SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. – As reopenings in the state continue to move ahead, Visit Sarasota is reminding travelers and planners what the area has to offer.
Sarasota County and its string of eight islands are tucked into the Gulf coast of southwest Florida, 60 miles south of Tampa and 75 miles north of Fort Myers. It encompasses nearly 40 miles of shoreline and includes the City of Sarasota, Longboat Key, Lido Key, St. Armands Key, Manasota Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key, City of Englewood, Nokomis, City of North Port, Osprey, and the City of Venice.
In a nod to its namesake, Siesta Key beaches are an invitation for relaxation and rejuvenation. Enjoying the reputation as one of America’s best beaches, Siesta Beach is made famous by its sugar-fine, quartz-white sand. A short jaunt from the public beach is a village of outdoor dining, coffee shops, and shopping.
Downtown Sarasota is bursting with trendy corner cafés and artesian shops. The Aloft Sarasota, The Westin Sarasota, Art Ovation, Embassy Suites, and Sarasota Modern are all new hotels. For years, The Sarasota Opera and Florida Studio Theater have held court in the center of town, keeping arts and culture at the heart of Sarasota’s charm.
Known as Florida’s “cultural coast,” Sarasota has a professional ballet, opera, and orchestra, alongside more than 10 theaters, 13 stages, and the State’s art museum, The Ringling. There are also more than 90 pieces of art in the City of Sarasota’s public arts collection.
Two state parks in the area, Myakka River State Park and Oscar Scherer State Park, offer bountiful opportunities to commune with nature. Camping, kayaking, and hiking can be enjoyed throughout the county.
Thanks to the legacy of circus magnate John Ringling, Sarasota is known as the “circus capital of the world,” with many offerings designed to honor the past, present, and future of the circus. The Ringling, the Circus Arts Conservatory (home to Circus Sarasota), the Sailor Circus and youth and adult training classes, and the Circus Ring of Fame on St. Armands Circle are examples of the circus’s lasting impression on the area.
Every summer, Sarasota hosts “Savor Sarasota,” giving patrons the opportunity to taste Sarasota County’s diverse culinary excellence at bargain prices. The City of Sarasota has the most restaurants per capita for small cities, according to WalletHub.