White sun kissed beaches, palm trees galore, and pink golden sunsets make the perfect ending to a spectacular day in Florida. The sunshine state might be considered the superior tropical paradise. One of the many gems of Florida can be found in the city of Sarasota. It offers endless options of outdoor adventure, shopping, and family fun experiences like you’ve never seen! So, here is my idea of adventure packed activities in Sarasota!
A Place That Offers a Taste of Old Florida
I recently saw a comment online on one of my social media pages where a local resident was having relatives come to visit soon. She was asking the question on behalf of her upcoming guests about what to do when they come.
They mentioned the following comment to her: “We want to do some ‘Florida’ things.” Reading her comment 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 Beaches Florida
The central Gulf Coast offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the area! Some of the beaches have concessions, restrooms, and parking available.
948 Beach Road, Siesta Key. Voted America’s Best Beach and Top U.S. Family Beach, you will find all kinds of family fun activities here! These families can enjoy 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.
8918 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key. This hidden gem is located at the southern end of Siesta Key. This gem offers special features that include high dunes, kayak launch, and a boardwalk.
400 Ben Franklin Drive, Lido Key. Here you will find lifeguards, concessions, and picnic tables. Located about a half mile south of St. Armands Circle. A perfect area for a stroll on the beach and browsing the shops!
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. Whether you visit here or live here, please be extra cautious and take notice of the seasonal courtship among the Terns and Black Skimmers (sea birds). As well, sea turtles lay their eggs on Sarasota beaches during nesting season which is May through August.
Unique Things To Do In Sarasota
When you are looking for more unique and interesting things to add to your itinerary, you need to look no further than the Gulf Coast! You won’t regret adding this list of fun adventures to your itinerary. They take you into the wild, rich history, and the enlightenment of old Florida! Join in!
Unconditional Surrender Kissing Sailor Sarasota
If you are heading to or finished with your day at Siesta Key, make sure to stop by Bayfront Park area and take a snap of the rotating art piece statue, the “Unconditional Surrender” is a rendition of a sailor kissing a nurse.
Airboat Rides and Baby Gators at Peace River Charters
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 charter ride includes a Marine Captain operator who takes you deep into areas of the wild where alligators and wild boars hide! The Captain usually will explain some of the history about 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 certainly knows now to help you create fun memories.
Big Cat Sanctuary Florida
7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota. Learn all about the beautiful endangered Siberian tigers and several other wild life rescued animals here. We enjoyed seeing the animals in their large spaces, as they played with each other in their ponds of water. Some of the animals you may encounter a couple bears, primates, and giant tortoises as well. A petting zoo is also something the family will love. Be sure to look for the one of the most interesting animals here, the Liger. The mix breed of the tiger and lion.
The Legacy Trail
There are seven trailhead locations along the Legacy Trail. This multi use trail extends 10 miles from Sarasota to Venice. This smooth and level trail pathway make it perfect for walking and biking for anyone who enjoys the outdoors!
Siesta Key Drum Circle
948 Beach Road, Siesta Key. This old tradition has been a popular attraction for years. Beach goers and visitors enjoy the drums and dancing on Siesta Beach. You may also see a hula hoop somewhere in the crowd. The Drum Circle event is every Sunday and begins an hour prior to sunset.
Deep Hole at Myakka River State Park
13208 SR-72, Sarasota. This is not your ordinary hiking trail. With every step, you will feel as though you are in the middle of nowhere or in Osprey territory. With large nests high above, and open grasslands, you will immerse yourself into pure Florida nature!
The hiking path is about 2 miles one way that takes you to a a very large sink hole. The path is rugged and not clearly grooved and trimmed, so be prepared by wearing proper shoes and bring plenty of water. Hundreds of alligators, roseate spoonbills, egrets, and dozens of other various wildlife make 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 passes go fast during high peak season, so you should start quite early by 8 A.M. (When the gate opens).
Where to Find the Best Shopping Sarasota
After the day at the beach, searching for wildlife, and exploring the old Florida life; it’s time for some shopping fun!
Shopping in Siesta Key
When you are done with the beach, you can now enjoy browsing the shops in Siesta Key Village and Ocean Blvd. Please enjoy these unique shops in Sarasota.
- Beach Bazaar. 5211 Ocean Blvd, Siesta Key. A wide variety of swimwear, gifts, and souvenirs to top off your Florida experiences!
- Island Trader Boutique. 5212 Ocean Blvd, Siesta Key. Here, you will find fashionable 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! Pieces are handmade with Siesta Key sand and larimar!
- Big Olaf, 5208 Ocean Blvd, Siesta Key. Treat 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!
Luxurious Shopping at St. Armands Circle in Sarasota
You are in for a treat and can indulge in this luxury shopping in Sarasota, FL. 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 surroundings! 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 Places To Watch The Sunset Sarasota
Nothing says ‘Florida’ more than the golden shades of the evening sky and a sunset on the water. Here are some of the best areas to watch a picture perfect sunset!
- Bean Point*Anna Maria Island
- Siesta Key Beach
- The Venice Pier
- Longboat Key Beaches
- Manatee Beach
Florida Gulf Coast
Florida, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful states in the U.S. Some may think of it only as swamp land, but it is by far much more than that! The list of outdoor adventure is endless.
The eco-system of Florida is extraordinary, and you will find some of the world’s most beautiful beaches right here! Sarasota is one amazing destination that you will want to keep coming back! So, if you are looking for the ultimate ‘Florida’ things to do, you will certainly find plenty in Sarasota!
Florida Gulf Coast FAQ
What is Sarasota best known for?
Sarasota is home to some of the most beautiful white sand soft beaches and mangrove forests. These features create the perfect opportunities for adventure and fun!
Is there a lot to do in Sarasota Florida?
The city of Sarasota has many things to offer. Things that everyone can enjoy including art museums, state parks, shopping areas in Sarasota & St. Armands Circle, and the best places to watch the sunset!
What is the best month to visit Sarasota Florida?
Well, this is a loaded question. You can ask yourself whether you want to visit with lots of tourists or visit with locals and fewer people. March through May offers beautiful weather and more comfortable temperatures. June and July can be quite beautiful and the rainy season is not quite in full swing. You can enjoy the beaches and beautiful Gulf of Mexico. The beaches can be refreshing but so too can the late day rain showers. By the end of the day if the rain comes through, it can lower the temperatures too.
Some fabulous “Florida things” here! I think many people visit Florida just for Disney and yet there is so much more to this fascinating state, as you have outlined here. One of my standout memories from years ago was taking a trip on an airboat and seeing the alligators! I’m not really a beach person, but these beaches look wonderful. I would go just to see the black skimmers!
Yes, Jane; most people know Florida for Disney! Aww, that is great you went out on the airboat too! We have so much fun doing these Florida activities! Oh, the Skimmers and Terns are so interesting to watch,.. I was able to capture their little courtship of the group on video! Lol! Thanks so much for reading!
Oh those white powdery sands in Sarasota are fabulous! We lived in Ft Myers years ago and would drive up to visit different beaches in the area. Looking for sharks teeth and watching dolphins makes a fun, relaxing day. Love Sarasota!
Aww, that is awesome! We were just in Ft. Myers at Sanibel Is.,..and had a blast. It was tough finding parking though. But found some awesome shells! We plan to go shark teeth hunting soon also. Do you missing living in the area?
Beaches, alligators and sunsets. You have compiled a great list of Florida things to do in Sarasota!
These are some of my favorite things; beaches, alligators and sunsets! Lol!! Thanks for reading!
I’ve been talking to my boyfriend about visiting Florida. I’ve never been, he visited when he was a kid. Looks like such a great place, loving all the beautiful beaches, and wow that is so many alligators!! Some great ideas here for our future trip
Oh, hope you guys will come visit! I am sure things have changed a little over the years, but the nature is still beautiful here! Thanks so much for reading!
Sounds like a great trip not sure about the alligators but beautiful setting. Certainly more to Florid than we knew
You would be surprised how interesting alligators really are. And yes, I know they can be scary, but we try to respect them and stay out of their way. And yes, it is certainly beautiful here.. and full of nature and wildlife! Thanks again guys!!
Sarasota sounds like a great place to visit. I would want to do the Deep Hole at Myakka River State Park hike. I’m fascinated with crocodiles and alligators and would love to see the gators in the wild.
You would love that Deep Hole, Wendy! It is quite fascinating to watch hundreds of gators together with egrets, spoonbill roseates, crows, ospreys, and other animals. Full of nature!
I’d love to visit Florida some day, and you make Sarasota sound like a great stop on any such trip, Shannon. Those Black Skimmers look cute and I’d love to see all the other wildlife, especially alligators in the wild.
Well, if you love wild life in the wild, then you will love a visit to Florida, Stefan! There is lots of adventure to be had that I know you would love! (Without the cold temperatures, lol!) We love watching the skimmers make their sounds and behaviors; and especially love seeing gators in the wild, of course we respect them and stay away from them. Thanks so much for reading and your support!!
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