Anna Maria Island Florida Sarasota United States Venice

A Hidden Gem in the Sunshine State: Sarasota, Florida

Since Logan young he has always called Sarasota, Florida his second home and has visited every year for his winter break. When we began dating I became a part of this tradition and we have gone together ever since.

Needless to say, we love Sarasota for many reasons!
This hidden gem is sure to be added to your list when visiting Florida.


Beaches

Siesta Key: With it’s baby powder white sand (which is 99% pure quartz) it’s easy to see why Siesta is rated the #1 beach in the United States. This is definitely our favorite beach to visit but it can get crowded during holidays! Make sure you grab a spot on the beach early.

Lido Key: Close to the popular St. Armand’s Circle Lido Key is another poplar beach spot among locals and tourists. We also love watching the gorgeous sunsets here.


Manatee Beach:  This is another nice public beach for those staying closer to Anna Maria Island.

Holmes Beach: Close to Manatee Beach and another nice beach for those staying close to Anna Maria Island.

Coquina Beach: Our personal favorite – a popular spot among locals that isn’t nearly as busy as other nearby beaches. This beach is perfect for those who love Siesta Key but want less traffic. It is also a popular nesting spot for sea turtles.

Longboat Key: A popular vacation spot for families. Currently Longboat Key is under construction as much of the area has eroded. However it is tentatively scheduled to be completed by October 2016.

Nokomis Beach: Sarasota’s oldest beach but don’t let that steer you away. It’s less busy than Siesta Key and is also the perfect spot for picnicking and fishing. Spend the day here then stop by Venice Beach to look for sharks teeth!

Venice Beach: While this isn’t the best beach for laying out on your beach towel, you can spend a nice amount of time here hunting for shells and shark’s teeth that have washed up on the shore or fishing from the pier. If you are a diver, this is also a terrific spot to explore the reef.

Portfolio - Venice

Venice Fishing Pier

Turtle Beach: A family friendly beach perfect for a relaxing day. There is a terrific beachside playground as well as horseshoe and volleyball courts. It also has a boat ramp nearby that allows easy access to the bay.

Anna Maria Island: A private beach for those staying on Anna Maria Island but it’s worth a stop to take a look at the pier and is very close to The Donut Experiment (see more in the about Sarasota dining in this post).

Want to visit them all? No problem, check out this map!
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Locations of each beach mentioned above. As you can see they are all within two hours of each other which makes them conveniently located if staying near Sarasota.


Attractions

The Ringling: You might be surprised to hear that John Ringling wasn’t just known for his prominent circus business, but also known for his collection of art. This is one of the most expansive and unique museums that Sarasota has to offer. With multiple exhibits, including his collections of art, circus paraphernalia, beautiful gardens facing the bay, and his own 56 room mansion, you won’t be disappointed!
Pricing: Adult Tickets: $25, Seniors 65+: $23, Students 18+ with ID: $5, Children 6-17: $5, Children under 6: FREE, Active US Military: $10 Bonus: FREE entrance on Mondays.

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Myakka River State Park: This widespread park is famous for its diverse wildlife, typically you can see alligators and many varieties of birds wading in the water or making their homes in the trees. Those who visit can also enjoy bicycling, hiking, canoeing/kayaking, camping, tram tours, and boat tours.
Pricing: $6/vehicle (2-8 people), camping fees: $26/night, cabin fees: $70/night

Mote Marine Laboratory & MuseumThe Mote is a rather quaint aquarium dedicated to research and preservation of the world’s oceans and the creatures that live there. It also has many exhibits that are up close and personal to wildlife like you haven’t seen before.
Pricing: $19.75 Ages 13 and over, $18.75 Seniors 65 and over, $14.75 Children 4-12, Children 3 and under: FREE

CB’s Saltwater Outfitters: Not only a place to shop for outdoor goods, CB’s is always our go to for boat rentals to spend a day on Tampa Bay. We often rent a boat for fishing purposes and for leisure. CB’s also offers jet ski rentals, parasailing, and even fishing charters for those who would prefer a more guided tour.


Liquid Blue Outfitters:
This reputable kayak rental company offers guided tours through the Mangrove Trees and lead out to the bay where you can view spectacular homes and if you’re lucky, see a few majestic manatees.


Shopping

St. Armands Circle: If you are looking for a quaint and unique place to shop or dine St. Armands Circle will fit your desires. It has many local restaurants and boutique & specialty shops.

Siesta Key Village: Another eccentric area with unique shops and restaurants located right by America’s #1 Beach.

Ellenton Premium Outlets: If you are a bargain shopper but also love high quality brands you will truly love this outlet mall. It has a large variety of stores and you could easily visit her on a night or rainy day.

Detwiler Market: If you are in Sarasota for an extended stay or for just a short time you have to check out the local Detwiler Market! This market it similar to a Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. I assure you, you will be impressed by the variety of items at this popular local grocer. We highly recommend buying fresh produce, homemade cheeses, bakery goods and strawberries when in season.


Looking for some restaurants that are sure to blow your mind?
Check out this post to read more about Sarasota’s dining options!

Are you ready to escape to the Sunshine State?

 

 

 

 

 

Be prepared to explore Sarasota, Florida. One of the hidden gems in the Sunshine State! www.pagesoftravel.org

 

Be prepared to explore Sarasota, Florida. One of the hidden gems in the Sunshine State! www.pagesoftravel.org

 

23 Comments

  • Reply
    Exploring on a Budget | Pages of Travel
    November 15, 2016 at 9:56 PM

    […] equal to a one-way flight! Let me break this down a little more… when Logan and I went to Florida and Jamaica for our honeymoon we had three flights costing around $150 each. So $150 x 3 flights x […]

  • Reply
    Exploring on a Budget | Pages of Travel
    November 15, 2016 at 9:56 PM

    […] equal to a one-way flight! Let me break this down a little more… when Logan and I went to Florida and Jamaica for our honeymoon we had three flights costing around $150 each. So $150 x 3 flights x […]

  • Reply
    7 Days at Sandals Ochi Beach Club | Pages of Travel
    November 27, 2016 at 9:30 PM

    […] been happier with our stay at this fantastic all-inclusive resort. Having spent a relaxing week in Sarasota, Florida prior to arriving in Jamaica we were ready to explore Ocho Rios and see what our resort had to […]

  • Reply
    7 Days at Sandals Ochi Beach Club | Pages of Travel
    November 27, 2016 at 9:30 PM

    […] been happier with our stay at this fantastic all-inclusive resort. Having spent a relaxing week in Sarasota, Florida prior to arriving in Jamaica we were ready to explore Ocho Rios and see what our resort had to […]

  • Reply
    100cobbledroads
    February 19, 2017 at 9:39 PM

    So many beaches, so little time 🙂 I had no idea Florida had the no.1 beach in the US with white sands. My cousin is moving to Florida, so maybe a visit in in order.

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      February 26, 2017 at 12:17 PM

      You definitely need to make the trip! The beaches are incredible. 🙂

  • Reply
    ravenoustravellers
    February 20, 2017 at 2:13 AM

    I am a serious beach lover and your pictures look incredible – wish I was there right now. Good to know there are so many activities around too. The Detwiler market looks really cool!

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      February 26, 2017 at 12:19 PM

      Thank you so much! We never get tired of the beaches there. 😉 Detwiler is a favorite of ours, we spend way to much time there but love the fresh produce!

  • Reply
    kad8585
    February 20, 2017 at 9:10 AM

    Omg, I did field research in college at Mote Marine Lab so it was do great to see it here. I love the Florida Keys. Would also love to the the Ringling Art collection. Had no idea he wasn’t just a circus man.

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      February 26, 2017 at 12:20 PM

      No way! Ironically enough both Logan and I wanted to be Marine Biologists for a time. We are heading to the Keys this summer so we’re excited to check out a new part of Florida. The Ringling is definitely a must while you’re there!

  • Reply
    Sara Broers (@TravelWithSara)
    February 20, 2017 at 9:01 PM

    Lots of great things in this area. It’s been a few years since I’ve spent much time here and wow, the colors in those shells are amazing. I’m making note of the state park in the area that offers bird watching, as I’m getting into birding.

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      February 26, 2017 at 12:22 PM

      You would love to go bird watching there! I even enjoy looking up the kinds of birds on my phone because some are so unique. Hope you make it back soon!

  • Reply
    The Travel Ninjas
    February 20, 2017 at 9:05 PM

    You make Sarasota sound awesome. We lived in Miami for years but we never made it to Sarasota. We will definitely check it out next time were back in FL.

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      February 26, 2017 at 12:23 PM

      We’ll have to do a swap! We haven’t made it to Miami yet but we’d love to go. 🙂

  • Reply
    Neha Verma
    February 21, 2017 at 2:05 AM

    So many beaches. And each one is so beautiful. Is it possible to walk all the way from one to the other, crossing the rest? I would love to visit here.

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      February 26, 2017 at 12:25 PM

      I believe you could walk to a few of them but some are separated by the sea! That would make for such a fun trek though. 🙂

  • Reply
    PackYourBaguios
    February 21, 2017 at 2:30 PM

    My daughter moved to Tallahassee last summer. The beaches in Saratoga look so pristine! We make have to do a Florida road trip the next time we visit her!

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      February 26, 2017 at 12:27 PM

      You definitely should! So many great places to visit and stay at in Sarasota. You’ll love the parks and history there as well. 😉

  • Reply
    Ana Rose | Roads and Pages
    February 23, 2017 at 9:29 PM

    Those pictures are awesome! It makes me feel that I am already in USA while reading your post. The azure water is relaxing to look at. Definitely, those places are a must visit for someone who enjoys beaches.

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      February 26, 2017 at 12:29 PM

      Hope you’re able to visit someday and relax here as well. Definitely some of the best beaches we’ve seen!

  • Reply
    8duffels2mutts
    February 25, 2017 at 12:54 PM

    I really love this detailed list with info like how crowded it gets and of its a good for families! It’s si helpful ru have that info readily available. You’re Beach photos are really nice, too!

    • Reply
      kallsypage
      February 26, 2017 at 12:34 PM

      Thank you very much! From what we’ve seen all of these beaches are very family friendly. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sheena Leong
    February 26, 2017 at 4:33 PM

    I’d never heard of Sarasota before but the beaches look stunning & I love that they’re all within 2 hours of each other. Florida is the best winter escape, it’s become a ritual for me in the past few years to get through the long cold months 🙂

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