Payne's Creek State Park is about 40 miles southeast of Sarasota, in a little-traveled section of central Florida. It's one of the places in Florida which hasn't been Disneyfied. In the 19th Century, Florida was Seminole Country, and the natives didn't give it up without a fight, as this marker bears witness.
Update!!! I heard that they have actually moved to a new location. You might want to ask a local where it is now if you visit.
If you like foreign Brew, you should visit The Cock & Bull pub on main street. Do not enter into bar asking for Budweiser (You will be laughed at). What it lacks in air conditioning and cleanliness, it makes up for in atmosphere. You must stop in! By the way it usually does not open until after 8:30 in the evenings. Ask for Howie!
Warm Mineral Springs (now, Golden Springs) is the only spa resort in Florida.
Water of rare quality attracts health-seekers to 2.5-acre lake. The lake, which maintains a year –round temperature of 87 degrees, has soothing and, some believe, healing powers.
Hop aboard one of the world's two largest airboats, the 'Myakka Maiden,' or the 'Gator Gal' for a scenic cruise on the Upper Myakka Lake. Discover what makes the Myakka unique among America's freshwater lakes. Hear intriguing stories about the alligator, anhinga, and sandhill crane as you become acquainted with the variety of creatures that make their home here.
These air-powered vessels venture into the shallow, grassy areas where traditional crafts of such size wouldn't dare to go. The leisurely ride is so safe and smooth you'll have no problem taking photographs.
Spanish Point might be an attraction easily missed. Don't be fooled by the little visitors center. Be prepared to spend several hours walking through this historic area. This step back in time was worth every blister on my feet. The sunken garden alone is worth seeing not to mention the most wonderful little church, the huge family homestead and guest house and the botanical lessons learned along the paths are numerous. Take your camera and plan on spending an afternoon imagining the lives
of the family that lived there and then donated this historic property for us to enjoy.
Myakka River State Park. Located on State Road 72-14 miles east of US 41. The park features a 29,000 acre wildlife Park With one hour tours on the 'Myakka Queen',the worlds largest enclosed airboat. The boat travels the tea colored waters of Upper Myakka Lake.
WARNING-While boating you will see many alligators,some up to twelve feet in length.
Be sure to visit the Wilderness Area. Untouched by time,this areas low hanging oaks drip with Spanish moss. Wild turkeys,deer,bobcats,otters,sandhill cranes and other wildlife call this home.
Venice Public Beach. Located in the city of Venice about 20 miles south of Sarasota on US 41. The beach is at the end of West Venice Avenue.It Features smooth white sand and crystal blue waters. The main attraction is hunting for fossilized sharks teeth that wash ashore.
This wonderfully preserved state park is full of wildlife. Make sure you rent a canoe and bring your camera and sunscreen. Slow canoe trips down the river make for a truly enjoyable experience.
Not too far from Sarasota is Madeira Beach (across the lovely Tampa Bay Bridge). The beach is very nice, calm Gulf waters, good seafood restaurants near the Marina. Worth a side trip!