Naples, FL is a special and unique destination. Discerning buyers and tourists alike are especially drawn to Naples because of all that this city has to offer. Sarasota is equally special and unique, however, it has stayed off the radar, until the past few years, and now it’s quickly being discovered. Even being named the number one place to retire. Why are people saying that Is Sarasota The New Naples? In this post, I will compare and contrast the two cities and you decide.
Sarasota’s location on a map makes it a top choice when compared to Naples. Sarasota lies along Sarasota Bay and is home to four barrier islands that separate the bay from the Gulf of Mexico- Lido Key, Siesta Key, Longboat Key, and Anna Maria Island
South of Sarasota, you can find Ft Myers which is 1 hour and 15 mins away and Naples which is approximately 2 hours away.
North of Sarasota you will find the real perk – its proximity to the Tampa Bay area. It is located less than a one-hour drive to Tampa and St Pete. Why is this an added plus for Sarasota? If you, your kids, or grandkids want to go see Major League baseball games, Pro hockey games, or other live events & concerts Sarasota is only 45-60 minutes from the Tampa Bay area. And I can’t forget to mention Sarasota is only 2 hours away from DISNEY WORLD and other amusement parks in Orlando and Tampa.
Unfortunately, Naples does not have that perk. If residents of Naples want to see a live event they must travel all the way East over to Miami or up North to Tampa Bay – coming straight through Sarasota. Sarasota offers so much more things to do in a shorter distance than Naples. Naples is located on South West tip of Florida miles away from the famous Everglades and Alligator ally. For many, this private location is ideal and prestigious.
FUN FACT: Historically, Sarasota’s geographic location avoids hurricanes. There are many theories on why, but I challenge you to google it for yourself and let us know what you find in the comments.
To piggyback on location – a good question to ask yourself when deciding between these two cities is: Will you travel frequently while living in Sarasota or Naples? AND/OR Will you have frequent visits from long-distance friends and family?
The Sarasota area has numerous airports that offer the US or International flights
- SRQ Airport is less than a 30-minute drive from most people living in the Sarasota area.
- Tampa International Airport is approximately 50 miles away from Sarasota. You have access to flights that will take you anywhere in the world.
- Clearwater-St. Pete Airport is located approximately 45 mins away from Sarasota, this airport is a great hub for domestic flights.
- Punta Gorda Airport is about a 90 min drive from Sarasota and could be a viable option as well.
Naples has one airport, however, it is only for private or chartered flights.
- Ft. Meyers Airport is approximately a 45-50 minute drive from Naples. This Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW / KRSW) does have commercial flights
- Punta Gorda Airport is approximately an hour away from Naples. Commercial flights are limited but you can still find flights to the East Coast and Midwest cities.
- Naples Private Airport is located 5 miles from the center of Naples. While this is convenient, this airport has no commercial flights. It only serves private and chartered flights. Many do take advantage of this conveniently located airport.
Naples and Sarasota both have miles and miles of white-sand beaches. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Sarasota’s Siesta Key has ranked on a multitude of ‘Best Beaches’ lists. In fact, it has even been declared the #1 beach in the USA. And Sarasota area beaches are much more accessible and the parking is FREE. Beaches near Naples lack ample parking and can cost $6+ an hour. Clearly, Sarasota wins in the best beach category.
Don’t be mistaken, Naples has its fair share of beautiful sands too. Let’s compare:
Naples beaches have better shelling, but Sarasota beaches have better sand.
Sarasota beaches have more depth, but Naples beaches are more natural.
Naples beaches have better fishing, but Sarasota beaches have better parking.
Free of highrise condo buildings and towering hotels with rooftop bars and restaurants – downtown Naples is much different from downtown Sarasota.
If you are looking for a quiet location, then Naples is a better choice. Restaurants in Naples close down a little earlier here than in Sarasota and there are not as many late-night bars for cocktails and music. If you are looking for great shopping downtown Naples on 5th Avenue South is sure to please. This quaint downtown features upscale clothing, dining, and home goods.
Sarasota’s downtown district has a small-town feel with big-city amenities. Some say it is more cosmopolitan than metropolitan. What makes the downtown area really unique is its centralized location and proximity to EVERYTHING. Sarasota’s world-renowned beaches are easily a quick bike ride or car ride away. Main Street is only 3.6 miles from Lido key the home of St. Armands Circle, and it’s only 6 miles to Siesta Key. With its tropical charm, rich culture, proximity to beaches, and historical significance, it is no wonder why so many are interested in calling downtown Sarasota home.
ART & CULTURE
Sarasota is an art enthusiast’s dream. In fact, the downtown area is considered to be the heart of the city’s cultural scene and is known for its numerous art galleries, museums, festivals, and artisans. See a world-class opera at Sarasota Opera House, Admire the art at Art Center Sarasota, Take in a show at Florida Studio Theatre, dine at award-winning restaurants, or shop local artisan boutiques. Take this all in – plus a diverse opportunity for residential housing can be found downtown too.
As for the arts, Naples pales in comparison with Sarasota with only one Community Theater in the downtown area. Is there still fun to be had in downtown Naples? Absolutely! The Philharmonic Center for the Arts has been a mainstay of the Naples cultural scene, offering performances in theater, dance, and classical and popular music. Noteworthy galleries include Native Visions Gallery and Shaw Gallery, both offering historic and contemporary art from notable international and American artists.
Both Naples and Sarasota have luxury condos and lavish homes, both cities have champion golf courses, fine dining, and yacht clubs, but in the luxury category – Naples has Sarasota beat by a landslide! Naples median home price is 24% higher than Sarasota, it has more multi-million dollar homes and more $1M+ condos. Many celebrities and pro athletes call Naples home. In other words, if you’re looking for a luxurious lifestyle, look no further than Naples. Sarasota is more likely to be dubbed as “casual elegance” than “luxury.”
If you love golf, Naples is a mecca for golf enthusiasts, so much so, that some residents believe that golf courses are becoming a thing of the past. Demographics are slowly changing in Naples. Many young people with families are moving to Naples too. They would like to see more, parks, zoos, and trails.
However, if you have seen my past videos you know that Sarasota has a plethora of parks, lakes, trails, and nature preserves. as well as wetlands, and natural ecosystems.
Most notably, the Legacy Trail which goes from Sarasota, all the way down to Venice, FL., and was built with a cyclist in mind. However, this multi-use trail is ideal for walking, running, rollerblades, or scooters.
But if you are a golf enthusiast, Sarasota has you covered! There is a multitude of great golf courses in and around the area, including, University Park Country Club, TPC Prestancia, Sara Bay Country Club, The Founders Club and so much more.
Naples is one of the wealthiest cities in the United States, with the sixth-highest per capita income in America, and the second-highest proportion of millionaires per capita in the US. There are a number of gated neighborhoods and I often hear people talk about living behind the gates.
The median home value in Naples is about $1.1 million, although homes can be found across a range of prices depending upon size and location
Sarasota’s median price is still below 600,000.
The cost of living in Sarasota isn’t wildly more affordable compared to Naples. However, you can still get more houses in Sarasota than in Naples for less. When considering making a move to the Florida Gulf Coast there is no doubt that most people compare Sarasota and Naples. Naples has always been a snowbird’s dream. I receive calls regularly from home buyers comparing the 2 cities and more and more people are choosing Sarasota. However, this may be part of the reason our home prices are rising so quickly.
So, although I don’t believe we will ever take over the Posh lifestyle you will find in Naples I can find many reasons why so many homeowners are choosing Sarasota and comparing Sarasota to Naples.
So what are your thoughts? Is Sarasota the new Naples?
According to Numbeo.com
- Rent Prices in Sarasota, FL are 1.77% higher than in Naples, FL
- Restaurant Prices in Sarasota, FL are 3.55% lower than in Naples, FL
- Groceries Prices in Sarasota, FL are 2.01% lower than in Naples, FL
- Local Purchasing Power in Sarasota, FL is 34.05% lower than in Naples, FL