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Kayaking near Siesta Key Beach

About Sarasota | Best Beach, World Class Culture and Dining on the Sun Coast

From its world famous beaches, fine cultural experiences, shopping and dining to its miles of unspoiled nature and wildlife, Sarasota is as diversified as its past yet as exciting as its future.Located on the west coast of Florida along the shores of the beautiful Gulf of Mexico Sarasota is a city of sand, sun, shopping and culture. Sarasota's picturesque setting and vibrant downtown can take you from a picnic lunch on the beach to dinner and a performance at the Opera. Sarasota has something for everyone. Now with its hometown beach on Siesta Key having received national recognition as the #1 beach in the world, Sarasota is fast becoming a popular destination for the diverse traveler or family looking for fun in a tropical paradise setting.

Sarasota’s beaches and it's small town feel are the jewels of this city. Siesta Key Beach is a must see for all visitors. It features miles of powder white crystal quartz sand, clear, warm gulf waters, and breathtaking sunsets. There is a playground, shaded picnic area, grills, tennis courts and even a snack bar. Parking is free. On the south end of Siesta Key is Turtle Beach which has a perfect paddle board or kayak launch along with Sarasota’s only campground right on the Gulf of Mexico. Other Sarasota beaches are Lido Beach and South Lido Park which is great for boating, fishing and a great spot for shell collecting.


Local Tip: Tervis Tumblers are made right here in our area. Visit the original factory.
Kayaking near Siesta Key Beach
   
WHERE TO GO
Sarasota is considered the cultural capital of Florida’s west coast. The Ringling Museum of Art, also known as, Florida’s State Art Museum features John Ringling’s world-famous collection of European paintings and a large array of Rubens canvasses some of which extend floor to ceiling in size. Take in the fine art of its nineteen galleries after which you can tour John and Mabel Ringling's Mansion: CA D’ Zan (“house of John”), a masterpiece of Venetian Gothic architecture overlooking Sarasota Bay.  The museum grounds are just as breathtaking featuring five distinct gardens. Make sure to stop by Mabel’s Rose Garden where John and Mabel are buried nearby. The garden is over a century old and the rose bushes areat their best in full bloom in March, Mabel's birthday month. The Ringling Circus Museum opened in 1956 and houses memorabilia from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey Circus dating back to 1919. Next finish the day by dining at Treviso, the museum’s on site restaurant. Local tip:  On Mondays, the museum offers free admission from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Other cultural places of interest include a nationally recognized opera house, ballet company, symphony orchestra and multiple theaters located in the heart of downtown Sarasota.
If you enjoy outdoor activities plan a visit to Myakka River State Park located approximately 30 minutes from downtown Sarasota. With its 57 miles of unique terrain ranging from wetlands to prairies to forests, it’s a nature lovers dream. Hikers and wildlife observers can enjoy a canopy trail featuring a 74 foot observation deck.  Other activities include cabins, kayak/canoe rentals, nature trails, picnicking, biking, fishing, airboat and tram rides, bird watching and of course alligator sightings.

Another popular spot to see nature at work with a little help from humans is Mote Marine Laboratory. Located on Lido Key, not far from St. Armands Circle is Mote Marine Laboratory has been a leader in marine research since it was founded in 1955. The Mote Aquarium features the Shark Habitat where you can get an up close shark encounter with several species of these dangerous predators. You can also visit the Dolphin and Whale hospital where you can see “Edna” a stranded Florida dolphin who being cared for by the trained researchers. You can also observe manatees and sea turtles, along with more than 100 other species of marine life. Stop by the Old Salty Dog for a great burger, grouper sandwich or cold beer. The views of the Nrw Pass bridge and Sarasota Bay are spectacular. If you look closley you may get a glimspe of one of the resident dolphin that live in the pass. 

If shopping is your bag you can get your fill at world renowned St. Armand’s Circle. Stroll the circle while visiting a wonderful collection of upscale shops, galleries and eclectic restaurants.  Other places of interest include Ed Smith Stadium the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles, as well as Marie Selby Botanical Garden home of the largest collection of orchids in the world.
  WHERE TO EAT
There is no shortage of great food in Sarasota.  Seafood is king in this gulf side community, but you can find excellent american, italian, indian, chinese, japanese, mexican and south american dining.  A wide variety of choices provides both selection and price ranges for any appetite.  Good food for a good price is at any Gecko's restaurants or try Revelry where everything is made from scratch.  Mozaic and Darwins serves up a bit more pricey, but very creative menus.  Great food with a great view on the water would be the Salty Dog on Longboat Key at New Pass.  Sharkey's down in Venice is great, but a little more expensive.  Breakfast depends on where you are staying, but first recommendation is the Blue Dolphin on St Armand's Circle, the Sun Garden Cafe or the Village Cafe on Siesta Key and the Honey Tree Cafe on University Parkway.  Go to Tandoor for excellent Indian food, Yummy House for chinese and Pacific Rim for sushi.  Organic afficionados will love Jason's Deli or the Whole Foods market.  Great burgers, pizza and sandwiches can be found throughout Sarasota.  

WHERE TO STAY
If you cannot afford to rent a home or room on the keys, then definately plan a central location to launch your daily excursions.  If your focus is going to be Lido Key, St Armand's Circle, Longboat Key, Sarasota Downtown or the Arts, we recommend that you find a place that is in Downtown Sarasota between Fruitville Road and then south of Fruitville Road to Beeridge Road.  If you plan to focus on Siesta Key Beach then rent a home or room anywhere between Beeridge Road and Clark Road.  Many parks, including Benderson Park and Myakka State Park can be easily accessed with a room near the Interstate I-75 Sarasota exits of University Parkway, Fruitville Road, Beeridge Road and Clark Road.  Staying near the interstate can definately save you money, but keep in mind that the beaches and downtown Sarasota are best reached from Fruitville Road, Beeridge Road and Clark Road.  University Parkway is great for shopping and quick access to the airport, the Ringling Museum, the Ballet and the Asolo Theatre.

Local Tip: Look for the green flash at sunset on the beaches.

Tropical path to the Ringling home Tropical path to the Ringling home
Tropical path to the Ringling home
Tropical path to the Ringling home
Alligator and birds coexist Alligator and birds coexist
Alligator and birds coexist
Alligator and birds coexist
A view of Midnight Pass in Sarasota A view of Midnight Pass in Sarasota
A view of Midnight Pass in Sarasota
A view of Midnight Pass in Sarasota
 
Local Tip: Go to Midnight Pass or walk Lido Key beach to find the best shells.
Sarasota County reaches north to the new University Park Mall near Lakewood Ranch and Manatee County to the west to Longboat Key, Lido Key, St Armand's Circle, Siesta Key, Casey Key and parts of Venice down south. On the east you have Benderson Park and Myakka State Park among farms and cows.

Thank you for your interest in Sarasota, Florida. We would love to hear from you. Contact us!

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Wallenda walks the rope - Benderson Park Wallenda walks the rope - Benderson Park
Wallenda walks the rope - Benderson Park

Wallenda walks the rope - Benderson Park

Remnants of the circus are found in Sarasota Remnants of the circus are found in Sarasota
Remnants of the circus are found in Sarasota

Remnants of the circus are found in Sarasota

Dolphin Fountain at Bay Front Park Dolphin Fountain at Bay Front Park
Dolphin Fountain at Bay Front Park

Dolphin Fountain at Bay Front Park
 
 

Sarasota County reaches north to the new University Park Mall near Lakewood Ranch and Manatee County to the west to Longboat Key, Lido Key, St Armand's Circle, Siesta Key, Casey Key and parts of Venice down south. On the east you have Benderson Park and Myakka State Park among farms and cows.