Sarasota is a small city in Florida, just one hour south of Tampa. Although it offers an amazing coastline, lots of cultural attractions, and great places to eat, it’s often overlooked by travellers in favour of other towns in the area. Sarasota is glamorous, relaxing, and tranquil, making for the ideal destination for a weekend break.
Sarasota isn’t a mainstream destination, which we reckon makes it way more attractive than other places. However, it also means there isn’t all too much information about it online. As a result, deciding exactly where to stay in Sarasota can be difficult.
To help you out, we’ve created this guide on the best places to stay in Sarasota. We’ve included our top accommodation and activity picks in each, so you can find the best one for your travel style and budget.
If you’re ready for a break in a beautiful, sophisticated city, then it’s time to head to Sarasota!
Check out our top recommendations for places to stay in Sarasota.
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Best Airbnb in Sarasota: Casa Verde Sarasota Retreat
If you like spending time in outdoor spaces, then you’ll love this private retreat. It sleeps up to nine guests across three bedrooms and is beautifully furnished both outside and in. Relax in the private heated pool or on a lanai and make the most of Florida’s sunshine.
Best Hotel in Sarasota: Magnolia Pointe
Sometimes, hotels are just convenient. This one’s got everything covered – comfy rooms, modern furnishings, free wifi, and a great location. On top of that, guests can enjoy a pool, fitness centre, and lounge, as well as an American breakfast served on-site daily.
Best Luxury Airbnb in Sarasota: A Little Piece of Paradise
This home sits in the heart of the downtown area. It sleeps four guests, making it ideal for families. It’s super luxurious, boasting a pool, firepit, outdoor kitchen, and everything else you could want during your relaxing holiday.
A Little Piece of Paradise is one of our favourites in Sarasota but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
North Trail is a strangely shaped neighborhood. It’s long and thin, running down along Highway 41, and contains lots of hotels, eateries, and low-key cocktail bars. In fact, despite its size, this is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Sarasota among travelers.
Sarasota’s Downtown area is a little less popular with tourists than other parts of the city. This is due to the fact that it’s further away from the beach and those famous sunset views. However, if you’re looking for the best places in Sarasota to stay if you’re on a budget, then the Downtown is a good choice.
The Indian Beach area is also known as Sapphire Shores and it’s a leafy, local area home to museums and close to the beach. This makes it a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Sarasota with kids.
Sarasota is becoming an increasingly popular destination in Florida, great for families, romantic holidays, or getaways with friends. It’s a worthy place to visit, whether you’re staying for a two-week vacation or looking for a quick road trip stopover.
If you’re visiting Sarasota for the first time, we recommend staying in North Trail. This narrow sliver of a neighbourhood offers easy access to the beach, as well as local clubs and great eateries. It’s the best place to be to get a feel for what Sarasota’s all about, and offers that quintessential beach retreat.
The second place to look at is Sarasota’s Downtown. This area offers a mix of history, easy access to restaurants, and shops, and is easily walkable. It’s a great alternative to North Trail if you’re travelling in the USA on a budget.
Families planning a vacation in Florida should check out Sarasota’s Indian Beach, also known as Sapphire Shores. There’s loooads of accommodation to choose from here-including some great Florida Airbnbs–as well as great restaurants and activities to keep everyone happy.
Sarasota’s 3 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Read on for more information on each of these popular areas in Sarasota, as well as the best accommodation in each!
- COOLEST Thing to Do in North Trail – Check out the farmers’ market on Friday and Saturday at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park.
- BEST Place to Visit in North Trail – Centennial Park for picnics, a fishing pier, and a boat ramp in case you want to get out on the water.
North Trail is a strangely shaped neighbourhood. It’s long and thin, running down along Highway 41, and contains lots of hotels, eateries, and low-key cocktail bars. Despite its size, this is one of the most popular areas in Sarasota among travellers.
This is where you stay when you want to be close to the beach and to enjoy as much of the ocean as possible. There are also lots of great attractions in the area making it one of the coolest places to stay in Sarasota if you want to see all of the city’s favourite sites. Its proximity to the Highway also makes it ideal for Florida road–trippers.
Best Luxury Airbnb in North Trail: Luxury Pool Home near Downtown
With an on-site pool and the beach just three blocks away, this house is the perfect base for your vacation. It’s been recently renovated and thoughtfully decorated throughout, creating a comfortable home for up to eight guests.
Best Hotel in North Trail: La Quinta by Wyndham
You can’t go wrong staying at a Wyndham hotel. This one offers comfortable rooms with ensuite bathrooms and workspaces, as well. as a daily breakfast, a fitness centre, and an on-site pool. It’s a stone’s throw from the coast and close to attractions like the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.
Cosy Airbnb in North Trail: The Gate House
This home may be small, but it’s bright, cheerful, and beautifully furnished. It’s an updated cathedral home with high ceilings, a spacious floor plan, a full kitchen, and lots of charm. Sleeping two guests, it’s perfect for couples visiting Sarasota for the first time.
The Gate House is one of our favourites in Sarasota but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Things to See and Do in North Trail:
- Check out the Sarasota Classic Car Museum to see vehicles ranging from 1800s classics to modern day motors.
- Pack your beach bag and head to Indian Beach Park.
- Try some of the local food at Antojitos Cuban Cuisine, Leaf and Lentil, or Huanchaco Grill Peruvian Cuisine.
- Have a drink with friends at the Shamrock Pub or the Bistro.
- Get out on the ocean for kayaking, swimming, or fishing.
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2. Downtown – Where to Stay in Sarasota on a Budget
- COOLEST Thing to Do in Downtown – Take a boat trip out onto the ocean.
- BEST Place to Visit in Downtown – The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Downtown Sarasota campus to see thousands of beautiful plants.
Sarasota’s Downtown area is a little less popular with tourists than other parts of the city, probably because it’s further away from the beach and those famous sunset views. This is great news for the budget backpackers amongst you, as fewer tourists mean less touristy prices.
Other than being cheap, Sarasota’s Downtown is a great destination in its own right. It’s filled with history and culture, is very walkable, and has some great shops, restaurants, and hotels. Plus, because this city is fairly small, it’s really not that far from the beach (sshh, don’t tell the others). You can easily get there on foot or via the city’s public transport system!
Awesome Airbnb in Downtown: Cozy Downtown Studio Apartment
This city getaway is perfect for two guests and is great value for money. The unit has its own private balcony and is located in one of the most charming and historic neighbourhoods in the city, making it easy to get out and explore.
Best Luxury Airbnb in Downtown: Villa & Garden in Downtown
When split between six guests, this is the perfect place to stay in Sarasota for a group of friends. It’s a five-minute drive from local beaches and a short walk from the Downtown, putting you in one of the best locations overall! It’s stunningly furnished throughout and offers plenty of outdoor spaces.
Best Hotel in Downtown: America’s Best Value Inn
America’s Best Value Inn is fast becoming one of the most popular budget hotel brands in the US, so you already know you’ve got yourself a good deal. This branch boasts a superb location close to shops and restaurants, as well as public transport for exploring further afield. Each room is equipped with a fridge and microwave, and, as you can see, there’s a huge pool on-site.
Things to See and Do in Sarasota’s Downtown:
- Head over to Lido Key Beach for a real island experience.
- Check out the city’s creative heart at the Art Center Sarasota or the Towles Court Artist Colony.
- Have a meal at Hamlet’s Eatery, the Shamrock Pub, or the Café in the Park.
- Practice your swing at the Palms Golf Club at Forest Lakes.
- Enjoy the views of the ocean, the shops, and the people watching at the Bayfront Park.
- Play a round of tennis, try the skateboard park, or test yourself on the fitness trail at Payne Park.
3. Indian Beach – Best Neighbourhood in Sarasota for Families
- COOLEST Thing to Do in Indian Beach – Take the kids to explore the Children’s Garden.
- BEST Place to Visit in Indian Beach – Sarasota Jungle Gardens for animals and animal shows in a tropical setting.
The Indian Beach area (also known as Sapphire Shores) is a leafy, local area close to the beach. It’s full of things to explore but is quieter than other parts of town, making it a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in Sarasota with kids.
With lots of attractions close by as well as a wide variety of accommodation choices, this area will keep even the most restless member of your family busy and active. It’s also really close to the beach, so you can enjoy those famous sunset views!
Family-Friendly Airbnb in Indian Beach: Private Charming Cottage
Sleeping up to four guests, this place is perfect for small families. It sits on one acre of private land and offers a fully stocked kitchen and laundry facilities. The beach is easy to reach from here, as are downtown amenities.
Best Hotel in Indian Beach: Hampton Inn & Suites
This hotel is bright, colourful, and just minutes from the beach. It offers a pool, free parking, a free hot breakfast every morning, giving you one less thing to worry about each day!
Best Luxury Airbnb in Indian Beach: New Pool Oasis
This two-bedroom, two-bathroom home sleeps up to six guests and is all about the outdoor space. It has a great pool and lanai with an outdoor grill so you can sit out on warm nights and enjoy the weather. It also has a fully stocked kitchen, laundry facilities, and is within walking distance to a neighbourhood park on the water.
New Pool Oasis is one of our favourites in Sarasota but they’re not taking guests right now. We’re not sure if they’re closed for good but we hope they’ll come back soon.
Things to See and Do in Indian Beach:
- Learn more about the ocean at the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.
- Wander through the former home of the Ringlings, Ca’ d’Zan.
- Have a meal at Captain Brian’s Seafood Market & Restaurant.
- Go fishing or just watch the sunset and look for dolphins off E_RocK Pointe.
- Head out to the Palm Aire Country Club for a round of golf.
- Learn about the history of the famous circus folk at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
- Have a drink at the Mable Bar & Grill or Memories Lounge.
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FAQs About Finding a Place to Stay in Sarasota
Here’s what people usually ask me about the areas of Sarasota and where to stay.
Where to stay in Sarasota on the beach?
The North Trail is the spot for you if you’re after beach time. It’s not just got the sea on your doorstep but it’s also packed with eateries and bars. You can’t go wrong with staying in The North Trail.
Does Sarasota have luxury resorts?
For a taste of luxury in Sarasota, check out the Airbnbs. There are some pretty epic spots, like this Luxury Pool Home near Downtown. With an on-site pool and space for eight guests – it’s a pretty damn cool pad.
Are the cheap hotels in Sarasota?
Yes, there are great affordable hotels in Sarasota. The Magnolia Pointe is perfect if you want good bang for your buck. They’ve got everything you need and even include breakfast. I looove a free breaky.
Is the nightlife good in Sarasota?
Yes, you can and it’s actually pretty good! You can relax on the beach with a cocktail, have an IPA at a brew bar, catch a live band, hit a sports bar, sing karaoke or dance the night away as a DJ spins dance hits. There is a bit of nightlife for everyone.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Sarasota
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Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Stay in Sarasota
There’s something for everyone in Sarasota. Whether you’re the type to enjoy outdoor activities, innovative art, or just enjoy relaxing on the beach, Sarasota will delight and enthral you. No matter what you plan to do, you’ll find charming B&Bs, luxury hotels, and everything in between to make your stay as epic as possible.
If you’re still not sure where to stay in Sarasota, we recommend North Trail. It’s by the beach, full of shops and restaurants, and has some of the best accommodation in Sarasota overall.
Once you’ve decided on your accommodation, it’s a good idea to consider getting travel insurance. The USA is safe to visit, but it’s always best to have a backup in case things don’t go to plan.
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And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!