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Exploring Sarasota, Florida: 30 Things to Do

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

Nestled on the southwestern coast of Florida, Sarasota is a vibrant city that seamlessly blends cultural richness with natural beauty. Boasting pristine beaches, cultural institutions, and a lively arts scene, Sarasota offers a diverse array of activities for locals and visitors alike. In this article, we'll explore 30 must-do things in Sarasota, divided into categories to help you plan an unforgettable visit to this picturesque destination.


30 Things to Do in Sarasota, Florida


Beach, Things to Do in Sarasota, Florida
Beach, Things to Do in Sarasota, Florida

Beach Escapes:


1. Siesta Key Beach: Start your Sarasota journey with the world-famous Siesta Key Beach, known for its powdery white sands and crystal-clear waters. Enjoy sunbathing, beach volleyball, and spectacular sunsets.


2. Lido Key Beach: Escape to Lido Key Beach, a tranquil oasis with gentle waves, perfect for swimming, shelling, and strolling along the shoreline.


3. Nokomis Beach: Discover the relaxed atmosphere of Nokomis Beach, a serene spot known for its uncrowded shores, inviting picnic areas, and stunning sunsets.


4. Turtle Beach: Visit Turtle Beach on Siesta Key for a chance to witness sea turtle nesting during the season. The beach also offers opportunities for kayaking and fishing.


5. Caspersen Beach: Head to Caspersen Beach to experience the natural beauty of Florida's Gulf Coast. This beach is renowned for its shark teeth, making it a unique spot for beachcombing.

 

Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

 
The Ringling, Things to Do in Sarasota, Florida
The Ringling, Things to Do in Sarasota, Florida

Cultural Exploration:


1. The Ringling: Immerse yourself in art and history at The Ringling, which includes the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Ca' d'Zan Mansion, and beautiful gardens. Explore European masterpieces and the circus legacy of the Ringlings.


2. Sarasota Opera House: Attend a performance at the historic Sarasota Opera House, a cultural landmark hosting a variety of productions, from classical operas to contemporary performances.


3. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens: Delight in the beauty of tropical flora at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Stroll through lush gardens, visit the conservatory, and enjoy educational programs and special events.


4. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall: Catch a live performance at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, located along Sarasota Bay. This iconic venue hosts Broadway shows, concerts, and dance performances.


5. The Sarasota Classic Car Museum: Discover automotive history at The Sarasota Classic Car Museum, featuring a remarkable collection of vintage cars and memorabilia spanning decades of automotive design.


Kayaking in Mangrove Forest, Things to Do in Sarasota, Florida
Kayaking in Mangrove Forest, Things to Do in Sarasota, Florida

Outdoor Adventures:


1. Myakka River State Park: Explore the expansive Myakka River State Park, offering hiking trails, airboat tours, and wildlife viewing. Climb the canopy walkway for panoramic views of the park.


2. Legacy Trail: Take a leisurely bike ride or walk along the Legacy Trail, a scenic path that extends from Sarasota to Venice. Enjoy the natural surroundings and discover local wildlife.


3. Kayaking at South Lido Nature Park: Embark on a kayaking adventure at South Lido Nature Park. Paddle through mangrove tunnels, observe marine life, and experience the tranquility of this coastal ecosystem.

 

Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

 

4. Robinson Preserve: Immerse yourself in nature at Robinson Preserve. Hike, bike, or paddle through this coastal preserve, home to diverse habitats and an observation tower with stunning views.


5. Sarasota Jungle Gardens: Visit Sarasota Jungle Gardens to encounter exotic animals, lush vegetation, and interactive wildlife shows. It's a family-friendly destination that combines education and entertainment.


Sarasota Mall at UTC corridor 2, Things to Do in Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota Mall at UTC corridor 2, Things to Do in Sarasota, Florida

Shopping and Dining Delights:


1. St. Armands Circle: Indulge in shopping and dining at St. Armands Circle, a charming area with boutique shops, galleries, and a variety of restaurants offering diverse culinary delights.


2. Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market: Experience the vibrant atmosphere of the Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market, held every Saturday. Discover fresh produce, local crafts, and tasty treats from food vendors.


3. University Town Center: Shop 'til you drop at University Town Center, a premier shopping destination with a variety of upscale stores, dining options, and entertainment venues.


4. Sarasota's Restaurant Scene: Delight your taste buds with Sarasota's diverse culinary scene. From seafood on the waterfront to upscale dining downtown, the city offers a range of gastronomic experiences.


5. Sarasota Brewing Company (closed as of mid November 2023): Sample local brews at the Sarasota Brewing Company. This popular spot offers craft beers, a relaxed atmosphere, and occasional live music.

 

Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

 
LeBarge Tropical Cruises, Things to Do in Sarasota, Florida
LeBarge Tropical Cruises, Things to Do in Sarasota, Florida

Waterfront Experiences:


1. Bayfront Park: Enjoy scenic views at Bayfront Park, a waterfront park with walking paths, public art installations, and the iconic "Unconditional Surrender" statue.


2. Island Hopping to Anna Maria Island: Take a short drive to Anna Maria Island for a day of island hopping. Explore its charming communities, sandy beaches, and eclectic shops.


3. LeBarge Tropical Cruises: Set sail on LeBarge Tropical Cruises for a narrated tour along Sarasota Bay. Enjoy dolphin-watching, sunset cruises, and the lively atmosphere on this floating tropical paradise.


4. Marina Jack II Dinner Cruise: Experience a romantic dinner cruise aboard the Marina Jack II. Enjoy gourmet dining, live entertainment, and breathtaking views of the Sarasota skyline.


5. Rent a Boat or Jet Ski: Take advantage of Sarasota's coastal location by renting a boat or jet ski. Explore the waterways, find hidden coves, and experience the thrill of aquatic adventures.

 

Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

 
Bayside (west) façade of Cà d'Zan, Ringling Circus Museum, Sarasota, Florida, USA.
Bayside (west) façade of Cà d'Zan, Ringling Circus Museum, Sarasota, Florida, USA.

Historical and Architectural Marvels:


1. Historic Spanish Point: Step back in time at Historic Spanish Point, an archaeological and historic site showcasing prehistoric settlements and early pioneer life.


2. Ca' d'Zan Mansion: Tour the Ca' d'Zan Mansion at The Ringling, the former residence of John and Mable Ringling. Admire the opulent architecture and waterfront location.


3. Burns Court Historic District: Wander through the Burns Court Historic District, known for its charming bungalows, art galleries, and eclectic shops. It's a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll.


4. Venice Historic District: Visit the nearby Venice Historic District for a taste of old-world charm. Explore Venice Avenue with its boutique shops, cafes, and the historic Venice Theatre.


5. The Sarasota Architectural Foundation Tours: Join a guided tour offered by The Sarasota Architectural Foundation to explore the city's modern architecture and learn about its mid-century modern heritage.

 

Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

 

Sarasota, Florida, offers a diverse array of activities, ensuring there's something for every traveler. Whether you're drawn to the pristine beaches, cultural attractions, outdoor adventures, or the culinary scene, Sarasota's charm lies in its ability to cater to a variety of interests. Use this guide to plan your visit and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of experiences that this Gulf Coast gem has to offer.



 

Photo Credits:


  • CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=119576611

  • By McGhiever - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57974013

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