Here's a great way to start off the weekend. The Sarasota Farmer's Market is every Saturday 7 am - noon at the intersection of Main st and Lemon ave. (Roads closed to traffic). Merchants offer produce, meats, seafood, art and more. A great place to meet the local folks!
March to the beat of a different drummer? Check out the Siesta Key Sunday drum circle. Every Sunday about an hour before sunset, people start showing up on the beach with drums. The drumming starts quietly, with just a handful of players, but by sunset there are usually scores of people playing drums and other assorted percussion instruments. Pick up the beat and groove, or bring your own drum and participate. Dancing juggling, ceremonial fires and sometimes even street performers combine to create a very festival sort of atmosphere. Come early. During busier times of they year, I have seen several hundred people here, and parking can be scarce.
Just be at the Siesta Key Public Beach Pavillion about one hour before sunset on any given Sunday. Watch for musicians arriving with their drums, or just listen for the sound.
Miles of hiking trails through live oak tree hammocks, or through the palmettos and pines in the prarie. Lots of river for canoeing and kayakking...but you have to share the river with the gators...and there are quite a few. A great place to bike or roller blade on the paved road that goes through the park...or take a trail bike ride out into the prairie on the dirt trails. Regular car camping is available, as well as primitive camping out in the prairie, which you must hike or bike to get to. I often have seen deer by the roadside at sunset.
A common thing to do when you're on vacation at a coastal destination, is collecting seashells; Charlotte beach, in Charlotte county, close to Siesta Key is worth the detour if you enjoy that hobby. You'll find a variety of exquisite seashells most of them in perfect condition, after the tides rolled back out... in the morning. Make sure to arrive early, a lot of children and hobbyists are on the lookout for them also. It makes a great treasure hunt for children as well as relaxing time on the white sands for the parents.
Surprisingly few people visit Myakka River State Park while in Sarasota. It's just as well - a bunch of people would totally ruin it.
The park houses the 14 mile-long Myakka River, which is one of Florida's few unspoiled places. You can canoe down the river in your own boat or rent one from the Myakka River Outpost.
There's also a bunch of walking trails / some paved bike trails, and the Canopy Walkway, a suspension bridge that allows you to be immersed in the canopy. There are also airboat tours that I have never been on, but people tell me they are pretty good and not the usual lame airboat experience.
If you think that one day isn't enough, there's also plenty of campground here. There's a large, full-facility campground, a youth campground, and five "historic" cabins that were built in the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps. These cabins have been modernized, so don't expect to feel like Daniel Boone or anything. I don't think there's any primitive camping here, which is kind of a shame because it's a really beautiful place. Both the campgrounds and the cabins can be reserved online via http://www.reserveamerica.com
On Friday and Saturday nights beginning at the end of summer, Cock & Bull lights a fire in the beer garden. You must check it out. There is nothing like a crisp pumpkin beer sipped while watching a huge fire under the stars. When I leave town, I miss this place and not much else.
You probably won't see this place on any tour maps, but College Hall, the main instructional building for Literature at New College of Florida is a really neat place to visit. The former mansion only has classrooms upstairs, with the bottom pretty much preserved. Made of imported Italian marble, it was originally built for Charles Ringling (brother of John Ringling, of Ringling Bros. Circus) and his wife. They donated the mansion in their last will to the city of Sarasota, which in turn gave it to the college.
Inside the historic mansion, you can see the music room, ballroom, terrace, staircase with modern mural giving homage to the Ringling legacy, and the amazing backyard that overlooks Sarasota Bay. There's also a rose garden with several rare species of roses to check out and some awesome Banyan trees.
It's right next to the Ringling Museum and a nice place to stop for some real Sarasota history.
To find it, just take US 41 North from the airport. Turn right on General Spaatz Blvd. Follow the signs to College Hall. Be sure to park in visitor parking.
That's just a serum water spring.You'll meet a lot of old people there,mostly from Brooklyn,NY.Most of them originally from former the USSR,but... you can enjoy Russian style Raviolli in near by cafe! My daughter liked their big green parrot that says 'Hi" & Bye' that sounds almost the same!
This sanctuary and rehabilitation center treats more than 5,000 injured birds and other wildlife each year. It is home to more than 50 species of birds. The center has a public viewing area for bird watching, a bird hospital, center office and gift shop. The admission to the Pelican Man is free. Donations are appreciated.
Location: On St. Armands Key
Address : 1708 Ken Thompson Pkwy
Hours : Daily 10am – 5pm
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.
The Cock & Bull pub at 975 Cattlemen Rd is the finest recreation of a rural European public house. Authentic in looks and attitudes this pub offers one of the widest beer selections in the World! At least 20 draughts, more than 400 imports. They don't do Bud, Mich, or Coors. They'll help you pick a beer, offer you samples, and the conversation ranges from beer to politics. This is a great place to get away from it all ... Belgium, Ireland, England, Germany, Czech Republic ... wherever you want to be - they'll make you feel like you are there.
South Lido is a place usually only visited by natives. It is a quieter beach and not really set up for tourists. There are BBQ pits, and a number of trails through the bush. One can discover some beautiful moments in FL nature.
Drum Circle on Siesta Key occurs every Sunday night about an hour prior to sunset. This is not an organized event. It just kind of occurs and every night is different. Bring a chair and enjoy the drums.
We spend wonderful Sunday in their church.Service was beautiful,building is attractive & people were very nice & friendly!They have a daycare on the terrirory of the church & my daughter was wellcome to come & play on the play ground any time she wants!Isn't that nice?
Now that was something new to me, in Quebec barbecues are very strictly restrained by different laws... you can't have an open air barbecue in your own backyard if you live in the city. So permitting openned air barbecues in such public places as beaches was amazing to me, actually a life saver in my case (see Siesta Key travelogue). In designated area along most beaches (even the public ones) in Sarasota, Florida... you are allowed to bring your steaks, charcoal and spices to the picnic tables! I didn't have children at the time, but I'm thinking today, it would be a great way to keep an eye on them playing on the beach, as I'd be cooking supper.