Located on the west coast of Florida, Sarasota is a paradise for beach, culture and wildlife lovers.
Sunbathers can enjoy sandy stretches on nearby Siesta Key (which has a thriving social scene — ever seen that MTV reality show?) and Longboat Key (where hundreds of sea turtles lay their eggs every year).
Art fans won’t feel out of place, either. Sarasota boasts the Ringling Museum, a museum built by circus operator John Ringling and his wife in the 1920s. Styled after the Uffizi in Florence, Italy, the museum is home to pieces from artists like Peter Paul Rubens as well as a massive courtyard filled with bronze cast statues — including a replica of Michelangelo’s David.
Sarasota’s houses are expensive: According to our data, the median home sale price in 2022 was over $568,000. The population also tends to be older and less diverse than neighboring Tampa. Sarasota County’s schools generally see test scores that outpace the state average; they also recently adopted a policy for LGBTQ+ students that follows Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. At the same time, Sarasota residents are civic-minded, making their voices heard at “Say Gay” events
and donating millions
to help families in need cover rent, bills, transportation and child care.
And about that wildlife: To see flora, families can visit the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, a two-campus, 45-acre set of sanctuaries stacked with orchids, bromeliads, ferns and more. For fauna, head to Mote Aquarium, which has stingrays, otters, manatees, sea urchins and sharks galore. — Julia Glum
Median Household Income
Median Home Price
Sources: Population and median household income provided by Synergos Technologies Inc.; unemployment rate (by county) provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; and median home price provided by ATTOM Data Solutions.