Only minutes from Siesta key, Sarasota is a must-visit location. Located on the southwestern coast of Florida, Sarasota offers its visitors a variety of amenities suited for any traveler’s desire and is in close proximity to Siesta Key. The pristine beaches and world class restaurant scene will become a favorite after your first visit. The combination of clear waters and beautiful sites provides for the perfect stay, with the close-by Siesta Key winning the TripAdvisor 2015 Traveler’s Choice Award for beaches. While staying in Sarasota, you can expect the epitome of beach vacationing available the world over, all without leaving the United States!
Things To Do
Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary
A great start for the more adventurous of families will be the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary. The habitat serves as a safe place for all animals and is open for visits Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Over 100 animals call the sanctuary home, with a selection of tigers, bears, primates, birds, and more! This variety of exotic animals can serve as a wonderful learning experience for children of all ages and is sure to interest adults as well.
Lovers of art will find the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art to be a fantastic stop during their trip to Sarasota. The museum consists of over 10,000 objects and has been designated by the State of Florida to be the official state art museum. Established in 1927, the Ringling is now the site of a museum of art, a circus museum, the Ca’ d’Zan mansion, a theater, an education center, and Bayfront gardens. The entire experience is just a short drive from the airport and is incredibly accessible from Siesta Key.
Another thing to do in Sarasota is stopping to see the Asolo Repertory Theatre is Florida’s premier professional theatre, located in part of the Ringling Museum. Each year over 100 artists and 100,000 patrons visit the theatre to enjoy a diverse and vibrant mix of art. Perhaps the greatest attraction is its ability to capture of the arts from all eras; showing both classic and modern performances, most flavors of theatre may be sampled at Asolo.
Myakka River State Park
If you are seeking an outdoor adventure, the Myakka River State Park embodies the nature of Florida and is a must-see attraction. Whether you are interested in boating, bicycling, camping, or hiking, this park has it all. The Florida wildlife available for viewing is astounding, with many beautiful species calling the area home. Some of the animals you can expect to see from the park drive include alligators, bald eagles and turtles. The Myakka River State Park should be a top choice, especially if you are interested in experiencing what Florida looked like prior to the massive development that has changed the landscape into the burgeoning travel hub that we know today.
Sports lovers are in for a treat when visiting the area as it hosts the Ed Smith Stadium. The stadium has been the Spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles since 2010. Off-season training is a great chance to see professional players play for a fraction of the cost of regular season games. Warmer than the O’s home of Baltimore, the Sarasota weather is perfect for watching a baseball game; there is just no better place to watch professional baseball in the Spring.
South Lido Park
If you are interested in visiting one of the best beaches in the area, South Lido Park is the place to go. The relaxing beach is home to crystal white sand and a series of concessions that offer chairs and umbrellas. Sipping on a drink in the warm Florida sun and letting the soft sands run through your toes just feels right on this small beach. Although the South Lido Park is a superb beach in and of itself, its sunsets are unrivaled and provide visitors with a beautiful array of colors to enjoy. Sit back and relax!
A trip to Sarasota would not be complete without enjoying some of the delicious local far. Some of the top features include locally caught fresh fish and the wide array of International options. Pairing a freshly caught selection of fish with fine wine is just one of the ways to experience Sarasota dining. Be prepared to be surprised by the overall quality and value of your dining experience, as it is world renowned for both. The region’s restaurant scene can be guaranteed to pleasure even the most hardcore of “foodies.” The locally sourced food movement is gaining popularity, and Sarasota farm to table restaurants are the perfect mix of great food and dining atmospehere.
A local favorite, pairing Puerto Rican food with exemplary chefs, Sofrito Mama’s is one top-notch restaurant that you simply cannot miss. The homestyle cooking yields a mouthwatering experience and demonstrates the best of Latin comfort food. The selection of delectable entrées includes such meals as Roast Pork Bocadillos (sandwiches), Country Fried Steak, and Sweet Plantain Casserole. The toothsome offerings are a great choice for anyone looking to experience Hispanic cuisine at its finest.
If French cuisine is desired, Antoine’s restaurant of Sarasota features dishes you will savor. The restaurant’s menu highlights the region’s offering of fish. The attention to detail cannot be surpassed; each entrée oozes perfection. Out of the 746 restaurants listed on TripAdvisor, Antoine’s ranks first for a reason and should definitely make it onto your itinerary.
Michael’s on East
Another restaurant that you must try is Michael’s on East. The award winning restaurant offers live music to complement the delectable treats at hand. The piano bar and jazz group, which appear regularly at the establishment, ensure your expectations for this fine dining experience are blown away. The restaurant also offers wine tasting and a variety of wine-paired dinners that are sure to delight. This place is just wonderful for wine connoisseurs of every caliber; trust the expert staff to recommend pairings to your meal and you will be in for a treat. If you have enough room for sweets, be sure to explore the restaurant’s dessert menu.
Big Water Fish Market
Seafood enthusiasts will find the Big Water Fish Market to pleasure their palates with a selection of fresh fish from local fishermen. This local joint is not a fully appointed restaurant; however, don’t let that fool you, the BYOB setting is casual enough to truly enjoy. Enjoying a lunch at the Big Water Fish Market is a fantastic way to sample some of the region’s freshest fish.
The final restaurant recommendation to round off this list is Dolce Italia, a delightful and creative Italian food eatery. Owner Tiziana Di Costanzo has made it her mission to serve quality, authentic Italian food to its patrons. The restaurant’s menu is sure to please and includes all of the Classic entrées that you would expect at an authentic Italian restaurant.
Attractions – Places to See
The most memorable of vacations are typically associated with the individuality of the particular location. Sarasota offers an extraordinary amount of attractions to visit to help form those vacation memories that will last a lifetime.
Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures
Sarasota’s plentiful wildlife is on display on Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures. Tours leave from both Siesta Key and the Myakka River; each offering an entirely different experience of the area. The Myakka river tour features local alligators and Florida’s other natural wildlife as tourists experience the beauty of Florida’s rivers.
Red Barn Flea Market
Spanning over 80,000 square feet, the air conditioned shopping environment known as the Red Barn Flea Market offers visitors a family-owned center with over 600 flea market vendors and booths. The massive facility is host to art murals, food courts, farmer’s markets, plaza shops, and more. Be sure to pick up a map of the facility, it is enormous you do not want to get lost! The Award-winning restaurants and vendors bring their best fares and wares; it is a fantastic stop to pick up fresh finds.
Marina Jack II
If you are looking to explore the inter-coastal waters of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, a visit to the Marina Jack II will make for a memorable trip. The Captain’s attention to detail will ensures you see the best of Florida, all while in the comfort of an air-conditioned salon or while enjoying unobstructed views on the outside deck in the open air. Cruises depart daily. Viewing the water while on the move is a great visual experience; the colors of nature and its inhabitants create a spectacular show and should be experienced by all. Special events may also be reserved on the Marina Jack II if you require the perfect, private venue.
Ready To Visit?
Book your Siesta Key resort accommodations today! For vacationers in search of the perfect place to return year after year, Siesta Key is the place. Close proximity to so many attractions makes Sarasota a great location for you to relax, unwind, or adventure!
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