WalletHub: Sarasota Among Best Beach Towns

Todays News

A new WalletHub report released Wednesday ranks Sarasota as one of the best beach towns in which to live in the country, another superlative helping mark the Siesta shores as a magnet for the world’s positive attention. 

The report looked at 227 beachfront communities throughout the nation. Sarasota would appear to be the only Sarasota or Manatee county community ranked, but Florida as a whole scored remarkably well in WalletHub’s rankings, which listed eight Florida jurisdictions in the top 15 communities scores. Sarasota ranked No. 12. Naples and Key West took the No. 1 and 2 slots respectively.

“It makes sense since we do have a good quality of life here,” says Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County. “It shows the value of some of the early rankings that we pushed really hard. It seems to snowball as more people recognize what assets we have.” 

Indeed, Sarasota seemed to benefit in the report chiefly for its “Quality of Life” score, which ranked at No. 3 among beach towns, behind only Naples and St. Augustine and just ahead of Santa Monica, CA, Key West and Miami Beach. Sarasota also scored respectably in “Affordability (ranked No. 40) and “Education & Health” (ranked No. 55). Notably, the report also called out Sarasota for its high number of nightlife establishments, restaurants and coffee shops per capita.

Realtors say the report jives with how buyers treat the region. “No doubt about it, for people of affluence considering a vacation home or a place to retire, Sarasota is on everybody’s radar,” says Michael Moulton, a Michael Saunders & Company agent specializing in luxury homes. He noted that this area also suffers less storm risk than other parts of Florida. 

And both Moulton and Haley noted the cultural resources in the region help set Sarasota apart as a destination. “The beach is the component that gets people here to start with a couple weeks vacation, then they find out how beautiful the area is and that we have these cultural arts and they want to live here,” Moulton says.

Haley says the vibrant community ultimately helps Sarasota make a lasting impression. “As far as fantastic beach communities, I can think of a lot of places—I won’t name them—where they are great but I can’t imagine living there year-round,” she says. “We’ve got the fantastic beach, but we’re not limited to being a beach town.”

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