Just an hour south of Tampa, and 125 miles southwest of Orlando, you'll find the beautiful city of Sarasota Florida. Numerous Sarasota attractions have museum buffs satisfied, as well as those looking for relaxation on the shores of some award-winning Florida beaches. Popular as a vacation destination, Sarasota continues to grow at a relatively quick pace, and Sarasota vacations let you take advantage of the area's natural beauty and recreational possibilities. Enjoy numerous water activities and the nearby state parks for your taste of the Florida outdoors, and check out the quality art exhibits and cultural attractions. Shopping in Sarasota is a pleasure, offering world-class quality, and the dining options run the gamut from fine to casual.
In Sarasota Florida, southern charm meets high-end sophistication, and its beautiful beaches entail soft white sands with alluring blue waters along Florida's Gulf Coast. Sarasota attractions offer something for everyone, whether you are looking for beautiful Florida golf courses, world class art exhibits, or coastal Florida cruises where you can dine on board, or hire a charter to catch your own dinner while sportfishing. Water-lovers will also find excitement canoeing through mangrove-lined rivers and waterways that inspire a truly Floridian feel.
Some of the best beaches in Sarasota and its surrounding area are along the many keys that jut out into the Gulf of Mexico and help to create the Sarasota Bay. Among these notable keys, or islands, are Longboat Key, Lido Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key, Venice, Manasota Key, Englewood, and North Point. Sarasota vacations let you practically tailor-fit a beach for your needs, whether you want a busier beach full of amenities, or a more quiet spot to escape to for a while. Families might prefer Manasota Key, for instance, where between its two beaches you'll find lifeguards, restrooms, playground equipment, picnic shelters and a scenic boardwalk. Individuals or couples looking for a little less noise and people might opt for Siesta Key, Caspersen Beach at Venice, or North Lido Beach. At North Lido, although the beach amenities are scarce at best, you'll find joy in seclusion. At Caspersen Beach, you'll find picnic tables and restrooms, but also a more exclusive feel. Dog owners can take their canine friends to Brohard Beach at Venice for access to the special dog beach. The Siesta Key beach has been named the number one beach in the country by National Geographic Traveler, and the well-reputed "Dr. Beach" ranked it among the top ten in the country for 2007.
Sarasota is a hotspot for art and artists, and a standout among the many cultural Sarasota attractions is the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Once the winter vacation home of circus pioneer John Ringling and his wife Mable, it is a sprawling estate on 66-acres that overlook the Sarasota Bay. The Museum of Art's 21 galleries hold an impressive collection of Baroque works and other art spanning various eras and styles. The quality of the art found here makes it one of the premier art museums in the entire state. It is a must visit for its spectacular architecture and grounds, and the museum offers numerous side programs, both cultural and educational. The Ringling Museum's beautiful and intimate Asolo Theatre features daily performances, and recently four new buildings were added to the museum's already stunning layout.
Those booking upcoming Sarasota vacations might consider lodging at one of the Sarasota beach resorts found primarily throughout the chain of keys. Sarasota beach resorts offer you exclusive settings and amenities set along the area's top beaches. Lido Beach Resort is one of the newest Sarasota beach resorts and is only minutes from downtown Sarasota and a short walk away has guests enjoying the renowned shopping and culture found at St. Armand's Circle. Casual and fine dining can be found on-site, as well as a Tiki Bar, two heated beachside pools, and three jacuzzi's. Pet owners can choose from an array of Sarasota beach resorts, including the Tropical Sun Beach Resort on Siesta Key. Pet friendly, they offer lovely beachside rooms and efficiencies with kitchenettes. It may prove hard to leave the relaxing grounds however, unless you steal away along the access to Crescent Beach. The heated pool makes for a nice lounging area, and you can entertain in the beauty of the garden area, complete with picnic tables and grills. There are also various Sarasota hotels and other Sarasota vacation rentals to suit the different needs of those planning Sarasota vacations.