Filled with beautiful beaches and cultural attractions, Sarasota is one of the top sun destinations in the United States. But with the popularity of this amazing Florida Gulf Coast city, choosing where to stay in Sarasota isn’t always easy.
Located on Sarasota Bay, Sarasota is jam-packed with unique neighborhoods and islands. Different vibes all play out across the city. For travelers, the best areas to stay in Sarasota include Downtown, Rosemary District, Lido Key, Longboat Key, and Siesta Key. All these districts put the city’s top cultural sites and beach vibes within arm’s reach.
Not sure where to begin your Sarasota accommodations search? Top off the perfect Florida Gulf Coast itinerary with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Sarasota, Florida.
Best places to stay in Sarasota, FL
A top-rated vacation destination in the Southeast USA, finding where to stay in Sarasota can be challenging for first-timers. Its diverse neighborhoods and endless beach hotels span several islands and the city of Sarasota itself.
For first-time visitors, staying in Downtown Sarasota is the best option. Staying in downtown will give you access to the entire Sarasota area. You’ll also be close to great cultural amenities, hiking trails, and many outdoor activities.
Outside of downtown, you can get even closer to the beach. Lido Key, Longboat Key, and Siesta Key all have a pristine oceanfront location. On these popular islands, you’ll be able to enjoy a classic Florida beach vacation.
The best areas to stay in Sarasota, FL, are:
✓ Best area to stay in Sarasota for first-time visitors
Visiting Sarasota for the first time? Settle down in Downtown Sarasota. The city center is full of restaurants, theaters, shopping boutiques, and artwork. For first-time visitors and culture lovers, Downtown Sarasota is among the best places to stay in Sarasota.
The drive from downtown to Sarasota Bay is just 12 minutes. On Sarasota Bay, you’ll find the best beaches in Sarasota, top-notch fishing spots, and some of the city’s best nightlife.
Dazzle at the beautiful flora of Selby Botanical Gardens. Or check out the famed Banyan tree at Myakka River State Park. One of the top Sarasota tourist attractions, Sarasota Jungle Gardens is also worth a gander for animal lovers.
Looking to explore the city’s art scene? The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is near the heart of downtown. At the art museum, you’ll dazzle at classic paintings, sculptures, and flower gardens.
With plenty of lodgings and many of the best hotels in Sarasota, Downtown Sarasota is a great place to begin your Florida vacation.
Recommended hotels in Downtown Sarasota
Searching for a boutique hotel just a couple of blocks from excellent restaurants and Selby Botanical Gardens? Aloft Sarasota is the perfect choice. The popular hotel offers live music every night, pet-friendly rooms, and a rooftop outdoor pool. With a 24-hour front desk, you will feel safe every night of your stay at this modern and chic hotel.
Coming to Sarasota for the art scene? Art Ovation Hotel Autograph Collection is art-inspired, inside and out. Art materials like sketchbooks, colored pencils, and ukuleles are found in every room. Keep your creativity flowing on your Florida vacation. They also have an outdoor pool, rooftop bars, and free use of beach chairs.
Looking for some top-notch luxury? The Westin Sarasota is one of the best luxury hotels in Sarasota. The hotel charms with a world-class spa. Duck in for a soothing massage or a skin treatment. Their heated pool has a full-service bar for the perfect nightcap. You’ll also enjoy other amenities at this beach hotel like a 24-hour fitness center, on-site dining options, and spacious beds. Westin Sarasota also dazzles with floor-to-ceiling windows offering views over the city.
For private beach club access, book your room at The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. You’ll feel like you’re in the heart of the city while still enjoying an elegant Florida beach vacation. With its beautiful location, the hotel offers an amazing pool, spacious suites, an on-site spa, and a golf course. The friendly staff works tirelessly to ensure every guest has a memorable stay.
✓ Best neighborhood to stay in Sarasota for food & culture
Located north of Downtown, Rosemary District is a booming neighborhood full of cafes and bistros. The district’s restaurants charm with beautiful outdoor seating. Grab a seat and a drink to people-watch and enjoy the sunshine. The food & art scene draws visitors most to Rosemary District.
Walking along the streets at night, you can find endless bars and venues to listen to live music. There are also endless options for healthy food, including vegan options. When you’re done eating, spend the rest of the day browsing antique shops or sipping local beer in one of its beer gardens.
The average price per night in the Rosemary District is slightly lower than near the beach and can be a more affordable option. It’s only a couple miles from the nearest beach. Many hotels here also offer an airport shuttle to Sarasota Bradenton Airport.
Recommended hotels in Rosemary District
Located in the heart of the Rosemary District, Hotel Indigo is one of the best Sarasota hotels. It’s within walking distance to the John Ringling Bridge, the beach, and the local farmer’s market. Hotel Indigo also offers exclusive guest amenities. You’ll enjoy hot wading pools, hydration stations, continental breakfast, and bike rentals at a small extra cost. Make sure to eat at the Hotel Indigo Sarasota H2O restaurant for food and socializing.
Known for its urban architecture and amazing landscaping, the Sarasota Modern is a perfect place to get away from the hustle & bustle of the city. It’s in a fantastic location. You’ll be within walking distance of the beach and a few minutes’ drive from downtown. They offer a shuttle service with exclusive access to all the cultural activities in the area. The hotel also features an outdoor swimming pool and offers amazing customer service.
For a stay in the cultural hub of downtown, look no further than the Embassy Suites by Hilton. Relish in spacious bedroom suites, cooked-to-order hot breakfast, and its wonderful helpful staff. The hotel is just a 10-minute drive from Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and the John Ringling Museum of Art. You’ll be close to everything you need. The Bridges Restaurant in the hotel offers an incredible view of the city and the beach.
✓ Best place to stay in Sarasota for beach lovers
If the main purpose for your Florida vacation is hanging out on the beach, book your stay on Lido Key. Lido Beach offers soft powder white-sand beaches and amazing water activities such as snorkeling and jet skiing.
The restaurants around Lido Key tickle the tastebuds. Delight in fresh seafood and beach cocktails delivered to your lounge chair. The nightlife is also among the best in the area, with dance clubs, live music, and daily drink specials.
For nature lovers, South Lido County Park is a must-see. Hit up the park to enjoy kayaking, swimming, or bird watching. Bring a picnic lunch, watch a local game from a baseball team, or play a game of beach volleyball in the serene park. South Lido County Park also has a fishing lake if you have your own rod and bait.
Recommended hotels in Lido Key
For an amazing 3-star hotel right on the beach, book yourself into the Holiday Inn Lido Beach. The hotel offers continental breakfast, a beautiful pool, and air-conditioned accommodation close to everything you need in Sarasota. Their on-site restaurant has panoramic views of the beach. They’re also pet-friendly, have a free shuttle service, and helpful front-desk staff. The outdoor swimming pool is a great place to relax. Or use their beach umbrellas and towels to lay in the sand nearby.
If your main goal is hitting the beach and enjoying the best dining in Sarasota, book a room at Casa Limonada Boutique Motel. Offering some of the best views of Sarasota Bay, they’re a classy family-owned and operated hotel. Enjoy the king-sized beds, the beach wagons, smart TVs, and fully equipped kitchenettes. The cottages are perfect for families or romantic getaways.
This beachfront resort is steps away from Lido Keys’ historic landmarks. Guest reviews rave about the staff’s attention to detail. Enjoy the hot buffet breakfast before heading to the outdoor pool or beach. The friendly staff will ensure you have everything you need while lounging, including towels and drinks. At Lido Beach Resort, you can also keep up with your fitness at their state-of-the-art gym and fitness center.
✓ Top area to stay in Sarasota for golfing & water sports
If you’re an adventurer or thrill-seeker, book your hotel in Longboat Key. The barrier island gives travelers access to all the area’s best water sports. In the area, you’ll revel in kayaking, parasailing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Longboat Key is also home to a fantastic golf course.
Longboat Key and Bradenton are only about a 30-minute drive from downtown Sarasota. Among the top tourist attractions in Bradenton, you can visit the South Florida Museum, the Village of the Arts, and the Parker Manatee Aquarium.
About 20 minutes from Bradenton lies Anna Maria Island. The island’s main street, Pine Avenue, is home to The Sandbar. At this amazing seafood restaurant, you can chow down on fresh-caught fish right on the beach. You can also catch your own on the famous Bradenton Historic Street Pier in the town of Bradenton Beach.
Recommended hotels in Longboat Key
Offering the best vacation rentals in the area, all the units at Turtle Crawl Longboat Key face the Gulf of Mexico. The inn gives you access to several great beaches including Longboat Key and Bradenton. The Turtle Beach resort has comfort suites with a full kitchen and dining area. They’re also within walking distance to a tennis court, bike rental shop, and golf course.
Zota Beach Resort is a 4-star hotel that’s often voted as one of the top 30 hotels in Florida. If you’re looking for some pampering and luxury, this is the place to stay. Zota Beach Resort features a waterfront restaurant, full poolside bar service, and a hot tub. You’ll also enjoy a complimentary breakfast. In the evening, grab a bite at The Viento Kitchen & Bar. Sit at its open-air lounge and sip a drink and watch the waves.
Trying to keep active while on vacation? The Resort at Longboat Key Club has tennis courts, several golf courses, a fitness center, and a yoga studio. When you’re not working on your tan, enjoy the amazing customer service at the poolside bar or down by the beach. You can also relax at the spa with a massage or skin care treatment.
✓ Top area to stay near Sarasota for families & large groups
Looking for a classic Florida family vacation without breaking the bank? Siesta Key offers some of the Sarasota area’s best hotel room prices on its sandy beaches. Stay near Siesta Key Beach to indulge in the island’s best shops and cafes.
One of the top-rated beaches in Sarasota, Crescent Beach is perfect for exploring Gulf of Mexico tidal pools and coral reefs. You can also see the Point of Rocks, the only limestone rock formation on the west coast of Florida.
If you’re looking to launch the boat or have a picnic with the family, Turtle Beach has several ramps and parks. The funky Siesta Key Village is the small downtown area on the island. The neighborhood is home to some of the top tourist attractions in Siesta Key, offering plenty of restaurants and shopping options. Grab all your beach gear at the local shops. Make sure to buy some souvenirs to take home to remember your Sarasota trip forever.
Recommended hotels in Siesta Key
Captiva Beach Resort is a small hotel with only 19 rooms and private beach access. All the rooms have fully-equipped kitchens. Treat yourself to breakfast in the comfort of your own room. The units are set steps away from Crescent Beach. Enjoy the resort’s barbecue facilities, shuffleboard, and free WiFi.
A top-rated hotel on Siesta Key, The Capri at Siesta offers a superb location. It’s only a couple miles from the restaurant scene, boutique shopping, and world-class entertainment. Get a lovely view of Siesta Key Beach from the courtyard or lay in the shade under one of their many palm trees. They offer affordable accommodation options at weekly and daily rates. For long stays with your family on Turtle Beach, it’s perfect.
Steps away from Siesta Key Beach with a large heated outdoor pool, Twin Palms at Siesta has spacious rooms that’ll make you feel right at home. All rooms have full kitchenettes, flat-screen TVs, and large premium beds. The balconies also deliver amazing views of sunsets and the turquoise waters.
For a comfortable stay with your family and friends, choose one of the several room layouts offered by this Siesta Key beachside hotel. The resort offers studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites. The island’s top beach restaurants and shopping boutiques are within walking distance. You’ll also enjoy free grocery delivery and 2-hour bike rentals for exploring the island.