Sarasota is a popular city on the Gulf Coast of Southwest Florida and the county seat of Sarasota County. It is known for its vibrant arts community, excellent restaurants, unique shopping, and beautiful beaches. Sarasota, although a mid-sized city, is considered to be the cultural center of West Central Florida. The city has a metropolitan flavor unique to cities of its size and to cities in Florida.
The city includes the mainland downtown as well as three islands, called "keys." These are Longboat Key, Lido Key, and Siesta Key. Causeways to all these keys are free and very picturesque. Downtown Sarasota is very vibrant with a healthy mix of businesses, residences, and restaurants, as well as city services.
Siesta Key Beach is among the first and foremost reasons for many visitors to come to Sarasota. The sand, which is 99% pure crystal quartz, is often cited as being the cleanest, whitest sand in the world. With an athletic area equipped with vollyball courts, a cookout area complete with grills (bring your own charcoal), and life guards on duty all day, Siesta Key Beach is a great place for families and spring breakers alike. On Sundays at sundown, there is a tourist-heavy drum circle where local hippies play and everyone dances.