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Discover 9 Small Towns near Sarasota Florida – 2022 Update

We looked through all the different cities around southwest Florida to find the best small towns near Sarasota Florida that offer great entertainment and a strong quality of life.

Sarasota is located just south of the Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg metro area and is well-known for its outstanding beaches right on the Gulf, engaging art culture, and a rapidly growing economy.

We even named Sarasota as one of the top three cities in all of Florida.

However, there are several small towns in the area that offer great sights to see for those looking to take a day trip from Sarasota as well as an excellent quality of life for those looking to relocate to a quieter place nearby.

Therefore, we have collected a list of the top small towns near Sarasota Florida that offer the best blend of things to do and easy livability.

Small Towns near Sarasota Florida – Our Research Methodology

To determine the list of the best small towns near Sarasota Florida, we first had to determine how big a “small town” should be to be considered for our analysis.

So, we set a population limit of towns with 10,000 residents or less.

Then, we only looked at towns that were within a 1 hour drive from downtown Sarasota.

Next, we evaluated all the towns on essential factors that affect the quality of a town, such as:

  • Amenities
  • Arts and culture experiences
  • Cost of living index
  • Quality of housing market
  • School system
  • Crime rates
  • Overall livability

We scored each town based on these categories and summed them up to get our results of the top small towns near Sarasota.

The 9 Best Small Towns near Sarasota Florida in 2022

9. Osprey

Population: 6,561
Distance from Sarasota: 20 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

Osprey starts off this list of the best small towns near Sarasota Florida. Located just 20 minutes away from Sarasota, this suburban community offers its residents many amenities, such as numerous restaurants, parks, and easy access to the beach.

This small town is also a great choice for families, as its school system was rated an A+ by AreaVibes and its crime rates are 70% lower than the national average.

Osprey is also well-known among golfers and offers the beautiful Stoneybrook Golf and Country Club and The Oaks Club right in the heart of town.

8. Bradenton Beach

small-towns-near-sarasota-florida-Bredenton Beach

Population: 907
Distance from Sarasota: 35 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

With less than a thousand permanent residents, Bradenton Beach has the lowest population on our list, making it one of the best small towns near Sarasota Florida for those looking for a truly quiet place to live or visit.

This quaint town is located right on Anna Maria Island and features a small retail district with lots of bars, local restaurants, and coffee shops.

But, the main draw of this town is its pristine shoreline. If you are a beach lover, Bradenton Beach might just be the perfect small town near Sarasota for you. Some top places that you can enjoy visiting in the area are Coquina Beach, Bridge Street Pier, and Leffis Key Preserve.

Meanwhile, the crime rate of Bradenton Beach is 21% lower than the national average, making it a safe place to visit or to live.

7. Arcadia

Population: 7,761
Distance from Sarasota: 60 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

Arcadia is a small town with a lot of antique buildings and shops situated in a charming historic downtown district. It is also the most isolated community on this list, as it is located about 1 hour east of Sarasota in the middle of the vast farmlands and marshes.

Still, Arcadia has the largest population on this list and offers a diverse population and many community activities.

Additionally, the cost of living in Arcadia is 12% lower than the Florida average and 13% lower than the national average, which makes it a great deal for those looking for an affordable small town near Sarasota Florida.

The town is also a great place for outdoor lovers. It is well-known for its streams that can be canoed on and numerous public parks, like Brownville Park and Morgan Park.

6. Longboat Key

small-towns-near-sarasota-florida-Longboat-Key

Population: 7,158
Distance from Sarasota: 25 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

Well known for its outstanding beaches, Longboat Key is one of the best small towns near Sarasota Florida for those looking for a beach town right across from downtown Sarasota.

It is located on the southern end of Anna Maria Island and attracts many tourists and residents, especially retirees.

That is due in part to its great record for safety. Longboat Key is safer than 83% of the cities in the US.

It is also due to the great entertainment options that the town has to offer as well. It features 12 miles of sandy white beaches with waterfront golfing, gourmet restaurants, and tons of resorts.

5. Nokomis

Population: 3,431
Distance from Sarasota: 30 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

Nokomis is a quaint and quiet town just 30 minutes away from Sarasota and is a suburb of Venice, Florida. This family-friendly town is probably better suited for folks looking to relocate to the area than for travelers.

The town features an excellent school system, which AreaVibes graded as an A+ in its latest review, and crime rates that are 48% lower than the US average, which makes it an ideal place to raise a family.

Meanwhile, the town itself provides many amenities for its residents, such as the Nokomis Community Park and a handful of local restaurants, shops, and bars

Of course, the beaches are nearby as well. Nokomis Beach and Venice Beach are both less than a 10 minute drive from the center of town.

4. Holmes Beach

small-towns-near-sarasota-florida-holmes-Beach

Population: 4,119
Distance from Sarasota: 40 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

Holmes Beach is another small town near Sarasota Florida with stunning beaches and excellent local shops and restaurants. This beautiful town is located just north of Bradenton Beach and features a bigger and more lively community than its smaller neighbor.

Holmes Beach is known for a place where tourists and locals can aimlessly stroll its pure white beaches and sample some fresh seafood at one of the oceanside restaurants around town.

There are also several art galleries within Holmes Beach, including Island Gallery West and Bob Brown Art.

Holmes Beach is also a great choice for families looking for a safe place, as its crime rates are 51% lower than the national average. It also features a top notch school system that was rated an A+ by AreaVibes.

3. Ellenton

Population: 3,154
Distance from Sarasota: 25 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

Ellenton is a quiet community that is located about 25 minutes north of Sarasota and shares a border with larger cities like Bradenton and Palmetto.

This suburban town features tree-lined neighborhoods for residents alongside several retail areas, including the Ellenton Premium Outlets, Shabby Shack Flea Market and the Feed Store Antique Mall.

There are also plenty of green spaces and outdoor areas in and around the town, such as the Gamble Plantation Historic State Park and the riverfront on the Manatee River.

In addition, Ellenton’s crime rates are 46% lower than the national average, which makes it a sound choice for families and retirees who want to be close to Sarasota.

2. Anna Maria

small-towns-near-sarasota-florida-Anna-Maria

Population: 1,128
Distance from Sarasota: 50 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

Anna Maria is a small and quiet town that is one of the best small towns near Sarasota Florida for people who really want to disconnect and just relax on the beach.

This rustic community is located at the northernmost point of Anna Maria Island and gives its visitors and residents a glimpse back in time to a more simple life.

There is never a sense of rush around here, which is done intentionally to try to create a more old-time feel around its seven miles of island.

Of course, there are still plenty of things to do. For example, you can visit Pine Ave and Gulf Drive to find some locally-owned shops and restaurants or head further south for the Historic Bridge Street commercial area down on Bradenton Beach.

Additionally, there are top caliber beaches to relax on like Bean Point Beach and Bayfront Park.

Anna Maria’s small, tight-knit community is also an extremely safe place. The crime rate in Anna Maria is an astounding 87% lower than the national average.

1. Siesta Key

small-towns-near-sarasota-florida

Population: 5,782
Distance from Sarasota: 15 minutes
Location: Check on Google Maps

Siesta Key tops our list as the best small town near Sarasota. This beach town is also the closest to Sarasota on this list, as it is located just a 15 minute drive away.

The town is known for its stunning beaches right on the warm Gulf and excellent nightlife at various bars, lounges, and restaurants along its 8 miles of beachfront. 

It also features over 100 local shops, restaurants, and cafes in the cute Siesta Key Village retail district.

Siesta Key is also an excellent location for families with kids due to its great school system, which earned an A+ rating from AreaVibes, and crime rates that are 70% lower than the rest of the US.

Best Small Towns near Sarasota Florida – Summary

Overall, our choices for the top small towns near Sarasota Florida are:

  1. Siesta Key
  2. Anna Maria
  3. Ellenton
  4. Holmes Beach
  5. Nokomis
  6. Longboat Key
  7. Arcadia
  8. Bradenton Beach
  9. Osprey

We think that all of these small towns are a great place to relocate to for those looking to be close by to Sarasota, but prefer a more intimate community.

Meanwhile, for travelers looking for a classic Old Florida small town, we recommend Siesta Key, Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, Arcadia, and Bradenton Beach.