Longboat Key as one of their favorite islands in the U.S. this year. Lido Beach and Siesta Key are also fantastic options, boasting fine white sand and stunning views.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
Located on City Island, the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is a world-class indoor/outdoor facility that houses manatees, sharks, sea turtles, otters, and more than 100 other marine species. The space offers touch pools and viewable labs that allow guests to peer into the working world of the researchers on site.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
The 45-acre Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has two campuses. The downtown Sarasota campus features 15 acres along Sarasota Bay, including a bayfront mangrove walkway. This space will also soon be home to the world’s first net positive rooftop restaurant, featuring an edible garden and plantings that will showcase some of the plants researchers at the Selby study.
The Ringling is an expansive 66-acre estate made up of several museums and attractions. Guests can wander the property and visit the Ca’ d’zan, a Venetian-inspired waterfront mansion that was once the home of John and Mable Ringling. The Circus Museum features the world’s largest collection of miniatures — more than 42,000 pieces that give guests a peek into the history and early days of The Ringling circus. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art consists of the original 21 galleries that opened to the public in 1932, a James Turrell installation, and other traveling and resident exhibitions.
Outdoor enthusiasts can spot manatees on a Siesta Key kayak tour and enjoy the shore along one of six islands lining Sarasota’s coastline. The newly opened Bay makes the most of Sarasota’s public space by transforming 53 acres of city-owned land into an expansive park with a full schedule of activities, from free kayak tours to outdoor movies under the stars.
There’s no shortage of live shows to enjoy in Sarasota — the area is part of Florida’s Cultural Coast, after all. Guests here can visit the Sarasota Ballet, the only professional ballet company on the Gulf Coast; the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, one of only two professional black theater companies in Florida; and the Sarasota Opera, which is located in one of the most historic venues in the city.
Discover Sarasota Tours
Discover Sarasota offers 90-minute trolley tours multiple times a day that acquaint visitors with the city’s layout, history, neighborhoods, and more than 48 places of interest.