Why We’re No. 1 – Accolades for Sarasota & Beyond

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From “#1 Beach” to “Best City for Small Businesses”, our region saw its share of notable achievements in 2017. We’ve compiled a list of Manatee, Charlotte, and Sarasota accolades – 20 more reasons why we love where we live.

#1 Beach in the United States | Siesta Beach
Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman (aka Dr. Beach), coastal expert and professor at Florida International University, named Siesta Beach the #1 beach in the United States based on fifty criteria, including water,  sand quality, number of sunny days, safety and management.

Happiest Cities in the United States  | North Port / Sarasota / Bradenton
According to National Geographic Explorer, our region has joined a very happy collection of 20 communities across the Unites States. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton was noted as a place where “locals smile and laugh more often, socialize several hours a day, have access to green spaces, and feel that they are making purposeful progress toward achieving life goals.”

The Best Place to Retire in 2018 | Sarasota
US News and World Report named Sarasota as No. 1 retirement spot in the country, providing a high quality of life at an affordable price.

Best City for Young Entrepreneurs  | North Port / Sarasota / Bradenton
MoneyRates.com named the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton region as the number one city in the county with a welcoming climate for young business owners. They considered factors like growth rates, educational attainment, young adult affluence, and business tax environment.

Useppa Island

10 Best Car-Free Island Getaways Useppa Island
Coastal Living encouraged readers to leave their keys and cars behind, featuring top destinations in the United States where no car is needed.

Best States for Business | Florida
Chief Executive Magazine ranked Florida #2 for the fifth year in a row in their comprehensive list of “Best & Worst States for Business” citing Florida’s annual job growth rate of 3.2%, exceeding the nation’s rate of 1.7%.

100 Best Places to Live | Sarasota
US News and World Report analyzed the 100 most populous metro areas to find the best places to live. They named Sarasota #21 based on its good value, desirability, strong job market, and high quality of life.

Healthiest Regions in Florida | Sarasota County
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranked the 67 counties of Florida in terms of health and wellness. Sarasota was named 3rd for overall health outcomes (length and quality of life) and 2nd for overall health factors (behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment).

Bradenton’s Riverwalk

Happiest Cities in America |  North Port / Sarasota / Bradenton
North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton ranked at #6 in the United States for highest well-being communities by Gallup-Healthways.

#1 Beach in the United States | Siesta Beach
TripAdvisor’s Travelors’ Choice Awards gave Siesta Beach the #1 spot to it’s collection of the top 25 beaches in the United States.

Best Place for Small Business | Sarasota-Bradenton
Topping the list, American City Business Journal named Sarasota-Bradenton #1 for Small Business Vitality Rankings.

Cast of Asolo Rep’s production SHOW BOAT. Photo by Frank Atura

Happiest Seaside Towns | Sarasota
Coastal Living noted Sarasota’s world-class beaches and top-shelf arts and culture scene, ranking it as the 3rd happiest seaside town in America.

Top Selling Master Planned Communities | Lakewood Ranch
Real estate consultant firm, RCLCO, named Lakewood Ranch the third most top-selling master-planned community in 2017.

#1 Performing Arts Hall | Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
The fifth time winning this title, Sarasota’s favorite purple venue topped the national list from Venues Today of performing arts halls in North America in the 2,000-seat category.

LECOM Park in Bradenton

Best of the Ballparks Spring Training | LECOM Park
Fans voted overwhelmingly on Ballpark Digest, naming LECOM Park in Bradenton as the Best of Ballparks in the Grapefruit League for Spring Training.

Florida’s Best Kept Secret | Sarasota
Beyond accolades, Vogue Magazine did a feature story on the Sarasota area, touting it as perhaps Florida’s best kept secret. Author Christina Perez noted that our region was home to some of the country’s finest examples of mid-century modern architecture, beaches, and cultural attractions.