North Port | World’s Best Cities

North Port

Sarasota County’s North Port has the distinction of being the only metro in Florida to have an entire state forest within city limits. When they’re not hiking, biking, or horseback riding in the 8,600-acre Myakka State Forest or on the city’s other 400 acres of parkland, residents are canoeing or kayaking along the Myakka River or North Port’s 80 miles of freshwater canals. Then there’s Warm Mineral Springs Park, a peaceful pond with up to 51 minerals and a year-round temperature of 85 degrees. With nature at its front door, North Port ranks #36 for Parks and Outdoors. Combine its natural attributes with a balmy clime (ranking #25 for Weather) plusone of the lowest crime rates in the nation, at #3, and the Sunshine State city lands in our Top 10 for the important Place category (#10). The city has targeted five key industries for growth: health care, education, light manufacturing, hospitality, and retail trade. Its finances are healthy: the 2019 opening of CoolToday Park, the Atlanta Braves’ spring training facility, is expected to pump $34 million into the economy over the next 30 years, while the West Villages community is an economic mainstay: construction is expected to continue for at least another 50 years, with 10,600 new homes being built in three phases beginning as early as 2021, although delays caused by the pandemic are likely.