A Travel Price Comparison for Florida Saint Petersburg vs. Sarasota for Beaches, Families, Attractions, and Food

Should you visit Saint Petersburg or Sarasota?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Saint Petersburg and Sarasota can help you decide which place is right for you.

Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg is a fun-filled, underrated, and relaxed coastal city. Visitors also love the food, beaches, and shopping.

Sarasota

Sarasota is a underrated, relaxing, and entertaining city. Other reasons to visit include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Saint Petersburg and Sarasota: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Popular beach
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
Things to Consider
  • Less attractive beach
  • Less popular with backpackers


Is there more to do in Saint Petersburg or Sarasota?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Saint Petersburg than Sarasota. It is bigger and it has more sights, attractions, and activities for travelers. Saint Petersburg is famous for its warm weather, sandy beaches, and outdoor activities. It is also well known for St. Pete Beach. Sarasota is famous for its sandy beaches and its fun activities.

How is Saint Petersburg different from Sarasota?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Sarasota and Saint Petersburg. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Saint Petersburg or Sarasota?

Saint Petersburg
Sarasota

Spend time exploring the high quality sights and museums in either Saint Petersburg or Sarasota.

Many visitors head to Saint Petersburg specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. There are a variety of history, science, and art museums in the area. The Dalí Museum, Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, The Florida Holocaust Museum, and Imagine Museum of Contemporary Glass Art are some of the favorites.

With a variety of museums, monuments, and historical sights, a trip to Sarasota can be an interesting and educational experience. There are some decent museums in town such as the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Sarasota Classic Car Museum, and the Ca' da'Zan. Another highlight is the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium.


Is the Food Better in Saint Petersburg or Sarasota? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Saint Petersburg
Sarasota

Saint Petersburg is great for its local flavors and cuisine. Also, Sarasota is not as popular, but is still a nice city for its local cuisine and restaurants.

Saint Petersburg has a huge number of terrific restaurants. It's location on the Gulf Coast means that seafood is everywhere. You'll enjoy fresh oysters, fried calamari, grilled fish, and fried shrimp on many menus. Casual restaurants and local eateries are common around town.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Sarasota area. You'll find plenty of seafood around town, but there are also international restaurants and quirky local joints.

Is Saint Petersburg or Sarasota Better for Nightlife?

Saint Petersburg
Sarasota

The vibe at night is nice in both Saint Petersburg and Sarasota.

If you're looking for night time activities Saint Petersburg has a few options to choose from. There are beachside bars, rooftop restaurants, and dance clubs around town for those looking for a night out.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Sarasota. You'll find beach clubs, live entertainment such as drum circles, and plenty of bars around town. There are also evening cruises and late night parties.

Is Saint Petersburg or Sarasota Better for Resorts?

Saint Petersburg
Sarasota

Luxury resorts are fairly comparable in Saint Petersburg and Sarasota.

Saint Petersburg has a handful of resorts to choose from. You'll find most of the resorts near the beach. Many have pools and they range in style and budget level.

With a selection of resorts, Sarasota makes a nice vacation spot. You'll find beachfront resorts with pools and nice views.


Is Saint Petersburg or Sarasota Better for Beaches?

Saint Petersburg
Sarasota

Saint Petersburg is renowned for the beache. Also, Sarasota is not as popular, but is still a nice city for the beach.

Saint Petersburg offers stunning beaches that attract visitors from around the world. You'll find great sandy beaches with calm blue water and a relaxed atmosphere. Some of the best beaches include Egmont Key, Fort DeSoto Beach, Maximo Beach, and St. Pete's Municipal Beach.

Sarasota is a good option for a beach vacation. There's no shortage of beaches in the area where you can spend a relaxing day playing the water and lounging in the sun. Siesta Key, Sarasota Gay Beach, Crescent Beach, and Coquina Beach are some of the favorites.

Is the Shopping Better in Saint Petersburg or Sarasota?

Saint Petersburg
Sarasota

If you're looking to go shopping, Saint Petersburg and Sarasota both offer plenty of nice spots.

Plenty of visitors enjoy shopping while in Saint Petersburg. You'll find plenty of shopping malls and shopping centers around town. Along the boardwalk and in John's Pass Village there are also restaurants and souvenir stores.

Sarasota offers some nice shopping areas. Upscale shopping can be found at St. Armand's Circle. There's also Sarasota Square Mall and the Mall at University Town Center. If you want to pick up some local items you can check out Sarasota Farmers Market.

Is Saint Petersburg or Sarasota Better for Families?

Saint Petersburg
Sarasota

Sarasota is terrific for its kid-friendly activities. Also, Saint Petersburg is not as popular, but is still a nice coastal city for its family-friendly activities.

Sarasota is one of the most popular family destinations. There's a huge number of hands on activities for kids and families in the area. Many families enjoy a visit to Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. There are also botanical gardens, science museums, and outdoor adventure centers. Animal lovers will appreciate a visit to Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary. The city also has many performing arts and entertainment options for kids. And make sure you check out the museum dedicated to the Ringling Brothers Circus.

Saint Petersburg is a very kid-friendly coastal city. The beaches, waterparks, nature reserves, and entertainment centers all offer plenty of activities for families. There are plenty of places to play, laugh, and act silly around town so the whole family can have a good time. There's also the Great Explorations Children’s Museum and other educational opportunities for the young ones.


Is Saint Petersburg or Sarasota Better for Couples?

Saint Petersburg
Sarasota

Saint Petersburg is great for its romantic activities. Also, Sarasota is not as popular, but is still a nice city for couples.

Saint Petersburg is a great coastal city if you're traveling as a couple. There are sunset cruises, long sandy beaches, nice restaurants, and many other romantic activities around town. You can wander down the boardwalk or enjoy nature at the gardens and nature parks around town.

Sarasota is a good coastal city for couples to visit. A night out at St. Armands Circle is a fun way to spend the evening. There are also sunset cruises, nice restaurants, comedy clubs, and more.

Is Saint Petersburg or Sarasota Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Saint Petersburg
Sarasota

Saint Petersburg and Sarasota both offer reasonable public transit to get you around.

Public transit is mostly limited in Saint Petersburg. There's a bus system, but most people rely on their own car to get around.

Public transit is generally limited in Sarasota. There's a bus system around town but most visitors depend on their own car for transportation.

Is Saint Petersburg or Sarasota a more walkable city?

Saint Petersburg
Sarasota

Saint Petersburg and Sarasota are reasonable when it comes to walkability.

Saint Petersburg is generally not a very walkable coastal city. The downtown area is the most walkable part of town, but you really need a car to access most places.

Sarasota is generally not very walkable. While the downtown has some walkable parts, you'll need a car to access most things around town.


For even more information, also check out Is Saint Petersburg Worth Visiting? and Is Sarasota Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Sarasota or Saint Petersburg?

How long in Saint Petersburg or Sarasota?

In either Saint Petersburg or Sarasota, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. Most visitors tend to spend more time in Sarasota than Saint Petersburg because of the overall number of sights and activities. Usually, 2-4 days is a good amount of time for Saint Petersburg, and 2-5 days is enough time in Sarasota.

Families should spend more time in Sarasota than Saint Petersburg. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Sarasota, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Saint Petersburg than Sarasota. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Saint Petersburg that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Saint Petersburg than Sarasota if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Saint Petersburg.


  • How many days in Saint Petersburg or Sarasota? Ideal Length of Stay
    Saint Petersburg 2-4 
    Sarasota 2-5

One day in Saint Petersburg or Sarasota?

The coastal city of Saint Petersburg offers food and shopping. Most people come for the beaches. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. It will give you the chance to have new experiences.

You'll find food and shopping around the relaxing destination of Sarasota. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from.

A weekend in Saint Petersburg or Sarasota?

Saint Petersburg is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. If you have a weekend, this coastal city makes for a great vacation. Many visitors spend time at the beach while visiting the area. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Saint Petersburg, a weekend is sufficent for most. Take your pick from the many activities offered here.

You'll find shopping and museums around the relaxing city of Sarasota. If you have a weekend, this city makes for a great vacation. The length of your ideal trip is an individual decision. This would be the perfect place to spend a weekend, as it has just the right amount of activities.

Five days in Saint Petersburg or Sarasota?

Saint Petersburg is a popular choice for travelers. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. Five days is usually plenty of time to spend here with extra days to spare. With this much time, visitors often visit nearby destinations or take day trips. The entire region has so many activities, and you'll want time to do everything.

Sarasota is a popular choice for travelers. Five days here is typical. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. This would be the perfect place to spend five days, as it has just the right amount of activities.


A week in Saint Petersburg or Sarasota?

Saint Petersburg is a great place to explore. It's no surprise that beaches is why people visit. It's also a great beach destination, too. One week is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days. This coastal city offers something for everyone.

Sarasota is a great place to explore. Take your pick from the many activities offered here. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Family-Friendly Tours to United States of America, The Best Wildlife Tours to United States of America, The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in United States of America, and The Best Historical Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Sarasota or Saint Petersburg?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Saint Petersburg is $204, while the average daily cost in Sarasota is $249. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Saint Petersburg and Sarasota in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Saint Petersburg $127
    Sarasota $108
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Saint Petersburg $254
    Sarasota $216
Compare Hotels in Saint Petersburg and Sarasota

Looking for a hotel in Saint Petersburg or Sarasota? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Saint Petersburg


Hotels in Sarasota


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Saint Petersburg Hotel Prices and Sarasota Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Saint Petersburg $47
    Sarasota -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sarasota

Also for Sarasota, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Sarasota–Bradenton Airport (SRQ) to Sarasota Round-Trip Transfer: $96
  • Sarasota–Bradenton Intl. Airport (SRQ) to Sarasota - Arrival Private Transfer: $48
  • Sarasota to Sarasota–Bradenton Intl. Airport (SRQ) - Departure Private Transfer: $48
  • Private Airport Departure Transfer To Sarasota (SRQ) Airport: $24
  • Private Airport Arrival Transfer From Sarasota (SRQ) Airport: $24

Is it cheaper to fly into Saint Petersburg or Sarasota?

Prices for flights to both Sarasota and Saint Petersburg change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Saint Petersburg $49
    Sarasota $137
Typical Food Prices in Saint Petersburg

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Saint Petersburg:


  • Burger Dinner (for 2)
    $20
  • Indian Food Dinner (for 2)
    $37
  • Gelato (for 2)
    $8.00
  • Breakfast at Piper's Patio (for 2)
    $17

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sarasota

For Sarasota, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Taste of Downtown Food Tour: $105
  • Downtown Walking Food Tour in Sarasota: $110
  • Sarasota Kayak and Food Tour: $165

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Saint Petersburg $13
    Sarasota $11

Tours and Activities in Sarasota

Also, here are some specific examples of entertainment, tickets, and activities for Sarasota.

  • Lido Key Pedal Kayak Tour in Sarasota: $75
  • Parasailing Adventure above the Gulf of Mexico: $95
  • 2 Hour Guided Stand Up Paddle Board Tour along Upper Manatee River: $65
  • 2 Hour Jet ski Rental Fast And Fun Adventure Florida Thrill : $240
  • 2 Hours Guided Robinson Preserve Mangrove Tour: $55
  • 90 minute South Florida Jet Ski Adventure Fun Thrilling : $195
  • 90-Minute Parasailing Adventure Above Anna Maria Island, FL: $75
  • Bradenton: Guided Pedal Kayak Tour: $999
  • City Sightseeing Trolley Tour of Sarasota: $62
  • Clear Kayak Ecotour at Robinson Preserve in Bradenton, Florida : $69
  • Clear Kayak Glass Bottom Day Tour - Anna Maria Island: $65
  • Clear Kayak Glass Bottom Day Tour - Sarasota: $65

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Saint Petersburg $41
    Sarasota -


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Saint Petersburg and Sarasota, we can see that Sarasota is more expensive. And not only is Saint Petersburg much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Saint Petersburg would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Saint Petersburg and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Sarasota would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Sarasota than you might in Saint Petersburg.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Saint Petersburg Expensive? and Is Sarasota Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Saint Petersburg or Sarasota?

Saint Petersburg has a larger population, and is about 5 times larger than the population of Sarasota. When comparing the sizes of Saint Petersburg and Sarasota, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Saint Petersburg or Sarasota?

Both destinations experience a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. And since both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Saint Petersburg or Sarasota in the Summer?

Both Sarasota and Saint Petersburg are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Saint Petersburg in the summer for the beaches and the family-friendly experiences. Also, most visitors come to Sarasota for the beaches and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

In the summer, Saint Petersburg is around the same temperature as Sarasota. Typically, the summer temperatures in Saint Petersburg in July average around 82°F (28°C), and Sarasota averages at about 82°F (28°C).

It's quite sunny in Sarasota. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Saint Petersburg. Saint Petersburg usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Sarasota during summer. Saint Petersburg gets 265 hours of sunny skies, while Sarasota receives 265 hours of full sun in the summer.

It rains a lot this time of the year in Sarasota. It's quite rainy in Saint Petersburg. In July, Saint Petersburg usually receives around the same amount of rain as Sarasota. Saint Petersburg gets 8.4 inches (214 mm) of rain, while Sarasota receives 8.4 inches (214 mm) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Saint Petersburg 82°F (28°C) 
    Sarasota 82°F (28°C)

Should I visit Saint Petersburg or Sarasota in the Autumn?

Both Sarasota and Saint Petersburg during the autumn are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Saint Petersburg for the shopping scene during these months. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Sarasota because of the shopping scene.

In October, Saint Petersburg is generally around the same temperature as Sarasota. Daily temperatures in Saint Petersburg average around 76°F (24°C), and Sarasota fluctuates around 76°F (24°C).

In Sarasota, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Saint Petersburg. In the autumn, Saint Petersburg often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Sarasota. Saint Petersburg gets 234 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Sarasota receives 234 hours of full sun.

Saint Petersburg usually gets around the same amount of rain in October as Sarasota. Saint Petersburg gets 2.6 inches (65 mm) of rain, while Sarasota receives 2.6 inches (65 mm) of rain this time of the year. Also, June to November in Saint Petersburg is the hurricane season. Also, June to November in Sarasota is the hurricane season.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Saint Petersburg 76°F (24°C) 
    Sarasota 76°F (24°C)

Should I visit Saint Petersburg or Sarasota in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Saint Petersburg and Sarasota. The winter months attract visitors to Saint Petersburg because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine. Also, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Sarasota this time of year.

Saint Petersburg is around the same temperature as Sarasota in the winter. The daily temperature in Saint Petersburg averages around 59°F (15°C) in January, and Sarasota fluctuates around 59°F (15°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Sarasota this time of the year. In Saint Petersburg, it's very sunny this time of the year. Saint Petersburg usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Sarasota during winter. Saint Petersburg gets 200 hours of sunny skies, while Sarasota receives 200 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Saint Petersburg usually receives around the same amount of rain as Sarasota. Saint Petersburg gets 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain, while Sarasota receives 2.3 inches (59 mm) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Saint Petersburg 59°F (15°C) 
    Sarasota 59°F (15°C)

Should I visit Saint Petersburg or Sarasota in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Saint Petersburg as well as Sarasota. The beaches are the main draw to Saint Petersburg this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Sarasota for the beaches.

In the spring, Saint Petersburg is around the same temperature as Sarasota. Typically, the spring temperatures in Saint Petersburg in April average around 73°F (23°C), and Sarasota averages at about 73°F (23°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Sarasota. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Saint Petersburg this time of the year. In the spring, Saint Petersburg often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Sarasota. Saint Petersburg gets 299 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Sarasota receives 299 hours of full sun.

Saint Petersburg usually gets around the same amount of rain in April as Sarasota. Saint Petersburg gets 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain, while Sarasota receives 2.1 inches (53 mm) of rain this time of the year. Also, the hurricane season in Saint Petersburg is June to November. Also, the hurricane season in Sarasota is June to November.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Saint Petersburg 73°F (23°C) 
    Sarasota 73°F (23°C)

Typical Weather for Sarasota and Saint Petersburg

Saint Petersburg Sarasota
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 59°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm) 59°F (15°C) 2.3 inches (59 mm)
Feb 62°F (17°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm) 62°F (17°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Mar 67°F (20°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm) 67°F (20°C) 3.9 inches (99 mm)
Apr 73°F (23°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm) 73°F (23°C) 2.1 inches (53 mm)
May 78°F (25°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 78°F (25°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm)
Jun 82°F (28°C) 6.5 inches (165 mm) 82°F (28°C) 6.5 inches (165 mm)
Jul 82°F (28°C) 8.4 inches (214 mm) 82°F (28°C) 8.4 inches (214 mm)
Aug 82°F (28°C) 8 inches (203 mm) 82°F (28°C) 8 inches (203 mm)
Sep 81°F (27°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm) 81°F (27°C) 6.3 inches (161 mm)
Oct 76°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm) 76°F (24°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm)
Nov 69°F (20°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm) 69°F (20°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm)
Dec 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm) 62°F (17°C) 2.2 inches (56 mm)