Sarasota is top vacation destination on the West coast of Florida. It's famous for its white sandy beaches, world-famous St. Armand's Circle, rich arts and cultural scene and is a playground full of endless outdoor activities for anyone who enjoys the Florida sunshine. Sarasota commonly receives awards for "Best Small City in America," "Best Small City to Retire In" and "Best Place to Buy Real Estate" due to its low unemployment rate, master-planned communities, high-quality of life and top-rated schools. Sarasota is a quick 15 - 20 minute drive from the local Sarasota-Bradenton Int'l Airport (SRQ) or a just over an hour's commute from the larger Tampa Int'l Airport (TPA). For information about planning your flight(s) and/or rental car, visit our getting to Sarasota page .
Siesta Key # 1 Beach in the USA
The main attraction in Sarasota is the world famous Siesta Key Beach located on Siesta Key. It commonly receives accolades as a top beach and was named as the Number 1 Beach in America in 2018 and again in 2020 by Trip Advisor as the Traveler's Choice Award for Best Beach in the US. The sand on Siesta Key Beach is unique as it's composed mainly of pure quartz which gives the sand a snow-like appearance and keeps beachgoers cool even on the hottest of Florida's summer days. In addition to relaxing at the beach, many vacationers and tourists enjoy activities on the water including kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), fishing as well as renting a boat or jet ski for the day to explore the area via the Intracoastal waterway or by way of Sarasota Bay. If you're more of a thrill-seeker and not afraid of heights, a great way to experience the beauty of Sarasota is from above via parasailing or a helicopter ride. To view a full list outdoor activities, visit our activities page.
If you're more interested in the arts and exhibits of the area, Sarasota has many great historical and hands-on attractions to explore. If you're on the north end of Sarasota near University Parkway, you'll definitely want to check-out the famous Ringling Estate (Ca' d'Zan) and The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, both of which were built in the 1920's by the Circus Magnate, John Ringling. Across from the Museum of Art is the Asolo Repertory Theatre which offers top performances during their season (Nov - Jul). Closer to downtown you'll find Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, St. Armands Circle, Mote Marine Laboratory and Save Our Seabirds. And last but not least, on the South end of town (south of Clark Road), you find Historic Spanish Point and Oscar Scherer State Park. A full overview of these attractions, including address and phone number is posted on our area attractions page.
Siesta Key # 1 Beach in the USA
History of Sarasota, FL
Early records indicate that the Sarasota area was originally settled by European settlers in the early 1500's and that the original name given to the area was ZaraSota. Later translated as Sarasota, the city was founded in 1902 and then incorporated as a city in 1913. The city's roots date back to names to early settlers of the area that are still common to modern-day Sarasota including Bertha Honore Palmer, John Ringling, each of whom had recognized the beauty of the area and decided to build their Florida estate homes here. John & Mable Ringling, circus magnates, built their famous Ca' d'Zan Estate and nearby Ringling museum to house their art collection in the mid 1920's and Bertha Palmer had purchased thousands of acres in the area with husband, Potter Palmer of Chicago, in the south end of Sarasota to promote the area as a destination and winter retreat to tourists.
With an average of 251 sunny days per year and an average temperature of 73 degrees, Sarasota has ideal weather climate for tourists. During the summer months, Sarasota has an average high in the low 90's and in the winter months, the average high drops to the low 70s. Most important, the humidity or dew point of the air drops considerably in the winter months making for very enjoyable weather conditions to enjoy outdoor activities such as biking or just taking a stroll around downtown or across the Ringling Bridge.
Annually, Sarasota receives an average of 51.8 inches of rain (roughly 4 1/3 ft) and experiences 107 days with preciptation throughout the year. Unlike the north, an intense rainstrom in Sarasota can quickly turn back into bright sunshine and blue skies in minutes as the Gulf currents keep the weather in constant motion.
When looking at the demographics data for the greater Sarasota area (based upon to 2014 data), one gets a good synopsis of the area. We can clearly see that the majority of the population (66.5%) is white; the median age (46.0 years) is slightly above the Florida average of 41.5 years; the average household size of 2.1 persons is slightly less than the state of Florida average at 2.5 persons and that the median Sarasota household income of $40,542 is slightly below the Florida average household income of $46,036. See exact breakdown os the statistics below.
Population & Household Data
Population City Population (2014) County Population (2014)
Population Density The number of residents per square mile of area.
Population Change The percent change in the city's population since 2000.
Household Size (2013 Data) Sarasota, FL State of FL
2.1 people 2.5 people
Gender Ratio (2014 Data) Male Population 26,352 Female Population 27,862
Median Age (2014 Data) Sarasota, FL State of FL
46.0 years 41.5 years
Race & Ethnic Origin
Race (2013 Data) White 35,630 Hispanic 9,500 Black 7,243 Asian 837 Two or more Races 619 American Indian 88 Other 108
66.5% 17.7% 13.5% 1.6% 1.2% 0.2% 0.2%
Median Household Income (2013 Data) Sarasota, FL State of FL
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