If you want spectacular scenic landscapes and fascinating cultural attractions, then look no further than Sarasota, Florida. Considered the cultural hub of Florida, this coastal city is a mix of world-renowned art galleries, white-sand beaches and tropical mangrove forests.
Whether you’re spending the day exploring the Gulf of Mexico or learning about Renaissance art in a museum, you’ll have no shortage of things to do in Sarasota.
To make the most of your trip to Sarasota, I recommend staying in the city center close to all the shops and attractions. It’s also possible to find an affordable hotel or hostel near the beach. And if you’re willing to drop a few extra bucks, you’ll have no problem booking a room in a luxury boutique hotel or waterfront resort.
Things to Do in Sarasota
Sarasota caters to all types of travelers, from outdoor lovers and history buffs to sunbathers and gourmet foodies. It’s one of my favorite destinations in the US!
That’s why Hotels.com asked me to share some of my favorite activities. If you’re looking for fun and excitement in Sarasota, then make sure to add these attractions to your bucket list!
1. Spend an Afternoon at Marie Selby Botanical Garden
Home to over 20,000 different plants and flowers, the Marie Selby Botanical Garden is a great place to spend a tranquil afternoon in Sarasota. Besides the greenhouses and gardens, you can also visit the on-site herbarium, conservatory and butterfly garden.
2. Explore Myakka River State Park
Explore over 37,000 acres of wetlands, forests and lakes at the Myakka River State Park. This protected park is a great destination if you want to spend some quality time in nature. Hike or cycle along the river beds, take an airboat tour of the wetlands or visit the canopy walkway for dramatic panoramic views over the entire forest canopy. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a roseate spoonbill, a rare bird that can only be seen in Florida in the US.
3. Get Cultured at the Ringling
There are many museums in Sarasota, and The Ringling is more than your typical art museum. Comprised of 21 different art galleries, gardens and museums, the Ringling is one of the most impressive cultural institutions in Florida. Besides visiting the main gallery (which consists of American, Asian, European, and contemporary art), I also recommend a visit to the Circus Museum, the Rose Garden and the Venetian style Ca’ d’Zan mansion.
4. Relax at Siesta Key Beach
There’s no better place to end your day than on the shores of Siesta Key Beach. Stretching for eight miles down the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, this white-sand beach is buzzing at all hours of the day. Post up at one of the outdoor cafes or restaurants nearby or lay out a towel and simply admire the colorful sunset.
As you see, there’s no shortage of things to do in Sarasota. Whether you’re admiring artistic masterpieces in the museums or soaking up the sun on the beach, you’ll want to make the most of your Sarasota vacation with one of these unforgettable activities!