U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > Blogs > Sunshine Rules
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

Sarasota -- like Living in Paradise

Posted 06-24-2011 at 10:09 PM by Sunshine Rules
Updated 08-08-2011 at 10:21 PM by Sunshine Rules (add photos)

Florida has thousands and thousands of visitors each year. Just about everyone has heard of Miami, Palm Beach, the Keys and Tampa. But did you know that an hour's drive south of Tampa you'll find some of the finest beaches in America?

The Sarasota area is known for it's sugar-white sandy public beaches, it's parks and year round outdoor activities. It's also known for it cultural and art offerings, which include the symphony, the opera, ballet, theater and the world famous John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

Tourists flock to the miles of beautiful beaches on the barrier islands, known as keys.

If you're thinking of visiting us here in Sarasota, you'll probably want some general information about the area.

Longboat Key

The north end of Longboat Key is located in Manatee county, the south end in Sarasota county. Long ago the island was a camping ground for native Americans. By the 1920's farmers were raising tomatoes avocados and papaya on the island. Today you will find a mix of older bungalows, condos, vacation rentals and multi-million dollar homes.

The north end of Longboat Key contains the Village, a mixture of small wooden bungalows and older ranch homes. One of the main public beach access sites can be found at Broad street on the north end of Longboat Key. On the south end of Longboat Key you'll find the luxurious, gated community of Longboat Key Club with it's private golf courses. Between the 2 ends of the key runs Gulf of Mexico Drive, which is bordered by walking and biking trails.

Longboat Key does not have public beaches with large parking lots such as Siesta Key or Coquina Key has. Longboat has multiple, small beach side access locations throughout the island off of the Gulf of Mexico Drive. Most have some parking accomodations. These public access locations are marked by blue and white signs. Although it may take some extra effort to find those access markers, you'll find the beautiful, unspoiled beaches worth the effort.

Lido Key

Just south of Longboat Key is Lido Key and St. Armands, a lovely community of mainly older homes of various architectural styles. St. Armands is known for it's world famous shopping center, St. Armands Circle. The Circle boosts upscale boutiques, restaurants, pubs and other small specialty shops. St. Armands was developed in the 1920's by John Ringling of Ringling Circus fame.

A couple of blocks from St. Armands Circle is Lido Beach, a public beach known for it's broad, sugar sand beaches and lots of parking for visitors.

Lido Key offers beachfront condominiums and motels, luxury condos and mid-century era homes in the Sarasota School of Architecture style.

Bird Key

Bird Key lies between St. Armands Circle and the Ringling Causeway bridge to the mainland. It has many higher end canal-front and bayfront homes. Bird Key was also originally owned by John Ringling and was developed in the 1960's. Many of the original 60's built homes have been torn down and replaced by larger, 2 story homes. The key is home to the Bird Key Yacht Club.

Siesta Key

Siesta Key's main beach, recently winning the title of #1 beach in America, is known world wide for it's soft, powder sugar-fine, white sand. The wide, long beach & park has tennis and volleyball courts, concession stands, a gift store and 4 lifeguard stands. Siesta Key is the most family oriented of the area's barrier islands, especially the Siesta Key Village, known for it's funky tourist shops, restaurants, bars and ice cream stands. Residential options range from multi million dollar waterfront homes hidden behind tall privacy walls, to more modest ranch homes, to condominiums catering to weekly seasonal rentals, all the way to luxury condos with restricted access and top rated amenities.

Casey Key

Just south of Siesta Key lies 9 mile long Casey Key. Single family homes for the rich (and a few famous) dominate Casey Key. However, locals and tourists can enjoy the public beach at Nokomis on the south end of Casey Key. The Nokomis Beach has a covered pavilion with seating and restrooms, wooden walkways and outdoor showers to wash off the beach sand before you leave.

Back on the mainland, the city of Sarasota is the main center for shopping, culture and activities.

Sarasota was originally famous as the winter home of John and Mable Ringling and winter headquarters for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The Ringlings built their Italian-style "palace," Ca d' Zan on the Sarasota bayfront. It has been restored and is open to the public. Next door to their winter home is the Ringling Museum of Art, which John & Mable Ringling built to accomodate their priceless collection of Baroque art. Today the museum is owned and operated by FL State University. The museum recently completed a $76 million renovation and expansion.

Sarasota's downtown area is known for it's unique shops, art galleries, pubs and restaurants.

Buyers have many options for condominium communities in the downtown area, ranging from 1970's era mid-rises to high rise luxury condominiums built in the past 10 years.

Sarasota's neighborhood of Laurel Park was recently added to the National Historic District for it's well preserved, older, single family homes. The area is known for it's Craftsman style bungalows and Mediterranean Revival homes and cottages, many built in the 1920's and 1930's.

Towles Court in downtown Sarasota is also a popular community with it's artists' colony of brightly painted, FL cracker-style homes, many now housing galleries, small restaurants and coffee houses.

The bay front park is popular with both residents and visitors. Marina Jack offers waterfront dining, or take one of the dinner cruises.

One of the Best Places to Live & Play

Why pick Sarasota?

The Sarasota - Bradenton area was named the most desirable community for retirees by Portfolio.com, a national business news site, in December of 2010.

Sarasota was also ranked 5th in the nation in 2011 by American Style magazine on their list of top 25 small cities in the country for Art. Bradenton came in 10th of that same list.

Sarasota is known for it's many golf courses, both public and private. The Jack Nicklaus designed Concessions golf course in Lakewood Ranch is ranked 60 out of 200 top golf courses in America named by Golfweek Magazine.

Speaking of Lakewood Ranch, this master planned community in the Sarasota - Bradenton area was named the 12th best master-planned community in the nation AND the 2nd best master planned community in Florida by the national real estate consulting firm, John Burns Consulting.

US News & World Report rated Sarasota's New College 5th among all U.S. public liberal arts colleges in 2010. Kiplinger's rated New College 11th for quality education at an affordable price.

In 2008 Money Magazine rated Sarasota in their top 100 places to live, giving positive comments on the great weather and cultural climate of our area.

Fortune Magazine ranked Sarasota as one of the top locations to Retire in Style in 2006, based on the area's housing, activities and clubs, from wine tasting to ballroom dancing.

Something for Everyone

Whether it's fishing, boating, swimming, tennis, golf, biking, roller blading, opera, dinner theater, fine dining, shopping or just lounging under an umbrella and enjoying the sea breezes, you'll find it in Sarasota.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg StArmandKey.JPG (32.3 KB, 19 views)
File Type: jpg 22SRQ-skyline.JPG (31.2 KB, 24 views)
File Type: jpg 20Boats-Marina.JPG (23.6 KB, 20 views)
File Type: jpg beach-Longboat.JPG (20.3 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg 17LBKey-golf.JPG (30.3 KB, 18 views)
File Type: jpg SRQ-VanWezel.JPG (54.0 KB, 21 views)
File Type: jpg Sunset2.JPG (24.7 KB, 22 views)
File Type: jpg SunsetSeaOats.JPG (24.8 KB, 16 views)
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 2238 Comments 0

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:52 PM.

© 2005-2023, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top