The last leg of my 6 day trip, we ended in sunny Sarasota, FL. A beautiful city located on the west coast of Florida, centrally located between Punta Gorda and Tampa St. Pete. A town full of arts and culture, home to the country’s #1 beach, and a circus arts conservatory. This coastal town is full of people not in a rush anywhere, of vacationers and snowbirds looking for that “ahhhh” in their vacation. Simply put, and quoting a new hit Broadway show, it’s a town that encourages you to “Be More Chill.”
I arrived into town after 11pm, so there wasn’t too much to do that evening other then get rested up for the day ahead, and figure out how to see as much of this town as I could in the next 24 hours.
Friday morning, got up early, and packed the Corvette with my camera and headed out for breakfast. Yes, I said Corvette. Shout out to the folks at Hertz at the airport for giving me a complimentary upgrade from a Malibu to a Corvette! Breakfast this morning was at First Watch, which is a chain restaurant yes, but one which is headquartered in Sarasota. One of these restaurants has opened locally here in Hershey, PA as well. Breakfast included the daily cup of coffee and I decided to do as the Floridians do and have the Floridian French Toast.
After breakfast, I decided to go see one of the beaches before it got too crowded, and I was not disappointed. Lido Beach is easy to get to and very private. Please note that there are no lifeguards on duty at this beach and the currents are very swift. According to lidokey.net, “the beach is maintained in a natural state and features a dune system that is home to many nesting shore birds. There are no amenities at this beach.” None of this posed a problem and to be honest, this beach was beautiful! People were active at this beach, walking, swimming, yoga. And you got a wonderful look at the habitats of the local shore birds.
After a some time walking the shoreline, it was time to switch it up a little and take in some arts and culture, and there was no better place than The Ringling.
According to theringling.org, ” The Ringling serves as the legacy of John and Mable Ringling—a place of art, architecture, and circus in an environment that inspires, educates, and entertains.” The Ringling includes the State Art Museum of Florida, Circus Museum, Ca’ d’Zan, The Historic Asolo Theater, Bayfront Gardens on the 66 acre property.
First was the Circus Museum:
Followed by a walk around the grounds and the rose garden:
Next was a stroll around the Ca’ d’Zan:
And lastly, the Art Museum:
After some time at The Ringling, it was time for lunch at a local favorite, The Old Salty Dog.
After a quick bite to eat, it was time to head to the #1 beach in the United States, Siesta Key. Siesta Key Beach welcomes you with quartz-crystal sand as white and soft as powdered sugar that never gets hot. This beach was definitely the more touristy of the two beaches with refreshment stands, chair and umbrella rental, and difficulty finding a parking spot. However, the beach is worth it! Quite beautiful, the sand is something to experience, and still not as crowded as many of the beaches on the East Coast.
Next, it was time to check out the St. Armand’s Circle Shops. This beautiful area of shops is home to many boutique shops and upscale restaurants, definitely worth a look around!
After some down time, based off a recommendation, I went to a wonderful restaurant concept down the street from my hotel, Owen’s Fish Camp. While this restaurant had some inside seating and front patio seating, the place to be was the “backyard.” Order your food and beverages at the bar, and go find a seat in the large backyard where you can enjoy time outside with friends or coworkers (or both), swing on the tire swing, and when your food is ready, go to the window when they ring the bell and call your name. The food was amazing, the atmosphere matched the quality of the food, and I highly recommend anyone going to Sarasota give this restaurant a try!
So honestly, I had one full day in Sarasota and could not fit in everything possible. There are many things I could not get to that include: Mote Marine Labratory & Aquarium, TreeUmph Adventures, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Siesta Key Rum Distillery, and a multitude of boat and water tours from cruises to kayak adventures.
The next morning brought an 8:00am flight home, but hey, why not check out the beach by early morning moonlight on the way to the airport. Thanks for the memories Sarasota!