Sarasota Vacation Travel and Attractions


Acknowledged as an area cultural hub, Sarasota is a vacation travel destination with attractions and activities rivaled by few other Florida cities.


Sarasota, Florida is south of Tampa by about 60 miles. While inland a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota has wonderful waterfront vistas nonetheless because of its location on the large body of water known as Sarasota Bay. The population of this bayside city is a little over 55,000, per the USA census in year 2000, with a metro area population of around 325,000. Built around the mainland rim of Sarasota Bay, it is a very pretty city up close and from a distance.


The Sarasota coastal climate approximates the more tropical areas south and, combined with its slightly higher elevations and sandy soils, provides for a very wide range of plant growth. Palm trees and tender tropical flowering plants weather all but the most severe winters well. Interestingly, it has pockets of non-native wild parrot populations seen in commercial as well as residential areas. These tropical bird groupings are probably the result of those escaping captivity as pets.


For all the features that lured you here on vacation, once you get here you'll marvel at even more, still. Gracing the shoreline, in a proportionate size to the setting, are newer office buildings and condominiums; a few blocks away lies the historic downtown section. Sarasota is simply overflowing with charm. Among the more famous cultural centers would be Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the Florida State Center for the Performing Arts which includes The Asolo Theatre Company and The Sarasota Ballet of Florida and not last or least, the Ringling Estate which includes the famous Ringling Art Museum and the Circus Museum.


Attractions in the area are not limited either. Enjoy a warm walk in the sunshine at popular Bayfront Park, a small bubble of land jutting into Sarasota Bay. Benches line the concrete walkways in the park and from any you can get a picturesque view of boats at moorings and the skyline of Sarasota. Enjoy lunch at O'Leary's indoors or out-of-doors on the deck overlooking the waterfront. Just around the corner at Marina Jacks, take advantage of the restaurants, the shopping and the boat tour of Sarasota Bay. Make reservations for the very popular sunset tour, though.


For those wishing to see the style and grace of early Sarasota, a visit to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is paramount. The Selby Estate, built on the shores of Sarasota Bay, is a wonderfully preserved collection of gardens and residences. Most famous is the Tropical Display House which showcases a  collection of rare orchids and bromeliads from around the world. Paved walkways guide you on the tour of the Selby Gardens, along the waterside and to the buildings within. There are restrooms and eating facilities as well as benches along the way to allow you to spend as much time here as you wish.


As good as everything is in Sarasota, there are fabled areas nearby to explore on your vacation. The beaches in Siesta Key and  Lido Key are some of the finest anywhere. You can also investigate a half-dozen civilized barrier islands within a thirty minute drive of Sarasota. There is great shopping everywhere but world famous St. Armands Circle on Lido Key is a must visit. There are also 2 great State Parks in the area you should visit: Oscar Scherer State Park and the Myakka River State Park.


Visitors to Sarasota, Florida can tour many Southwest Florida cities by car. Just across the Ringling Causeway is Lido Key and the famous dining and shopping of St. Armands Circle as well as Mote Marine Laboratory.  One can be in Siesta Key in 10 minutes and Venice in 20. This area can be accessed best from the Sarasota International Airport (10 minutes) or The Southwest Florida International Airport just southwest of Fort Myers (60 minutes).


Directory of

Southwest Florida Cities

Manatee County

Anna Maria
Bradenton Beach
Holmes Beach

Sarasota County

Longboat Key

Siesta Key

Lido Key
North Port

Charlotte County


Punta Gorda

Port Charlotte


Lee County

Fort Myers

Fort Myers Beach

Cape Coral



Boca Grande


St. James City


North Ft. Myers

Bonita Springs

Bonita Beach

Collier County


Everglades City

Marco Island



Bayfront Park - Sarasota, Florida

View from Bayfront Park


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Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce serving Sarasota.


Nearby cities to check for Sarasota vacation activities and attractions: Siesta Key, Lido Key, Longboat Key, Bradenton and Venice.


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