Spectacular coastlines, sugary sand beaches, world-class cultural attractions and distinctive neighbourhoods lined with boutiques and locally-owned restaurants make Sarasota County, Florida a perfect mix of natural beauty and exciting attractions.
Fan-favourite Siesta Key, as its name suggests is the place to go for relaxation and rejuvenation. Once you’ve felt the quartz-crystal powdery sand between your toes and experienced the soft waves of the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll understand why Siesta Beach is ranked the #1 Beach in the U.S. in 2020 by TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards™.
Once home to the Lido Beach Casino, Lido Key‘s reputation for marrying cosmopolitan life with seaside paradise continues today. Catch some rays or take a walk on the shore and put your toes in the soft, white sand of Lido Beach.
Venice Main Street is chock full of boutique stores carrying everything from casual and resort-style wear, international homewares and décor, kid’s clothing, toys and more.
If art, handmade jewellery, and fine wines are more your style then Englewood’s Dearborn Street is the place for you, or if you’d prefer multiple options in one place- head to The Mall at University Town Center, an indoor shopping centre with 150 local and national retailers from department stores to high-end boutiques.
Head to Downtown Sarasota to peruse art galleries, wine shops, and bookstores along Main Street, where you can find everything from pet supplies, to high-end fashion, and designer eyewear and antiques.
Sarasota is known as Florida’s Cultural Coast, and it’s not for nothing. Here you’ll find galleries galore, premium performances, and captivating street art everywhere you go. Here are our top picks for discovering your artistic side in Sarasota County.
An absolute must-see is the home of circus entrepreneur John Ringling, and his wife Mable, known as The Ringling. The 66-acre estate is home to Ca’d’Zan, the Venetian Gothic-style mansion, the Circus museum full of posters, costumes, wagons, a human cannon and more, the Museum of Art with fascinating collections from around the world and classical sculptures in the grand courtyard, the Bayfront Gardens which are just as awe-inspiring as the works of art in the house and museums, and the Historic Asolo Theatre.
Sarasota is somewhat of an open-air gallery thanks to the multiple murals and street art dispersed throughout the area. These murals, created by local artists celebrate Sarasota’s history and people, like “Sarasota’s Heroes’ depicting the key workers that kept the area running during the pandemic, and the tribute to the Native American inhabitants of the area on Central Avenue. You can even find a colourful recreation of Michelangelo’s David.
Catch a show during your stay at any of the area’s incredible performance venues, from Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in downtown Sarasota, and contemporary Florida Studio Theatre offering a range of productions, to the highly praised Sarasota Ballet, and the Sarasota Orchestra.
Sarasota may be known for beautiful beaches, but there’s more beyond the shore to entertain in the open air.
Get out on the water and sail in Sarasota Bay either leisurely on a yacht, or get a little more active in a kayak or on a paddleboard. Don’t miss the stunning sunsets at the bay.
Head down to North Port’s Warm Mineral Springs for a day of relaxation, and getting back to nature. Take a dip in the springs, with a consistent average temperature of 30 degrees Celsius year-round (and rumoured to have the highest mineral contents of any natural spring in the US). Visit the historic buildings in the area, treat yourself to a spa treatment (book in advance to avoid disappointment), and visit the gift shop for a spot of retail therapy!
Being in perennially sunny Florida, Sarasota has attractions and activities to entice every member of the family, no matter when you visit.
Take in the season’s splendour as you explore the blooming Marie Selby Gardens in Sarasota, or watch the spring bird migration with Sarasota Audubon Society experts at The Celery Fields in Sarasota or Venice Area of Audubon Rookery. The Butterfly Garden of Historic Spanish Point. in Osprey is the place to watch winged beauties in flight. Root for the home team when the Baltimore Orioles and Atlanta Braves fly south for spring training at Ed Smith Stadium and CoolToday Park. Or perfect your own spring with a round of gold at Tatum Ridge Golf Links in Sarasota.
The blaze of summer days means beachfront adventures and water fun. Let the kids search for shark’s teethe at Casperson Beach in Venice, or hear them shriek with delight as the cool off as the Children’s Fountain at Bayfront Park in Sarasota. Also in Sarasota, get out on the water with a Myakka Outdoors pontoon boat tour of Myakka River State Park, or test your skills on a rowing scull at Nathan Benderson Park. On Longboat Key play a round of tennis or a game of golf at the Resort at Longboat Key Club
Cooler weather and fewer tourists mean quiet days along the beaches and in nature areas. Paddle beneath a canopy of mangroves with a guided kayak trip. Stroll the boardwalks and nature trails at Quick Point Nature Preserve in Longboat Key. Go Horse riding win Myakka, or spend a whole weekend in the outdoors when you pitch a tent in the waterfront campsites at Turtle Beach Campground on Siesta Key.
Balmy winter weather lends itself to plenty of outdoor adventures. Go biking along the scenic legacy trail, which passes through Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey, or let someone else show you around the beaches and trails with a guided ride. Ride on the Orange Blossom Express Tram Tour at Mixon Fruit Farms in Bradenton to see where Florida citrus fruits come from, or experience a local tradition when you marvel at the jumps, flips, and tricks during a Sarasota Ski-A-Rees water-skiing show.
Every time you book a holiday with Charitable Travel you can donate 5% of the cost to the charity of your choice at no extra cost! We sacrifice a portion of the commission we earn as travel agents to allow you to donate to charity for free. Visit Sarasota have highlighted two charities that hold significance to the destination, and its community, that you can choose to donate to with your Sarasota booking.
Save Our Seabirds (SOS) is a bird conservation organization with the mission to rescue, rehabilitate, and release previously injured birds while educating the public about ways to protect wild birds and their habitats. The SOS facility is on the grounds of the former Pelican Man Bird Sanctuary in Sarasota, Florida.
In the United States, 80% of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are unemployed. Inclusion Revolution, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, supports Rise & Nye’s coffee and ice cream shops to offer integrated employment, front and centre in our communities.
Feeling inspired? See beautiful Sarasota for yourself. Speak to one of our travel experts today to curate your dream trip!