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Home to a bay-front Venetian style mansion, lush botanical gardens and state parks, and what has been called "the number one beach in America," Sarasota has a lot to offer visitors of all ages. With world class fishing, dining, shopping, and the cultural legacy of the circus magnate John Ringling, there's plenty to do and see in three days.

Good for
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • Art and Architecture Lover
  • Nightlife Seeker
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Beach Goer
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Like a Local

13 Places

3 City Tips

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Map

13 Places

Day 1

The Ringling

History Museums, Speciality Museums, Gardens, Art Museums

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Historic Walking Areas, Gardens

St. Armands Circle

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Ca d'Zan Mansion

Historic Sites

Indigenous

Restaurants

Day 2

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

Aquariums

Myakka River State Park

Nature & Wildlife Areas, Scenic Drives, State Parks

Myakka Canopy Walkway

Bridges, Observation Decks & Towers

Day 3

Siesta Key

Destinations

Turtle Beach

Beaches

Lido Beach

Equipment Hire

Perq Coffee Bar

Restaurants

Sofrito Mama's

Restaurants

parttimetravel's City Tips

  • For many visitors, the highlight is a trip to one of the many beaches, but be sure to carve out time for the amazing collection of art at the Ringling Museum.
  • Most of what's great in Sarasota is in, on, or around the beautiful water. Be sure to check out colorful downtown Sarasota as well, though!
  • You'll need a car to get around this area, but parking is readily available at most sites.
    Day 1
  • Save
    The Ringling
    History Museums, Speciality Museums, Gardens, Art Museums
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    Perhaps the premier attraction in Sarasota, The Ringling is a sprawling estate, home to beautiful architecture, gardens, history, and an impressive collection of Baroque art.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • It is free to enter the grounds, but you'll need a ticket for the museums, mansion, and gardens.
    • Though the estate is quite walkable, there are trams that can take you throughout the grounds if need be.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #6 of 155 things to do in Sarasota
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Exceptional Museum 22/09/2018
    • Beautiful! 21/09/2018
    • The Ringling
    Address:
    5401 Bay Shore Rd
    Sarasota, FL 34243-2161
    Phone:
    +1 941-359-5700
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
    Historic Walking Areas, Gardens
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    Set on the waterfront of Sarasota Bay, a trip to these lush botanical gardens means strolling under expansive banyan trees to admire flora and fauna from Florida and around the globe.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • This is a place to explore at a leisurely pace, and there are many shaded benches to sit down and take in the beautiful surroundings.
    • Be aware that the gardens close at 5pm on the dot. You'll need at least an hour to see it all.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 155 things to do in Sarasota
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Gorgeous Gardens with Extras 22/09/2018
    • Best orchid garden 18/09/2018
    • Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
    Address:
    811 S Palm Ave
    Sarasota, FL 34236-7726
    Phone:
    +1 941-366-5731
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    St. Armands Circle
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    If shopping is your bag, you won't want to miss this collection of more than 100 specialty shops. There are both large high end stores as well as local boutiques, with a fun atmosphere and little cafes dotted throughout.

    Good for
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • There is a public parking lot, though it can be challenging to get a spot close to where you want to go.
    • Combine your shopping with a visit to the nearby Lido Beach!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #25 of 155 things to do in Sarasota
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Always a fun place to meet for lunch and shopping 23/09/2018
    • Love this spot 22/09/2018
    • St. Armands Circle
    Address:
    300 Madison Dr
    Suite 201
    Sarasota, FL 34236-1300
    Phone:
    +1 941-388-1554
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 - 19:00
    Mon - Sat
    10:00 - 22:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Ca d'Zan Mansion
    Historic Sites
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    Modeled after the Doge's Palace in Venice, the Ca d'Zan (Venetian for 'House of John') is the former residence of circus magnate John Ringling. Situated on the waterfront of Sarasota Bay, a stroll beside and through the intricately designed mansion is a must.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Guided tours are the only way to see the second floor and above. They're given every few hours throughout the day, and require a small extra fee.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 155 things to do in Sarasota
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful 22/09/2018
    • A step back in time. 17/09/2018
    • Ca d'Zan Mansion
    Address:
    5401 Bay Shore Rd
    Sarasota, FL 34243-2161
    Phone:
    +1 941-359-5700
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Indigenous
    Restaurants (American, Seafood)
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    Serving local flavors and seasonal produce, Indigenous is representative of everything that is great about Florida dining. The fresh seafood is a particular highlight, though generally everything they serve is excellent.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Don't miss the signature Wild Mushroom Bisque — it's one of the only items on the menu that never changes.
    • It's best to call ahead and make a reservation, particularly for dinner.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #37 of 739 restaurants in Sarasota
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • On The Fence!!! 01/09/2018
    • Inspiring cuisine! 29/08/2018
    • Indigenous
    Address:
    239 S Links Ave
    Sarasota, FL 34236-6926
    Phone:
    +1 941-706-4740
    Price range:
    US$8 - US$28
    Hours:
    Tue - Sat
    17:30 - 20:45
    Other:
  • Day 2
  • Save
    Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
    Aquariums
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    Love manatees? Who doesn't! Mote Aquarium is home to two of these giant beauties, alongside sea turtles, sharks, and a variety of local and international displays of sea life.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The manatees and sea turtles are located in a separate building. Buy your ticket first at the main entrance before heading there.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #15 of 155 things to do in Sarasota
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Very nice aquarium and bird sanctuary. 20/09/2018
    • Fantastic educational aquiarium! 19/09/2018
    • Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
    Address:
    1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy
    Sarasota, FL 34236-1004
    Phone:
    +1 706-453-2920
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Myakka River State Park
    Nature & Wildlife Areas, Scenic Drives, State Parks
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    When you think of wild Florida, chances are you're thinking of something exactly like Myakka. Dense forests, wide waterways, and river banks complete with gators and birds, a stroll through the park will give you an excellent sense of the natural beauty of the state.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Hiking, fishing, and camping are all available activities in the park.
    • While they'll likely leave you alone, be sure to stay at a respectful distance from the alligators.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #20 of 155 things to do in Sarasota
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • See the alligators 22/09/2018
    • Alligators everywhere 20/09/2018
    • Myakka River State Park
    Address:
    13208 State Road 72
    Sarasota, FL 34241-9546
    Phone:
    +1 941-361-6511
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 18:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Myakka Canopy Walkway
    Bridges, Observation Decks & Towers
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    Standing tall at nearly 80 feet above the ground, this walkway is a rare chance to stand in awe at the sprawling natural landscape below. After a series of steps and a walk across the bridge, you'll have one of the best views in Florida.

    Good for
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • It's particularly beautiful at sunset.
    • You can hike here from another area in the park, or drive right up and park close to it.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #28 of 155 things to do in Sarasota
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful views, go to the top 18/09/2018
    • Heights scare me, But, I'd do it Again!! 28/08/2018
    • Myakka Canopy Walkway
    Address:
    Myakka River State Park
    Myakka State Park Rd
    Sarasota, FL
    Phone:
    +1 941-361-6511
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 18:30
    Other:
  • Day 3
  • Save
    Siesta Key
    Destinations
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    Siesta Key Beach has repeatedly been called 'the top beach in America.' Its crystal clear waters and powdery white sand feel just slightly nicer than the other beaches in the area.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • It's about a fifteen minute drive from downtown Sarasota. Be sure to bring all your own beach gear!
    • Lifeguards are consistently on duty here.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    • Siesta Key
  • Save
    Turtle Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    On the southern end of Siesta Key, Turtle Beach has slightly courser sand than its neighboring beaches, but offers a great place to launch a kayak and perhaps spot some sea turtles.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • This is also a great place to head to when Siesta Key Beach gets too crowded.
    • You can rent kayaks and stand up paddle boards at the Turtle Bay Marina.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 31 things to do in Siesta Key
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Scenic nice sand 22/09/2018
    • Red Tide Is Really Bad 16/09/2018
    • Turtle Beach
    Phone:
    +1 941-349-3839
    Other:
  • Save
    Lido Beach
    Equipment Hire
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    Of all the beach options in the Sarasota area, Lido Key is often a favorite for its wide sands, great public facilities, and natural beauty.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There's a swimming pool right next to the beach if you feel like a freshwater swim.
    • You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas nearby.
    • In addition to Lido Beach, North Lido and South Lido on either end provide slightly different conditions.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #16 of 123 Outdoor Activities in Sarasota
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Gorgeous Escape 03/09/2018
    • Awesome 30/08/2018
    • Lido Beach
    Address:
    Ben Franklin Drive
    Lido Key
    Sarasota, FL
    Phone:
    +1 941-306-6653
    Other:
  • Save
    Perq Coffee Bar
    Restaurants (Cafe)
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    Time for a refreshment break? Come refuel in the middle of a 'busy' day at the beach at this little coffee oasis, which serves up the best espresso drinks in town. They've got delicious baked goods, a friendly staff, and free WiFi as well.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • Perq makes an excellent, true flat white! These guys really know coffee.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #344 of 739 restaurants in Sarasota
    • That cold brew though! 10/06/2018
    • Coffee! 24/05/2018
    • Perq Coffee Bar
    Address:
    1821 Hillview St
    Sarasota, FL 34239-3606
    Phone:
    +1 941-955-8101
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    07:00 - 17:00
    Sat - Sun
    08:00 - 16:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Sofrito Mama's
    Restaurants (Caribbean, Puerto Rican)
    See more photos
    parttimetravel Says:

    For a low key, low fuss meal, it's hard to beat this Puerto Rican spot that is a local favorite. Home-style Latin comfort food at its best.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The roast pork sandwich is a local favorite.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Wanted To Try Discovered It Was Closed 18/07/2018
    • Great Puerto Rico food! 18/06/2018
    • Sofrito Mama's
    Address:
    935 N Beneva Rd Ste 613
    Sarasota Commons Plaza
    Sarasota, FL 34232-1344
    Phone:
    +1 941 554 8786
    Price range:
    US$8 - US$13
    Other:
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