In contrast to much of coastal Florida, Englewood is a truly laid-back seaside town. Developers have largely passed Englewood by, and it has an old-town, almost rural feel. Residents describe it as “small,” “a little too dead,” “relaxed,” and “sleepy.” Very much a retirement town, the majority of residents are 45 or older. Although there are few cultural events and venues, such events are abundant in Venice on the north edge of town, and Sarasota, Cape Coral, and Fort Myers are not far away. Englewood’s main artery, Dearborn Street, has shops, galleries, and restaurants. Many of the retail shops and motels are locally owned, although the town has a Wal-Mart and a few retail and grocery chains. The hospital in town accepts Medicare.
Englewood sits on the Lemon Bay, a nearly mile-wide stretch of the Intra-coastal Waterway. Across the Bay is Manasota Key, a long barrier island extending from Venice south to Englewood Beach and Stump Pass, just a few miles south of Englewood. Englewood sits at the southern border of Sarasota County and enjoys (limited) access to that county’s fine transportation system: the bus is 60 cents for seniors. Englewood South and East neighborhoods are in Charlotte County, as are Englewood Beach and Stump Pass. The weather is, of course, typical Florida–hot, humid summers and mild winters. Temperatures above 95 or below 32 rarely occur. Rainfall is heavier during the summer and fall, with rather dry winters.
Besides the nearby cultural opportunities, like the Lemon Bay Playhouse, art, and design galleries, the area has many outdoor recreational attractions. In or very near town are the Lemon Bay Park, the Cedar Point Environmental Park, Ann Dever Memorial Regional Park, and Stump Pass Beach State Park. To the northeast lies Myakka River State Park, one of Florida’s best nature parks. On our recent visit there we saw a variety of birds, including Sandhill cranes, and the most alligators I’ve seen anywhere in Florida. Golf courses are plentiful; after all, it IS Florida.
Englewood is a safe, affordable place to live as well. The cost of living is well below the state and national average, and crime is low in spite of some statistics you may read. Crime is sometimes reported by county, and Sarasota County includes many higher-crime parts of Sarasota. Housing is quite reasonable this year, although there are still plenty of foreclosures on the market. According to Trulia.com, the median home sold price for the 3rd quarter of 2012 was $118,000. That number has stabilized over the last 12 months as Florida’s housing market is beginning to turn around. A majority of the available real estate is 2- and 3-bedroom single-family homes built in the 70s and 80s. Larger and pricier homes are common out on Manasota Key. Condos are not common, but some newer ones have sprung up near the beaches. Rentals are not abundant, and rental prices are quite variable.
In summary, Englewood is a great place to retire, especially if you prefer beaches, fishing, golf, wildlife, nature, and the great outdoors over urban sophistication.