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retire

Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Retire in Sarasota, Florida?

Pretty Sarasota sits on Florida's southwestern coast and is famous for its 35 miles of gorgeous white sand beaches, colbalt blue waters, high-end resorts and traditional "beachy" vibe. The town gained fame as a resort destination during the early 20th-century, attracting wealthy residents that included the entire Ringling family (of Ringling Brothers' Circus fame).

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Today, residents enjoy a walkable downtown with trendy boutiques, galleries, studios, live music venues and top-notch restaurants. Palm trees sway and tall white buildings gleam in the sun. The Towles Court Art District is packed with brightly painted wooden homes, fun eateries and shops. Local arts institutions include a ballet, an opera, dozens of theater companies and an orchestra. The campus of the massive Ringling Museum of Art contains 21 galleries, a circus museum, as well as the restored Asolo Theater and Ringling mansion. The city's Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall hosts national and international acts. No less than seven colleges or satellites are associated with Sarasota. Golf, sport fishing and boating are all popular pastimes.

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Perched on Sarasota Bay, the Selby Botanical Gardens has a large collection of bromeliads and orchids. The nearby Myakka River Park's boardwalk allows visitors to explore its 58 square miles of wetlands and hammocks. Here, otters, foxes and alligators sometimes come out to say hello.

The city boasts some interesting architecture, including Mediterranean and Venetian style buildings. Grand homes built by early residents still stand, and many of these are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. However, many structures from the city's mid-20th century "Sarasota School of Architecture" period, when innovative architects came to town to design, have been lost to the wrecking ball.

Population: 60,000 (city proper)

Age 45 or Better:  58%

Cost of Living:  16% above the national average

Median Home Price: $498,000   See This $94,900 Sarasota Waterfront Home for Sale

Climate:  Summer temperatures are in the 80s and 90s, and winter temperatures are in the 50s, 60s and 70s. On average, the area receives 52 inches of rain per year.

At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients?  Yes

At Least One Hospital is Accredited by the Joint Commission?  Yes

Public Transit:   Yes

Crime Rate:   The violent crime rate meets the national average, but the property crime rate is above the national average.

Public Library:   Yes

Political Leanings:  Slightly liberal

College Educated:  35%

Is Florida Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement?   Yes

Cons:  The city has a somewhat snobby reputation and a visible homeless population. Locals complain about traffic and bad drivers.

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Notes:   "Snowbirds" swell the population each winter. Tourists come year round. Home prices have increased a whopping 45% since a year ago. The city has grown 6% during the last decade.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot?    Yes, although the higher than average property crime rate is a concern.

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Florida:

Named Pascua Florida by Juan Ponce De Leon, the Sunshine State did not enter the Union until March 3, 1845. Balmy mild winters began attracting snowbirds to the state in the late 19th century. Retirees continue to flock to the state. It's not hard to see why tourism has become the leading industry.

International trade and citrus are also major contributors to the state's economy. Eighty percent of the nation's oranges and grapefruits are grown here, and 40 percent of all U.S. exports to Latin America flow through Florida.

Florida's landscape includes uplands and coastal plains. It contains more than 11,000 miles of waterways and about 4,500 islands spread across 10 acres.

The state has 1,250 more golf courses than any other state in the Union. The 47 mile Pinellas Trail is the longest urban trail on the east coast. Orlando theme parks attract more visitors than any other theme parks in the U.S. The only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist is in National Everglades Park.

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