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Visit Sarasota County – Beaches, Arts, and Animals: Cue the Ooh’s and Ahh’s

July 3, 2019 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Beyond Sarasota County’s 35 miles of coastline lies a haven of arts and culture, eclectic events and exquisite dining. The various cities along Florida’s Gulf Coast® are as unique as the different sands on each shore and feature hidden pieces of paradise. Whether you’re looking to travel with family, or alone with your special someone, Sarasota’s eight barrier islands await.

New Hotels

NEW! The Sarasota Modern, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel located in the Rosemary District of Sarasota is designed to honor Sarasota’s mid-century modern architectural heritage. The hotel opened in early 2019 and features 89 rooms and is a fusion that transcends the ordinary. Be sure to stop by Rudolph’s Restaurant while you’re there. Execute Chef Jennifer Salhoff will excite all your senses, offering delicious cuisine accompanied by unparalleled views.

NEW! Embassy Suites by Hilton is a brand new, 19-floor, all-suite hotel within walking distance of downtown Sarasota’s Main Street – a captivating and beautiful destination for couples, families and business travelers alike. It features modern décor, luxurious furnishings, and complimentary breakfast and happy hour. Enjoy cooling in the pool, located on the 8th floor atrium for optimal views of Sarasota Bay.

Art Ovation, an Autograph Collection by Marriottin the heart of downtown Sarasota and within walking distance to many of the city’s cultural venues such as the Sarasota Opera and Florida Studio Theatre, opened in 2018In homage to Sarasota as the “Cultural Capital of Florida,” this hotel infuses arts into the universal character of the hotel, with quarterly curated exhibitions and performing arts vignettes on a regular basis.

Airport Distances

Sarasota-Bradenton International (SRQ) – 6 miles

St Petersburg Clearwater International (PIE) – 47 miles

Tampa International (TPA) – 55 miles

Punta Gorda (PGD) – 57 miles

Southwest Florida International (RSW) – 88 miles

Orlando International (MCO) – 131 miles

Cities & Beaches

Sarasota County includes the City of Sarasota, Longboat Key, Lido Key, St. Armands Key, Manasota Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key, City of Englewood, Nokomis, City of North Port, Osprey, and the City of Venice.

 Culture Hound

Known as Florida’s Cultural Coast®, Sarasota has the only professional ballet, professional opera and professional orchestra on Florida’s West Coast, alongside more than ten theatres, 13 stages and the State’s Art Museum, The Ringling. In 2020, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens will continue to integrate the arts throughout the grounds and gardens with the Salvador DalÍ: Gardens of the Mind exhibit, featuring ten colorful photolithographs of flowers by Dalí as well as Dalí-themed plant displays. Set to open in late 2019, the Sarasota Museum of Art partnered with Ringling College of Art and Design to transform the historic Collegiate-Gothic style Sarasota High School into a state-of-the-art museum. This will be the region’s first museum dedicated to contemporary art.

 Discover Natural Sarasota County

Hike, paddle, bike, fish or sit back in natural paradise. Wetlands, lakes and a river interconnect throughout Myakka River State Park, one of the state’s oldest and largest parks, and Oscar Scherer State Park offers concierge camping packages and access to the Legacy Trail. The Celery Fields offers exceptional opportunities to observe more than 300 species of birds nesting and foraging in their natural habitat. On the west coast of the county, there’s beautiful sunsets, including mangrove tunnels and our world-renowned soft, white sand. While visiting, stop by Siesta Key Beach, winner of Dr. Beach’s Best Beach in 2017 and listed on TripAdvisors Travelers’ Choice Award for the 25 Best Beach in North America in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

The Circus Came to Town

Famously renowned as the historical winter home for the Ringling Bros. Circus, visitors can check out The Ringling Circus Museum, and for live circus entertainment they can head to the Circus Sarasota and Sailor Circusperformances at select times throughout the year. The Circus Arts Conservatoryeven offers weekly adult and youth classes where visitors can try circus arts themselves.

Wine, Dine and Enjoy

Home to award-winning and legendary restaurants, Sarasota County is brimming with culinary experiences. From outdoor dining, fresh, local seafood to authentic Amish cuisine and new restaurants popping up monthly, Sarasota has one of the largest groups of independent restaurants and hosts the most restaurants per capita for small cities. And, you’re sure to dine in style as our restaurants overlook beaches, skylines and downtowns, and our many food and wine events are accompanied with local brews and craft cocktails.

Shopping and Strolling

Enjoy a walk around St. Armands Circle and delight in more than 100 shops and restaurants set just steps from the sandy white shores of Lido Beach or stroll Dearborn Street in Englewood, Venice Main Street in Venice or the five districts around Downtown Sarasota. The Mall at University Town Center opened just steps from Nathan Benderson Park with Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s and Dillard’s as anchor stores. The mall joins Westfield Southgate Mall, Westfield Sarasota Square and Ellenton Prime Outlets to offer numerous choices for shoppers.

 Animal Encounters

With attractions such as Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, home to more than 100 marine species and features touch pools, working labs, and interactive exhibits, and Sarasota Jungle Gardens, featuring 150 native and exotic animals on display from parrots and iguanas to alligators and primates, Sarasota County offers various opportunities to get up close with wild animals. It doesn’t stop with marine and jungle creatures though. Be sure to look up Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary and Sarasota Sea Lion Preserve as well!

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