Naples vs. Sarasota

Two of the most interesting cities in Southwestern Florida, to compare Naples and Florida may be a crime. These cities have characteristics that could challenge even the giants of Miami and Fort Lauderdale. They offer the perfect blend for the ever-curious visitor.
Naples vs. Sarasota

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Naples is perfect for both the adventurous and the city-loving visitor. The city is basically a perfect balance of cosmopolitan and the outdoors. Sarasota is best for those who love to marvel at unusual charms and extravagant experiences.


Naples, just like its Italian namesake, is the epitome of culture, art, and cosmopolitan chic. It is apparently one of the most famous cities in Florida. It has everything you could ever want in an interesting city. It even has beaches and parks.

This Southwestern Florida city is perfect for the kind of traveler that is both adventurous and cosmopolitan. The city offers a wide range of activities and a diverse set of experiences. If you’re up for a culturally rich city, Naples is among the best in Florida.

What Makes Naples Unique?

Center of Arts and Culture

Naples’ celebration and appreciation for culture and art eventually gave it reverberating reputation — Southwest Florida’s cultural and arts capital. It is evident in the city’s sheer number of places, events, and organizations that both celebrate and uphold them. You can even find several tours around the city that takes you around museums, performance centers, and many more.

If you opt to go around the culture and art hotspots in the city, the best place to start is the famed Philharmonic of Van Berge. It is currently known as the Philharmonic Center for the Arts. The center has an upscaled concert hall, perfect for various types of performances. The Philharmonic hosts classic music concerts, pop concerts, and musicals.

Musical and performance companies also thrive in Naples, and perhaps the most popular is the Naples Players. They have consistently toppled other professional companies in popularity polls, mostly thanks to their performances. The company draws out 65,000 audiences every year in their iconic performances around Naples.

And if you want a museum crawl in Naples, head to any of the locations of the Collier County Museums. They are a string of museums showcasing local histories that are located throughout the country, most of which are in Naples.

The Collier Museum at Government Center in Naples is the best place to visit if you want to have an extensive flashback of the city’s history. You can see ancient animals that once roamed the area, up until the very first settlers. As for the kids, head to the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples. This will leave curious children wide-eyed and even more curious.

If you’re an art-lover, head to The Baker Museum. The center houses an extensive and diverse collection of art with its 15 galleries. It exhibits different kinds of art, from modernism to 3D art. You can also stroll through Third Street South and Crayton Cove for a series of art galleries that will satisfy your curiosity.

The Naples Art Association or Artis Naples also provides classes and workshops. They are open to any aspiring artists throughout the year. They are headquartered right next to The Baker Museum. Artis Naples is an organization committed to promoting and developing the arts. They advocate through education, engagement, and appreciation of the arts.

The Beaches

The coasts of Southwest Florida are also home to many of the country’s best beaches. You can easily find many along the shores that span across Sarasota to Naples. They are speckled with some of the US’ consistently top-ranking beaches. Just like a lot of Florida’s iconic beaches, white smooth sand, crystal clear blue water, and spectacular views define Naples’ beaches.

The city has many beaches to boast of, and there are even more nearby. To narrow down your options, here are some of the best:

Delnor Wiggins State Park

The outdoorsy Delnor Wiggins State Park is perfect for adventurous types. It has a mile-long white-sand beach. The stretch is perfect for different sorts of activities, but none is better than swimming, shelling, and snorkeling.

The park also has picnic tables and walking trails that allow you to explore the dunes nearby. It also has a watchtower that allows you to climb, offering a sweeping view of the park.

Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park

This is more rugged, natural, and outdoorsy than Delnor Wiggins. Barefoot Beach is best for kicking back and relaxing, picnics, as well as many other activities. The beach is noticeably quieter and has fewer crowds.

However, it does have a picnic area, rentals, and a concession stand. It also has facilities for everyone such as shoes, restrooms, and a parking space.

Naples Pier Beach

The picturesque Naples Pier Beach has to be the most popular piece of coast in the city. The Naples Pier offers outstanding views of the ocean, and just below it is the Naples Municipal Beach. It is a 10-mile (16 km) white-sand beach, popular among families without it being too packed.

Around the pier, you can see many amenities and facilities. You can get food from snack stands, or eat on the many picnic tables. It even has volleyball courts and rental shops around. Naples Pier Beach practically has everything covered.

World-Class Shopping

Naples’ shopping scene is easily considered one of the best in the US. Shopping, alongside dining, are the best things to do in cosmopolitan-loving Naples. You can find quite an extensive selection of shopping choices in the city, catering to every possible taste and style. Head down to many of the city’s commercial districts and you’ll find hefty choices and prices.

Fifth Avenue and Third Street South are the best spots to visit if you’re up for some shopping. They both offer quite a variety of pieces perfect for every budget range, plus, they’re also within walking distance. You can easily shop from upscale designer labels to local brands. However, you won’t only find clothes and items, you can also find pieces perfect for your home.

Fifth Avenue is the more chic spot. It is busy and often packed, but it is very convenient to walk around during the daytime. This particular strip isn’t only known for its shopping, the city’s best food places are here as well. You can find alfresco dining perfect for a long day of shopping and strolling.

Third Street South is more laid-back and easygoing. You can easily find more affordable pieces here if you’re on a strict budget. The Saturday morning Farmer’s Market is perfect for everyone looking for that extra special something.

Other recommended spots to hit for your shopping needs are the Waterside Shops, Mercado, and The Village Shops on Venetian Bay.

Dining Experience

Naples’ cosmopolitan charm isn’t complete without its dining culture. The city’s shopping and dining scenes will always go hand-in-hand. You can easily find the best food places in the best shopping strips in the city.

The city boasts hundreds of prime dining venues known for quality and service. But Naples’ culinary charm isn’t only limited to its restaurants. You can also have the best experience in many cafes, diners, and trendy food carts, and that’s on top of the 700 food places.

If you’re looking for the best gastronomy in the city, head to Fifth Avenue South, or Third Street South. These well-known shopping districts also offer exquisite dining experiences. It has everything from breakfast to high-class dinners.


A shining beacon, full of quirks and shiny beaches, Sarasota is an underrated gem in Southwestern Florida. From circus history to millionaire residents, Sarasota is full of surprises. And on top of its outlandish charms, it is home to some of the US’ best beaches.

What Makes Sarasota Unique?

The Ringling

The iconic Ringling Family has always been associated with the quirky city of Sarasota. They have contributed much to the development and the fame of the city. It all started with the Ringling Brothers’ show business roots and their eccentric, flashy ways. After they have set up a home in the city, they brought with them their fame and charm.

After several decades, you can marvel at the Ringlings’ 66-acre (26.7 ha) estate brimming with art, culture, eccentricities, and many more. This Ringling Estate has been the city’s beacon of tourism. You can visit the property’s several features such as the Museum of Art, Circus Museum, and the extravagant mansion of Ca’d’Zan.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

An extremely unique jewel in Sarasota. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art houses artworks that best explain the eccentricities of the family. You can find classical art and architectural works, all of which come from different eras and parts of the world.

Opened in 1927, the Museum of Art houses around 15,000 artworks,  acquire and donated by the couple John and Mable Ringling. Currently managed by Florida State University the museum is the best place for the wide-eyes traveler. You can marvel at the European, and many other non-Western arts. There are period pieces as well, such as ancient art, and modern and contemporary art.

Circus Museum

Perhaps one of the most unusual museums in all of the US, the Circus Museum houses the largest collection of circus memorabilia. Most of which are taken from the Ringlings’ circus business itself. This includes around 44,000 pieces of items, such as wagons and other instruments used in circus entertainment.


The Ca’d’Zan Mansion or the Ringling Mansion is an ambitious project by Mable Ringling himself. She wanted to have a grand mansion that evokes the romance of Venice, so she commissioned to build this residence. The overall construction was estimated to have cost a staggering 1.6M USD.

It mansion has an area of 36,000 sq. ft (3,344 sq. m), with a total of 41 rooms, 15 bathrooms, and a total of five stories. The interior is as exquisite as the exterior as Mable herself was in charge of building everything. The accents down to the interior furniture of the house were masterfully built and placed.

Florida’s Most Beautiful Beaches

Southwest Florida also has its fair share of beautiful beaches, many of which are even consistently listed as the US’ best. The city boasts a 35-mile (56 km) stretch of soft white sand along its bay, where you can easily find a slew of top-rated beaches.

The bay of Sarasota comprises six keys or barrier islands, each with characters and beauties of their own. Here are three of the most visited keys in Sarasota Bay to help you narrow down your choices:

Lido Key

The most visited and even the most famous beach in Sarasota. Lido Key is famous for its three distinct sections that offer varying experiences and flavors. First is North Lido Beach, the off-the-beaten-path type of beach. A bit rugged, and limited parking but it offers true relaxation and quiet.

Lido Beach is popular among tourists, so you can expect more people and more happenings. It has everything you could ever expect from a tourist-centric beach. The last one is South Lido Park. This strip of sand is best reserved for those looking for a varied view of both the beach and the city.

Siesta Key

Another Sarasota classic, Siesta Key is among the most famous for the locals. The key also has three distinct areas offering different flavors of experience for everyone. Siesta Beach, also considered the main and most famous beach is full of activities. It has tennis courts, playgrounds, and a dozen other amenities.

Crescent Beach is for the adventurous. It has tidal pools, rock-climbing opportunities, and coral reefs perfect for snorkeling. Turtle Beach, on the other hand, is more mellow but a family favorite. It has picnic spots and a more chilled-out vibe.

Venice Beach

Venice Beach, just like its namesake is one of the most picturesque beaches in the area. It is even said that the shores hide interesting finds that can often be considered treasures. It also has picnic tables for visitors and a waterfront cafe alongside a gorgeous view.

Millionaire’s Row

With interesting waves of millionaire migration in the city, Sarasota has earned a reputation as a millionaire’s haven. The city has consistently ranked at the top of surveys by the US metropolitan areas. It has the highest number of well-heeled households.

According to the same statistics, Sarasota has around 17,000 true millionaires living in its residences. This is in fact, a record high, probably higher than most cities in the united states. It is even reported that 2,450 of them have a net worth of 5M USD or more.

Among the moneyed denizens are big names in entertainment such as Rosie O’Donnell, Jerry Springer, and iconic author Stephen King. Even sports legends moved in — Martina Navratilova, Terry Bradshaw, and Dick Vitale.

One of the most enticing advantages of living in Sarasota is the opportunities it gives to live a low-profile life. The city is practically teeming with gated residential areas. Not to mention, country clubs, and high-end condominiums. All of which offer a sense of exclusivity and privacy for the city’s high-profile residents.

Parks and Museums

Sarasota is undeniably filled with quirks and interesting charms, many of which are nestled in its many parks and museums. You can check out many spots across the city that offers education, entertainment, and experience.

With a large roster of parks and museums, the city has everything you can imagine. But to narrow down your options, here are some of the most famous ones:

Myakka River State Park

One of the must-visits for the outdoorsy types. Myakka River State Park offers adventures through the wild, and exploits across its varied landscape. The park features an elevated boardwalk that meanders through a vast forest, a river, and a lake. You can easily explore its 57 sq. mi (148 sq. km) worth of land. You can easily see nature’s beauty and the thriving wildlife.

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Mote Marine isn’t just a mere aquarium, it is a marine-life center committed to the conservation and rehabilitation of marine life. The center has helped dozens of marine animal species, from manatees to turtles. Its aquarium also houses over 100 different species of fish and many other marine animals. It even has a shark habitat.

You can take a tour around the center’s many laboratories, especially its Seahorse Conservation Laboratory. You can witness how staff and volunteers tend to injure animals.

Sarasota Classic Car Museum

Another one of Sarasota’s quirky charms, the Classic Car Museum showcases antique cars and is the oldest in the United States. The museum features hundreds of cars from different eras of the automobile industry. They represent the last 100 years of its development.

Spanning an area of 60,000 sq. ft. (5,574 sq. m), you can see an eccentric collection of exotic and historic cars, each one unique from the other. Some of the best displays are the 1965 Mercedes-Benz by John Lennon and a Rolly-Royce collection by the Ringlings.

Is Sarasota or Naples Better?

When you carefully look at the two cities, they certainly offer almost the same kind and number of draws. But if you’re looking for more excitement and a much more interesting scene, Sarasota is the best option. You’ll especially love Sarasota’s gorgeous beaches, some of which are dubbed as the US’ most beautiful.

But that doesn’t make Naples somewhat far lesser than Sarasota. In fact, Naples is perhaps Sarasota’s closest competitor. The city is brimming with culture, arts, and history, not to mention its fair share of picturesque beaches.


Is Sarasota or Naples More Expensive?

When it comes to overall vacation costs, Sarasota tends to be more expensive. If you get an overview and compare different prices of purchases and services. The only thing that is noticeably more expensive in Naples is the price range of accommodations.

Both destinations are big on luxury appeals and costly in different aspects. Sarasota costs more expensive on average than a trip to Naples. Many activities in Naples tend to be free as well, on top of its many public parks.

Sarasota vs. Naples Crime

According to a recent survey on crime and safety, Sarasota sees more crime than Naples. The southwestern gulf city has gathered higher rates of both violent and property crime. Naples has a 15.54 crime rate compared to Sarasota’s 36.47.

Sarasota vs. Naples Weather

With their southern locations, both Sarasota and Naples are warm and sunny destinations to visit. While many people might expect Naples to be warmer than Sarasota because it is situated further south, both cities hit average highs of 90.7 F (32.6 C).

Is Naples Warmer Than Sarasota?

Both cities actually have the same average highs, especially in the summer month of July. Many people reported that Naples tends to be warmer during the winter and summer.

Sarasota Beach vs. Naples Beach

Sarasota and Naples are famous for their stunning beaches, you can easily choose both. but if you’re looking for interesting beaches where you can do tons of activities in, Naples’ beaches are the best. And if you’re looking for picturesque views and striking scenes Sarasota is the best option.

How Far Is Sarasota From Naples?

Sarasota is around 93.8 miles or 151 km from Naples, directly.

What Is the Driving Distance Between Sarasota Florida and Naples?

If you want to take the high road, which is a famous option, by the way, the distance between them is approximately 116.3 miles or 187.3 km.