade every year since grading began in 2004! A 2012 independent study by MGT of America concluded that the district is one of the best-run school systems the company has reviewed, citing high performance and innovative practices. Additionally, Sarasota schools were recognized for outstanding arts education by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National School Boards Association. Learn more about the current grades for Sarasota and Manatee County schools below in the links provided.
Sarasota County Public Schools
Manatee County Public Schools
Sarasota Area Charter Schools
Many people have heard about charter schools, but are not familiar with the way Charter schools operate and are managed. Charter schools are actually public schools, however they operate within a performance contract, also called a “charter”. This charter allows the school to run independently from many of the rules and regulations that were developed for public schools, and they are able to create their own academic programs, hire their own teachers, and manage their budget. Decisions about the school management are made by their won board of directors.
The county in which the Charter school exists still has oversight responsibility, however the charter schools operate independently under the terms of the contract or charter within the district.
Sarasota Area Private Schools
Check Any Neighborhood for Proximity To Sexual Offenders & Predators
Sarasota is famous for it’s Caribbean-like beaches. There are several different beach options to choose from, and each delivers it’s own flavor of the sea for beach connoisseurs.
1. Siesta Key – When we discuss Sarasota beaches, the conversation has to start with Siesta Key beach! Siesta Key is rated the top beach in the country by Dr. Beach in 2017. This is know to be more of the vacationer’s beach, and for good reason. The island spans a total of 8 miles, which includes a north and south bridge connecting the mainland to the island. Siesta Key consists of three different beaches within the scenic span (Siesta Key Public Beach, Crescent Beach, and Turtle Beach towards the south end of the island). Siesta Key beach is the most popular, with its fine sugary white sand consistency. What makes this sand so special is that it consists of 98% quartz, and ground up to a powdery consistency. Much of the most common beach sand is made up of coral, however Siesta Key’s sand is 99% quartz. Because quartz is a crystal, the heat disperses quickly, allowing the sand to remain very cool to the touch, and easy on the feet!
Siesta Key is a high tourism beach, and many events are held on Siesta Key, such as the Siesta Key drum circle, sand volleyball tournaments, yoga & pilates classes, and so much more. In the past year, Siesta Key renovated it’s Siebert Pavilion, adding new concession buildings, restrooms, wedding pavilion, multi-use shelters, and picnic pavilions. Plenty of additional parking was added as well! Siesta Key is full of beach visitors during the day, and the party-ers at night. There are plenty of restaurants, bars, and a few dance and music clubs located on Siesta Key. There is something for everyone on Siesta Key, and you will not be disappointed!
2. Lido Key – Lido Key is situated just west of Downtown Sarasota, and across the Ringling Causeway Bridge. Lido Key is known to be a favorite for many “locals”, as it is not typically as crowded as Siesta Key beaches, but still a crowd favorite. The sand is not quite as vast and powdery as Siesta Key, but fabulous none-the-less. There are three beaches that make up Lido Key, including North Lido, Lido Beach, and South Lido Beach. Lido Beach is such a favorite, as it is just steps from Saint Armand Circle, a collection of boutique shoppes and restaurants located in the heart of Lido Key.
3. Longboat Key – Longboat Key spans 12 miles, with most of the access being deeded and private. It is the northernmost island situated along Sarasota’s coast, spanning 12 miles in length and connecting up to Anna maria island in Bradenton. Longboat Key is is home to many sea turtles, that come every year to nest and lay their eggs. Many condos have private access, and Bay Isles Beach Club has their own deeded access to the beach, which serves many neighborhoods located within the Bay Isles community on Longboat Key. If you are looking for a quieter beach loving experience, finding a place to live on Longboat Key may be the best match for you!
4. Casey Key –Most of Casey Key is owned by private homeowners, who have their own deeded beach access. The south end of Casey Key is designed with visitors featuring an 18 acre park with various picnic areas, concession stands. The oldest beach on Casey Key is Nokomis Beach. A drive north on Casey Key will deliver some of the most awe-inspiring homes found in Sarasota. Several celebrities have been known to call Casey Key their home, including Stephen King and Rosie O’Donnell.
5. Venice Beach – One of the longest stretches of beach in it’s natural state would be Caspersen Beach in Venice! There are plenty of boardwalk perfect for bird watching and fishing. If you are looking for a great beach to take a long walk, Venice beach is perfect! Venice Beach is famous for it’s colorful lifeguard stands, a beachside cafe, and a pavilion with shaded tables. There is plenty of parking at Venice beach too! Last but not least, Brohard Paw Park, which is Sarasota County’s only dog-friendly beach, is located near Caspersen Beach.
6. Manasota Key – There are a total of four beaches in Manasota Key, which include Manasota, Englewood, Blind Pass, , and Stump Pass. Nature lovers will really enjoy Manasota Beach , as there are plenty of Mangroves and sand dunes to explore. Englewood Beach offers a family-friendly array of amenities including pavilions with picnic tables and grills, and a range of outdoor sports facilities. Blind Pass Beach delivers 60 acres spanning the Gulf and the bay, with nearly 3,000 feet of sand! The state park of Stump Pass Beach is often enjoyed by hikers and nature-lovers taking in the sights.
Sarasota has some of the most beautiful golf courses found on the west coast of FL. Whether you are looking for championship courses such as TPC Prestancia, premier luxurious private golf community courses such as Concession, Lakewood Ranch Country Club, or Founders Club, or would like a more relaxed golf experience on one of the many semi-private or public courses throughout Sarasota, you will be delighted with the variety of skill level and beauty of Sarasota’s courses. Overall, Sarasota County delivers also has numerous public, private and semi-private golf courses for residents and visitors to enjoy. Since the weather is lovely all year long, you can play any time of the year!
A great resource to learn about many of the ares course can be found at Golf Now.
We are asked many questions about buying homes on golf courses, and let us briefly explain the difference in the types of golf communities which are available in Sarasota and the surrounding area.
1. Bundled Golf Communities – The “bundled” golf communities by definition are those where home owners must join the country club and often have mandatory fees that include greens fees. There are a handful of communities that offer a “bundled golf” option, and they typically do not allow members to drive their own golf cart on the course. But some of the course may allow members to buy a golf cart that is matching the course’s golf carts (with a “trail fee”).
Sarasota Bundled Golf Communties:
|Course Name & Website||Address||City|
|Esplanade Lakewood Ranch||12825 Malachite Drive|
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211
|Lakewood Ranch, FL||(941) 306-3500|
|Tara||6602 Drewry´s Bluff, Bradenton, FL 34203||Bradenton, FL||(941) 756-7775|
|River Strand||7155 Grand Estuary Trail, Bradenton, FL 34212||Bradenton, FL||(941) 708-3837|
|Lakewood National||17605 Lakewood National Pkwy|
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211
|Lakewood Ranch, FL.||(941) 900-2424|
|Heritage Oaks||4800 Chase Oaks Drive | Sarasota, FL 34241-9159||Sarasota, FL.||(941) 926-7602|
|Stoneybrook Golf and Country Club||8801 Stoneybrook Boulevard|
Sarasota, FL 34238
|Sarasota, FL.||(941) 966-2711|
2. Private Golf Clubs – The Sarasota area (Sarasota, Venice, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch) has approximately 17 private golf courses and many more semi-private golf courses. These 17 private courses require that you must join as a member, and pay annual dues based on the level of membership selected, in addition to minimum food and beverage purchases throughout the year. These courses are typically delivering fine amenities, with lower levels of game traffic as compared with the semi-private or public courses.
Sarasota Area Private Golf Courses
|BENT TREE COUNTRY CLUB||4700 Bent Tree Blvd||Sarasota, FL||(941) 371-8200|
|THE CONCESSION||7710 Lindrick Ln||Bradenton, FL||(941) 322-1465|
|THE FOUNDERS GOLF CLUB||3800 Golf Dr||Sarasota, FL||(941) 378-0900|
|HERITAGE OAKS GOLF & CC||4800 Chase Oaks Dr||Sarasota, FL||(941) 926-7600|
|JACARANDA WEST CC||1901 Jacaranda Blvd||Venice, FL||(941) 493-500|
|LAUREL OAK COUNTRY CLUB||2700 Gary Player Blvd||Sarasota, FL||(941) 378-3608|
|LONGBOAT KEY CLUB||361 Gulf of Mexico Dr||Longboat Key, FL||(941) 387-1632|
|THE MEADOWS COUNTRY CC||3103 Longmeadow||Sarasota, FL||(941) 371-6000|
|MISSION VALLEY CC||1851 Mission valley Blvd||Laurel, FL||(941) 488-9683|
|MISTY CREEK COUNTRY CLUB||8954 Misty Creek Dr||Sarasota, FL||(941) 921-5258|
|THE OAKS CLUB||301 MacEwen Dr||Osprey, FL||(941) 966-2161|
|PALM AIRE COUNTRY CLUB||5601 Country Club Way||Sarasota, FL||(941) 966-2161|
|PLANTATION GOLF & CC||500 Rockley Blvd||Venice, FL||(941) 493-2000|
3. Semi-Private Golf Courses: There are currently about 18 semi-private golf course in the Sarasota Florida area, including a span from Bradenton to Englewood. On a semi-private course, operations are catered to members, but non-members can still pay a fee to play.
Sarasota Area Semi-Private Golf Courses
|BIRD BAY GOLF CLUB||602 Bird Bay Dr. West||Venice, FL||(941) 485-9333|
|BOBCAT TRAIL GOLF CLUB||1350 Bobcat Trail||North Port, FL||(941) 429-0222|
|BOCA ROYALE GOLF & C.C.||1601 Englewood Rd||Englewood, FL||(941) 474-7474|
|CALUSA LAKES GOLF CLUB||1995 Calusa Lakes Blvd||Nokomis, FL||(941) 484-8995|
|CAPRI ISLES GOLF CLUB||849 Capri Isles Blvd||Venice, FL||(941) 485-3371|
|IMG ACADEMIES GOLF & C.C.||4350 El Conquistador Pky||Bradenton, FL||(941) 758-1466|
|MYAKKA PINES GOLF CLUB||2550 South River Rd||Englewood, FL||(941) 474-3296|
|OYSTER CREEK GOLF CLUB||6551 Oriole Blvd||Englewood, FL||(941) 475-0334|
|PALM VIEW HILLS||5712 28th Ave||East Palmetto, FL||(941) 722-2392|
|PALMETTO PINES GOLF CLUB||14255 Golf Course Rd||Palmetto, FL||(941) 776-1375|
|PELICAN POINTE GOLF & CC||575 Center Rd||Venice, FL||(941) 496-4653|
|PINEBROOK/IRONWOOD||4260 Ironwood Cir||Bradenton, FL||(941) 792-3288|
|RIVER STRAND GOLF & CC||755 Estuary Tr||Bradenton, FL||(941) 708-3617|
|ROLLING GREEN GOLF CLUB||4501 North Tuttle Ave||Sarasota, FL||(941) 355-7621|
|ROSEDALE GOLF & CC||5100 87th St. East||Bradenton, FL||(941) 756-0004|
|SERENOA GOLF CLUB||6773 Serenoa Dr||Sarasota, FL||(941) 925-2755|
|STONEYBROOK GOLF & CC||8801 Stoneybrook Ln||Sarasota, FL||(941) 966-1800|
|UNIVERSITY PARK CC||7671 Park Blvd||Sarasota, FL||(941) 359-9999|
|WATERFORD GOLF CLUB||1454 Gleneagles Dr||Venice, FL||(941) 484-6621|
4. Public Golf Courses:
Of course, Sarasota has a wide variety of public courses as well. Rosedale, Laurel Oak, Lakewood Ranch Country Club and Prestancia to have the most challenging and scenic courses. There are several new home construction neighborhoods with nice new golf courses such as Esplanade in Lakewood Ranch that include bundled golf. These golf courses to be less mature and have less shade trees but are more wide open…makes for somewhat easier play.
We also have some really fun executive courses in the area (that are very well maintained) located in more established neighborhoods with tons of active social life within. There are so many great golf courses in the Sarasota area. No matter where you live, you can be sure there’s a great place to play within 5-10 miles of your home.
Sarasota Area Public Golf Courses
|BOBBY JONES GOLF COMPLEX||1000 Circus Blvd||Sarasota, FL||(941) 365-4653|
|THE GROVES||3101 Longmeadow||Sarasota, FL||(941) 371-0982|
|GULF GATE GOLF CLUB||2550 Bispham Rd||Sarasota, FL||(941) 921-5515|
|LAKE VENICE GOLF CLUB||S. Harbor Drive||Venice, FL||(941) 488-3948|
|LINKS AT GREENFIELD PLANTN.||10325 Greenfield Blvd||Bradenton, FL||(941) 747-9432|
|LIVE OAK RV & GOLF COURSE||12865 SW Highway 17||Arcadia, FL||(863) 993-0940|
|OAK FORD GOLF CLUB||1552 Palm View Rd||Sarasota, FL||(941) 371-3680|
|SARASOTA NATIONAL||25510 National Blvd||Venice, FL||(941) 496-8676|
|SUNCOAST GOLF CENTER||7741 15th St. East||Sarasota, FL||(941) 351-2666|
|TATUM RIDGE GOLF LINKS||421 North Tatum Rd||Sarasota, FL||(941) 378-4211|
|VENICE EAST GOLF CLUB||107 East Blvd||Venice, FL||(941) 493-0005|
|VILLAGE GREEN GOLF CLUB||3500 Pembrook Dr||Sarasota, FL||(941) 922-9500|
|SARASOTA - Casey Key, Lido Key, Siesta Key area|
|17th Street Park & 17th Street Paw Park||4570 17th Street, Sarasota|
|35th Street Park||3530 Old Bradenton Road, East Side, Sarasota|
|A.B. Smith Park||241 Oak Street & Payne Parkway, Sarasota|
|Ackerman Park||6481 Interstate Blvd., Sarasota|
|Adult Recreation Center||801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota|
|Arlington Park & Aquatic Center||2650 Waldemere Street, Sarasota|
|Avion Park||436 Pompano Avenue, Sarasota|
|Bay Island Park||946 Siesta Drive, Sarasota|
|Bee Ridge Park||4430 S. Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota|
|Bird Key Park||200 John Ringling Causeway, Sarasota|
|Boyd Park||4300 Midnight Pass Road &Higel Avenue, Siesta Key|
|Causeway Park||420 John Ringling Causeway, Sarasota|
|Centennial Park||1059 N. Tamiami Trail at 11th Street, Sarasota|
|Christopher Wheeler Park||East end of Old Stickney Point Road, Sarasota|
|Cohen Park||1845 34th Street, Sarasota|
|Colonial Oaks Park||5300 Colonial Oaks Blvd., Sarasota|
|Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park||2523 Cocoanut Ave. at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way|
|Eastwood Park||422 W. Cornelius Circle, Sarasota|
|Edwards Islands||Roberts Bay, Sarasota|
|Fairgrounds Park||185 S. Pompano Avenue, Sarasota|
|Fredd Atkins Park||2581 Washington Court, Sarasota|
|Fruitville Park||5151 Richardson Road, Sarasota|
|Fruitville Road Park||Northeast of Fruitville Road & Beneva, Sarasota|
|Gillespie Park||710 N. Osprey Avenue, Sarasota|
|Glebe Park||998 Glebe Lane, Siesta Key|
|Hopewell Cemetery||6730 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota|
|Knights Trail Park||3445 Rustic Road, Laurel|
|Lakeview Park||7150 Lago Street, Sarasota|
|Laurel Park||509 Collins Street, Laurel|
|Lawn Bowling (Civic Center)||809 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota|
|Longwood Park||6050 Longwood Blvd., Sarasota|
|Miss Sarasota Softball Complex||1111 Gun Club Road, Sarasota|
|Neville Preserve||Little Sarasota Bay, Sarasota|
|New Pass Fishing Piers||1700 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota|
|Newtown Community Center||1845 34th Street, Sarasota|
|Newtown Estates Park||2800 Newtown Blvd. & Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Sarasota|
|North Jetty||1000 Casey Key Road, Casey Key|
|North Lido Beach||400 Ben Franklin Drive, Lido Key|
|North Metro Park||2500 Honore Avenue, Sarasota|
|North Water Tower Park||4700 Rilma Avenue, Sarasota|
|Ocean Boulevard, Beach Access #5||Ocean Blvd & Beach Road Intersection, Siesta Key|
|Orange Avenue Park||1822 N. Orange Avenue, Sarasota|
|Otter Key||Sarasota Bay, Sarasota|
|Payne Park||2050 Adams Lane, Sarasota|
|Phillippi Estate Park||5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota|
|Phillippi Shores Park||1863 Phillippi Shores Drive, Sarasota|
|Pinecraft Park||1420 Gilbert Avenue, Sarasota|
|Pioneer Park||1121 Cocoanut Avenue, Sarasota|
|Potter Park||8587 Potter Park Drive, Sarasota|
|Red Rock Park||3987 Camino Real, South of Bay Road, Sarasota|
|Riverview Tennis Courts||One Ram Way, Riverview High School, Sarasota|
|Sevilla Park||1506 Central Avenue, 15th & 16th Street, Sarasota|
|South Gate Circle||3170 South Gate Circle, Sarasota|
|South Lido Park||190 Taft Drive & 2201 Ben Franklin, Lido Key|
|Tony Saprito Fishing Pier (Causeway Park)||420 John Ringling Causeway, Sarasota|
|Twin Lakes Park Facility||6700 Clark Road, Sarasota|
|Youth Athletic Complex||2810 17th Street, Sarasota|
|Bay Street Park||300 Bay Street, Osprey|
|Blackburn Point Park||800 Blackburn Point Road, Osprey|
|Ken Thompson Park/City Island||1700 Ken Thompson Parkway, State Road 789, Osprey|
|Nokomis Community Park||234 Nippino Trail, Nokomis|
|Osprey Fishing Pier||West end of Main Street, Osprey|
|Pine View Tennis Courts||One Python Pass, Osprey|
|Shoreland Park||Shoreland Drive, West of Oscar Scherer State Park, Osprey|
|By-Pass Park||1101 Gulf Coast Blvd., Venice|
|Carlton Reserve||1800 Mabry Carlton Parkway, Venice|
|Caspersen Beach||4100 Harbor Drive South, Venice|
|Chuck Reiter Stadium||250 Fort Street, Venice|
|Hecksher Park||450 West Venice Avenue, Venice|
|Higel Par||1330 Tarpon Center Drive, Venice|
|Marina Boat Ramp Park||215 E. Venice Avenue, Venice|
|Nightingale Park||675 Nightingale Road, Venice|
|Pinebrook Park||1251 Pinebrook Road, Venice|
|Plantation Park||1570 Center Road, Venice|
|Rattlesnake Island||Lyons Bay, Venice|
|Service Club Park||1600 Harbor Drive South, Venice|
|Shamrock Park & Nature Center||3900 W. Shamrock Drive, Venice|
|Venice Community Center||326 S. Nokomis Avenue, Venice|
|Wellfield Park||1300 Ridgewood, Venice|
|Woodmere Park & Woodmere Paw Park||3951 Woodmere Park Blvd., Venice|
|Venetia Bay Park||800 Venetia Bay Blvd., Venice & Nokomis|
|Challenger Park||371 Olivia Street, S. Venice|
|Pine Park||4556 McKibben Drive, North Port|
|Oaks Park||Mandrake Avenue, North Port|
|Youth Recreational Center||5845 Greenwood Avenue, North Port|
|Al Goll Recreation Center||5930 Sam Shapos Drive, North Port|
|Blue Ridge Park||2155 Ridgewood Drive, North Port|
|Butler Park||6205 West Price Blvd., North Port|
|Dallas White Park||5900 Greenwood Avenue, North Port|
|George Mullen Community Activity Center||3025 North Port Blvd., North Port|
|Highlands Ridge Park||6225 Kenwood Drive, North Port|
|Hope Park||8161 Lombra Avenue, North Port|
|Kirk Park||8305 Trionfo Avenue, North Port|
|LaBrea Park||6340 LaBrea Street, North Port|
|Marina Park||7030 Chancellor Blvd., North Port|
|McKibben Park||5500 Trekell Street, North Port|
|Myakkahatchee Park||6968 Reisterstown Road, North Port|
|North Port Pool||5925 Greenwood Avenue, North Port|
Downtown Sarasota is a wonderful collection of fine dining, as well delivering many specialty boutique shoppes and art galleries to stroll into along the way. The dowtown has something for everyone, and there is nothing else like it on the Gulf Coast. Our downtown is what makes Sarasota gleam as a crown jewel of the top-rated small cities in the USA. Downtown delivers a wide variety of arts, all within an easy walk.
Whether your interested in catching a theatrical performance at the Van Wezel Performaing Arts Hall, checking out an art gallery along Burns Court, Towles Court, or the Art Center Of Sarasota, attending a performance at The Sarasota Ballet or Sarasota Opera house, or even dropping by for a comedy show at McCurdy’s Comedy Theater, you will be thrilled with the offerings in downtown Sarasota. Sarasota is a blend of an intimate small town, infused with amenities found in cities three times the size.
Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market – Every Saturday – 7am-1pm
On Saturday mornings, you won’t want to miss the downtown farmer’s market, featuring local fruits and vegetables, meats, flowers, and much more!
Get Your Exercise on!
One of the most spectacular views in all of Sarasota can be experienced as you take a trip over the Ringling Causeway Bridge into Lido Key. There is simply no better view in the city, and every time I cross that bridge, I realize I happen to live where most only choose to vacation! The views are simply sensational, and the reason you will always find plenty of walkers, joggers, and bicyclists enjoying the views within the walking lanes heading over the bridge.
Many locals take strolls along the Marina Jacks into Bayfront Park, and perhaps even stopping on to enjoy a lunch or breakfast out on the covered deck overlooking the gorgeous waterfront of the marina. This is the perfect spot to stop and relax on one of the swinging benches to take in the sunset.
Live Music Galore
Whether you are into spending a relaxing evening listening to Jazz in the outdoor dining area of Mattisons City Grill on Main Street, or taking it up a notch to spend the evening listening to a local band at the Gator Club, you can easily find a live music experience in downtown Sarasota. Many locals enjoy the Jazz Club of Sarasota, as well as many other clubs and restaurants downtown.
Plant and Flower Lovers Rejoice
The ever-popular Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is home for over 20,000 plants, and features many of the rarest orchids in the world. There is plenty to do for the kids as well, with playsets and a kids’ rainforest garden. During the holidays, the Botanical Gardens decorates, featuring thousands and thousands of lights strung along the meandering sidewalks, gorgeous trees and rare plants.
This is just a small sample of all that dowtown Sarasota has to offer. We strongly recommend you experience it for yourself. One look and you will fall in love with our top-rated small city in America!
Lakewood Ranch is a large master-planned community of 18,000+ people located east of I-75, with 17,000 acres nestled between Route 70 to the north and University Parkway to the south. It has evolved into it’s own small city, consisting of over 100,000 homes, with an additional 23,000 approved in the future! There are plans to add the ViIllages of Lakewood Ranch South as well, which will contain over 5500 homes! Whether you are looking for a reasonably priced condo, a summer home or residence on a golf course, or a luxury home nestled within the gates of a Lakewood Ranch neighborhood, you single will find it all in Lakewood Ranch. Lakewood Ranch is called home for retirees and young families alike, with the average age of a Lakewood Ranch resident being 45.
There is plenty to do in Lakewood Ranch, including enjoying over 3,500 acres of lakes, parks, and walking trails. There are plenty of parks and recreational activities to do within Lakewood Ranch, allowing it to be a top choice for families moving into the area. Other fun activities in Lakewood Ranch include visitor the Sarasota Polo club, or celebrating the arts with local organizations such as The Players Centre, which hosts a variety of children’s and adult programs.
The locals really enjoy Music on Main Street, essentially a large block party held on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch on the first Friday of every month! Main street hosts a variety of specialty boutique shops and restaurants serving delicious cuisine. If you are looking for a gorgeous small city in the Sarasota with consistently manicured grounds, plenty of dining and entertainment, and great schools, Lakewood Ranch is a must-see community for you!
Palmer Ranch is another large master-planned area spanning over 10,000 acres, including over 90 single family home and condo subdivisions, and housing over 20,000 residents. Palmer Ranch is a fantastic location located just south of Clark Rd, covering about 60 sq. miles between Rt. 41 and Interstate 75. What is really wonderful about Palmer Ranch is it’s close proximity to Siesta Key beach (10 minute drive), and downtown Sarasota is only about 15 minutes away!
Palmer Ranch has a beautiful suburban feel, yet so close to downtown, and all the culture, arts, and fine dining that come with that! Additionally, residents are able to enjoy Potter Park in Palmer Ranch, a serene 37-acre park which shares space with the local YMCA. There are plenty of recreational activities happening at the Park, and YMCA on any given day. There’s a large pavilion, playground equipment for the kiddos, 4 lighted tennis courts, along with a great water park.
The schools in Palmer Ranch are top rated, including the ever-popular Ashton Elementary School, Sarasota middle school, and Riverview High School, which have all earned A-ratings from the state of Florida 15 years in a row! No wonder Palmer Ranch is such a popular community within Sarasota!
Exercising in Palmer Ranch
One of the pride and joys of Palmer Ranch is the Legacy Trail, a 12.5 mile paved trail that meanders from the south of Sarasota all the way into Venice. It’s peaceful, serene, and residents, and visitors take part in leisurely walks, jogging, and cycling, without the threat of automobile traffic. Everytime I take a ride on the trail, I see new wildlife, beautiful views of preserve, lakes and streams, and I love crossing the bridge in Venice and taking in the views of the water! The trail is planning to expand north into Sarasota up to Ashton Road.
Stoneybrook Nature trail is another popular spot to do some walking and exploring. It’s an 8 foot wide paved path stretching 1 mile in length, which also meanders through Florida preserves.
Shopping In Palmer Ranch
Palmer Ranch is so close to Tamiami Trial, which has just about every type of shopping available, ranging from Westfield Mall, Costco, and a wide variety of local shops catering from local produce and meats, clothing, and many furniture galleries to help you furnish your new home! Don’t forget, the specialty boutiques of downtown Sarasota and Saint Armand Circle is just 15 minutes to the north!
West Of The Trail
The historical area of Sarasota is found west of Route 41 (Tamiami Trail). The reason Rt. 41 is also called Tamiami Trail is because the roadway connects Tampa to Miami (albeit this is going the LONG way, but at one time long ago, it was the only way to get there!
West-Of-The-Trail real estate is some of the most highly-demanded property you will find in Sarasota. The location is second to none. It’s just minutes to downtown Sarasota and the beaches of Siesta and Lido Key. This area of Sarasota is known for homes built in the 20’s and later, many being old Spanish style homes with the charm that is impossible to duplicate today, along with other old Florida single story ranchers.
Many buyers have purchased old Florida style homes with the plan to renovate or rebuild as more modern and grand residences with a location to be envied by all. Laurel Park is one of the most desired real estate in downtown, as it has a suburban feel with plenty of shade and greenery, yet it’s right in the middle of the downtown Sarasota action!
The west of trail area delivers a variety of shopping experiences from trendy boutiques and art galleries found In Towles Court, to the infamous Morton’s fish market. Many employees and physicians take residence in West of the Trail homes, since Sarasota Memorial Hospital is located just south of downtown, west of Rt. 41.
Arts & Theater
Sarasota is known as “Florida’s Cultural Coast®”, and for good reason. The Ringling family was heavily influenced by the arts and culture of Italy, enough so that they had disassembled an 18th-century playhouse constructed in Asolo Italy, and reconstructed it on his Sarasota estate in the 1950’s! Many professional theater companies have settled in Sarasota, and the arts have survived and even thrived for more than 50 years.
Many visitors and residents enjoy theatrical performances in the Florida Studio Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, and the iconic Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall located downtown. If amateur theater is your interest, be sure to check out The Players Centre, established in 1936! In 2016, The Sarasota Ballet celebrated a 25th anniversary, so be sure to check out one of their 7 productions! If comedy is your desire, we are thrilled that McCurdy’s Comedy Theater relocated to their new central downtown location. McCurdy’s attracts comedians from all over the country, including headline A-listers as well.
Sarasota celebrates a wide variety of Music as well. Jazz lovers will be sure to check out The Jazz CLub of Sarasota, and definitely catch them in April for their annual Jazz festival. The Sarasota Orchestra presents over 100 concerts per year, ranging from classical to pop performances. During the summer, the Orchestra celebrates a large music festival. Another must-see performances will be found in the Sarasota Opera House, a local favorite.
Sarasota has not shortage of art galleries and studios peppered throughout the city. The Towles Court is home to several shops and art galleries, and be sure to check out the dining too! Ringling College of Art & Design is based in Sarasota, and is known for producing industry-leading and talented animation artists. In October of each year, Locals and visitors a like enjoy the Ringling International Arts Festival, a week of music, art, theater and dance held each October at The Ringling Museum. In April of each year, The Sarasota Film festival hosts a couple hundred films and educational events. The Sarasota area offers a fine collection of Art galleries including Art Center Sarasota, Art Uptown, North Port Art Center, Selby Gallery, State of The Arts Gallery, and the Venice Art Center.
Sarasota: A Fine Array of Sarasota Arts To Enjoy
|Asolo Repertory Theatre||5555 N. Tamiami Trl. Sarasota, FL 34243|
|Florida Studio Theatre||1241 N. Palm Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236-5602|
|Jazz Club of Sarasota||330 S. Pineapple Ave., # 111, Sarasota, FL 34236|
|Key Chorale||1233C S Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 34239|
|La Musica di Asolo||61 N Pineapple Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236|
|McCurdy's Comedy Theatre & Humor Institute||1923 Ringling Blvd. Sarasota, FL 34236|
|Sarasota Opera||61 N. Pineapple Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236|
|Sarasota Concert Association||5555 N. Tamiami Trl. Sarasota, FL 34243|
|Sarasota Contemporary Dance||1400 Boulevard of the Arts Suite #300, Sarasota, FL 34236|
|Sarasota Film Festival||332 Cocoanut Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236|
|Sarasota Orchestra||709 N. Tamiami Trl. Sarasota, FL 34236|
|The Players Centre For Performing Arts||838 N. Tamiami Trl. Sarasota, FL 34236|
|The Sarasota Ballet||5555 N. Tamiami Trl. Sarasota, FL 34243|
|The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School||501 N Beneva Rd. Sarasota, FL 34237|
|The Venice Symphony||1515 S. Tamiami Trail - Suite 7, Venice, FL 34285|
|Urbanite Theatre||1487 Second Street, Sarasota, FL 34236|
|Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall||777 N. Tamiami Trl. Sarasota, FL 34236|
|Venice Institute for Performing Arts||1 Indian Ave. Venice, FL 34285|
|Venice Theatre||140 Tampa Ave. W. Venice, FL 34285|
|Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe||1012 N. Orange Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236|
Sarasota is not all just about being a retiree destination. Over the years, Sarasota has become a diverse age range demographic, with plenty of activities to do for everyone! Of course, searching for shark teeth on Venice Key beach will top just about every child’s to do list, however there are plenty of other activities to keep the kiddos happy. Here is a sampling of Sarasota, best viewed from a child’s eyes!
25 Fun Things To Do With Kids
|Bradenton Riverwalk||452 Third Ave. W., Bradenton|
|Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary||7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota|
|Crowley Museum and Nature Center||16405 Myakka Road, Sarasota|
|John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art||5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota|
|Hermann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallions||32755 Singletary Road, Myakka City|
|Florida Studio Theatre - Kids Workshops||1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota|
|Marie Selby Botanical Gardens||811 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota|
|Mixon Fruit Farms||2525 27th St. E., Bradenton|
|Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium||1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota|
|Myakka River State Park||13208 S.R. 72, Sarasota|
|Sailor Circus||2075 Bahia Vista St., Sarasota|
|Sarasota Jungle Gardens||3701 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota|
|Selby Public Library||1331 First St., Sarasota|
|Sarasota Children’s Garden||1670 10th Way, Sarasota|
|Siesta Beach||948 Beach Road, Sarasota|
|South Florida Museum||201 10th St. W., Bradenton|
|Busch Gardens Tampa||10165 N. Malcolm McKinley Drive, Tampa|
|Disney World - Orlando||Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, FL 32830|
|Glazer Children’s Museum||110 W. Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa|
|Lowry Park Zoo||1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa|
|Manatee Viewing Center||6990 Dickman Road, Apollo Beach|
|Museum of Science & Industry||4801 E. Fowler Ave., Tampa|
|Sea World - Orlando||SeaWorld Orlando, 7007 Sea World Drive, Orlando, FL 32821|
|Universal Studios - Orlando||6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819|
Sarasota is widely know for it’s beaches and downtown, however it is also known to be a top-rated destination to sit down for a good meal. Did you know that Sarasota contains more Zagat-rated restaurants in a 20-mile radius than any other city in Florida? That means there is always a high-quality dining experience to enjoy, no matter what you’re hungry to try.
Indigenous is situated in a renovated home in the ever-popular art district of Towles Court. The chef uses a bleand of fresh and seasonal ingredients to deliver an elegant, yet casual dining experience. If bar fare is your appetite, you will enjoy State Street, a relatively new comer to downtown Sarasota. A discussion about seafood is not complete without mentioning Owen’s Fish Camp, located under the beautiful Banyan tree in Burns Court in Dowtown Sarasota.
Another local favorite is the Columbia restaurant located on Saint Armand Circle, established in 1905. Columbia is a delightful, elegant ambiance with either indoor dining, or outside patio dining available. Looking for more of a casual beach-side experience? You need to check out the Daiquiri Deck in Siesta Key. Plenty of Dacquiry flavors, a full bar, and a wide array of appetizing casual entrees to choose frm for adults and children.
For a more sophisticated dining experience, be sure to check out Selva Grill in dowtown Sarasota. Selva Grill delivers a modern “South-Beach-meets-Sarasota” vibe. The interior is colorful with an inspiring mural spanning one wall, which sets the stage for delicious Nuevo Latino cuisine, including some of the most contemporary and whimsical plate presentations of any restaurant in Sarasota.
Sarasota has so many dining choices, it is impossible to discuss them all here. Be sure to check out 100 Restaurants To Try In Sarasota
Sarasota International Airport – SRQ
Sarasota is a great location, and convenient to several airports in the area. Sarasota international airport is located conveniently on University Parkway, just east of Tamiami Trail. This will be the most convenient airport to use to fly in and out of Sarasota. Currently, SRQ (Sarasota International Airport) is a hub for the following airlines: Air Canada, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta, United, Jet Blue, and Elite Airways, in addition to private airline alliances with SkyTeam, Star Alliance, and OneWorld.
Tampa International Airport – TPA
Located 65 miles to the north of Sarasota, or 6 miles west of Tampa is the Tampa International airport. If you are looking for flexibility in airline choices to avoid layover flights, TPA is a great choice, as they offer 20 different airlines, 4 regional airlines, and evenn three cargo airlines. They service 85 non-stop destinations within the USA, Caribbean, Central America and Europe. In 2016, TPA was named one of the top 3 airports in the country. At the time of this article, TPA services the following airlines: Air Canada, Air Canada Rouge, Alaska AIrlines, American Airlines, American Eagle,British Airways, Cayman Airways, Delta, Edelweiss, Frontier, IcelandAIr, JetBlue, Lufthansa, Norwegian Air SHuttle, Silver, Southwaest, Delta, Delta Connection, Eurowings, Frontier, JetBlue, Silver Airways, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country, Swift, United, United Express, and WestJet.
St. Pete – Clearwater Airport – PIE
Located 47 miles north of Sarasota, and none miles north of St. Petersburg FL is the home of the St. Pete – Clearwater International Airport. Originally, this airport was more centered as a hub for commercial service activity, however in recent years, PIE experienced significant growth and now serves over 1 million passengers annually. The airport has recently completed a 22 Million dollar renovation. Airlines servicing out of St. Pete CLearwater airport include Allegiant Air, Sun County Airlines, and Sunwing Airlines.
Southwest Florida International Airport – Fort Myers – RSW
Located 90 miles to the south of Sarasota, Southwaest Florida International Airport. At the time of this article, RSW services the following airlines: Air Canada, American Airlines, American Eagle, Delta, Delta Connection, Eurowings, Frontier, JetBlue, Silver Airways, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country, United, United Express, and WestJet. Top destinations are Atlanta, Chicago-O’Hare, Detroit,Boston, Newark NJ, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Charlotte NC, Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, and Philadelphia
The St. Pete – Clearwater International Airport. Originally, this airport was more centered as a hub for commercial service activity, however in recent years, RSW experienced significant growth and now serves over 1 million passengers annually. The airport has recently completed a 22 Million dollar renovation. Airlines servicing out of St. Pete Clearwater airport include Allegiant Air, Sun County Airlines, and Sunwing Airlines.
Sarasota is known to have top-rated healthcare in the country, according to Money Magazine. There are 4 major hospitals in The Sarasota/Bradenton area. Tampa is just 50 miles to the North, and opens up dozens of additional options and physician specialties. Focusing on Sarasota, here is a brief summary of our four local hospitals.
Sarasota Memorial Hospital
Sarasota Memorial Hospital is the area’s largest hospital, which was recently ranked #7 in Florida’s healthcare system. SMH even earned the designation of “10 Of The Largest Safe Hospitals in the U.S.”, and according to U.S. News and World Report, SMH is ranked in “America’s 50 Best Hospitals”.
The hospital was originally founded in 1925, and has developed into the area’s leading healthcare provider. Currently, SMH is the largest public health system in FL., with over 4000 staff members, 800 physicians, and well over 1000 volunteers. Specialties include cardiology, cancer, and neurosciences. They also provide obstetrics, pediatrics, and neonatal intensive care. It was designated a Level II Trauma center in 2015.
Doctor’s Hospital Of Sarasota
The Doctor’s Hospital Of Sarasota was originally founded in 1967, and is now part of the HCA West Florida network of 17 hospitals in the Florida region. In Sarasota, it’s the second largest medical facility in Sarasota, with the primary hospital being a 155-bed facility. Located just off Bee Ridge Road, it’s convenient location and typically shorter ER wait times make it a popular choice for residents seeking medical attention. The Doctor’s Hospital is a full-service, emergency care facility specializing in cardiology and orthopedics. This Hospital earned five stars from the Center for Medicaid Services (CMS.) CMS is the federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that administers Medicare. Five stars is the highest rating a hospital can earn and only five hospitals in the state of Florida earned five stars.
Lakewood Ranch Medical Center
Lakewood Ranch Medical Center is located just off Lakewood Ranch Blvd. located near University Parkway. The hospital opened in 2004, and specializes in acute care with both inpatient and outpatient medical services.
With over 500 physicians, Lakewood Ranch Medical center has emerged as one of the areas leaing medical facilities with specialties in cardiology, orthopedics, and women’s health.
Venice Regional Bayfront Health
Venice Regional Bayfront Health is a 312-bed comprehensive health care facility. THey have a reputation for providing compassionate health services, dating back to 1951 when four physicians and a local businessman open the hospital’s doors. They specialize in cardiac services including open-heart surgery, and ambulatory care. A walk-in health care facility and women’s health center services are offered as well. Venice Regional Bayfront was recognixed as one of the top 50 cardiovascular programs in the U.S.A. by Thompson Reuters.
State of Florida – myflorida.com
State Legislature of Florida – leg.state.fl.us
Sarasota County – scgov.net
Sarasota City – sarsotagov.com
Venice City – venicegov.com
Englewood City – englewoodchamber.com
Manatee County – mymanatee.org
Bradenton City – cityofbradenton.org
Palmetto City – palmettofl.org
North Port City – cityofnorthport.com
Sarasota Demographics Information
We have a complete collection of Sarasota demographic information covering the following areas of interest:
- Population Breakdown
- Age & Sex
- Race & Hispanic
- Population Characteristics
- Families & Living Arrangements
- Income/ Poverty
You can see all the data on our Sarasota demographics page!
Establishing Residency in Sarasota/ Bradenton
In order to establish residency in the state of Florida, you will be required to file a sworn statement with the clerk of the court. This statement’s purpose is to prove to the State that you are going to maintain your home permanently in Sarasota or Manatee county, and that the property you are purchasing will be your principal residence.
Homestead Property In Florida
As a primary resident in Florida, you will earn the privilege to register your property as your primary residence. This is a REALLY big deal! Florida law, as it relates to homesteading, provides lower property tax assessments on homestead property. Homestead exemption allows the ad valorem taxable value of real property to be reduced up to $50,000! Properties that receive the homestead exemption qualify under the “Save Our Homes” Amendment and may realize additional benefits as well. This can lead up to an annual savings in taxes of $750 or more, however there is an even more important benefit as well! As a homesteaded property, your assessed value can not increase more than 3% per year, or the Consumer Price Index (CPI), whichever is less! This was called the “Save Our Homes” law, which prevented residents from being taxes out of their homes. This applies to primary residences in the state of FL, not investment properties or second homes.
Requirements of Fl. Homestead
Learn more about qualification requirements and the actual process of “homesteading your property” on the Sarasota County Property Appraisers website. Be sure to follow the rules, as there are SEVERE penalties in the state of FL. for fraudulent filing of Homestead exemptions.
The Sarasota DMV offices provide services for your vehicle registration, drivers licenses, ID cards, tag and title services for autos, trailers, trucks, boats, and mobile homes. Additionally, Specialty tags, disability parking permits, and transferring a vehicle or boat title can be completed at the DMV. For convenience, many DMV services can be completed online or by phone! For office visits, appointments are recommended.
A new resident exchanging a valid out-of-state license for a Florida license must pass the vision and hearing tests only.
How Taxes Work In Florida
Ever wonder why many celebrities flock to Florida? It’s not just the crystal clear blue skies, warm weather, and the powdery sand beaches (although let’s face it, that certainly doesn’t hurt!)
GREAT news! There is ZERO personal income tax for Florida residents! Florida imposes corporate income tax, but not a personal income tax!
Ad valorem taxes are based on the value of real estate or personal property and are paid at the end of each calendar year. Both Sarasota and Manatee counties offer abatement of ad valorem tax on real estate to qualifying companies.
Learn about Homesteading your property to save money on property taxes!
Want To Start A Business?
Sole proprietorships, new corporations, & limited liability companies and fictitious names must register with the Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. Companies with out-of-state operations must also register. Learn more about registering your business at the State of Florida website.
Several local governments do require entities doing business within their jurisdiction to obtain a Local Business Tax Receipt each year. Sarasota County levies a tax on people engaging in or managing a business, profession or occupation. Several other localities do impose occupational taxes. Unincorporated Manatee County does not levy the tax, also known as an Occupational License, but the actual city of Bradenton does impose the tax, and the amount will varies based on business type.
Chamber of Commerce Locations
Anna Maria-Holmes Beach Chamber of Commerce
5337 Gulf Drive North
Holmes Beach, FL 34217
Bradenton Chamber of Commerce
222 10th Street W., PO Box 321
Bradenton, FL 34206,
Englewood, Florida Chamber of Commerce
601 S. Indiana Ave.
Englewood, FL 34223
Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce
1945 Fruitville Road
Sarasota, FL 34236
Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce
6854 Gulf of Mexico Drive
Longboat Key, FL 34228
222 10th Street West
Bradenton, FL 34205
North Port Area Chamber of Commerce
15141 Tamiami Trail
North Port, FL 34287
Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce
5100-B Ocean Boulevard
Siesta Key, FL 34242
Venice Area Chamber of Commerce
597 Tamiami Trail South
Venice, FL 34285