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14 Excellent reasons to make the move to Sarasota.
#1. Because Sarasota is actually affordable.
Because residents benefit from no state income tax, low property taxes, a variety of budget-friendly housing options, and low energy costs, Sarasota can be a very affordable place to live. Compared to larger cities like Boston, New York City, Chicago or Washington D.C. the cost of living in Sarasota is a bargain. If you elect to make Florida your permanent state of residence you will also qualify for the Homestead Exemption which results in an extra annual $25,000 property tax deduction.
#2. Winterless Wonderland
Yes, it is hot and humid in the summer, but no hotter than a typical August day in Washington, DC. Happily, we live along the coastline that blesses us with a daily refreshing Gulf breeze and frequent afternoon rain showers that offer relief from the heat.
The reward for making it through the summer heat is the promise of no snow. So, trade in your scary tire chains, noisy snow blowers, ugly mittens, and sloppy galoshes for some much-needed sunblock, swimsuits, sporty convertibles, and flip flops.
#3. Cultural Mecca
No matter what cultural and arts activities you enjoy, Sarasota has something for you year-round. Of course, the October thru May season in Sarasota offers the richest array of activities that include elegant Galas and Charity events, unforgettable Opera performances, a host of theatre options, musical entertainment, art walks and gallery showcases, a ten-day film festival, sand sculpting competition, and much, much more. Check out the Thursday Ticket in the Sarasota Herald Tribune as well as the multitude of social calendars available on line.
#4. Award Winning White Sand Beaches
In 2011 Dr. Beach, a.k.a. Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, yes he is a real doctor and director of FIU’s highly respected Laboratory for Coastal Research, and considered America’s Foremost Beach Expert awarded Siesta Key as America’s Best Beach. The Intracoastal Waterway flows along the east side of the Key with the Gulf along the west. Siesta Beach is renowned for its brilliantly white sugar fine crystal sand that consists of 99% pure quartz, keeping it magically cool under your feet. In addition to Siesta Beach, you can enjoy the sun and sand on Longboat Key, Lido with its public pool, Crescent, Turtle, Nokomis, and Venice beaches. All are free to the public.
#5. Multiple Housing Options
Greater Sarasota offers a vast array of housing options — from villas to townhomes, to condominiums, to humble historic houses, to mansions, to large acreage estates. Whatever your heart desires, the Suncoast has it. A four bedroom, three bath home with a refreshing pool, located behind the gates of Prestancia is currently priced at approximately $475,000, while a small beachfront condominium on Lido Key would cost around $400,000, and a single-family home on 3 acres in Northport is priced just under $300,000.
#6. Best Place to Retire…
You may be reading this book because you are considering Sarasota as your retirement home. If so, you’re in agreement with the experts. In fact, Money Magazine ranks Sarasota 7th for “Top Places to Retire Young” as well as the “Nation’s Best Small City” and one of the “Best Places to Retire”.
The article credits Sarasota for having, “the most splendid architecture anywhere in the Sunshine State. It also boasts pure white sands, exotic birds and plants, boating, water skiing, opera, and ballets.”
#7. Excellent Healthcare…
Our four local hospital facilities provide exceptional healthcare services throughout the region, as numerous awards prove. Money Magazine rated Sarasota as one of the “Best Cities with the Best Healthcare Systems” and Sarasota Memorial Health Care System was rated within the “America’s 50 Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report as well as “10 of the Largest Safe Hospitals in the U.S.” by Forbes.com.
#8. Flourishing Business Climate…
We’re open for business. Forbes ranks Sarasota 11th in “Best Cities for Jobs”. Sarasota County consists of more than 20,000 businesses, of which 75 percent are considered small to medium size companies with fewer than 25 employees.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Sarasota’s unemployment rate in May, 2013 was 6.7 percent. That’s an impressive recovery from the 2010 unemployment rate of 11.9 percent and the 2012 rate of 8.7 percent. The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, The Economic Development Corporation, as well as the The HuB counsel entrepreneurs in developing new ideas and creating new businesses in our area. Since its inception in 2009, the HuB has supported over two-hundred entrepreneurs, launched twenty businesses and twelve major campaigns to support creative change on the Suncoast.
# 9 Fantastic for Foodies…
When it comes to great food, Sarasota delivers. Sarasota is home to more than fourteen hundred restaurants from elegant gourmet eateries to fantastic food trucks. No matter what you crave, you can find it or find the fixings to prepare it. We have multiple fresh food markets, boutique/specialty grocery stores, weekly farmer’s markets, traditional butcher shops, fresh seafood vendors (of course) and Amish stores and restaurants.
#10 An Abundance of High Quality Education Opportunities
We do a superb job educating our children. Our county has a higher percentage of high school graduates than the state of Florida and the nation. Over 90% of Sarasota County high school seniors graduate. Our dropout rate is just 2%.
Sarasota County has a variety of education options for children and adults from traditional public schools, to charter schools, private and Montessori settings, adult education facilities, technical and specialty schools as well as universities. Almost 30% of Sarasota residents have earned a bachelor’s degree with science and engineering topping the field of study.
#11 Parks and Wildlife
It’s easy and fun to enjoy native wildlife in greater Sarasota whether you love bird watching, hiking, observing alligators or swimming with the fishes. We have over 120 parks and trails encompassing over 3,000 acres. Among our favorites is the ever-expanding Legacy Trail whose recreational walking and biking trail stretches over ten miles along the former CSX Railroad corridor. Another terrific outdoor experience is the venerable Myakka State Park, once part of Bertha Palmer’s ranch. Its 60 square miles make it one of the largest parks in the state.
#12. The Greatest Show on Earth- and More
The circus goes way back to the 1920s in Sarasota history, when The Ringlings joined the Florida land boom and selected Sarasota as their winter residence. Ever since, we’ve been blessed with generations of circus performers making Sarasota their home. In 1949 a small high school gymnastics class evolved into the Sailor Circus, a youth training program for students 4th to 12th grades, which is still an active student program. Their newly renovated facility is just south of the Sarasota High School Campus. The Sailor Circus is now part of Circus Sarasota.
Don’t think you’ve lost your mind if you hear the roars of the big cats while traveling out east or visiting the celery fields. You’ve just found The Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, a non-profit safe haven for a menagerie of rescued exotic wildlife cared for by Kay Rosarie who comes from a rich circus heritage. The famous wire-walker Nik Wallenda also calls Sarasota home.
#13 Amish & Mennonite Population
Many people are astonished when they discover Sarasota’s flourishing Amish and Mennonite communities. Usually it occurs while driving down Bahia Vista Street and happening upon a cluster of bearded men and bonnet-capped women riding their three-wheel bicycles. We have been attracting Amish and Mennonite residents since the early 1920’s.
Although they were originally attracted to the area for winter farming, many stayed as year-round residents, establishing churches, farmland, and local businesses that still thrive in the area today.
#14 Endless Supply of Things To Do:
Sarasotans are never at a loss for something to do. Here’s just a tiny sampling of your options:
- Head to the ballpark and catch a Baltimore Orioles spring training game.
- Kayak through the mangroves surrounding our extensive coastline.
- Sip and savor the sunset on a booze cruise.
- Get your toes in the sand at a Summer Siesta Beach Run.
- View the masters at The Ringling Museum of Art.
- Learn about our marine life at Mote Marine Aquarium.
- Step back in time with a Sarasota History Alive tour.
- Kick off your shoes and enjoy a free concert at Van Wezel’s Friday Fest.
- Have a beer or glass of wine while enjoying a film at Burns Court Cinema.
- Shop till you drop and dine till you pop at St. Armands Circle…