Most people think of Orlando or Miami when they think of Florida, but the Suncoast is majorly underrated. I headed down to Sarasota recently to visit my parents and discovered it’s actually a great tourist spot.
Things to Do
There’s actually a lot to do in Sarasota and the surrounding areas, besides the obvious beaches. Here are some of the things I did this week:
–The Ringling Museum – Sarasota is actually the winter home for the circus and has an amazing museum dedicated to the circus on the grounds of John Ringling’s home.
The circus model is my favorite part – a miniature replica of a circus set up, including a “backstage look” and inside the big top. You could spend hours looking at every little detail.
–The Dali Museum – Located in St. Petersburg, this is the 2nd largest collection of Salvador Dali artwork. The museum itself is a piece of art, with gorgeous glass windows and bayside views.
Be sure to get the free Audio Guide as his paintings have so much depth.
–The Chihuly Collection – Also located in St. Petersburg, this is a beautiful exhibit with Chihuly’s gorgeous glass sculptures. With excellent lighting, they photograph (and Instagram!) very well. Glass blowing demonstrations are available as well as entry to the Morean Arts Center across the street.
-Beaches – Siesta Key Beach is voted best beach in the US and it’s easy to see why with its dreamy white sand that feels like walking through flour. The Sunday night drum circles are fun – bring a chair and drinks and you’ll be entertained through the sunset.
-Seafood, seafood, seafood! There are so many places to get fresh seafood, plus gorgeous views. Sharky’s is fun for its drinks and the adjoining pier has dolphin sightings.
–Columbia Restaurant – located on St. Armand’s circle, this restaurant serves Colombian food. Sit outside and people watch with a glass (or pitcher!) of sangria.
Sarasota has its own airport but it’s small so you might need to fly into Tampa which is about an hour away. If you find a really good deal, Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale aren’t too far away. You’ll want a car while you’re here so you can check out the beaches and take day trips.