Perched upon the Gulf Coast of Southwest Florida, this lively and sophisticated town is known for having a thriving arts community, award winning beaches, great restaurants and friendly inhabitants that embody the American dream. It provides a great base while staying in Florida, as its location means the majority of the Tampa Bay area’s major draws are within driving distance. The town has strong connections with the Ringling Brothers, who brought us the legendary ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ in the form of their world renowned circus act. There is plenty to enjoy in Sarasota, whether you’re a lover of fine art, nature or simply want to soak up some rays on a quiet summer’s afternoon if you have no other plans.
A 4x4 is the best option for Sarasota, as it has enough power to ride the freeways between the town’s many highlights.
Driving in Sarasota
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Important things to note
Sarasota is not a particularly large town but a car is essential as most of the major highlights are spread out and not very well serviced by public transport.
There is one primary expressway in Sarasota; the Interstate 75 and which runs north to south.
In Sarasota and neighbouring Bradenton, it’s essential to get to grips with the road system, which is laid out in a grid near the centre of both towns.
Highlights & Hotspots
The Ringling offers so much more than your average art museum and is geared up to suit a broad audience. With 21 galleries to peruse collections from around the globe, it’s not unusual for art enthusiasts to spend the best part of a day here.
The Mediterranean design of Sarasota Opera House, flanked with palm trees underneath the dreamy Florida skyline, is a work of art in itself. Combine that with the sounds of world class musicians in a dress as you please environment and you can see why this venue is so popular.
Wildlife is very much celebrated in Sarasota, especially at the Mote Marine Aquarium and Laboratory, which houses shark, turtles and sea lions to name just a few. The Cat Depot is a sanctuary where the feline residents are given five-star treatment; it should be seen to be believed.
You won’t struggle to find somewhere good to eat in Sarasota. Most tastes are catered for and you may even find a new favourite type of food. Gentil Bros Authentic Cheesesteaks offer mouth-watering fast food in a Philadelphia style.
Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport takes flights from across the US, as well as major parts of Europe and Asia. It is conveniently located just 10 minutes from Sarasota city centre, via the University Parkway.
The airport is one of the major air terminals in Florida, although its reputation is as a domestic airport rather than international one.