The city of Sarasota is a scene of eateries, theaters, shopping boutiques and artist enclaves. Running through the heart of downtown is Main Street, and branching off this main drag are colorfully named streets such as Pineapple, Orange, Lemon and Palm. More shops and colorful bungalows turned into bakeries, galleries, salons and yoga studios surround central downtown and are divided into five districts: Burns Court, Towles Court, Rosemary District, Historic Palm Avenue and Gillespie Park. Even more is waiting to be discovered at Bayfront Park, Southside Village and other nearby locales.
Sarasota is a bayside city dotted with Mediterranean Revival architecture and bordered by award-winning beaches on three picturesque barrier islands. Sarasota is located on the central west coast of Florida, 60 miles (96 kilometers) south of Tampa. Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is a short distance from downtown and is served by major airlines flying from the eastern United States and Canada. Sarasota has a tropical climate with mild winters and hot, humid summers. Warm temperatures and diverse cultural attractions make this city a fantastic destination any time of the year.
Longboat Key is the northernmost and longest island along Sarasota’s coast, boasting 12 miles of shoreline. During the summer season, Longboat Key is a popular beach for turtles to nest and lay their eggs. Enjoy relaxing views of the Gulf Coast of Mexico, smaller crowds and a laid-back vibe on this relaxing destination.
Caspersen Beach in Venice is one of the longest stretches of beach still in its natural state along Sarasota County’s shoreline. Hiking paths and boardwalks allow for bird watching and views of plant species. Venice Beach, closer to downtown, has colorful lifeguard stands, a pavilion with shaded tables and a café, loads of parking, and bathrooms. Finally, near Caspersen is Sarasota County’s only dog-friendly beach, Brohard Paw Park.
Lido Key is nestled between Longboat Key to the north and Siesta Key to the south and boasts three beaches: North Lido, Lido Beach, and South Lido. The key received its name when John Ringling, a fan of Italian culture, referred to its beaches by using the Italian word “lido,” which means “beach.”
Manasota Key has four beaches: Manasota, Blind Pass, Englewood, and Stump Pass. Manasota Beach sand dunes and mangroves attract nature lovers; Blind Pass Beach is 60 acres wide between the Gulf and the bay and offers nearly 3,000 feet of sand; Englewood Beach offers grills, picnic tables, pavilions and a range of outdoor sports facilities; and Stump Pass Beach is a state park perfect for hiking and exploring Florida’s natural flora and fauna.
The eight-mile island of Siesta Key is accessible by two bridges from the mainland. Comprised Siesta Beach (widely regarded as one of the best beaches in the world and sitting at #2 for TripAdvisors' 2023 Top Beaches in the U.S.), Crescent Beach, and Turtle Beach, the key attracts families and sunbathers by day and party-goers by night.
The south end of Casey Key is designed with visitors in mind. Picnic areas, concession stands, and on-duty lifeguards attract families to this 18-acre park year-round. Nokomis Beach on Casey Key is Sarasota County’s oldest public beach.