Shares

Relocating to Sarasota? Nicknamed SRQ after its airport’s designation code, this Florida city boasts exceptional schools and some of the best beaches in the country. One of the top places to live in Florida, here are the 15 main pros and cons of moving to Sarasota.

Pros of Living in Sarasota

A post shared by @instagram

Sarasota living means taking advantage of great amenities like public transit, exciting attractions, outstanding golf courses, and much more! Here are some pros to moving to Sarasota.

Pro: Booming Job Market

Because of Florida’s steady economic growth and SRQ’s healthy labor market, its unemployment rate is 3.7%, compared to the national average of 5.3%, making it relatively easy to find jobs in Sarasota. Partly due to the high number of retirees in Sarasota, healthcare is one of the top industries in the city. Another large industry is manufacturing, with plenty of jobs at companies like Sun Hydraulics, Roper Technologies, and Intertape Polymer Group. Tourism is the third important industry in this beachside city, with many people employed at The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota and various Marriott International hotels and resorts. Other big employers include ProEducation Solutions, Coldwell Banker Florida, and the City of Sarasota itself.

Pro: Top-Notch Healthcare in Sarasota

The quality of healthcare in Sarasota County was ranked the second-best in Florida in 2024 due to its multiple fantastic hospitals! The Sarasota Memorial Heath Care System is nationally ranked for adult specialty healthcare in categories like gynecology, orthopedics, rehabilitation, and geriatrics. Sarasota Memorial Hospital – Venice has received the Primary Stroke Center specialty designation and serves residents in South Sarasota County. HCA Florida Sarasota Doctors Hospital is consistently recognized with an A rating for patient safety and was named in the top 5% of hospitals in America for surgical care in 2024. The HCA Florida Englewood Hospital has received both the Coronary Intervention Excellence Award and a five-star rating for the treatment of diabetic emergencies for three years in a row. No matter which healthcare system or location you choose, you’ll receive the best medical care in SRQ!

Pro: Highly-Ranked Primary & Secondary Education Options

If you have children, they’ll receive a high-quality education from the schools in the city—the Sarasota County School District has consistently achieved an A rating from the Florida Department of Education for 20 years! With over 180 schools in Sarasota, many have students perform above their grade level compared to those in other Florida schools. Some of the best Sarasota elementary schools are Ashton Elementary School, Lakeview Elementary School, and Southside Elementary School, all with extremely high test scores. Wonderful middle schools include Sarasota Suncoast Academy, Sarasota Middle School, and Imagine School at Palmer Ranch, with each consistently accomplishing above-average student progress. Older children can attend Suncoast Polytechnical High School or Riverview High School, two of the finest Sarasota high schools known for having above-average college prep.

Pro: Sarasota Colleges of All Kinds

When it comes to higher education, Sarasota’s colleges provide numerous opportunities. Get an associate’s, bachelor’s, or graduate degree in fields like accounting and nursing at Keiser University – Sarasota Campus. Train to become an actor at one of the top 25 MFA performance programs in the world with the three-year degree at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Do rotations in pediatrics, psychiatry, and surgery with the Florida State University College of Medicine – Sarasota. Major in computer animation, graphic design, film, and more at the Ringling College of Art and Design. Enroll in fascinating programs like animal wellbeing & conservation, Chinese language & culture, and medieval & Renaissance studies at the New College of Florida. Or study subjects including criminal justice, human services & hospitality, and industrial technologies at Suncoast Technical College.

Pro: Several Options for Transit

There are multiple options for public transportation in Sarasota. The Sarasota Breeze Transit system (formerly SCAT) provides buses and trolleys on fixed routes around the City of Sarasota and surrounding county. Most Sarasotans travel around SRQ by car on main roads like Route 301 and Route 41 (or Tamiami Trail), which bisect the city and follow the coast. Just east of Sarasota, I-75 offers a convenient way to travel between other big Florida cities. Sarasota is also very walkable and fairly bikeable, so you can run errands and do fun things nearby without much effort! Amtrak has a Sarasota bus stop that takes you to Tampa, where you can take another Amtrak bus or train to travel greater distances. To easily fly to other areas like Denver, Dallas and even Toronto, Canada, hop on a flight at Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

Pro: Sarasota Has Perfect Beaches

Living in Sarasota means getting to take advantage of some of the best beaches in America, with sugar sand stretching over 35 miles along the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a good idea to prepare for beach day ahead of time, though both parking and beach access are free in most areas. Visit Siesta Key to party in the pavilions, order treats from the concession stands, and run around the shaded playground on Siesta Beach, widely considered the top beach in the U.S. For a less crowded Siesta Key beach, lay out on the powdery sand and go jet skiing and parasailing at Crescent Beach. See nesting sea turtles from May through October, play sand volleyball, and go boating at Siesta Key’s Turtle Beach. Hop over to Lido Key for a heated pool, beach umbrella and chair rentals, and an observation deck for gorgeous ocean views at Lido Beach. Or make your way to Longboat Key to go fishing, take long strolls, and look for seashells on the hidden gem of Whitney Beach.

Pro: Sarasota’s Grand Golf Scene

Sarasota’s warm, tropical climate and long, interesting history with golf has resulted in the city being a golfer’s paradise, with 50+ courses in the area! Become a member at the Sara Bay Country Club to play at the oldest-existing golf course in Sarasota, first opened in 1926 as the Whitfield Estates Country Club. Play the two 18-hole courses and participate in social events like Member Mingles and Trivia Night when you get a membership at TPC Prestancia. Play a championship course that’s open to the public and located on a nature preserve with deer, 70 different bird species, and lakes at Misty Creek Country Club. Choose Sarasota’s most unique golf course with water hazards on every hole and challenging features throughout at Serenoa Golf Club. Or register to play or quietly cheer on the competitors while enjoying food and refreshments at the Bob Rizi Memorial Golf Classic at The Meadows Country Club.

Pro: Tons of Fun Attractions for Families in Sarasota

No matter what your children enjoy, you’ll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Sarasota. Interact with macaws, muntjac deer, and alligators, feed flamingos and giant tortoises, and see live animal shows at the Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Meet critters in the petting zoo, do Wild Yoga with lemurs and silver foxes, and admire African lions, capuchin monkeys, jaguars, and more at Big Cat Habitat. Have breakfast with sharks, take a kayak tour of Sarasota Bay, and discover otters, manatees, and jellyfish at Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Observe animals in the wild on the Myakka Canopy Walkway, or go horseback riding and canoeing at Myakka River State Park. Have a picnic on the water along Sarasota Bay, see live concerts, or take a fitness class at The Bay Sarasota Park. Or see beautiful orchids and ferns, stroll through the Lily Pond Garden and Children’s Rainforest Garden, and dine in The Green Orchid at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Pro: Exciting Events Scheduled Regularly

No matter what your interests are, there’s likely an annual Sarasota event catered to you! Jump onto rides, see livestock shows, and attend live concerts at the Sarasota Fair. Sample local food and wine, learn about wine in engaging seminars, and buy your favorite vintages at the Forks & Corks Food and Wine Festival. Celebrate filmmaking with over 200 screenings of features, documentaries, and shorts at the international Sarasota Film Festival. Gather with the crowd covering more than five blocks to admire sculptures, paintings, photography, and more at the Downtown Sarasota Festival of the Arts. Bring a friend to various jazz concerts, jazz films, and the Downtown Jazz Trolley Pub Crawl at the Sarasota Jazz Festival. Or drive to nearby Myakka City to travel back in time and watch jousting matches, shop jewelry and leather goods, and join the costume contest at the Sarasota Medieval Fair.

Pro: Sarasota’s Arts & Entertainment

For a day or night out on the town, Sarasota offers plenty of things to do. Explore galleries of Asian and Contemporary art, connect with rotating exhibitions like Radical Clay and Embodied, and walk across the manicured grounds to the Circus Museum at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Get tickets to productions like Beautiful: The Carole King Musical and Jesus Christ Superstar, or sign your kids up for acting classes at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Experience Broadway musicals like Dear Evan Hansen and Funny Girl, as well as plays, concerts, kids’ shows, and more at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Watch operas like The Barber of Seville and Carmen, programs featuring music by Mozart and Verdi, and classic movie screenings at the Sarasota Opera House. Catch concerts like Bach and Beyond and Lustrous Sounds by the Sarasota Orchestra, and be sure to support them at the annual Sarasota Music Festival. Fall in love with ballets like The Nutcracker and Romeo and Juliet, or take adult and childrens dance workshops with the Sarasota Ballet. Or laugh along with famous comedians such as Rob Schneider, and cheer on performers at Open Mic Nights and Drag Queen Bingo Extravaganzas at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre.

Pro: Great Sarasota Restaurants

Start your day with a Tropical Chia Bowl, Golden Latte, or Cappuccino from Project Coffee. Try traditional Spanish recipes like Croquteas de Pollo, Paella Marinera, and Chocolate Sueno at Columbia Restaurant. Admire eclectic nautical decor while enjoying Hot Crab Dip, Naked Fish, and Blue Ribbon Chicken at Owen’s Fish Camp. Get a table in a warm, restored home for seasonally rotating dishes like Parmesan Beignets, the Cheshire Pork Chop, and Red Grouper at Indigenous Restaurant. Sample Japanese dishes including Ginger Salad, Rock Shrimp, and Cucumber Rolls at JPAN Sushi & Grill. Or grab a seat outside to enjoy Pork Ragu or Creole Bouillabaisse with a Sunday Smash to drink at State Street Eating House + Cocktails.

Cons of Living in Sarasota

A post shared by @instagram

Though the city of Sarasota has a whole host of pros, no city is flawless. Here are four cons of moving to Sarasota.

Con: Higher Cost of Living

In addition to a slightly higher cost of living—14% higher than the national average and 16% higher than the Florida average—Sarasota’s housing prices at 48% above the national average can make it a tough city for incoming transplants. However, SRQ doesn’t even make it into the 25 most expensive cities to live in Florida, costing residents far less than popular metros such as Fort Lauderdale and Miami. To compensate for the escalated prices, Sarasota residents earn 45% more than the national average and benefit from Florida’s lack of state income tax!

Con: Harsh Humidity & Summer Heat

The weather in Sarasota can often be difficult. The summers get exceedingly hot and humid, with temperature highs of 89 degrees, humidity level highs of about 78% every year, and hurricanes—which affect this area of Southwest Florida about every three years. Yet Sarasota itself has a compelling flair for keeping safe from hurricanes, possibly due to its geographical features guiding storms away from the city. The rest of the year in Sarasota is pleasantly warm and tropical, so much so that snow birds—or people who live in the north but travel south for the winter—frequently choose SRQ for their seasonal stays.

Con: Tricky Traffic Cycles

The traffic in Florida is some of the worst in the nation, and Sarasota’s traffic continues that trend, with an average commute time of nearly 25 minutes. Due to all the snow birds and tourists, the traffic is at its worst in wintertime—and the speedy development of Sarasota is also partly to blame. Generally, though, SRQ’s traffic concerns improve as you leave the city center, and major roadways like I-75, Route 41, and Fruitville Road can be avoided during high commute times and shorten your Sarasota commute.

Con: Not Many Spectator Sports

Athletics fans will likely be disappointed with the lack of sporting events in Sarasota. A major reason SRQ doesn’t offer more sports teams is because Tampa is just a little over an hour away with a slew of sports and organizations to support. Though there aren’t a lot of spectator sports in the city, Sarasota still offers a few worth seeing. Cheer on the Sarasota Paradise (USL2) soccer team during their matches at Charlie Cleland Stadium. Watch spring training with the Baltimore Orioles (MLB) at Ed Smith Stadium. Admire skills shown by athletes competing at the USRowing Youth National Championships every year at Nathan Benderson Park. Travel to nearby Tampa to attend a Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL) game at Raymond James Stadium. Or support the Tampa Bay Lightning (NHL) hockey team as they take on rivals at Amalie Arena.

***

If you’re relocating to Sarasota, Life Storage can provide a place to store your belongings during and after your move. Find a Sarasota storage facility near you!

About the Author

Life Storage

Rent storage near you at the right price. We'll show you what size storage unit you need, rent you a moving truck and more. We make self storage simple!

Pin It on Pinterest