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Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte County - What does the term "Tri-County" stand for? 

It stands for white sandy beaches, scenic nature parks, and tranquil waterways. If you enjoy boating, golfing, sailing, fishing, snorkeling, sunbathing, the arts, and entertainment, you will love it. But before you saddle your horses for a house hunt, you need to understand that the three counties of the Tri-County area are all slightly different.

Manatee County

Manatee County,  located north of Sarasota, fills the gap between the busy tri-county area and the even more bustling greater St Petersburg/Tampa metropolitan area. The beautiful Sunshine Skyway Bridge is the link between the two busy places. 

Manatee County is a business-friendly area, and top-rated tourist destination alike, featuring white sandy beaches (Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key), fine dining, and an exciting nightlife.

Sarasota County

Sarasota County, bordering Manatee County to the south and Charlotte County to the north/east, is the center of the tri-county area. The City of Sarasota itself occupies by far the smallest space, the County is by far the more significant portion of land. The County includes other cities like Venice, part of Englewood, and North Port as well. While the city of Sarasota has only a little over 50,000 residents, the County has 400,000+ happy residents. 

The majority of the beaches are in Sarasota County. Lido-, St Armands-, Bird-, Siesta-, Casey-, and Manasota Key are the barrier islands with beaches; there is no beach on the mainland. Wellen Park is part of Sarasota County, and the residents are using the beaches in Venice and Manasota Key. However, even a trip to the famous Siesta Key beach takes only a 30-minute drive. 

Charlotte County

Charlotte County links the tri-counties to the Cape Coral/Fort Myers area further south. The Charlotte Harbor estuary, which covers almost 270 square miles, is the second-largest bay in Florida, and it is the focal point of the County. This bay is also a boater's paradise because it is relatively safe for smaller boats. 

The name North "Port" (Sarasota County), and "Port" Charlotte (Charlotte County) is a little misleading. There are no active ports for seagoing vessels in the area. Embarking on a cruise from both cities is not possible, Tampa/St Petersburg and Miami are the nearest "Ports" for the big boats.