The entire Sarasota region is one of the best kept secrets in the state of Florida. Northern Florida is not known for vacation paradises besides historic cities such as St. Augustine. Of course, Daytona is one of the only beaches on which you can drive a vehicle, but is that really your dream? Miami has some attractions including the famous Miami Beach, but the place is a zoo and the traffic is nuts. Not only that, but Miami has a very high crime rate. Of course, Orlando has the well-deserved reputation for offering Disney World, plus other great theme parks. However, Sarasota is only about two hours from Orlando and an hour from Busch Gardens, which some folks like almost as much as Disney.
Greater Sarasota is quiet, it has less traffic, it’s a beautiful city with top ranked U.S. beaches, and it offers attractions for everyone from the culture afficionado to the lover of great food—from the nature lover to the action seeker.
For the shopper and culture lover, you will love strolling St. Armand’s Circle and the quaint Towle’s Court art district. You can enjoy live music, go to a play or the opera, visit the Ca D’Zan Mansion, and browse the Ringling Museum of Art. Some of the greatest chefs around have made their home in Sarasota and you can seek out the most delightful culinary excellence.
The nature lover will exult in this area. Roam preserved natural lands such as the gigantic Myakka River State Park. You can hike, climb a giant nature tower, take an airboat ride, and even camp. For the person preferring a tamer introduction to rare tropical flowers, plants and trees, visit the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. If you want an up front and personal encounter with regional wildlife, visit the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Mote Marine, and the Big Cat Habitat. These colorful birds and fascinating mammals and reptiles will keep the kids bug-eyed.
If you’re into action, Sarasota offers deep sea fishing, boating jet skiing, sailing and kayaking at Almost Heaven Kayaks. Extra Innings offers batting cages and other fun features. Also for the baseball lover, head to Ed Smith Stadium, the spring training headquarters of the Baltimore Orioles and a minor league franchise. If you’re a golfer, this area has become an internationally known golf destination, with many courses designed by some of the biggest names in the sport.
Are you convinced yet that Sarasota offers the family wonderland you’ve been looking for? There is truly something for everyone in this magical place.