We had less than 24 hours to spend in Sarasota, Florida and wanted to pack in as much as we could in one day. Sarasota is well known for their beautiful beaches, but they are also known for their art and culture. We managed to fit in some relaxation on the beach, shopping, dining and a visit to a museum. Here are the top 3 fun things we found to do in Sarasota:
1 | Siesta Key Beach
Siesta Key has been named the #1 beach in the USA the last few years and we can see why. First, they provide plenty of free parking. Often times, it’s hard to find parking near beach areas in Florida or you have to pay a parking fee. Siesta Key provides tons of parking spots and we had no problem finding a spot. They also have clean restrooms, a lifeguard, a cafe, a gift shop, volleyball nets and a tourist information center. Very convenient for visitors.
The beach is gorgeous with the famous Florida white sands that go on for miles. The sand on Siesta Key beach is made up of 99% quartz, most of which come from the Appalachian Mountains, which make it soft and cool on the feet.
There are lots of people at the beach, but you will never have a problem finding a spot. The water is very clear and pretty shallow near the shore, so it’s a great spot for kids to have fun in the water. We had a great time walking on the beach and keeping our feet cool in the crystal, clear water.
2 | St. Armands Circle
St. Armands Circle is a cute little spot with lots of shopping and dining options. The area is charming with trimmed bushes, flowers and statues throughout the street. We arrived around noon and found a parking spot pretty easily. It’s all street parking.
We walked around and browsed some shops and stopped by some cute local clothing and gift shops. For lunch, we ate at Columbia restaurant. The restaurant originated in Tampa and is popular for their 1905 salad and paella. It’s located in a nice area with seating outside. It was a little hot to sit outside, so we opted to sit indoors by the window.
We were blown away by this museum. There is lots to see and can be fun for all ages with the beautiful gardens, circus museum, art museum and the Ringling mansion.
The circus museum was by far our favorite stop. They have some interactive exhibits with a huge model of the whole circus event. It’s hard to describe or show in pictures, but it was such an impressive model that goes on forever!
There’s also the Ringling mansion, Ca' d'Zan, that overlooks the bay, which was really stunning. It reminded us a lot of the Getty Villa in Malibu. Even the layout of the gardens was very similar. The art museum houses a huge selection of Ringling’s art collection.
Sarasota is a beautiful location that has lots to do for all ages and we had such a wonderful time. We can see why tourists love to come back time and time again.
Written by Candy Waltrip from Travel Pockets.