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Downtown Sarasota skyline from Ringling Bridge

The Ultimate City Guide to Living in Sarasota, FL

January 30, 2024 | Your Local Metro

Sarasota is located about an hour south of the Tampa Bay area and was widely known as a Florida retirement oasis on the way to bigger, more exciting towns like Miami. However, today, Sarasota is a destination on its own for tourists who come for the beaches and people moving here for a better quality of life and lower cost of living. 

If you’re among the many people thinking about moving to Sarasota, you’ll find vibrant neighborhoods, a beautiful downtown, an innovative arts community, and, of course, miles (and miles!) of white sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. Check out our guide to discover what’s so special about this gem on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

A Little Bit About Sarasota 

Sarasota continues to earn its place on the country’s “best of” lists year after year. For example, in the recent U.S. News & World Report edition, Sarasota ranks No. 1 on the “Best Places to Live” list. But that’s not all, the city also grabbed the No. 18 position on the 2023-2024 “Best Places to Retire” list, with its incredible array of restaurants getting a special mention as one of the many draws.

Compared to Florida’s numerous desirable places to move to, Sarasota is the top place to live in Florida for 2023-2024, beating out ritzy Naples to the south and bustling Tampa Bay to the north. One of the reasons why this is true is because Sarasota defines the ideal Florida lifestyle, from world-class museums and theaters to charming boutiques and restaurants.

What’s the weather like in Sarasota?

Most people would agree that the weather is the best part of living in Sarasota. Especially if you’re coming from a Midwest state like Chicago or Minneapolis, Sarasota has a warm climate all year round with an average temperature of 72˚F, making it ideal for outdoor activities such as boating, hiking, and golf. Even when it rains, precipitation rarely lasts more than a few hours.

However, the weather in Sarasota can be both a blessing and a curse. While it provides a welcome break from the cold weather in winter, summers can get hot and humid. Nevertheless, there is one thing you can count on—snowfall is unlikely in Sarasota, which is music for anyone looking to escape the cold.

Home to Florida’s Most Beautiful Beaches

Black woman smiling in a beach chair on the shoreline

With more than 1,000 miles of coastline, the Sunshine State is a year-round vacation destination. While the entire Gulf Coast has award-winning beaches, Sarasota’s stretch of sand and surf boasts some particularly stunning gems. 

  • Blind Pass Beach: Blind Pass Beach is located south of Venice but not as far south as Manasota Key. It’s a great location to enjoy fishing, nature trails, playgrounds, a canoe launch, and access to Lemon Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Lido Key: Situated between Siesta Key and Long Boat Key, Lido Key is one of Florida’s most exciting waterfront locations. Nearby St. Armands Circle offers an outdoor dining and shopping experience with a European flair. Look for iconic examples of mid-century modern architecture and the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Siesta Beach: Siesta Beach consistently ranks as one of the world’s best beaches, famous for its quartz-white sands, perfect for walking, running, people-watching, canoeing, kayaking, and boardwalks. It can get crowded during peak tourist season, so check out Turtle Beach 4, miles to the north, for a more relaxed vibe.
  • Florida’s Venice Beach: Florida’s Venice Beach is a large public beach with free parking, lifeguards, restrooms, picnic tables, and beach wheelchairs that can power through deep sand. Lifeguards also provide reclining and floatable wheelchairs for individuals with disabilities.


Sarasota is a sensational place to raise a family and for retirees. However, the influx of people moving here in the 2020s drove up competition and home prices. Sarasota’s diverse neighborhoods are part of the city’s growing attraction contributing to the average home value of approximately $462,200.

The Rosemary District is a hip neighborhood with artisan cafes, modern restaurants serving elevated American cuisine in stylish surroundings, and laid-back pubs with live music. Like any beach community, it can be expensive to live in Sarasota. For example, the neighborhoods of Longboat Key and Siesta Key have average home values of over $1.1M and just under $1M, respectively, with many properties stretching into the multi-millions.

Sarasota’s Downtown neighborhood has a Walk Score of 84 out of 100, making it an attractive place for those who like to save on gas and reduce their carbon footprint. You can choose from various housing types, including vintage bungalows and bayfront condominium towers with majestic views close to downtown’s charming restaurants and boutiques.

Waterside Place is a planned 36-acre lakefront town center in Lakewood Ranch, comprising small neighborhoods featuring a wide variety of home types and styles connected by waterways and trails. This planned community is ideal for anyone looking for an outdoor lifestyle or who loves to shop and dine out. Lakewood Ranch is also home to the Sarasota Polo Club, which hosts matches weekly.  

If you’re looking for a quiet enclave, the small towns of Osprey & Nokomis, located on the mainland between Sarasota and Venice, are away from the hubbub but still offer plenty to do and see. The Oscar Scherer State Park, Historic Spanish Point, and a popular 10-mile paved biking pathway called the Legacy Trail are all nearby. Venture off the mainland to Casey Key. Nokomis Beach is Sarasota County’s oldest public beach.

Beyond Sarasota’s Beaches

Fountain at Marie Selby Botanical Garden

Sarasota’s favorable climate invites outdoor enthusiasts year-round to explore its parks, trails, and waterways. Beyond the sandy beaches, Sarasota County offers more than 120 parks and trails covering over 3,000 acres. You can go kayaking through the mangrove forests or on a boat tour along the coast to discover a diverse ecosystem teeming with dolphins, manatees, and various bird species. 

One popular Sarasota trail, Legacy Trail, is a recreational walking and biking trail spanning over ten miles that connects business communities and neighborhoods across Sarasota County. If you love trail riding, hiking, or kayaking, visit Myakka State Park, one of Florida’s largest parks, offering 58 square miles for biking, kayaking, and hiking. 

  • Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Marie Selby Botanical Gardens offers 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries to explore via two campuses. The Downtown Sarasota campus features 15 acres located along Sarasota Bay, where visitors can take in rainforest, desert, native Florida, and display garden areas, plus stroll along a bayfront mangrove walkway.
  • Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is a popular family destination offering 50% off weekends in September and eco-adventure boat tours. Additional kid-friendly programs at the Mote Marine Aquarium include after-dark shark tours and birthday parties.

Whether you love bird watching, hiking, biking, or water sports, you’ll find something to enjoy year-round in Sarasota. If your ideal outdoor lifestyle includes golf, Sarasota’s golf courses are surrounded by breathtaking scenery including many with ocean views. There are over 75 courses within a 15-mile radius of Sarasota, 40 of which are public, making it one of the most popular golfing destinations on Florida’s Gulf Coast

Sarasota offers a perfect balance of work and play, ensuring you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

Your Local Storage Sarasota Storage Company

Conveniently located just west of I-75 in the Fruitville area of Sarasota, Metro Self Storage serves several neighborhoods, including Pinecraft, The Meadows, Arlington Park, Southgate, Lake Sarasota, Tuscana, Glen Oaks, Poinsettia Park, Kensington Park, and many others. 

We’ve got every type of storage solution for your Florida lifestyle. So whether you need storage for seasonal items or outdoor gear or plan to move here, our units have you covered. We also offer parking storage for RVs, boats, and vehicles. Here are some of our state-of-the-art storage features and amenities:

  • Climate-controlled storage units for temperature-sensitive items
  • Elevator access
  • Business storage solutions, including drive-up units for contractors
  • Dollies and carts are available for move-in assistance
  • Boxes and packing supplies are available for purchase on-site

Whether you have recreational gear or household or business items, our storage facilities are designed to support your Florida lifestyle any time of year. Visit Metro Self Storage in Florida to find your perfect storage solution.