Sarasota is the perfect beach vacation destination. If you are thinking about traveling from Miami to Sarasota, we will provide you with great information about this destination with trendy beaches, world-class hotel facilities and fun attractions for the whole family. In this post, we will share with you the best of Sarasota: main sights, tips on where to stay, where to eat well and how to include Sarasota in your trip to Florida itinerary.
Easy to get to and even easier to fall in love with, Sarasota is located on Florida’s west coast. It will amaze you with some of Florida’s best beaches, dozens of fun family activities, delicious restaurants and plenty of cool shopping spots.
Known for the blue waters of Siesta Key – repeatedly voted the best beach in the US – and the great vibe of the St. Armand’s Key shops, Sarasota is a delightful destination to break the routine of Orlando’s parks. You can travel from Miami to Sarasota in a few hours.
Sarasota is a city and also a county and the coolest part is that several of its cities are formed by small islands – the keys – connected by long bridges. It is beautiful to cross the bridges and see the blue sea below. Do you know that vision that will never get tiring?
Booking a car service is essential to discover Sarasota with the affection that the region deserves, and it is also worth composing a well thought-out itinerary to avoid unnecessary comings and goings. Our chauffeurs can help you with this.
To help you plan your itinerary in Sarasota, here’s a list of what to do there.
Beaches of Sarasota
You can’t talk about Sarasota without talking about the region’s beautiful beaches with very fine white sand and a clear blue sea. Ample parking, complete structure (many beaches even have a playground for children) and for those who enjoy a beer on the beach good news: it is allowed to drink alcoholic beverages on most of the beaches of Sarasota with one detail: glass bottles are not allowed.
Check this list of some of our favorite beaches in the county.
This beach delivers a beautiful experience: white sand, calm sea with a pleasant temperature, and at low tide, shells and snails. It’s a great option to add to your Miami to Sarasota itinerary.
Those staying in the area have the privilege of crossing the street and having their feet in the sand. Go early in the morning to call the beach your own, and finish with a fancy lunch on nearby St. Armand’s Key.
Still in the region, visit the Lido Beach Pavillion, a public leisure area with a swimming pool open to visitors and facing the sea. Great choice for those who enjoy swimming for real, or close the day at the beach with a bath in freshwater. In front of the beach, it is possible to rent sunbeds and umbrellas.
For those who want a beach with a wilder footprint, go to the tip of the island to enjoy the South Lido Key Beach Park, as there is a park on the back, the jungle appearance gives a special atmosphere to the region that is already beautiful. Many people take advantage of this end of the bay to paddle kayaks or Stand Up Paddles.
Tip for those traveling with children: in the park there is a small playground for the little ones.
Hailed as one of the best beaches in the world, Siesta Key boasts white sand made from 100% quartz, which means that even during the hottest times of day the sand never gets hot. The waters are calm and perfect for swimming, and the crowd is quite eclectic: young people enjoying summer games and the perk of being able to drink on the beach, families with children and couples. This is a must-stop when traveling from Miami to Sarasota.
Turtle Beach is in the southern part of Siesta Key and is a beautiful option for those who want to enjoy a beach that is very similar to Siesta Beach, but less crowded. The waters are shallow, beautiful and calm.
The beach has this name thanks to the turtles that every year – from May to October – lay their eggs in the sands of the beach. If you have a child it’s worth closing the holes dug at the end of the day so as not to put the babies in danger. With luck, you will have the privilege of seeing little turtles arriving at sea for the first time: follow the spectacle from afar and let the turtles walk at their own pace.
Nokomis Beach has a stark look with a very blue sea and a surreal amount of shells scattered on the sand. There are many and the coolest thing is that you just dig a hole in the sand to find even more shells. It’s a great attraction for kids.
Venice Municipal Beach
Venice is one of Sarasota’s county towns and home to 4 interesting beaches: Nokomis (we’ve already talked about it), Venice Municipal Beach (hot spot), South Brownhard (dog friendly) and Caspersen Beach (famous for historical pre-shark teeth). The city was named after Venice, as its numerous creeks in 1888 resembled the Italian city.
Venice Municipal Beach, the city’s main beach, is accessed by a beautiful wooden platform, a snack bar and a delightful vibe.
Venice is also a sure choice for divers. On days with calm seas, the coral reef is a meeting point for scuba divers.
Although the sands aren’t as white as Lido or Siesta Key, the beach is very kid-friendly, quiet for swimming, shell hunting and hopefully finding a prehistoric shark’s tooth. And keep an eye on the water, dolphins are very common in the region.
St. Armand’s Key
St. Armand ‘s is a tiny and charming little islet on Lido Key, known for its upscale shopping center and circular streets with a European vibe.
The area has great restaurants like Crab & Fin, Greek Blu Kouzina, Big Olaf, and Green Zebra Café, souvenir shops and art galleries.
It’s worth including a late afternoon + dinner in St. Armand ‘s Key.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Gorgeous gardens, abundant local flora and fauna, amazing children’s attractions and beautiful views of Sarasota Bay. We strongly recommend that you take one of your Sarasota afternoons to visit a botanical garden.
The experience begins with an impressive entrance filled with eye-catching oaks, followed by a sequence of beautifully set up and well-kept gardens.
Highlight for the fern garden, the koi pond and its photogenic bridge, the native plant garden, the banyan garden and a fabulous children’s area with fountains, hanging walkways and swings.
Marina Jack’s: Boat rental
The Sarasota Marina, the starting point for boat trips around the region, is a great spot for those who want to rent their own boat and explore the Sarasota bay. The region is beautiful and with a boat the possibilities are endless.
Marina Jack’s is also known for Seward Johnson’s Unconditional Surrender sculpture, the gigantic computerized reproduction of the photograph that immortalized the moment when Japan surrendered and ended World War II. There are several replicas of it around the world.
Boat tour in Sarasota Bay
If seeing Sarasota from the top of the bridges is already a spectacle, imagine what a delight it is to take a boat ride and get to know everything from the sea’s point of view.
There are a few companies that offer cruises around the region, the staff at Visit Sarasota recommended LeBarge Tropical Cruises, which has some options for tours lasting 2 hours.
Want something more exclusive?
You can rent a catamaran (with captain and all) and make a sensational tour with a group of friends. There are different tours available and prices vary depending on the day, proposal and duration of the tour.
John & Mable Ringling Museum
The Ringling is a gigantic and fabulous museum that houses everything from ancient European art, Asian art to contemporary exhibits. The museum is a legacy of John and Mable Ringling who moved to Sarasota and wanted the city to become great, and for that, there’s nothing like a good museum.
The museum opened in 1929 and was donated to the state of Florida after the couple’s death. Since 2000 it has been administered by the University of Florida.
There are 21 buildings, including the imposing Ca’ d’ Zan which was the couple’s residence, beautiful gardens overlooking the bay and the circus museum.
Did you enjoy our tips? Book your trip from Miami to Sarasota with Mundi.