Guide to Visiting Sarasota, Florida

Beth Rice 19/07/2018

If you had 48 hours to spend in Sarasota, Florida, where should you go? What should you do? Located on the southwestern coast of Florida, Sarasota is home to dreamy beaches, fine cuisine, plenty of culture, and the DutchCrafters office.

The team at DutchCrafters shares some of their favorite must-see spots in this handy Guide to Sarasota.

SIESTA KEY BEACH (Voted #1 USA beach and #5 worldwide)

My favorite place to visit in Sarasota is the beach.  We have several great beaches including Siesta Key and Lido Key Beach.  I love the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and the beach provides an excellent backdrop for water sports.  I enjoy taking out my boat, scuba diving, and swimming. With our beautiful weather, I enjoy the beach throughout the entire year. — Kari-Jo Koshes

Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota, Florida

Kari Jo at Siesta Key Beach

About Siesta Key Beach: click here

BIRD KEY PARK

There are also several dog beaches in Sarasota, including Bird Key Park, which I visit weekly with my West Highland Terrier named Clutch. — Kari-Jo Koshes

 Bird Key Park in Sarasota, Florida is pet friendly.

Clutch enjoys her time at Bird Key Park.

Bird Key Park in Sarasota, Florida is pet friendly.

Photo Credit: foursquare.com

About Bird Key Park: click here

LIDO KEY BEACH AND ST. ARMANDS CIRCLE

Sarasota also has exceptional restaurants and shopping near the beaches, which complete the entire experience.  My favorite shopping and dining location is St. Armand’s Circle, which also hosts numerous car, boat, and art festivals. — Kari-Jo Koshes

A car show on St. Armands Circle in Sarasota, Florida

A car show on St. Armands Circle.

About St. Armands Circle: click here 

THE CELERY FIELDS

Sarasota is known for its world class beaches, but equally beautiful to me is the Celery Fields in eastern Sarasota. The Celery Fields is a natural wetland habitat known nationally as a wonderful location for bird watching. It is home to a great number of birds, including a bald eagle. There’s nothing like watching a sunrise or sunset over the Celery Fields. — Jake Smucker

The Celery Fields in Sarasota, Florida

Sunset at the Celery Fields. Photo Credit: Jake Smucker

About the Celery Fields: click here

SUN GARDEN CAFE

Sun Garden café (on Siesta Key) is a great breakfast/brunch spot. They have a beautiful outdoor garden seating area in the front of the restaurant. No matter the temperature, I have to sit outside when I go to Sun Garden. The food is always fresh, and they have a lot of healthy options. — Milca Rivera

Sun Garden Cafe in Sarasota, Florida

The Sun Garden Cafe
Photo Credit: www.tripadvisor.com

About Sun Garden Cafe: click here

CAKES BY RON

I can’t forget about Cakes by Ron. Owner Ron is a master of the cupcake, and offers a variety of different flavors every day (except Sundays when the confectionary is closed). Ron also makes special occasion cakes and cookies. You don’t want to miss the beautiful display cakes, and the cupcakes on a visit to Sarasota. — Milca Rivera

Cakes by Ron are served at the JMX 15th Anniversary Party

Cupcakes from Cakes by Ron were a big hit at the JMX 15th Anniversary Party that was held at the Aloft hotel in Sarasota.
Photo Credit for Cakes by Ron: Cakes by Ron

About Cakes by Ron: click here

SARASOTA BOAT MARINA

A walk around Sarasota’s Marina is a must-do, and especially at sunset (just be sure to wear bug spray). There are swings and slides for the kids (and kids at heart). It’s just a great place to enjoy a few hours, walking, looking at boats, and people-watching. — Milca Rivera

The Unconditional Surrender Statue located near Marina Jacks in Sarasota.

The ”Unconditional Surrender” or “Famous Kiss” statue is a popular feature located near the Marina, and Marina Jack’s is a popular place to eat near the water.
Photo credit “Famous Kiss:” TripAdvisor.com
Photo Credit Marina Jacks: yourobserver.com

RINGLING ESTATE AND MUSEUM

And, you can’t come to Sarasota without visiting the sprawling grounds of the Ringling Estate (my favorite is the Circus Museum), or the Selby Gardens to check out various plant-life, art exhibits, the Banyan trees with their amazing root networks, or the very back corner of the property near the bay that has a few benches for people to relax and take in a piece of Sarasota beauty.  — Milca Rivera

Insider tip: The Ringling Museum of Art offers free admission on Mondays.

Ringling Museum Sarasota, Florida

Photo Credit: escapetosarasota.com

About Ringling: click here

SELBY GARDENS

The Banyan Tree at Selby Gardens, Sarasota, Florida

Beth’s daughters climb on the roots of the Banyan trees many years ago at Selby Gardens.

About Selby Gardens: click here

SUBZERO ICE CREAM

My wife and I love going to Subzero Ice Cream where they freeze the ice cream right in front of you. It’s a lot of fun! We visit frequently when we take visiting friends and family there!  — Ross Wiemken

SubZero Ice Cream in Sarasota, Florida

About Subzero Ice Cream: click here

MOTE MARINE LABORATORY AND AQUARIUM

I love Mote because it’s not your typical aquarium. I have been volunteering with them since I was 16. They have fish tanks, manatees, turtles, otters, reptiles and so much more. It’s a working laboratory so every animal you see is part of the science happening at Mote.

Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida

Mote is an aquarium, a laboratory, a research center, and a rescue. They believe highly in rescue, rehabilitation, and release. Any animal that cannot be released because they cannot survive in the wild, like Hang Tough (pictured below) who is blind, is then put on a list and the government agencies decide where they get to live out their lives.  Hang Tough has his own habitat with some new fish friends in the Mammal Center that is designed especially for him. 

Mote Marine Aquarium

Hang Tough at Mote Marine

Mote Marine Aquarium

Kaili dressed as Gilly the Mote Mascot to entertain kids attending summer camp at Mote.

All proceeds from tickets go to the animals and the research.

Extra things you can do at Mote: Mote Science Café’s, Shark Encounter, Birthday Parties, Research Charters, Kayaking with Mote, Breakfast programs, Bay walk and talks, Eco-Boat tours, Morning rounds, Seahorse lab tours. — Kaili Gould

About Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium: click here

SARASOTA CLASSIC CAR MUSEUM

I love the Classic Car Museum. You get to see classic cars, famous cars, and super cars. I really enjoy going back in time there! The exhibits change so you get to see different cars. — Jennifer Ferdico

Sarasota Car Museum

From the Sarasota Classic Car Museum. Photo Credit: mustdo.com

About Sarasota Classic Car Museum: click here

Photo Credit: mustdo.com

PINECRAFT COMMUNITY

A small community of roughly 3,000 Amish and Mennonites, it is a favorite vacation spot for many Amish from Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. You’ll see many Amish riding adult-size tricycles as their mode of transportation. Locals and visitors enjoy dining at Der Dutchman and Yoder’s and getting some ice cream at Big Olaf.

Der Dutchman, Big Olaf and Yoder's pie, all popular places in the Pinecraft community in Sarasota, Florida

Der Dutchman, Big Olaf and pie from Yoder’s are all popular in the Sarasota Pinecraft community.

About Pinecraft: click here

Der Dutchman Photo Credit: dhgroup.com

Yoder’s Photo Credit: Menuism.com

Photo credit: Menuism.com

Big Olaf Photo credit: TripAdvisor.com

THE SARASOTA FARMER’S MARKET

Full of fresh foods, fruits, flowers and fun, the Sarasota Farmers Market happens every Saturday from 7 am until 1 pm. This is a wonderful Sarasota community event.

KInsey's Produce is a popular spot at Sarasota's Farmer's Market.

Kinsey’s fresh produce gets ready for a busy Saturday morning at the Sarasota Farmer’s Market.

Photo Credits: myemail.constantcontact.com (left) and Rachel Rice (right)

About Sarasota Farmer’s Market: click here

SARASOTA JUNGLE GARDENS

Sarasota Jungle Gardens began back in the 1930s and was originally a plan for a botanical garden. Tropical plants, trees and flowers from all over the world were brought in. The gardens drew attention and Jungle Gardens was opened to the public in 1936. Today Jungle Gardens is home to over 200 native and exotic animals located on 10 acres including many winding jungle trails.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Winding trails and a white peacock at the picturesque Sarasota Jungle Gardens.

Photo Credit: www.mustdo.com (left photo)

About Sarasota Jungle Gardens: click here

DUTCHCRAFTERS AMISH FURNITURE SHOWROOM

And don’t forget the DutchCrafters Showroom, our brick and mortar store that houses a sampling of our stunning Amish furniture in Sarasota. Come in and ask questions, we would love to meet you!

 

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