What's it like to live in Sarasota, FL?


Vanessa Caceres

Profile written by local expert:

Vanessa Caceres

Warm temperatures year-round, award-winning beaches and a thriving arts and cultural scene have made Sarasota a go-to place for retirees and families, not to mention a handful of celebrities (including Stephen King and Rosie O'Donnell). This southwest Florida region, which is about an hour from Tampa and two hours from Orlando, continues to attract new residents with great restaurants and plenty of shopping options.

Living in Sarasota has elements of what many consider paradise, mixed with some hints of reality. As the population grows, the area struggles to keep up with infrastructure needs. Traffic congestion is becoming more common. Those who live, work or visit downtown Sarasota will see their share of construction cranes as the region copes with an influx of residents and a record-breaking number of tourists.

However, as the Sarasota community flourishes, so does its economy. Sarasota offers a sizeable job market for those working in health care, small business and tourism. 

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Sarasota, Florida is ranked:

#34 in Best Places to Live

#1 in Best Places to Retire

6.7

Overall

Scorecard

  • Desirability
    6.4
  • Value
    5.3
  • Job Market
    6.2
  • Quality of Life
    7.3
  • Net Migration
    10.0

Read how we rank places

Sarasota, FL Quick Stats

  • 751,422

    Metro Population

  • $41,870

    Average Annual Salary

  • 81.7° / 64.1°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 51.1

    Median Age

  • $224,613

    Median Home Price

  • 53.0 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 3.8%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $1,032

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 24.1 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Sarasota, FL?

Sarasota is relatively affordable compared to larger Florida regions like Miami, though young families are finding it increasingly harder to buy a home at a reasonable cost. The continuing influx of wealthy residents has affected the cost of housing, as there has been more of a focus on upscale living.

Value Index

Index Score: 5.3 /10

How we calculate this.


Sarasota offers a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs this Year


Sarasota
$224,613

USA
$222,408

Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Sarasota, FL.

What's the weather like in Sarasota, FL?

Although heat and humidity are a regular part of life in South Florida, that doesn't stop many people from enjoying the area's outdoor activities, such as golfing, boating and fishing. Still, residents know to keep their umbrellas handy for the fierce rain storms that usually pass through from April to October.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)

62.8°F


Winter

71.4°F


Spring

81.8°F


Summer

75.6°F


Fall

Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

2.7 in


Winter

3.9 in


Spring

9.1 in


Summer

7.1 in


Fall

Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Sarasota, FL?

The majority of people in Sarasota get around by car, and traffic is becoming more of an issue as new residents and visitors come to town. Year-round residents will tell you it can take almost twice as long to get places during the winter tourist season.

The region has a bus system, the Sarasota County Area Transit, or SCAT, which is seeing an increasing number of users. The bus system is fairly extensive, but heavy traffic can cause schedule delays. Sarasota has some neighborhoods that are particularly pedestrian-friendly, such as downtown, the Rosemary district, St. Armand's Circle and Southside Village.

The Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport connects residents to destinations in the U.S. and abroad. Residents also have access to intercity bus service provided by Greyhound.

Commuting in Sarasota, FL

Means of Transportation
Driving
89%
Above national average

Bicycling
1%
Equal to national average

Walking
1%
Equal to national average

Public Transit
1%
Below national average
Average Commute Time

24.1 minutes

2.0 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Sarasota, FL?

Sarasota has a significant amount of residents over the age of 65 and that population is predicted to increase; as you make your way around town, a silver boom is pretty evident. A retiree in Sarasota likely has a busier social calendar than someone half his or her age, as the area caters to its older residents by offering lots of activities, such as shopping and golf. This is especially true during the “in season” from October to April when snowbirds from colder climates come to enjoy Florida's more temperate weather.  

That said, families also feel at home in Sarasota, and there are plenty of good schools, clean parks and local attractions for them to enjoy.

Young single people won't have the diversity or nightlife available as they would in a metro area like Miami. This could be advantageous for someone who likes things a little more low-key, and there still are millennials who take over Sarasota's nighttime scene at local bars, clubs, restaurants and craft breweries.

People in Sarasota tend to be not as religious as people in more rural parts of the state.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown


Fewer single people in Sarasota than
national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Sarasota, FL?

Sarasota is a great place for those who enjoy the outdoors. There are a number of parks in downtown Sarasota, not to mention the massive Myakka River State Park. Golf courses also abound. And then, of course, there are the beaches. Siesta Beach has earned acclaim for its white sand and clear water. Lido Beach, just south of St. Armands Circle, is another wide stretch of shoreline that's easy to access. If those get crowded (as they often do), beachgoers opt for Longboat Beach, Venice Beach, Bradenton Beach or the beaches of Anna Maria Island, all of which are a short drive from Sarasota.

Meanwhile, locals take advantage of the booming restaurant scene around town, which serves up everything from fresh seafood to farm-to-table specialties. There are also a handful of farmers markets open in the fall, winter and spring, with the Sarasota Farmers Market open all year.