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Sarasota, FL

Travel Guide
Venice showing tropical scenes, general coastal views and a sandy beach

Famous white-sand beaches, a dynamic arts community and lush tropical beauty keep visitors coming back to Florida’s central west coast cultural capital.

Sarasota is a bayside city dotted with Mediterranean Revival architecture and bordered by award-winning beaches on three picturesque barrier islands. The city and its county are known as “Florida’s Cultural Coast” and are home to 10 theaters, 30 art galleries, an acclaimed symphony orchestra and prestigious ballet and opera companies.

Downtown Sarasota has plentiful cultural attractions. Enjoy classical operatic performances at the Sarasota Opera House. See a diverse selection of acts at the striking Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the Historic Asolo Theater or the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Dine at one of the restaurants in the area and enjoy the local seafood. Try Florida spiny lobster, crab and shrimp and finish off with a citrusy slice of key lime pie.

The 1920s millionaire circus magnate, John Ringling, and his wife Mable contributed greatly to some of the city’s most intriguing cultural features. Visit the Ringling Estate, a sprawling bayside complex that contains the Ringling Museum of Art and the couple’s own lavish Ca’ d’Zan mansion.

Discover the natural beauty of the tropical Gulf of Florida coastline at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and look for an iconic pink flamingo at the Sarasota Jungle Gardens.

Lido Key and Siesta Key, barrier islands just west of downtown, provide some of the most breathtaking beaches in the United States. Siesta Key Public Beach, with its crystal-clear water and sand that looks and feels like powdered sugar, is a favorite for locals and visitors for swimming, playing volleyball or taking long walks as the sun sets over the Gulf of Mexico.

Sarasota is located on the central west coast of Florida, 60 miles (96 kilometers) south of Tampa. Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is a short distance from downtown and is served by major airlines flying from the eastern United States and Canada. Sarasota has a tropical climate with mild winters and hot, humid summers. Warm temperatures and diverse cultural attractions make this city a fantastic destination any time of the year.

Sarasota Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Sarasota

Kompose Boutique Hotel
Kompose Boutique Hotel
3 out of 5
965 University Pkwy, Sarasota, FL
The price is $89 per night from Aug 1 to Aug 1
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Ca’ d’Zan and John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Sarasota Jungle Gardens is 1.4 mi (2.3 ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (625 reviews)
"A recently and thoughtfully renovated motel presents a great value as an airport area property or more stylish option among places without direct beach access"

Reviewed on Jul 28, 2021

Kompose Boutique Hotel
Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach
Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach
3 out of 5
1540 Ben Franklin Dr, Sarasota, FL
The price is $145 per night from Aug 1 to Aug 1
Nestled on the beach, this Sarasota hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of South Lido Park and Lido Beach. St. Armands Circle and Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium are ...
3.3/5 (1,132 reviews)
"Good place to stay"

Reviewed on Jul 26, 2021

Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach
Tropical Beach Resorts
Tropical Beach Resorts
3.5 out of 5
6717 Sara Sea Circle, Siesta Key, FL
The price is $99 per night from Aug 18 to Aug 18
Situated near the beach, this Siesta Key aparthotel is by the ocean and within walking distance of Point of Rocks, Crescent Beach, and Siesta Key Marina. Local ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (2,795 reviews)
"Very friendly people at the front desk rooms where very clean . Nice private beach ! Walking distance to alot of nice places . Would definitely stay there again ."

Reviewed on Jul 25, 2021

Tropical Beach Resorts
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Sarasota

Sarasota is quite spread out, across the mainland downtown and three offshore keys. This means you might find renting a car the most convenient option for getting around. There’s an extensive bus network, but be aware that most buses don’t run at night or on Sundays. If you’re going to be staying around downtown, consider exploring on foot, or renting a bike. Taxis are quite expensive in Sarasota. Visit the Sarasota Country Area Transit website.Browse Sarasota rental cars.

Best time to visit

Sarasota has a typical Floridian climate, which means summers are often hot and wet, with thunderstorms a possibility from June well into the fall. Winter sees very pleasant, drier weather, but is the peak season, so you’ll be jostling for space with seasonal snowbirds. That makes spring the best time to visit, before the wet season starts and after the crowds which descend in winter have dispersed.

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