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Guidebook for Sarasota

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Guidebook for Sarasota

Parks & Nature
is a garden and animal attraction located on Bay Shore Road. Founded in 1939, it is one of the oldest continuously operated attractions in the state. The gardens started with 10 acres of land which were planted with thousands of tropical flowers and trees from all over the world. In the 1970s, the first Exotic Bird Show was created and featured cockatoos and macaws.
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Sarasota Jungle Gardens
3701 Bay Shore Road
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is a garden and animal attraction located on Bay Shore Road. Founded in 1939, it is one of the oldest continuously operated attractions in the state. The gardens started with 10 acres of land which were planted with thousands of tropical flowers and trees from all over the world. In the 1970s, the first Exotic Bird Show was created and featured cockatoos and macaws.
The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytes, especially orchids and bromeliads, and their canopy ecosystems, with a focus on botany, horticulture and environmental education
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Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
900 South Palm Avenue
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The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytes, especially orchids and bromeliads, and their canopy ecosystems, with a focus on botany, horticulture and environmental education
South Lido Park is a Sarasota County park located on Benjamin Franklin Drive. It is a waterfront park on Lido Key just north of Big Sarasota Pass. The park is located on the former land of Otto Schmidt Zoldan, a pioneer who applied for a homestead at the southern tip of Lido Key in 1904. His claim was granted in 1910 and included most of the land that is now South Lido Park. Lido Key was originally known as Sarasota Key until the Ringling Isles development in the 1920’s when it was renamed. Established in 1974, the park features trails, picnic areas, bird-watching, kayaking, and swimming
Lido S Park
2150 Benjamin Franklin Dr
South Lido Park is a Sarasota County park located on Benjamin Franklin Drive. It is a waterfront park on Lido Key just north of Big Sarasota Pass. The park is located on the former land of Otto Schmidt Zoldan, a pioneer who applied for a homestead at the southern tip of Lido Key in 1904. His claim was granted in 1910 and included most of the land that is now South Lido Park. Lido Key was originally known as Sarasota Key until the Ringling Isles development in the 1920’s when it was renamed. Established in 1974, the park features trails, picnic areas, bird-watching, kayaking, and swimming
The Celery Fields is an area of wetlands owned by Sarasota County. The wetlands site is found on the Great Florida Birding Trail and features an observation mound, trails, and ponds. Covering more than 360 acres, the site is also Sarasota County’s main storm water collection zone. Restoration of 100 acres of the wetlands included planting over 200,000 aquatic trees and plants as well as the construction of two boardwalks so that the public can see the wetlands and the wildlife. The site is a popular place for bird-watching and 217 species of birds have been seen here.
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Celery Fields
6893 Palmer Boulevard
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The Celery Fields is an area of wetlands owned by Sarasota County. The wetlands site is found on the Great Florida Birding Trail and features an observation mound, trails, and ponds. Covering more than 360 acres, the site is also Sarasota County’s main storm water collection zone. Restoration of 100 acres of the wetlands included planting over 200,000 aquatic trees and plants as well as the construction of two boardwalks so that the public can see the wetlands and the wildlife. The site is a popular place for bird-watching and 217 species of birds have been seen here.
1,200 acre state park between Venice and Sarasota, with 15 miles of trails. Combination of paved bike trails and more rugged hiking trails. Nice spot for some shaded running. Popular kayaking & birding spot, and a swimmable lake!
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Oscar Scherer State Park
1843 South Tamiami Trail
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1,200 acre state park between Venice and Sarasota, with 15 miles of trails. Combination of paved bike trails and more rugged hiking trails. Nice spot for some shaded running. Popular kayaking & birding spot, and a swimmable lake!
Named one of the best beaches in the United States, it's also great for running, with white, firm sand -- especially at low tide. The overall beach is 8 miles, but the best continuous section is ~3 miles south from Siesta Village. Mainly a beach run.
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Siesta Beach
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Named one of the best beaches in the United States, it's also great for running, with white, firm sand -- especially at low tide. The overall beach is 8 miles, but the best continuous section is ~3 miles south from Siesta Village. Mainly a beach run.
Essentials
Walmart Neighborhood Market
3500 North Tamiami Trail
Walgreens Pharmacy
3535 N Tamiami Trail
CVS
3709 N Tamiami Trail
Arts & Culture
The Sarasota Classic Car Museum houses about 100 vintage cars of all types in a facility with constantly rotating collection. The museum displays rare cars and ones owned by famous individuals. The museum has an Italian Car Collection which includes cars from Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Rivolta.
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Sarasota Classic Car Museum
5500 North Tamiami Trail
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The Sarasota Classic Car Museum houses about 100 vintage cars of all types in a facility with constantly rotating collection. The museum displays rare cars and ones owned by famous individuals. The museum has an Italian Car Collection which includes cars from Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Rivolta.
Designated as the official state art museum for Florida,the institution offers twenty-one galleries of European paintings as well as Cypriot antiquities and Asian, American, and contemporary art. The museum's art collection currently consists of more than 10,000 objects that include a variety of paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs, and decorative arts from ancient through contemporary periods and from around the world. The most celebrated items in the museum are 16th–20th-century European paintings, including a world-renowned collection of Peter Paul Rubens paintings. Other famous artists represented include Benjamin West, Marcel Duchamp, Diego Velázquez, Paolo Verones
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The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
5401 Bay Shore Road
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Designated as the official state art museum for Florida,the institution offers twenty-one galleries of European paintings as well as Cypriot antiquities and Asian, American, and contemporary art. The museum's art collection currently consists of more than 10,000 objects that include a variety of paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, photographs, and decorative arts from ancient through contemporary periods and from around the world. The most celebrated items in the museum are 16th–20th-century European paintings, including a world-renowned collection of Peter Paul Rubens paintings. Other famous artists represented include Benjamin West, Marcel Duchamp, Diego Velázquez, Paolo Verones
Ca d’Zan Mansion was the winter home of the American circus owner, John Ringling and his wife, Mable. Built between 1924 and 1926, the waterfront mansion is five stories high and contains 36,000 square feet. The Ringlings were lovers of Venice and the waterfront site reminded them of the lagoon in Venice. The style of the house is called Mediterranean Revival and shows the influence of the Doge’s Palace in Venice. The name of the mansion is Venetian for “House of John.” In addition to serving as a residence, the mansion also housed their large collection of art and artifacts. Docent led tours of the mansion are offered.
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Ca' d'Zan
5401 Bay Shore Rd
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Ca d’Zan Mansion was the winter home of the American circus owner, John Ringling and his wife, Mable. Built between 1924 and 1926, the waterfront mansion is five stories high and contains 36,000 square feet. The Ringlings were lovers of Venice and the waterfront site reminded them of the lagoon in Venice. The style of the house is called Mediterranean Revival and shows the influence of the Doge’s Palace in Venice. The name of the mansion is Venetian for “House of John.” In addition to serving as a residence, the mansion also housed their large collection of art and artifacts. Docent led tours of the mansion are offered.
The Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy will surely put a smile on your face. Marietta Lee, an artist herself, has been organizing this fun, eclectic collection of art from all kinds of media since 2006 in order to “preserve work of artistic and whimsical importance.” What Marietta is trying to tell us with her colorful and bright collection is to lighten up and not take ourselves so seriously. The artwork in the gallery, halls, garden, entrance hall, and even bathroom will lift your spirits and, as is Marietta’s hope, inspire your own creativity. In fact, the museum invites all artists who believe that their work would fit the museum’s philosophy to bring in some of their work. Admission is
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Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy Open from November 29, 2019 to May 25, 2020
2121 North Tamiami Trail
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The Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy will surely put a smile on your face. Marietta Lee, an artist herself, has been organizing this fun, eclectic collection of art from all kinds of media since 2006 in order to “preserve work of artistic and whimsical importance.” What Marietta is trying to tell us with her colorful and bright collection is to lighten up and not take ourselves so seriously. The artwork in the gallery, halls, garden, entrance hall, and even bathroom will lift your spirits and, as is Marietta’s hope, inspire your own creativity. In fact, the museum invites all artists who believe that their work would fit the museum’s philosophy to bring in some of their work. Admission is
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is an architectural landmark and popular venue for comedy, dance, music, and theater performances. Built between 1968 and 1969 with funds donated by Lewis and Eugenia Van Wezel, the hall was renovated in 2000. It has a seating capacity of 1,736 people and the 6,000 square foot Grand Foyer can seat up to 350 people. This opens up to the Terrace and Bayfront lawn which adds 1,500 more seats. If you are looking for romantic date ideas, see a performance at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The hall has a separate Education Center and offers a wide variety of education outreach programs for toddlers up to senior citizens.
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Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
777 N Tamiami Trail
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The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is an architectural landmark and popular venue for comedy, dance, music, and theater performances. Built between 1968 and 1969 with funds donated by Lewis and Eugenia Van Wezel, the hall was renovated in 2000. It has a seating capacity of 1,736 people and the 6,000 square foot Grand Foyer can seat up to 350 people. This opens up to the Terrace and Bayfront lawn which adds 1,500 more seats. If you are looking for romantic date ideas, see a performance at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The hall has a separate Education Center and offers a wide variety of education outreach programs for toddlers up to senior citizens.
Housed in the Sarasota Opera House on North Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota Opera is a professional opera company. Originally founded as the Asolo Opera Guild, the opera acquired the Sarasota Opera House, formerly known as the Edwards Theatre, in 1979, and opened in 1984. The opera house was renovated and reopened in 2008. The company performs four fully staged operas for its Winter Opera Festival during the months of February and March. The opera company is known for its Verdi Cycle, a presentation of all of the operas by famed Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi along with his orchestral works, chamber works, and his Requiem. The company has many education outreach programs.
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Sarasota Opera House
61 North Pineapple Avenue
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Housed in the Sarasota Opera House on North Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota Opera is a professional opera company. Originally founded as the Asolo Opera Guild, the opera acquired the Sarasota Opera House, formerly known as the Edwards Theatre, in 1979, and opened in 1984. The opera house was renovated and reopened in 2008. The company performs four fully staged operas for its Winter Opera Festival during the months of February and March. The opera company is known for its Verdi Cycle, a presentation of all of the operas by famed Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi along with his orchestral works, chamber works, and his Requiem. The company has many education outreach programs.
Ringling College of Art and Design
2700 North Tamiami Trail
New College of Florida
5800 Bay Shore Road
Entertainment & Activities
Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent, not-for-profit, marine research organization based on City Island in Sarasota, Florida. The Lab aims to advance marine science and education, supporting conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. The public Mote Aquarium and associated education program translate Mote research for the public The aquarium is open to the public and is the home of over 100 marine species, especially local marine animals. Opened in 1980, the aquarium contains jellyfish, manatees, rays, seahorses, sea turtles, and more. The narrated shark feedings are a popular attraction at the aquarium. If you are wondering what to do in Sarasota with kids, this is a great
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Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
1600 Ken Thompson Parkway
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Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent, not-for-profit, marine research organization based on City Island in Sarasota, Florida. The Lab aims to advance marine science and education, supporting conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. The public Mote Aquarium and associated education program translate Mote research for the public The aquarium is open to the public and is the home of over 100 marine species, especially local marine animals. Opened in 1980, the aquarium contains jellyfish, manatees, rays, seahorses, sea turtles, and more. The narrated shark feedings are a popular attraction at the aquarium. If you are wondering what to do in Sarasota with kids, this is a great
The Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, located on Palmer Boulevard in Sarasota, is a safe haven for big cats and other animals. Founded in 1987 by Kay Rosaire, the sanctuary became a non-profit organization in 2005. It focuses on rescuing and caring for exotic cats and other animals such as bears, birds, and, at the same time, educating the public about the importance of wildlife preservation. The sanctuary features three large indoor/outdoor habitats complete with swimming pools and plants to create a natural environment. Training demonstrations with the big cats are presented to help visitors understand conservation and habitat preservation.
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Big Cat Habitat Gulf Coast Sanctuary
7101 Palmer Boulevard
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The Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, located on Palmer Boulevard in Sarasota, is a safe haven for big cats and other animals. Founded in 1987 by Kay Rosaire, the sanctuary became a non-profit organization in 2005. It focuses on rescuing and caring for exotic cats and other animals such as bears, birds, and, at the same time, educating the public about the importance of wildlife preservation. The sanctuary features three large indoor/outdoor habitats complete with swimming pools and plants to create a natural environment. Training demonstrations with the big cats are presented to help visitors understand conservation and habitat preservation.
Take a guided tour through Sarasota's hidden gem, the Exotic Mangrove Tunnels, while searching for Manatees, Dolphins, & Sea Life who call Sarasota Bay home. Or if going at your own speed is what you are looking for contact us for kayak and paddle board rentals
Kayaking SRQ Tours & Rentals
190 Taft Dr
Take a guided tour through Sarasota's hidden gem, the Exotic Mangrove Tunnels, while searching for Manatees, Dolphins, & Sea Life who call Sarasota Bay home. Or if going at your own speed is what you are looking for contact us for kayak and paddle board rentals
An 18-hole Adventure style miniature golf course with a live educational alligator exhibit. Open 365 days a year. Explore 18-holes of mini golf while winding through a tropical setting with waterfalls, caves, and 25 real American Alligators! You can even purchase food to feed the alligators with an old style bamboo cane fishing pole
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Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf
3815 North Tamiami Trail
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An 18-hole Adventure style miniature golf course with a live educational alligator exhibit. Open 365 days a year. Explore 18-holes of mini golf while winding through a tropical setting with waterfalls, caves, and 25 real American Alligators! You can even purchase food to feed the alligators with an old style bamboo cane fishing pole
Theater complex with multiple screens featuring new release films, plush seating & concession stand.
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Regal Hollywood - Sarasota
1993 Main Street
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Theater complex with multiple screens featuring new release films, plush seating & concession stand.
Wonderful kayak and paddle boarding tours right on Siesta Key!
Flow Kayak and Paddle Tours
5253 Ocean Blvd
Wonderful kayak and paddle boarding tours right on Siesta Key!
This 1-hour Segway rental in Anna Maria Island is available for different daily departure times. On the day you decide to use your rental, meet at Adventure Away Rental Center on Bridge Street. Get paired up with a Segway, and listen to a short safety briefing about how to handle your Segway. Then, take off around the island on your own. Pass by Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach, and Coquina Beach. Coquina Beach is the longest stretch of beach on the entire island, and here you can spot the remnants of old piers. Other spots you might want to cruise by during your rental time include Bayfront Park and Manatee County Public Beach. After you’ve gotten your fix on Florida’s island landscape (or
Segs By The Sea
119 Bridge St
This 1-hour Segway rental in Anna Maria Island is available for different daily departure times. On the day you decide to use your rental, meet at Adventure Away Rental Center on Bridge Street. Get paired up with a Segway, and listen to a short safety briefing about how to handle your Segway. Then, take off around the island on your own. Pass by Holmes Beach, Bradenton Beach, and Coquina Beach. Coquina Beach is the longest stretch of beach on the entire island, and here you can spot the remnants of old piers. Other spots you might want to cruise by during your rental time include Bayfront Park and Manatee County Public Beach. After you’ve gotten your fix on Florida’s island landscape (or
Escape aboard the Marina Jack II! Join us for a relaxing narrated sightseeing lunch tour or sunset dinner cruise through the inter-coastal waters and the Gulf of Mexico and enjoy delicious dining, outstanding views, and exceptional service. Docked behind the Marina Jack restaurant, located on the Downtown Sarasota Bay front, our air conditioned salons and open air outside deck will provide you with best way to enjoy the waters of the Gulf of Mexico on the 96’ cruise vessel. On the Marina Jack II every seat has a view of the water, perfect for sightseeing!
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Marina Jack
2 Marina Plaza
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Escape aboard the Marina Jack II! Join us for a relaxing narrated sightseeing lunch tour or sunset dinner cruise through the inter-coastal waters and the Gulf of Mexico and enjoy delicious dining, outstanding views, and exceptional service. Docked behind the Marina Jack restaurant, located on the Downtown Sarasota Bay front, our air conditioned salons and open air outside deck will provide you with best way to enjoy the waters of the Gulf of Mexico on the 96’ cruise vessel. On the Marina Jack II every seat has a view of the water, perfect for sightseeing!
Food Scene
Not far from downtown Sarasota, the small island of Siesta Key sits on the gleaming Gulf of Mexico and boasts one of the best beaches in the country. In the heart of this quirky, fun island is Siesta Key Village, a colorful, lively village near the beach that is full of restaurants, shops, bars, spas, ice cream parlors, and much more. The village is all about shops, parties, and fun, and its festive atmosphere is just perfect for barhopping. The village really gets busy during the many festivals it hosts, so if you can, time your visit with one of them. The Siesta Fiesta is one of the more popular events. Check the nightlife as well; there is something for everyone.
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Siesta Key
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Not far from downtown Sarasota, the small island of Siesta Key sits on the gleaming Gulf of Mexico and boasts one of the best beaches in the country. In the heart of this quirky, fun island is Siesta Key Village, a colorful, lively village near the beach that is full of restaurants, shops, bars, spas, ice cream parlors, and much more. The village is all about shops, parties, and fun, and its festive atmosphere is just perfect for barhopping. The village really gets busy during the many festivals it hosts, so if you can, time your visit with one of them. The Siesta Fiesta is one of the more popular events. Check the nightlife as well; there is something for everyone.
There is nothing like strolling through a bustling market on a warm Saturday morning, checking the juicy, colorful fruits and veggies, grabbing a piece of cheesecake or a cup of coffee, and listening to the chatter of vendors and buyers and the music in the background. Every Saturday, year round, the Central Sarasota Farmers Market opens its doors (figuratively) to local farmers, bakers, artisans, and musicians. All the vendors are growers or farmers who are happy to share their farming experiences with customers. The place is lively and crowded, and the number of vendors, as well as shoppers, is steadily growing. The market is situated in front of the Sarasota County Technical Institute.
Central Sarasota Farmer's Market
4748 S Beneva Rd
There is nothing like strolling through a bustling market on a warm Saturday morning, checking the juicy, colorful fruits and veggies, grabbing a piece of cheesecake or a cup of coffee, and listening to the chatter of vendors and buyers and the music in the background. Every Saturday, year round, the Central Sarasota Farmers Market opens its doors (figuratively) to local farmers, bakers, artisans, and musicians. All the vendors are growers or farmers who are happy to share their farming experiences with customers. The place is lively and crowded, and the number of vendors, as well as shoppers, is steadily growing. The market is situated in front of the Sarasota County Technical Institute.
Located in Downtown Sarasota, Marina Jack has been the premier deep water marina and waterfront dining destination on the West Coast of Florida, offering three unique dining experiences serving lunch, brunch and dinner as well as Sarasota's best sightseeing and sunset cruises aboard the Marina Jack II.
marina jacks
2574 Bay St
Located in Downtown Sarasota, Marina Jack has been the premier deep water marina and waterfront dining destination on the West Coast of Florida, offering three unique dining experiences serving lunch, brunch and dinner as well as Sarasota's best sightseeing and sunset cruises aboard the Marina Jack II.
Sightseeing
Nathan Benderson Park started as a pretty but ordinary park with a large man-made lake in its center. It was great for a run, hike, a dog walk, or paddling a kayak or a paddleboard. Then rowers discovered it. Apparently, this unique 600-acre park with its 400-acre lake has been declared as one of the few facilities in North America with all necessary natural attributes for a first class rowing facility. As a result, the park started having regular regatta competitions, and it acquired a range of facilities necessary for this sport: racing lanes, coaching lanes, straight shorelines, wave attenuation, a boathouse, a training center, start and finish huts and towers, grand stands for spectator
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Nathan Benderson Park
5851 Nathan Benderson Circle
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Nathan Benderson Park started as a pretty but ordinary park with a large man-made lake in its center. It was great for a run, hike, a dog walk, or paddling a kayak or a paddleboard. Then rowers discovered it. Apparently, this unique 600-acre park with its 400-acre lake has been declared as one of the few facilities in North America with all necessary natural attributes for a first class rowing facility. As a result, the park started having regular regatta competitions, and it acquired a range of facilities necessary for this sport: racing lanes, coaching lanes, straight shorelines, wave attenuation, a boathouse, a training center, start and finish huts and towers, grand stands for spectator
Legacy Trail is a paved trail that runs from Sarasota south to Venice. Opened in 2008 along a historic rail corridor, the 10.8 mile long trail is considered to be one of the best biking trails in Florida.
Legacy Trail
Legacy Trail is a paved trail that runs from Sarasota south to Venice. Opened in 2008 along a historic rail corridor, the 10.8 mile long trail is considered to be one of the best biking trails in Florida.
Possibly the most dramatic run in the Sarasota area, with great water views and even a bit of elevation! It's ~4 miles over the bridge to St. Armands Circle and back, with numerous add-on options.
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Ringling Bridge Causeway Park
420 John Ringling Causeway
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Possibly the most dramatic run in the Sarasota area, with great water views and even a bit of elevation! It's ~4 miles over the bridge to St. Armands Circle and back, with numerous add-on options.
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Unconditional Surrender - Sarasota, FL
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Marina Jack Trail
Drinks & Nightlife
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Beach Club at Siesta Key
6732 Sarasea Cir
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Smokin' Joes Pub
1448 Main St