The perfect paradise of white sun kissed beaches, luscious palm trees, and golden pink sunsets is the epitome of Florida. The sunshine state might be considered the superior tropical paradise to some people and a destination like sunny Sarasota is no exception. One of the many gems of Florida, Sarasota offers numerous choices for outdoor adventure, shopping, and family fun experiences like you’ve never seen!
So, grab your sunscreen, sunglasses, and sandals and enjoy this adventure of a Sarasota experience! I recently saw a comment online where a local Florida resident was planning to have relatives come to visit soon. The relatives asked the following: “We want to do some ‘Florida’ things.” Reading this inspired me to compile a list of things to see and do in the Sarasota area for anyone to enjoy. Let’s get started.
Gulf Coast Best Beaches
The central Gulf Coast displays some of the most beautiful beaches in the area! There are many amenities offered at the beach, for example some of the beaches have concessions, restrooms, and parking available.
Siesta Key Beach Florida
948 Beach Road, Siesta Key. This amazing beach has been voted America’s Best Beach and Top U.S. Family Beach, you will find all kinds of family fun activities here! It has some of the softest luxurious sand of any beach! Here, there are year round lifeguards, concessions, volleyball, grills, and much more! There is a large paved parking lot and can get extremely busy during peak seasons. So plan ahead.
Lido Beach Florida
400 Benfranklin Drive, Lido Key. Here you will find lifeguards, concessions, and picnic tables.Located about a half mile south of St. Armands Circle. Perfect area for a stroll on the beach and browsing the shops!
Coquina Beach Florida
2650 Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach. One of the highlights of Anna Maria Island, this beach is some of the longest along the island. You will enjoy its white sand and clear water, concessions, and restrooms and showers.
Bonus Tip: Sea birds and wildlife also reside at the beaches. Please take extra cautioun and take notice of the seasonal courtship among the Terns (seabirds). As well, sea turtles lay their eggs on Sarasota beaches during nesting season which is May through August.
Florida Attractions and Activities
Check out these unique and interesting things to add to your itinerary, if you are looking for awesome things to do while in the Central Gulf Coast area. The list of fun takes you into the wild, rich history, and elucidation of old Florida! Join in!
Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary
Address: 7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota. Indulge yourself in learning all about the endangered Siberian tigers and other animal and wild life rescued creatures here. At this sanctuary, you will see animals in their larger spaces as they play with each other in their ponds of water. You will also see some bears, primates, and giant tortoises as well. A petting zoo is also something the family will love.
Hike or Bike The Legacy Trail
There are seven trailhead locations along the Legacy Trail. This multi use trail extends 10 miles from Sarasota to Venice. Smooth and level pathways make it perfect for walking and biking for anyone who enjoys the outdoors!
Enjoy Siesta Key Drum Circle
Address: 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key. This old tradition has been a popular attraction for years. Beach visitors enjoy the sounds of the drums and dancing on Siesta Beach. The Drum Circle event is every Sunday and begins an hour prior to sunset.
Unique Art * Unconditional Surrender
When cruising around Sarasota, you might also notice this famous historical statue of the kissing sailor. This WWII art piece depicts an image of a Navy sailor kissing a lady wearing a nurse’s uniform in Times Square at the end of World War II. The veteran is named as George Mendonsa. This statue is also displayed in San Diego, California positioned near the USS Midway Museum. The museum is actually set up inside the ship which is a decommissioned aircraft carrier in the dock near the coast line downtown.
Airboat Rides and Baby Gators
Peace River Charters. 4192 SW Adventure Way, Arcadia. Experience a smooth ride out on the river and into the wild of Old Florida! This boat ride includes a Capt. operator who takes you deep into areas of the wild where alligators and wild boars hide! You will learn about the history of the Peace River and interesting details about the alligators and other native wildlife of Florida. Enjoy the moment of being up close and personal with the baby gators. You can hold one and take a photo! Just a reminder, the boat operators may show you their gator hands too! Peace River Tours.
Deep Hole at Myakka River State Park
Address: 13208 SR-72, Sarasota. This is not your ordinary hiking trail. With every step, you will feel as though you are trespassing on Osprey territory. With large nests high above, and open grasslands of nature, you will immerse yourself into pure Florida wildlife! The hiking path is about 2 miles one way that takes you to a historic sink hole. Hundreds of alligators, spoonbill roseate, crows, egrets, and dozens of other various wildlife call Deep Hole home. Only 30 people a day are allowed to explore this trail, so plan to arrive early at the entrance gate to get your pass. The demand for entry passes can be high during the peak season and go fast, so you should start quite early by 8 A.M. (When the gate opens).
After the day at the beach, searching for wildlife, and exploring the old Florida life; it’s time for some shopping fun!
Siesta Key Beach Shops
Take time away from the beach and enjoy browsing the beach shops in Siesta Key Village and Ocean Blvd.
Beach Bazaar. 5211 Ocean Blvd, Siesta Key. Browse a wide variety of swimwear, gifts, and souvenirs to top off your Florida experiences!
Island Trader Boutique. 5212 Ocean Blvd, Siesta Key. Enjoy fashionable finds of women’s clothing, beach bags, and jewelry. Additionally, handcrafted and specialty gifts are available.
Created Gems. 5212 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key. Take your travel memories with you when you wear this beautiful handcrafted jewelry! These pieces are handmade with Siesta Key sand and larimar!
Big Olafs. 5208 Ocean Blvd, Siesta Key. Indulge yourself to sweet cool dessert after walking and browsing around the shops at the beach!
The Fudge Factory. 5263 Ocean Blvd, Siesta Key. The name says it all! Get lost in yummy sweet treats!
St. Armands Circle
Enjoy the 138 shops and boutiques adjacent to Lido Beach as you browse and dine in St. Armands Circle. The Circle Park is the perfect spot to enjoy a stroll in the beautiful Florida weather! You may notice the Circus Ring of Fame which is an area on the sidewalk that commemorates outstanding circus performers. Enjoy the shops, beach, sunset, and dining all in one area.
Best Spots To Watch The Sunset
Nothing says ‘Florida’ more than the golden-pink shades of the evening sunset on the water. Here are some of the best areas to watch a picture perfect sunset!
From the sparkling aqua waters and silky beaches to incredible animals and adventure, Florida is quite an amazing place. It might be one of the most beautiful states in the U.S. Although, some may think of it only as swamp land and theme parks, it is by far much more than that! The list of discovery and exploration is endless. The shopping and dining will quench your palette for both food and fashion. The eco-system of Florida is extraordinary and the sunsets will mesmerize you. Whether a local in the area or a visitor, Sarasota is one place that will captivate you. So, if you haven't done so yet, go out and explore Sarasota!
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