Sarasota Travel Guide

  • ca d'zan
    ca d'zan
    by doug48
  • mable ringling rose garden
    mable ringling rose garden
    by doug48
  • A nice green, somewhere in Sarasota County
    A nice green, somewhere in Sarasota...
    by Bunsch

Sarasota Highlights

  • Pro
    vibi68 profile photo

    vibi68 says…

     Less commercialised and a lot more "human" than the east coast, paradise to sunshine and beach lovers, very relaxing 

  • Con
    Hexepatty profile photo

    Hexepatty says…

     Hot in summer and helps to be 55+ Years Old! 

  • In a nutshell
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    HotSpotJ says…

     A relaxation paradise, a golfers delight, but a nightlife-nightmare. 

Sarasota Things to Do

  • Ringling Museum

    This is a place I have wanted to visit for a long time. We arrived at the Ringling Museum on a Thursday which is their day to stay open until 8 PM and we still didn't see it all. We took a guided tour through Ca' D' Zan the Ringlings winter residence in Sarasota. The Venetian Gothic style reflects the Ringlings' love for Italy, their favorite place...

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  • Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

    This was my 3rd trip to Marie Selby. It's a lovely, lovely place - respite against the heat (although not too much of that in Feb in Sarasota lately!), and great to walk around. It has an amazing collection of orchids and tons of epiphytes. It's completely lush and available to all - wonderful for going solo, in a couple, with elderly people as...

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  • Mote Marine Aquarium

    The Mote Marine Aquarium is part of Mote Marine Laboratory, a facility for the study of local marine biology. The staff, therefore, is freakishly knowledgeable. It's also a really good place to see local animals. Plus, they offer all kinds of crazy programs that allow you to get even closer to Flipper and the like.

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Sarasota Hotels

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Sarasota Restaurants

  • Don't miss happy hour

    We had dinner here before a concert. We really loved it , it is Happy hour until 7PM with $5.00 appetizers and beer is $1.75. We tried the pulled pork sliders and they were great , we shared huge Greek salad , not your typical Greek salad this one is served with grilled lamb chops. The waitress was so friendly , we'll definitely return. There's is...

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  • Great Amish Food - A bit pricey

    We ate here for lunch during our 3 night stay in Sarasota. We've eaten at Der Dutchman in Ohio and enjoy their food. When we're traveling we like to find a place where we can get vegetables and fruit for a meal so this place was perfect. Plus I love good desserts and there were several good ones to try. This place was located just a few blocks from...

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  • Most yummy Japanese food here

    We visited sarasota for days and tried some restaurants there. The most impressed me is SAKE HOUSE because of its delicious Japanese food. Actually we found it at downtown incidentally when we felt hungry and searched food. We had its house special roll, like three sisters, volcano, Mexican, fried lobster and others. I surprise found that they are...

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Sarasota Nightlife

  • Jazzy Blues

    Classy upscale Jazz Blues Restaurant with live music 7 days a week. This restaurant gives great service and food and drinks at a price anyone can afford. Why cook at home when you have a restaurant like this in ypur town. Casual attire

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  • Microbrewery/Sportbar

    A really great place. The beer they brew here is pretty good. They usually have a small assortment of lagers, lights, ales etc. My current favorite is a dark "Midnight Pass" Porter. The food is usually excellent, and there are lots of big screen TVs for watching sports events. Casual

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  • Private karaoke rooms

    Me and my girlfriend group went to Kroaky's Karaoke. We had thought it was a karaoke bar, but it was something I hadn't seen before -- private karaoke rooms. They don't have any public bar at all! The place has 14 clean rooms all different sizes and colors. After we had a quick tour we decided on one of the medium sized rooms. It was done out in...

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Sarasota Transportation

  • Flying to Sarastoa

    Sarasota has its own airport. Its a nice small airport and easy to get in and out of, however since its small flying into it may be quite expensive. Info on the airport is: http://www.srq-airport.com/A cheaper alternative may be to fly into Tampa - the airport code for Tampa is TIA. Flying into this airport may save you up to $200 per ticket

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  • US 41: the most confusing road known to...

    I used to work as a rental car agent in Sarasota and I cannot tell you how many car accidents are caused by the sheer insanity of US 41. First of all, this is a road with, like, eight different names: US 41, Tamiami Trail, Gulfstream Blvd, etc. It's crazy. Randomly, (or seemingly so to tourists) the signs change from one to the next, but end up...

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  • In general the best way to get...

    In general the best way to get around is the car. But the public transportation system is quit got also. It gets you very conveniently to all important places. The downtown area is not so big that you couldn't walk through it.

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Sarasota Shopping

  • Mens Clothing in Venice

    Since 1995, Captain's Landing luxury menswear has been offering only the finest men's resort fashions found under one roof anywhere. They currently offer an eclectic collection of smart and comfortable men's apparel and accessories featuring tailored resort and beach wear by exclusive brands such as Tori Richard, Kahala, Bamboo Cay, Southern Tide,...

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  • Great currency change venue

    CEI is a large "kiosk" located in the Westfield Mall-Southgate in Sarasota and offers monetary exchanges at rates and fees that are better than banks and airports.I recently bought Euros or US Dollars and was pleased how efficient and effective the transaction occurred.With the rate at $1.36 to $1.00...I received $70 Euros for $100 US and a $3.00...

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  • Garden-inspired gifts

    From the moment you enter this shop (where the eponymous Robyn will greet you with a cup of tea of your choice from a large selection of green, black and herbal teas), you can feel the stress falling away with the tinkle of the fountains and wind chimes. A purveyor of garden-inspired goods, Robyn's also carries a wide range of gift items, including...

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Sarasota Local Customs

  • Finding Sarasota Events

    Sarasota is a very cultural town and great galleries, art and restaurants are available. There are allot of local events that are fantastic - Jazz events, circus events, large charities, top opera, film festivals....To find out the best events see the Sarasota Magazine

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  • Respect nature; especially the animal's...

    Beach for us means sand, sea, sunshine and relaxing. The beach is also a habitat for many animals; we must respect the beach and protect the animals. We saw this Yellow Crab at the beach of the Helmsley Sandcastle in Sarasota (Lido Beach). During the day, when the sun is too hot, a crab hides itself in the sand or shadow. If a crab is in the sun,...

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  • Tip the Sky Cap or carry it yourself!

    I worked at the airport for a long time, and I was always totally amazed at how many people did not tip the sky caps (the people that carry your luggage from your rental car to check in or vice-versa). At first, I just thought they were being rude. I mean, Florida is a "Right to Work" State, so these guys generally (depending on the airline that...

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Sarasota Warnings and Dangers

  • Hurricane Season

    So you are on vacation and a hurricane is coming...or you are going to the Atlantic during hurricane season and want to know what to do. First and foremost don't panic...and listen to the authorities. The cone of uncertainty is big so it may not hit you....I’ve lived off the Atlantic Ocean for 20 years now and during that time have lived through...

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  • Rip tide safety

    Florida beaches do sometimes have a rip tides.Rip tides can take you out further out into the ocean and keep even the strongest swimmer away from the shore.Florida also has a flag system that tell you about the water conditions. Green is good, yellow be careful, red bad rip currents keep out (purple is marine life that sings so keep out of the...

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  • That's a load of croc

    Dear Dudes & Dudettes,Like, Florida is one of the greatest places to visit & live on the planet. I've surfed in the water, run down the beaches, hiked thru the parks & walked on the grass throughout the whole state everyday of my entire life. I am so lucky. There are no sharks, gators, bugs, skin cancer or anything else that will hurt you if you...

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Sarasota Tourist Traps

  • Sarasota Jungle Gardens

    Sarasota Jungle Gardens falls into the same pit of Florida attractions as Gatorland or DinoWorld. . . that is, it's not that great. But, if you are in the mood to see some birds and gators in captivity, this is your place. It's also one of the few truly kid-friendly places in Sarasota. I'd go to Mote Marine Aquarium and Pelican Man Bird Sanctuary...

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  • Jungle Gardens is a waste of time!

    Jungle Gardens is "trashy" Florida and is a tacky, expensive display of limited bird and wildlife. Go to Myakka State Park for real wildlife, or if you have kids and want a guaranteed experience, head out to Mote Marine Laboratory on City Island. (Take them to the Salty Dog for hot dogs afterwards, they'll have a great time!) Try to go early. If...

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  • Sarasota Hotels

    71 Hotels in Sarasota

    843 Reviews and Opinions

Sarasota What to Pack

  • sarahjayn's Profile Photo
    the funny side of beating back skin cancer

    by sarahjayn Written Mar 25, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Luggage and bags: As someone who worked in the Sarasota / Bradenton airport for years, trust me when I say this: If your flying directly in, you do NOT want to check your bags.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Even though it's freakishly sunny 80% of the time, it can be horrible when it does rain. Bring a slicker. Other than that, it's sandals, shorts, bathing suits, and sunglasses. Don't worry about looking too tacky or touristy. It's "the look" here to be spotted in a palm-tree ladden swim suit with pink and blue flip-flops on.

    Toiletries and Medical Supplies: If you are trying to live a life free from poisons normally found in bug spray / sunscreen, I'd suggest bringing some from home. Organic / homeopathic products are very, very hard to find in Sarasota. If you do find them, they cost . . . a lot. Both are totally necessary.

    Photo Equipment: Photo equipment, like everything else here, is crazy pricey. I'd stock up in Boise - or where ever you come from - where the prices are normal, if I were you.

    Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Camping stores are not too plentiful here, either. Myakka River Outpost (inside the State Park) can rent you most anything, but if you are flying down here to camp, I'd bring my own supplies.

    Miscellaneous: Everything on the islands is totally overpriced. If you forget something, it's very worth it to trek back to the mainland and buy it there.

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Sarasota Off The Beaten Path

  • Collect Seashells on Charlotte Beach

    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...

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  • myakka river state park

    the myakka river state park is located 15 miles east of sarasota on SR 72. the wild and scenic myakka river runs through this 58 square mile state park. the state park offers hiking, canoeing, camping. fishing and airboat tours. this is one of the most interesting state parks in southwest florida. for those interested in seeing alligators in the...

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  • Cock & Bull fire pit parties

    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.

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Sarasota Sports & Outdoors

  • Suncoast Offshore: Grand Prix Festival

    Personally, I really don't like this event, so for people like-minded to me, this is more of a warning than a tip. Every year, thousands of power boat profiteers and their fans come to Sarasota Bay for a combination golf tournament / boat race. The traffic in town becomes ultra-congested (which is terrible, because it's pretty bad normally), the...

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  • Ahoy, Matey!

    Sarasota is an excellent place to go sailing. Besides having usually cooperative winds, Sarasota Bay is absolutely beautiful. Just don't drift off, or you just might find yourself waking up in Cuba. There are plenty of places to rent from, or you can check with New College of Florida to get in on one of their Saturday Sailing Clinics that are open...

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Sarasota Favorites

  • LIDO KEY

    Hans and I spent Tuesday afternoon on LIDO KEY. Lido Beach was wonderful. Not far from where we set up our towels, beach umbrella and chairs, there was the public swimming pool for those who find the Gulf of Mexico too salty. Also there was rest rooms, change rooms and a little kiosk selling pop and hot dogs. If you forget to bring a picnic,...

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  • THE BROWN PELICAN

    A wonderful bird is the PelicanHis bill will hold more than his belicanHe can take in his beakFood enough for a weekBut I'm darned if I see how the helicanThis humorous verse was by Dixon L. Merritt.The Pelican is among the most ancient of earth's living creatures. There are a number of Pelican species in the world, but there are two distinct types...

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  • HISTORIC BRIDGE STREET

    Take a stroll on HISTORIC BRIDGE STREET and experience the feeling of walking on the Main Stret of a laid back Caribbean Island. Enjoy interesting boutiques and restaurants like the Sun House Restaurant & Bar. You'll find unique lodging on this historic street like the BridgeWalk Resort. You can view the intercoastal Waterway at one end of Bridge...

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Jungle Gardens
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Map of Sarasota

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