Local Guide: Sarasota, FL & Real Estate
It’s entirely possible to find a place that has something for everyone. Ask any resident of Sarasota, Florida, and the varied responses will be as different as the people you are talking to.
Located north of Fort Myers and south of Tampa Bay, Sarasota lies on the southwestern coast of Florida. “Keys,” or barrier islands offer protection from the waters of the gulf, and are in themselves an attraction to both tourists and locals. The beautiful sandy beaches along with fishing and boating are an allure that’s hard to resist.
Demographics and Climate
Sarasota has a diverse population of almost 52,000 residents and covers nearly 26 square miles. The humid, sub-tropical climate makes for hot summers and mild winters, ideal for growing families, retirees and people looking for a “winter home.” While it is humid year-round, there is a distinct rainy season, from June through September, and a dry season spanning the rest of the months.
Historical Background of Sarasota
First explored in the mid-1500s, “Zara Zota,” a Spanish name, was settled in 1842, after the lands were opened to private ownership by the federal government. Even then, settlers were drawn to the area because of the mild climate and the abundance offered by the bay.
Sarasota played a key role in aiding in the economic downfall leading to the “Great Depression” in 1924. Land speculation and resulting bank failures hit Florida and the city much earlier than in other parts of the country. When John Ringling, of circus fame, died in 1936, he had less than $400 to his name. From 1924 until his death, he had purchased many tracts of land, partly as an investment, and as a winter retreat for his family and the circus. It was only because he had left everything he had to the state that visitors can walk through the Ringling Museum today, and view the opulence that showcased life in the 1920s.
From luxury living in gated golf course homes, to traditional family-friendly and winter homes, there is truly a home that will suit everyone’s taste and pocketbook. Retirees or newly-weds, young families or “empty-nesters,” can find exactly what they are looking for, whether it’s a condo, apartment or home.
Sarasota also has excellent schools, including private schools. With nine colleges within the city, and an additional seven more colleges close by, students have a hands-on choice in their career paths. Museums, ballet, the arts and more are also well represented in Sarasota. Downtown is a shopping mecca, with shops and boutiques interspersed between quaint cafés and restaurants that offer cuisine from around the world.
For tourists and local alike, nothing beats the attractions the city has to offer. Beautiful beaches, tropical gardens and parks abound, as well as the Ringling Circus Museum and mansion. One might ask, “What’s not to like about Sarasota?”