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Advice re. Sarasota, Sanibel, Ft. Myers, Naples...

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posts: 10
Advice re. Sarasota, Sanibel, Ft. Myers, Naples...

Hello everyone,

I've posted before and got helpful replies, but I wanted to see if I can get some additional comments.

I'm looking for a great place in Florida. I've never been to Florida, but I'm planning a trip in the summer, and if we like it we want to spend a larger part of the year there in the future.

It should be a home or condo in a nice low-rise neighborhood, close to a great beach not spoilt by high-rises, but not too far away from a city in the area.

Naples seems to be great, but I was a bit surprised to hear that the median age is about 60 there. Nothing against senior citizens, but just wondering if it's a good place for a young family. (Someone from the forum already said it's a good place for young people, too.)

Sanibel also is a favorite, but maybe a little small and secluded and too far away from the next city (Ft. Myers)? So I'm not sure if Sanibel is great not only for holidays but also for living?

What about Sarasota?

BTW, since we would like to spend the winter there in the future, it would be nice if it's warm enough for sunbathing and swimming for the greatest part of the year. I've read that in Sarasota it's about 1-2 degrees colder than in Naples because of its location, but I'm not sure if this little difference really makes a difference. Any experiences/opinions?

Thanks very much in advance for all comments!


P.S.: I know I must get a first-hand look, but I'm curious, so that's why I'm trying to find out as much as possible already. :-)

Naples, Fl.
posts: 37
reviews: 1
1. Re: Advice re. Sarasota, Sanibel, Ft. Myers, Naples...

If you are interested in SW Florida Naples is your spot! It is absolutely beautiful and close to the other cities for visits. I am 39 with two kids and trust me there is plenty to do. The beaches are great, restaurants fantastic and there are lots of great parks, a small zoo and wonderful shopping. The only thing Naples does not have is bars and dance spots which is fine with me!

Palm Harbor, FL
posts: 200
reviews: 13
2. Re: Advice re. Sarasota, Sanibel, Ft. Myers, Naples...

Have you considered Venice Beach which is just south of Sarasota? The beaches don't have as many condos, etc on them and it has more of a small town feel while being close to plenty of malls etc in Sarasota. The beaches are beautiful and there is a quaint main street with ice cream parlors, shops, etc. They have lots of public parks, playgrounds and more. We visit there frequently and it feels like a family friendly town.

posts: 10
3. Re: Advice re. Sarasota, Sanibel, Ft. Myers, Naples...

Thank you both for your comments!

Yes, I've heard of Venice Beach and what I've seen (i.e. photos and travel guide description) looks nice.

By the way, how about the South East coast (greater Miami area)? Is the whole area a stretch lined by high-rises (like on those photos from Miami beach) or are there also more small-town like places?

Thanks again!


chicago, il
posts: 3
reviews: 1
4. Re: Advice re. Sarasota, Sanibel, Ft. Myers, Naples...

Hi, Anna Maria Island is wonderful. A high rise ban has kept the old Florida charm intact now, and in the furuture. All ages love the Island and most all will tell you they will return. Sarasota is 20 minutes away and Bradenton is 5 minutes away.

We know of a guest coming from Germany to the Island for 2 weeks this April, if you like I can have them contact you with their experience.

-Jim Murray

posts: 1
reviews: 10
5. Re: Advice re. Sarasota, Sanibel, Ft. Myers, Naples...

Median age 60 in Naples? I'd say more like 75! Sanibel is for you. It is great for young families. Lots to do, great restaurants, great beaches. It is quiet, but in a good way. It is very relaxing and the people are genuinely nice, not grumpy like in other locations. Just spent 3 weeks there in January and it was 75-80 every day.

Annapolis, Maryland
posts: 863
reviews: 7
6. Re: Advice re. Sarasota, Sanibel, Ft. Myers, Naples...

I vote for Sarasota. It has culture, great beaches, terrific restaurants, and the perfect location for me. A nice city all by itself, it's also close to all the other cities.

The barrier islands are extremely nice here and offer a varied lifestyle. Anna Maria is exactly as you described. Low rise and homey...and close to numerous cities. A few minutes to Bradenton for basic shopping...a gorgeous 15 ride down upscale Longboat Key to St. Armand's Circle, 20 into shop, gallery and restaurant filled downtown Sarasota...and about 45 minutes to St. Pete/Tampa with their theme parks and other attractions...Dali Museum...Aquarium etc...

Siesta Key offers some of the same, and although it does have a few highrises...the beach is spectacular. Do not concern yourself over 1 or 2 degrees...swimming in the Gulf in winter is done quite a bit...although most consider it too cold, the Gulf temperatures in winter are generally in the low to mid 60's.

Guelph, ON
posts: 310
reviews: 12
7. Re: Advice re. Sarasota, Sanibel, Ft. Myers, Naples...

I'll second Venice Beach! Love it there and it's very close to Siesta Key and Sarasota. We make a point to stop there every trip and someday I'm going to winter there myself! :)