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Aerial shot of the coast off Sarasota, FL.

Best Neighborhoods in Sarasota for Families

Moving to Sarasota? Circus City is one of the best cities for year-round weather and a great place to raise kidst—thanks to its affordable housing, family-friendly activities, and access to the Gulf Coast. Here are five top Sarasota neighborhoods for families!

Arlington Park

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  • Home Price: $241,117 median purchase price; $1,448 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 58% of Florida cities

One of the most family-friendly neighborhoods in Sarasota is Arlington Park! Located just south of Downtown Sarasota, this residential area has many affordable housing options, including charming bungalows, Mid-Century Modern homes, and contemporary new construction. The Arlington Park Neighborhood Association brings the community together with seasonal potlucks and a free annual concert in the park where you can meet your neighbors. Plus, with plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities at the neighborhood’s namesake park and convenient access to Bird Key, Lido Key, and Bay Island—all of which are within a 15-minute drive—this is a great place for family fun in Sarasota. Not to mention, Arlington Park offers high-quality schools like Suncoast School for Innovative Studies, Southside Elementary School, and Sarasota High School!

Things to Do in Arlington Park

Check out the collection of books and unique gifts at Elysian Fields. Spend an afternoon playing golf on the 18-hole course at The Palms Golf Club at Forest Lakes. Explore rotating exhibitions like Impact: Contemporary Artists at the Hermitage Artist Retreat, take part in programs like Saturday Family ArtLab, and more at the Sarasota Art Museum. Learn why Sarasota is called Circus City by attending circus camp or watching performances like the Summer Circus Spectacular at The Circus Arts Conservatory, one of the best Sarasota attractions for families. Fill up on traditional Chinese cuisine like the Peking Duck, Mandarin Pork Chop, or Mongolian Beef at Yummy House Sarasota. Order hearty dishes like Michael’s Bluefin Crab Cakes, Chilean Sea Bass, or East Avenue Bouillabaisse at Michael’s On East. Choose from pizzas like The Za’atar, 1837 Chicken, or Mediterranean with a Peanut Butter Pie for dessert at Origin Craft Beer & Pizza Cafe. Or get a babysitter for the kids and enjoy the Short Rib Sandwich, Fish Tacos, or Chicken Soup with a couple of cold pints at Knick’s Tavern & Grill.

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Fruitville

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  • Home Price: $275,600 median purchase price; $1,639 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 64% of Florida cities

A suburb just east of the city center, Fruitville is one of the best areas in Sarasota for families. In this Sarasota suburb, you’ll find a wide variety of housing options ranging from cozy single-family homes to modern townhouses and apartments. Fruitville also boasts excellent schools like Sarasota Academy of the Arts, Fruitville Elementary School, and McIntosh Middle School, providing families with top-notch education opportunities. Offering a blend of residential charm and suburban convenience, Fruitville is also close to major roadways like Fruitville Road and I-75, so residents enjoy easy access to the rest of Sarasota County and beyond. However, there’s plenty of amenities in Fruitville itself—with scenic parks like the Celery Fields, recreational facilities, and shopping centers all nearby!

Things to Do in Fruitville

Buy tickets to feed large cats and bears, go on pony rides, or visit the petting zoo at the Big Cat Habitat. Purchase a membership, or take adult or youth archery lessons at Sarasota Archers. Book a time slot for a round of golfing with friends, or head down to The Nature Park to go cycling or walk your dog on the trails at Bobby Jones Golf Club. Play a pick-up game of basketball with the family, try your hand at pickleball, or pack a picnic to enjoy in the pavilion at Fruitville Park. If you’re looking for sushi in Sarasota, order a Crazy Salmon Roll, Spider Roll, or Mushroom Tempura Roll at Ginza. Chow down on a slice of Cuban or Buffalo pizza with Pretzel Bites on the side at Sarasota Grill & Pizzeria. Start with Crab Cakes or Chilled Ahi Tuna before digging into a Mahi Reuben or Snapper Crunch Wrap at Kacey’s Seafood & More. Or find delicious dishes like the Smokey Brisket Mac, Poke Tuna, or a half rack of Gecko’s Famous Smoke-House Ribs at Gecko’s Grill & Pub.

Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores

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  • Home Price: $447,550 median purchase price; $1,500 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 0% of Florida cities

Families moving to Sarasota should check out Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores—an upscale neighborhood on the shores of the Sarasota Bay with good walkability, local restaurants, and convenient access to the beautiful Indian Beach Park! Residents of Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores can find top-rated schools like Bay Haven School of Basics Plus and opportunities for higher education at New College of Florida and the Ringling College of Art & Design. This is one of the best places to live in Sarasota for kids, thanks to the abundance of fun family-friendly attractions in the area—including local favorites like Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf and Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Plus, this Sarasota neighborhood has plenty of housing options that are ideal for families, ranging from charming ranches to modern single-family homes!

Things to Do in Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores

Check out The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, where you can explore the Keith D. Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art, take a tour of the Bayfront Gardens, or visit the Circus Museum. Just across Bay Shore Rd, see theatrical performances like Dial M for Murder or Twelve Angry Men: A New Musical at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Watch the sunset, go fishing, or canoe with the kids at Sapphire Shores Park. Walk through art installations, attend artist talks, or participate in the annual cookie exchange and swap at the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy. Satisfy your seafood cravings with dishes like Shrimp and Grits, Grilled Salmon, or Scallops Risotto at Sunnyside Cafe. Dine on Japanese cuisine like Hibachi Chicken, Shrimp Pineapple Fried Rice, or a Lobster Tempura Roll at Kasa Sushi Japanese Restaurant. Savor Southern-style comfort food in Sarasota like a Crispy Chicken Sandwich or Buffalo Chicken Wrap paired with Parm Fries at Fork & Hen SRQ. Or sit out on the patio while chowing down on Shrimp Tacos, Ribeye Steak Fajitas, or Pork Enchiladas at Wicked Cantina.

Laurel Park

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  • Home Price: $738,300 median purchase price; $1,333 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 52% of Florida cities

A few blocks from the shores of Sarasota Bay is Laurel Park, one of the best neighborhoods in Sarasota! Laurel Park is located in a National Historic District and provides residents with good walkability to nearby restaurants, shops, parks, and entertainment. Families appreciate the variety of events put on by the Laurel Park Neighborhood Association, which include Picnics in the Park where you can meet neighbors and listen to live music. In addition, your kiddos will love the abundance of outdoor recreation, such as Bayfront Park‘s playground and splash pad and Payne Park‘s disc golf course and skate park. Of course, families can also enjoy the neighborhood’s namesake park, as well as waterfront activities at nearby Lido Key. The neighborhood is also home to top-rated schools like Discover Days Preschool and First Montessori Academy and offers a wide range of housing options from Mediterranean-style bungalows and Colonial Revival homes to spacious apartments.

Things to Do in Laurel Park

Go jogging or walk your dog at the public art-filled Luke Wood Park North. Explore annual exhibits like The Orchid Show, walk through acres of tropical plants, or try Yoga in the Gardens as a family on the shores of Sarasota Bay at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Buy single tickets to opera performances, attend special events like The Sarasota Opera Gala, or join opera talks at the Sarasota Opera House. Go out for date night and enjoy a comedy show or drag queen bingo at McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre. Order Southern-style dishes like Smoked Meatloaf, Southern Fried Catfish, or Bacon Burnt Ends at Brick’s Smoked Meats. Dig into Red Snapper, a Cheshire Pork Chop, or Black Garlic Caesar at Indigenous. Try Shrimp Tacos, a Lobster Roll, or the Grilled Grouper Sandwich while listening to live music at Tamiami Tap. Or feast on a Low Country Boil, Fried Soft Shell Crab w/ Fries & Slaw, or Hot Crab Dip at Owen’s Fish Camp, one of the best seafood restaurants in Sarasota.

South Sarasota

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  • Home Price: $474,400 median purchase price; $1,135 median monthly rent
  • Crime Rate: Safer than 90% of Florida cities

With waterfront views and Siesta Key close by, South Sarasota is one of the best neighborhoods in Sarasota for families! Families can find top schools like Phillippi Shores Elementary and Riverview High School in the area, and there are tons of things to do among the area’s beaches, local restaurants, and kid-friendly outdoor recreation spots. This Sarasota area also offers budget-friendly houses ranging from charming bungalows to high-rise waterfront condos and townhomes. With miles of coastline along the Roberts Bay and Bay Island to the west, you’ll never be far from the water in this Sarasota suburb. Plus, it’s only a 10-minute drive to get to the city center!

Things to Do in South Sarasota

Take the family to Siesta Key Beach—named one of the top beaches in America—to play sand volleyball, go snorkeling, or relax in the sand. Spend a fun day on the water by booking a Banana Boat Ride, a Dolphin Tour to KoKo Island with Treasure Hunt Gem Mining, or Bigfoot’s Bumper Boat Adventure with Siesta Key Aqua Adventures. Enjoy the views of Sarasota Bay and admire public art while walking your dog at nearby San Remo Park. Attend shows like Matilda: The Musical and The Secret Garden, or sign your kids up for the Summer Production Camp at The Players Centre for Performing Arts. Pick from some of the best seafood in Sarasota like Seafood Alfredo, Brett’s Crab Cakes, or Walt’s Mahi Tacos at Walt’s Fish Market. Dig into a Philly Steak & Cheese Wrap, Hot Roast Beef Sandwich, or the Homemade Soup of the Day at Tasty Home Cookin’. Order delicious Asian cuisines like Pad Thai, Green Curry, or Orange Tofu at Stiks. Or snag Baked Spaghetti, a Combination Pizza, or a Calzone at Demetrio’s Pizzeria.

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Neighborhood and suburb statistics from AreaVibes

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.