Horticulture, History & Water Sports in Sarasota

Experience Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice Beach

Get ready for a major expedition to Florida’s gorgeous Gulf Coast, centred on the heritage-rich and happening city of Sarasota. This area of the Sunshine State is one of its best-kept secrets, with a wonderful array of attractions, both modern and historic, in addition to a fabulous foodie scene, vibrant nightlife and the immense benefit of mile after mile of unspoiled beaches. You will discover some major gardens – including the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and those of the amazing Ringling Estate – as well as the lush, tropical landscapes for which Florida is rightly famous. The shops and restaurants are some of the most distinctive in Florida, notably around St Armands Circle, but you will also find one-off curiosities such as the long-running Ski-A-Rees waterski shows, and the ‘Shark Tooth Capital of the World’ just to the south in Venice. It all makes for a glorious mix of culture and beaches, and is just waiting to be explored.

Day 1
  • Arrive at the Orlando International Airport
  • Drive to Sarasota, 130 miles to the south-west
  • Check-in at Holiday Inn-Lido Beach
  • Stroll on to Lido Beach and watch the sun set, a spectacular Sarasota tradition
Day 2
  • Visit the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, a tropical, urban oasis featuring unparalleled horticulture displays and a Sarasota bay-front setting, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a world-class center for education, research and conservation
  • Spend the rest of the day at the beach sun bathing and enjoying the view
Day 3
  • Pack a picnic and rent a boat from Cannons Marina for a fun-filled day of off-shore excursions and water sports
Day 4
  • Explore the ground of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, be sure to take time to stroll the 66 acres of the Bayfront Gardens
  • Rest
  • As the evening approaches return to The Ringling for a performance at Sarasota’s most storied theater, the Historic Asolo Theater
Day 5
  • Discover the plant life at the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, thousands of tropical plants, trees and flowers from all over the world await
  • Head to the eight-mile island of Siesta Key, widely regarded as one of the best beaches in the world
Day 6
  • Enjoy the morning at Manasota Key, kayaking through the mangroves of Manasota Beach
  • Rest
  • Visit St. Armands Circle, an elegant boutique, restaurant and shopping plaza surrounded by a tropical oasis. This historic location was bought my circus magnate John Ringling in 1917
Day 7
  • Catch a Sarasota Ski-A-Rees show at the Sarasota Bay
  • Later watch a renowned performance at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, built in 1968 and 1969, Van Wezel holds a vital place in the history of 20th Century American architecture
Day 8
  • Hunt for prehistoric shark teeth at Venice Beach, the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World”
  • Later explore the shops of Historic Downtown Venice
Day 9
  • Experience life before the arrival of modern conveniences at the Manatee Village Historical Park, a collection of restored buildings from Manatee County’s settlement history
  • Enjoy 12 miles of shoreline along the Longboat Key Beach, relax among the laid-bike crowd and keep your eyes open for turtles nesting areas
  • Indulge at one of Sarasota’s best waterfront restaurants, the Dry Dock Waterfront Grill
Day 10
  • Check out of Holiday Inn- Lido Beach
  • Drive to Orlando, FL
  • Depart from the Orlando International Airport


More information on Things to do in Sarasota.

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Photography by SibylRose. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.