Sarasota family

The Best Neighborhoods & School Districts For Families

See why many families end up relocating to this special piece of Gulf Coast Florida—replete with a bounty of beautiful, safe neighborhoods, a top-ranked school system and high quality of life.

May 23, 2022

Sarasota County remains a well-traveled vacation spot for families country-wide, many of whom fall in love with the area so much so that they end up making Sarasota a permanent staycation. With a newfound impulse to "Work Where You Want To Live,"  loads of family-friendly activities here, safe neighborhoods with unique architecture and a population abundant with diversity, it's easy to see why many families make the move. 

As for schooling, the 2022 school year reveals that of the 62 public schools serving 42,906 students in Sarasota County, the area continues to uphold its status as the highest concentration of top-ranked public schools in the state of Florida. Between the teachers, educational programming, extra-curricular activities and beautifully-built schools, your kids will be looking forward to their next day in class.

East Fruitville Road, Sarasota Springs & Pinecraft

Just a short distance from downtown Sarasota, this residential area boasts cheerful neighborhoods and a hometown, family feel. With the most abundance of suburban neighborhoods of family-style homes and housing, this area consists of native Sarasotans, longtime locals and those newly-relocated. Easy accessibility, low traffic compared to Downtown, lots of great public schools to choose from, many retailers, restaurants and services at the tips of your fingers and affordable housing, makes this a go-to region to call home. 

Closeby Schools: Mcintosh Middle School, Alta Vista Elementary School, Gocio Elementary School, Fruitville Elementary School, Lakeview Elementary, Ashton Elementary, Brentwood Elementary

Indian Beach / Sapphire Shores, North Sarasota

This neighborhood is teeming with historic Florida architecture, and is right up Tamiami Trail (made road cutting through Sarasota County) to Downtown. This quiet neighborhood features plenty of waterfront and inland homes for a wide range of affordability. Many homes in the Indian Beach and Sapphire Shores area have seen modern revitalization and undergone renovations or uplifts to keep up with the gentrification of this area. This locale is also home to Sarasota's prestifious higher education schools—including the world-class Ringling College of Art + Design and Florida's public honors college, New College.

Closeby Schools: Ringling College of Art + Design, New College of Florida, Gocio Elementary, Bay Haven School of Basics Plus, Booker High School

Gillespie Park, Sarasota

This post-transitional neighborhood is a stone’s throw from Downtown’s Main Street and the fun, happening hangout of Rosemary District. Gillespie Park is the perfect spot for young, active families looking for a slice of city life in this otherwise quiet city. With beautiful bungalows and nicely-size yards, lush vegetation, its own dog park, dubbed the Canine Club, a children's playground and quiet streets to take walks or ride bikes, Gillespie's turnover in housing is as low as they come. 

Closeby Schools: Sarasota High School,  Southside Elementary, Booker Middle School 

Arlington Park, Sarasota

If cozy, tucked away neighborhoods with big-time family vibes are your thing, consider a visit to Arlington Park. This historic neighborhood near the City of Sarasota welcomes a variety of architecture from the 1960’s, 70’s, 80’s and more recently, brand new modern builds in the style of the historic Sarasota School of Architecture. Smack dab in the center of the neighborhood lies a spacious park, complete with lap pool, playground, basketball court, tennis courts, dog park and walking trails—perfect for all kinds of family fun after work and school.

Closeby schools: Southside Elementary School, Sarasota High School, Alta Vista Elementaru, Suncoast School for Innovative Studies

Southside / Hillview

Southside has long been known as suitable for families of all types. Located near the highly-coveted and revered Southside Elementary School, this neighborhood offers plenty of kids, super walkability, a quaint village of locally-owned shops and restaurants within Southside Village and large, high-profile houses "West of the Trail" (on the water side of the U.S. Highway 41, or Tamiami Trail, which runs all the way down Sarasota County). Hillview's dreamy houses, manicured front lawns and picturesque streets is the kind of neighborhood you often find yourself turning onto just to "window shop" and longingly admire. 

Closeby schools: Southside Elementary School, Sarasota High School, Booker High School, Brookside Middle School, Suncoast Polytechnical High School, Suncoast School for Innovative Studies

Gulf Gate Estates, South Sarasota

Considered South Sarasota, and where many locals go to shop around, get services done, dine and hang, find the subsect of Gulf Gate. With tons of shopping plazas and retail strip malls, have everything you need to run all your errands without giving up a family-feel place to live. Many cozy neighborhoods are tucked away off the main road of Tamiami Trail and offer some quiet from the collection of restaurants and stores. Gulf Gate is also conveniently close to both bridges that lead you to Sarasota's #1 beach, Siesta Key, for family-fun year-round. 

Closeby Schools: Gulf Gate Elementary School, Wilkinson Elementary School, Brookside Middle School, River View High School, Phillippi Shores Elementary, Suncoast Polytechnical High School

Osprey 

If you’d like idyllic old Florida living, check out the underrated, less populated town of Osprey. Situated in the center of the county, Osprey's location is perfect: a 5-10 minute drive north to Downtown Sarasota, and a quick trip south to the Island of Venice and all its quaint offerings. Much of Osprey falls along the intercostal waterway, so there is vast opportunity for waterfront living. Another perk involves its proximity to a top 25 school in the nation, Pine View—a great option for your extraordinary student. Underrated and less-developed than its neighboring cities of Sarasota and Venice, this low-key locale attracts families looking for casual and relaxed leisure.

Closeby Schools: Pine View School, River View High School

Nokomis / Venice

The County's next biggest city of Venice lies along the coastline with its own Historic Downtown and popular beaches and has been known as the "Happiest Seaside Town in America." Its closeby community of mainland Nokomis is bit sleepier but still worth exploring—especially for families looking to set roots and settle down. Nearby a popular 10-mile paved biking pathway called the Legacy Trail, as well as Oscar Sherer State Park, there are plenty of outdoor adventures worth having for active families here, and more affordably-priced housing compared to Sarasota. 

Closeby Schools: Laurel Nokomis School, Venice Elementary School, Garden Elementary, Venice Middle School, Venice High School

Wellen Park, North Port 

Location plays a strong role in the quality of life for North Port residents. Easily accessible on Interstate 75 between Tampa and Fort Myers, North Port is within a 20-minute driving distance from some of Gulf Coast's premier beaches. North Port has been taking long strides to improve the infrastructure and the city's aesthetics for the last decade and its population continues to grow—for good reason. If you’re looking for a combination of quiet with a vibrant downtown scene and friendly neighbors eager to get to know one another, look no further than Wellen Park. This new community offers downtown shops, plenty of turn-key new builds of modern architecture, and gorgeous waterfront walking trails for the family get on and spend time on the weekends. 

Closeby Schools: Lamarque Elementary School, Taylor Ranch Elementary School, Woodland Middle School, North Port High School, Atwater Elementary School, Cranberry Elementary School, Toledo Blase Elementary School

Englewood 

Untouched, hyper-local with small business and fringed with old Florida living, consider this little-known locale one of Sarasota County’s best-kept secrets. Englewood's charm evokes a "down home" appeal, with cute bungalows and close-by, uncrowded beaches to retreat to on the weekends. This is the perfect place for your family to slow down, to match the rest of the community's slower, relaxed pace.

Closeby Schools: Englewood Elementary School, Lemon Bay High School

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