Sarasota, Florida
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Sarasota Vacation Information

Boasting a natural beauty and a hard-to-match cultural scene, Sarasota could be considered “The Greatest Show on Earth.” Actually, it probably has been called that countless times. This coastal location situated south of Tampa Bay and bordered by a barrier island became the winter home of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in the late 1920s after John Ringling and wife Mable became fascinated by the area after visiting.

While the soft sands looking out over the sparkling clear blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico are a large part of the draw of a beach vacation to Sarasota, the Ringlings started a trend. Today, it is believed that this charming community that has big-city characteristics with a small-town feel features more cultural amenities than any other U.S. city in its size class.

Today, family vacations are enriched by attractions such as the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, a downtown theater district showcasing the visual and performing arts as well as fascinating fish and sea life at the Mote Aquarium.

Sarasota is flanked by three barrier islands just minutes from downtown, each with exceptionally wide expanses of sugar-white sand. There are certainly no shortages of pristine spots for sunbathing on a beach blanket or constructing massive sand castles. The beaches are clean, non-smoking and glass-container-free, and are consistently rated among the best beaches in the U.S.

With water being a large geographical piece of the Sarasota puzzle, there is an endless supply of water sports and activities in, on and above the water. Looking for more of a retreat rather than expedition? Well, relax with your toes in the sand and a drink in your hand as you enjoy the cool breezes blowing in from the Gulf – these breezes actually help a great deal to keep the temperature rather mild, even at the height of summer.

The seamless blending of the human aesthetic with the natural is in evidence everywhere, from the tropical landscaping of its affluent residential enclaves to its grid of streets named after succulent fruits. From its beaches to its boulevards, Sarasota is a destination that will stay with you long after you return to the circus that is real world. But like the Ringlings, once bitten you are bound to return.

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Shadow Bar

Plan Your Trip to Sarasota

Sarasota Florida Restaurants

Restaurants

Just as there is a wide range of cultural experiences here, Sarasota is also home to literally hundreds of restaurants of every kind. From brick oven pizza to burgers, or a romantic evening enjoying fresh seafood from local waters, this city is like a party for your palate. Explore the links below for a sample of what’s on Sarasota’s menu.
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Sarasota Florida Golf

Golf

With more than 30 golf courses in the Sarasota area — and more than 50 when considering the nearby communities of Bradenton and Venice, this is a treasure trove for golfers. One could easily spend an entire week’s vacation playing the local fairways and greens, and not even scratch the surface of all the Sarasota golfing has to offer. From greens with beach views to fairways lined with palms and lush tropical landscaping, golfing in Sarasota truly offers something for every player of any skill level.
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Sarasota Florida Fishing

Fishing

The fishing in Sarasota is legendary, with more fishable species here than in any other part of the country. On any given day, you might net Spanish Mackerel, Red Fish, Sheeps Head, Flounder, Blue Fish, Mangrove Snapper, Jack Crevalle, Lady Fish, Cobia, Tarpon, Red Snapper, Pompano, Whiting, Snook and several others. Options abound here, as you can choose to drop your line into the waters from the numerous fishing piers, from the beach in your chair or charter a boat for a deep-sea fishing adventure from which you are sure to return with more than a few fishy stories.
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Sarasota Florida Shopping

Shopping

While it’s not the reason you visit tropical paradises like Sarasota, it doesn’t hurt that there is world-class shops and boutiques that make for great day trips. From the international flair of St. Armand’s Circle boasting the perfect balance of shopping and cuisine, to the fashion-forward shops like Forever21 and Banana Republic at the Westfield Sarasota Square and Westfield South Gate – there is just as much to do on land as there is by sea. Factor in the premium outlet mall just outside of Sarasota, and it might actually be harder than you think to bring yourself back to the beach.
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Things to do in Sarasota Florida

Other Things To Do

Yes, it is true that Sarasota offers beautiful beaches. But this location has so much more to offer, making it the ultimate in a well-balanced Florida vacation. Of course there is great fishing and golfing because of its geographic location and perfect weather. Natural beauty is limitless from a kayak glide along the coastline, while others will enjoy the nightlife in the downtown theater district, family fun at the Mote Aquarium, the Venetian-themed architecture and gardens of the Ringling Museum of Art, and the jungle-like beauty of Myakka River State Park. Just make sure you stay enough days to take it all in!
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