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 Nov 1 to Nov 1
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Ca’ d’Zan, Sarasota Classic Car Museum, and Asolo Theatre for the Performing Arts. Sarasota ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (1,001 reviews)
"It was great!"

Reviewed on Oct 24, 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 $95 per night from Oct 27 to Oct 27
Nestled on the beach, this Sarasota hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Lido Beach and South Lido Park. Sarasota BayWalk and Quick Point Nature Reserve are also ...
3.2/5 (1,217 reviews)
"right on the beach / walk right out of room onto beach / chairs , towels, umbrellas, water provided by resort on the beach"

Reviewed on Oct 18, 2021

Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach
Embassy Suites by Hilton Sarasota, FL
Embassy Suites by Hilton Sarasota, FL
3.5 out of 5
202 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL
The price is $169 per night from Nov 21 to Nov 21
Located in Central Sarasota, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Florida Studio Theatre and Sarasota Opera House. Sarasota County Visitor Information Center ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (744 reviews)
"Great location."

Reviewed on Oct 25, 2021

Embassy Suites by Hilton Sarasota, FL
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.
Home2 Suites by Hilton Sarasota - Bradenton Airport, FL
Home2 Suites by Hilton Sarasota - Bradenton Airport, FL
3 out of 5
8260 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL
The price is $109 per night from Oct 31 to Oct 31
Located in Ballentine Manor Estates, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of University of South Florida Sarasota and Powel Crosley Estate. New College ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (418 reviews)
"Everyone asked about if you wanted or needed"

Reviewed on Aug 26, 2021

Home2 Suites by Hilton Sarasota - Bradenton Airport, FL
Homewood Suites by Hilton Sarasota-Lakewood Ranch
Homewood Suites by Hilton Sarasota-Lakewood Ranch
3 out of 5
305 North Cattlemen Road, Sarasota, FL
The price is $120 per night from Nov 22 to Nov 22
Situated near the airport, this aparthotel is 0.7 mi (1.1 km) from Mall at University Town Center and within 3 mi (5 km) of Nathan Benderson Park and Main Street ...
4.8/5 Exceptional! (403 reviews)
"Great location and service"

Reviewed on Oct 25, 2021

Homewood Suites by Hilton Sarasota-Lakewood Ranch
Hibiscus Suites - Gateway to Siesta Key
Hibiscus Suites - Gateway to Siesta Key
2.5 out of 5
1735 Stickney Point Rd, Sarasota, FL
The price is $128 per night from Oct 27 to Oct 27
Situated by the ocean, this aparthotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Siesta Key Beach and Crescent Beach. Turtle Beach and Sarasota Memorial Hospital are also within ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (1,791 reviews)
"I liked everything . The staff was amazing and very helpful. I will come back soon!!! The suite had everything that I needed. For mi it has 5 starts!!!"

Reviewed on Oct 20, 2021

Hibiscus Suites - Gateway to Siesta Key
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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