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Vamo and Osprey: A Mom’s Guide to the Best Sarasota Neighborhoods

My favorite thing about the Vamo/Osprey area is that it is a safe, inviting and welcoming place. In our neighborhood there are many school-aged children who are regularly seen bike riding, playing and wandering the streets in groups of friends enjoying being children. It is a quiet, family-rich area where kids are able to be kids. Many young families and young couples live in the Vamo area. Vamo is just south of Gulf Gate neighborhood and just north of the town of Osprey. It is hugged by Little Sarasota Bay to the west. 

What are local attractions to do near Vamo?

Potter Park and YMCA

Vamo’s number one attraction is Potter Park. Potter Park is a 37-acre neighborhood park located just outside of the Palmer Ranch borders. Potter Park includes: gazebos, walking trails, playgrounds, picnic pavilion, grills, outdoor basketball and tennis courts and more. Potter Park is adjacent to the Evelyn Sander Jones YMCA branch. The ESJ branch includes a splash park, indoor basketball and racquetball courts and a full service gym. It is arguably the best YMCA branch in the county.  

Sarasota Square Mall

Sarasota Square Mall is also located in the Vamo area, on South Tamiami Trail. Sarasota Square Mall is a traditional mall, anchored by retail giant Costco. The mall also includes Sarasota’s only IMAX screen within the AMC 12 Sarasota movie theater.

Legacy Trail

One of our favorite things about living in the Vamo area is the close access to the Legacy Trail.  The Legacy Trail is one of Sarasota County’s biggest recreational attractions. Legacy is a beautiful trail system that connects communities across Sarasota County and stretches from Central Sarasota all the way down to North Port. Access to Legacy Trail in Vamo is located between Central Sarasota Parkway and McIntosh Road, just a short 10 minute bike ride from our home.  

Historic Spanish Point

Historic Spanish Point in Osprey is another one of the attractions in our neck of the woods. It is a 30-acre dreamland of architecture, nature and history located on Little Sarasota Bay.

The grounds alone are breathtaking during magic hour just before sunset and if you’re lucky you just may stumble upon local rowing teams gearing up for practice on the bay. 

Beach

Vamo is located 5.5 miles from the world famous Siesta Key beach. It is an easy 30-minute bike ride north on Tamiami Trail, west across Stickney Point Road and over the drawbridge to Midnight Pass. We frequent Siesta Key several times a week but when it’s too hot for our usual bike ride there, we travel there by car, with normal traffic, in under 10 minutes. {Get there early, before 9 a.m. on a weekend, to secure a parking spot!}

What schools do your kids go to?

Vamo is situated in the 34231 zip code in Sarasota County. Our home lies within the Philippi Shores Elementary, Brookside Middle and Riverview High School attendance zones.

My son graduated from Phillippi Shores in June and will be going to middle school {eek} when school starts in a couple weeks. We had a wonderful experience at Phillippi Shores; his teachers were caring and nurturing and the school has a genuine family-oriented vibe.  He will attend middle school at Brookside Middle, Sarasota’s only IB (international baccalaureate) middle school. Brookside is currently graded an “A” by the state of Florida. 

Where are some of your favorite places to shop in Vamo/Osprey?

Big Stores and a Mall

Target is a regular shopping destination for me and my family in our neighborhood. Target is located in the Publix shopping plaza at the intersection of Central Sarasota Parkway and Tamiami Trail.

Sarasota Square Mall provides us with many different shopping options to choose from including: Children’s Place, Journey’s, H&M and more.

Sprouts Farmer’s Market

The newest and best addition to the Vamo neighborhood is Sarasota’s first Sprouts Farmer’s Market. The organic health grocery food store offers bulk grocery, fresh, local produce, deli products and more at a discounted price. We love the fresh variety of soups, baked goods and organic vegetable options at Sprouts; it is our go-to grocery in our neighborhood. Sprouts is open 7 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily and is located in the new Pelican Plaza on Tamiami Trail.

What are some of your favorite restaurants in Vamo/Osprey?

Although we are a family of chefs and rarely dine out, when we do, we visit Mad Moe’s, a popular sports bar just three minutes south of Vamo in Osprey. It is one of the only restaurants that we frequent in the Vamo/Osprey neighborhood. Casey Key Fish House, also in Osprey just off of Tamiami Trail on Blackburn Point Road, is a go-to spot to catch a waterfront sunset and let the kid splash about on the shore.

Why would you recommend Vamo as a best neighborhood in Sarasota County?

The safety, calm and simplicity of the Vamo area, coupled with the young family vibe of our neighborhood, makes it perfect for us. It’s just far enough away from the condo-riddled, cluster of downtown and just on the outskirts of the cookie-cutter homes of Palmer Ranch.

The proximity to Little Sarasota Bay at the end of our street (and many others) in the neighborhood provides a great bonding activity for our nightly evening strolls after dinner. We regularly walk down to catch sunsets together or to pop the canoe in the water for a quick adventure.

The attendance zone provides my son with the exact schools I feel are best fit for him as he matures through the school years. And the proximity to Siesta Key, while being just far enough away to avoid those outrageous property prices/mortgages, can’t be beat. 

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