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 Things to Do

  • Ringling Museum

    What used to be the circus wintering grounds now hosts a massive theatre and entertainment center, plus the art gallery that John and Mabel Ringling accumulated, plus their house on Sarasota Bayside. We lucked it as the art gallery was free today. but the house Ca' d'Zan and the circus museum weren't. We decided the large gardens and art museum...

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  • Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    We went in early June and the entrance price was a rather odd $19 per person, no reduction for the senior in our group. This really is bromeliad heaven. All kinds of the beautiful plants can be found as you wander the gardens. At first we joined the group being led by one of the staff, but by the time we had exited the first building I was...

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  • Jungle Gardens

    4 out of 5 stars

    A wonderful garden with lots of animals and little animal shows. We spent a wonderful afternoon here. The plants are amazing and I enjoyed the various animal shows. Incudes: + Birds of Prey exhibit and show features avian predators, Red Tail Hawk and Great Horned Owl and the Black Vulture. Shows 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. + Reptiles of The World...

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Sarasota Hotels

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Sarasota Restaurants

  • GREAT "Cape Cod" Style Seafood!

    Last night I had a 2nd experience at The Lobster Pot and just had to write my review! This is a fabulous place, even though it is a small place. We went for the food and were again exceptionally pleased at the well-prepared, fresh seafood and the variety!! The sea scallops are outstanding! The three of us have tried a variety of dishes and have...

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  • Great Views & Great Food!

    Anyone seeking a special place to dine in Sarasota with a variety of indoor upscale seating to outdoor casual sitting on Sarasota Bay will be glad they stopped at Marina Jack's. The upstairs restaurant is more upscale and recently we celebrated a family gathering of 16 in one of their private dining areas. The meals and service were excellent. ...

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  • Enjoy Outdoor Dining on Sarasota Bay

    Dining outside under the umbrellas, we enjoy delicious meals with magnificent views of Sarasota Bay. We have friends that visit once a year from Minnesota. Their favorite place to meet for lunch is Marina Jack's Portside Patio. We introduced them to Marina Jack's on their first visit to the area and now it is their "go to place" to meet us and take...

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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

    1 Reviews

Sarasota What to Pack

  • sarahjayn's Profile Photo

    Sarasota: land of few practical stores

    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.

    the funny side of beating back skin cancer

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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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  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

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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Explore Deeper into Sarasota
Mote Marine Aquarium
Things to Do
Siesta Key Beach
Things to Do
G Wiz Museum
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Circus Museum
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Opera House
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St Armand Circle
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Bromeliad Heaven
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Little Manatee River State Park
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Terrific Lunch with Family
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Tee it up at University Park
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LeBarge Tropical Cruises -Funky Sightseeing!
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A Tropical Paradise Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
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Join the Circus!
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Ca d'Zan Mansion -Step into the Golden Era
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A Fantastic Fine Dining Restaurant
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Don't miss happy hour
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All day visit - all good
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Great Amish Food - A bit pricey
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Sarasota Jungle Gardens
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Chalk Festival brings street art to 3D life
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Special events extraordinaire @ Chill Lounge
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Most yummy Japanese food here
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Catch an Orioles game at Ed Smith Stadium
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Siesta Key
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Marie Selby Botanical Gardens - Beautiful and lush
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Historic Spanish Point - quite a surprise!
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De Soto National Monument
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Emerson Point Preserve
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Great Location at Main and Pineapple
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Sarasota Courthouse
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Central Cocoanut Historic District
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Lido Key & St. Armand's Key
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Best Breakfast
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City of Sarasota Island Park
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Touring Laurel Park Historic District
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"Unconditional Surrender" Kiss Statue
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Terrific Seafood
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Great Brunch
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Take a tour of the Opera House
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Sarastoa Sight Seeing Tour
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