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The downed trees and driftwood litter the beaches of Beer Can Island, one of the best things to do in Sarasota!

18 Best Things To Do In Sarasota, FL You Shouldn’t Miss

May 15, 2022 //  by  Florida Trippers

If you’re looking for things to do in Sarasota, then look no further. We’re here to help!

On the gulf coast of southwest Florida just an hour south of Tampa, Sarasota is a town we consider to be a hidden gem. Because of all the fantastic Sarasota attractions, the town motto describes it as a town “where urban amenities meet small-town living.”

I am obsessed with Sarasota and there is a reason it tops my list of places in Florida that look like Europe!

We couldn’t agree more. Sarasota’s Italian-influenced architecture, diverse collection of environmental attractions, and glittering beaches make it a sleepy paradise. It’s no wonder Sarasota is the winter headquarters of the Ringling Brothers Circus!

Whether you’re discovering the area for the first time, or you’re a local looking for something new, we’ll help you treat yourself to the best things to do in Sarasota, FL.

An aerial view of the bridge leading into Sarasota, surrounded by turquoise blue water.

16 Fun Things To Do In Sarasota

Ringling museum of art.

Located on the Ringling Brothers Museum campus, the Ringling Museum of Art started as a collection of personal art belonging to the circus co-founder John Ringling. Works include those by Velázquez, Rubens, and Veronese. The Ringling is only an hour south of Tampa by car, making it a must-visit on a day trip from Tampa.

Visitors will first be charmed by a stunning, Renaissance-inspired, pink courtyard. There you can find bronze and stone casts of iconic sculptures-including Michaelangelo’s David. In the courtyard, a garden area flourishes with flowers and fountains. If you plan to visit, don’t forget to check out our Tips For Visiting The Ringling Museum!

Once inside, art lovers can gaze at the expansive collection in the long building that frames the courtyard. Visiting this museum in Florida is one of the best things to do in Sarasota. It’s known for its works from the Roman, Greek, Medieval, and Renaissance periods.

The Ringling has a top entrance fee of $25 for adults, offering lower payment tiers for children, seniors, and college students! Reduced entrance rates are offered on Thursdays between 5 PM – 8 PM.

A woman in a long, blue dress visits the pink exterior of the Ringling Museum, one of the best things to do in Sarasota.

Siesta Key Beach

Siesta Key Beach has been named one of the finest white sand beaches in the country. Swimming there is also one of the best things to do in Sarasota! This is a great family destination, ideal for children looking to collect shells as souvenirs.

Siesta Key is broken up into smaller beaches. Turtle Beach is a quieter beach option for those looking for a low-key afternoon to enjoy the rest of that book. The Point of Rocks is a must for snorkelers to observe sea life.

Adjacent to the beaches is Siesta Village, filled to the brim with dining options, quaint boutiques and shops, restaurants, and cafes to grab a cup of joe. Those lucky enough to visit on a Sunday night will be treated to the beats of the drum circle while watching sword-balancing belly dancers!

Siesta Key Beach has something to offer for everyone, making it one of the best Sarasota attractions.

The clear aquamarine waters of Siesta Key Beach wash on the powdered sugar sand. Visiting this beach is one of the best things to do in Sarasota.

Myakka River State Park

So you want to feel what Florida must have felt like when Spanish explorers first encountered the land? That’s the feeling you’ll get when you step foot into Myakka River State Park.

One of the best Sarasota attractions, the Myakka River winds through the grounds, full of tall pines, vast prairies littered with wildflowers, and wetlands teeming with wildlife. The Myakka River State Park is one of Florida’s oldest and most expansive state parks at 58 square miles.

In addition to boating, fishing, and canoeing, guests can walk the Birdwalk at Myakka. The long-planked bridge offers a way to observe the ecosystems up close without disturbing anything. This is an excellent spot for birders to add to their life lists, and maybe even see bald eagles!

Families can take their children for a walk through the pines and palms through the Canopy Walkway, suspended 25 feet above the ground, making it one of the best things to do in Sarasota with kids!

The long path of the wooden Birdwalk at Myakka River State Park, one of the best Sarasota attractions.

Sarasota Farmers Market

One of the best ways to get a taste of Sarasota, and we mean literally, is to make a visit to the Sarasota Farmers Market. Founded in 1979 by the Downtown Merchant’s Association, it was designed to bring more foot traffic downtown.

Today, the Farmers Market is a celebration of the best Sarasota has to offer. The streets downtown are lined with vendors, selling everything from fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, local art, and every kind of street food imaginable. Musicians can also be found playing on the streets as well.

A non-profit, the Farmers Market takes pride in their philanthropy, funneling their earnings back into the community. You can feel good about emptying your pockets here. We suggest you come here hungry.

Visitors browse food, art, produce and more on the streets of Downtown Sarasota at the Sarasota Farmers Market, one of the most fun things to do in Sarasota with kids!

Bayfront Park

Just a walk across the street downtown lies one of the most beautiful Sarasota attractions. A charming marina, Bayfront Park is to Sarasota what Grant Park is to Chicago.

Overlooking the Sarasota Bay, a large stone archway covered in bougainvilleas welcomes visitors to the park. Once inside, the pavilion offers benches to gaze over the marina, a gigantic playground for children, and picnic tables perfect for an outdoor lunch.

Want to take to the water? The Marina has sailboats and sight-seeing cruises available. This is also a perfect place for deep-sea fishers to launch their boats.

Children can enjoy the Steigerwaldt Fountain, a water feature where jets shoot water up at timed intervals, a perfect way to beat the heat. The fountain, as well as the entire park, is dog-friendly!

If you’re hungry for a nosh, you can head to the adjacent O’Leary’s Tiki Bar and Grill, a tropical-themed restaurant offering casual bites in an open-air space. If you’ve just been playing in the fountain with your dog? No problem. O’Leary’s is dog-friendly as well!

With stunning views, Bayfront Park is the best place to watch the sunset, making it one of the most beautiful things to do in Sarasota at night.

The stone arch entrance to Bayfront Park, with bougainvillea flowers pouring out, visiting which is one of the best things to do in Sarasota.

Asolo Repertory Theatre

Asolo Repertory Theatre is unlike other theater centers in Sarasota. It is not a performing arts venue where touring Broadway shows come to perform. Asolo is its own professional theatre company, casting and producing shows of their own choosing and invention.

Asolo Repertory Theatre is the biggest professional theatre company in Florida. They produce about fifteen different productions each season, which typically lasts from fall through the spring of the following year. The company has attracted many Broadway and TV/film stars to perform on their stages like Brad Oscar and Jeremy Jordan.

Asolo Repertory Theatre also has a partnership with the conservatory of Florida State University, offering students a Master of Fine Arts degree in Acting. They also offer classes in-house as well as online.

The center of Sarasota’s fine arts scene, a trip to see a production at Asolo Repertory Theatre is worth a trip, one of the most cultural Sarasota attractions.

The lawn and driveway leading up to the marquis of the Asolo Repertory Theatre, one of the best things to do in Sarasota at night.

Ca D’Zan Mansion

One of the architectural gems of the area, the Ca D’Zan Mansion was the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus co-founder John Ringling. A lover of Venice, Ca D’Zan is Venetian for “House of John.”

The mansion borrows architectural aspects from Ringling’s favorite places in Venice: Doge’s Palace, Ca d’Oro, and the Grunwald Hotel. The marble terraces and bayfront windows echo a Venetian Gothic aesthetic, making a visit one of the most beautiful things to do in Sarasota.

The interior of the former residence is every bit as opulent as the exterior. In the living room, a crystal chandelier from the original Waldorf-Astoria hotel is suspended over a black and white tiled floor. The long dining table seats 22 people. Opulent silver and china are displayed in the butler’s quarters.

One of the United States’ architectural gems, the mansion was used in the filming of Great Expectations directed by Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron in 1998!

The Ca D’Zan offers self-guided tours of its first floor with tickets at $25 for adults. There are ticket discounts for children and seniors, as well as for military, teachers, and college students. The mansion is open from 10 AM – 5 PM daily, with the exceptions of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.

The detailed Victorian Gothic architecture of the Ca D'Zan, one of the most beautiful things to do in Sarasota.

Sarasota Classic Car Museum

For something off the beaten path, why not pay a visit to a different kind of museum? The Sarasota Classic Car Museum is the second oldest of its kind in the United States! For those who love classic cars, this is one of the best things to do in Sarasota.

The Sarasota Classic Car Museum has the largest “timeline room” which details the history of the automobile from its conception by Karl Benz in 1885 to the present. As you walk through the space learning about the evolution of cars and its major players, you can see artifacts of the automobiles in question.

A showroom has a vast collection of over 75 classic and muscle cars from all of the greatest names including Bentley, Cadillac, Romeo, and Ferrari! Even if you’re not a car person, these restored relics are undeniably beautiful.

The museum is open seven days a week from 9 AM – 6 PM except Christmas Day. Tickets for adults are $14.85 and free for children under the age of five!

A row of classic cars lines the showroom at the Sarasota Classic Car Museum, one of the great things to do in Sarasota.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Not quite a zoo, but not quite botanical gardens, Sarasota Jungle Gardens meets somewhere in the middle. Built on the swampy remains of a former banana grove, the Jungle Gardens is a combination of animal and bird sanctuary/botanical gardens.

Sarasota’s favorite family attraction, Sarasota Jungle Gardens is a nature walk where patrons can have up-close experiences with all sorts of wildlife like flamingos, alligators, a variety of birds, small deer.

Guests can wander through sunny paths with sections dappled with shade, surrounded by lush foliage and matured trees. Throughout the path, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in animal feedings within the flamingo and alligator enclosures!

Every day, patrons can attend animal shows including a Multi-Species Animal Show, a Jungle Bird Show, a Wildlife Wonder Show, and a Reptile Show. Children can enjoy a playground area with a koi pond and even enter the petting zoo and meet a new fuzzy friend!

Truly a haven for flora and fauna, Sarasota Jungle Gardens is one of the most fun things to do in Sarasota! Adult tickets are $18, with options for children and seniors. Annual passes are available.

A green Macaw with vivid orange cheeks relaxes at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.

Lido Key Beach

Just adjacent to Siesta Key Beach with a short scenic drive west of Sarasota, Lido Key Beach is a lesser-known hidden gem. One of Florida’s most pristine beaches , it is the ultimate destination for shoppers, sight-seers, and adventurers alike.

Lido Key Beach is a must-visit for fishermen. Grab a bucket of bait and a pole and wade through the water to try your hand at catching snook, whiting, and jacks! Wade further out into the water with a surfboard and catch some waves since Lido Key is a hidden surfing spot!

Walk to the south of the key to the South Lido County Park where picnic tables, grills, and volleyball courts await you. Don’t want to grill yourself? Lido Key is also home to the Columbia Restaurant, an iconic restaurant with roots in Tampa , so go grab a glass of sangria!

Just blocks away from the sand, you can visit St. Armand’s Circle, an elegant center with high-end shops and fine dining restaurants. The metropolitan hub is full of European flair and mid-modern architecture, a scenic haven.

A lifeguard tower stands among the reeds in the sands of Lido Key Beach, one of the best things to do in Sarasota, as the sun peeks through clouds and waves crash on the shore.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Of all the botanical gardens in Florida , Marie Selby might just take the cake when it comes to sheer beauty. That’s because this paradise in Sarasota is a little bit different.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is the only one in the world dedicated to the preservation and care of epiphytic tropical plants: orchids, bromeliads, and gesneriads. Once entering, the plants truly take the guest to what feels like a completely different part of the world.

Spanning over 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries, the paths of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens will lead you on a self-guided walking tour through the grounds. At the end of the tour is an outdoor museum with works of the featured artist of the year.

A must as one of the best things to do in Sarasota, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens are open daily from 10 AM – 5 PM. Parking is free, and tickets are $15 for adults. We recommend arriving at opening or earlier in the day, to beat the crowds and the heat.

A banyan tree rests in dappled shade along the path of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, one of many can't-miss Sarasota attractions.

Sarasota National Cemetery

The Sarasota National Cemetery is one of six in Florida. Resting there are members of the United States Armed Forces who either died while on active duty or died with any discharge condition except dishonorable.

The Patriot Plaza, lined with bronze statues of perched bald eagles, leads to a promenade with a glass overhang that covers a stage used for ceremonies.

The grounds, while beautifully kept out of respect for the fallen, are sobering. Among the headstones are benches for mourners and those wishing to pay their respects. There are also large stone blocks outlining the characteristics of soldiers, like endurance and courage.

Visiting a national cemetery is a very patriotic way to honor our country, and the beauty of the Sarasota National Cemetery only enhances the honor and respect paid to the fallen that rest there.

The shadows of mourners look on the lines of headstones in the Sarasota National Cemetery, adorned with wreaths.

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Dedicated to marine life, the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is first and foremost a research facility, whose aims include conservation of marine ecosystems. Secondly, they are an aquarium open to the publish to share and teach these findings. Visiting is one of the best things to do in Sarasota if you’re looking to learn more about marine life.

Most recently, the Laboratory had a breakthrough in coral reef restoration. Scientists were able to introduce gametes that promote reproduction into colonies of coral reefs in Florida!

Visitors to the aquarium can learn about their efforts by viewing the 135,000-gallon shark tank, or seeing the sea turtles and manatees. Other ecosystem exhibits are teeming with jellyfish and colorful fish!

General admission will not only grant visitors entrance to the aquarium, but also to the Marine Mammal Research and Rehabilitation Center, where you can learn more about what you can do to save our oceans!

The Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is open daily from 9:30 AM – 5 PM, but tickets must be purchased online in advance.

The exterior of the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, one of the best things to do in Sarasota.

Celery Fields

No, Celery Fields is not literally a farm with fields of celery. Instead, it is one of the most beautiful Sarasota attractions. Celery Fields offers some great Florida hiking .

Celery Fields is actually more than 400 acres of swamps, pools, deep ponds, and canals all inhabited by a variety of Florida wildlife. Plentiful in archeological artifacts, the grounds were once home to early native Floridian settlers.

Located on the Great Florida Birding Trail, surveyors of the area have found at least 246 species of birds, including roseate spoonbills, blue herons, and meadowlarks. This makes Celery Fields an ideal scouting location for birders looking to catch glimpses of rare birds.

Visitors can walk through the fields, now transformed into more traditional wetlands to sustain the ecosystems, on one of two boardwalks. One boardwalk is at the north and one is at the south end of the grounds. Helpful guides are available to give information about any birds seen in the area!

The park is open from 6 AM to sunset every day, and there is no admission fee, so grab your binoculars and check out one of the best things to do in Sarasota!

A flock of white birds litter the marshes of Celery Park, one of the most fun things to do in Sarasota.

Circle Drum Distilling

How many places have you visited that have their own brand of alcohol? Add Sarasota to that list with Siesta Key Rum, distilled at Drum Circle Distillery! For those interested in brewing or distilling, this is one of the best things to do in Sarasota

When you visit the Circle Drum facility, you can take a guided tour, usually taking around 45-50 minutes! See the large copper pots that house the rum from fermentation to distillation, and then learn about the benefits of barrel aging.

After seeing how the rum goes from barrel to bottle, you will be released into the tasting room where you can sample the spiced rum in some of the creators’ favorite drink recipes! We recommend arriving 15 minutes early before your tour, you will be greeted with samples!

Beer Can Island

Most of the beaches you’ll find are developed–surrounded by infrastructure and cleaned up. This is not the case for Beer Can Island, as it is completely untamed and undeveloped.

Downed Australian pine trees and driftwood litter the island’s shores. The result is a unique, secluded beach experience, you’ll feel like you’re straight out of the movie Cast Away !

Beer Can Island was named for the empty beer cans left behind by previous boaters. While most people arrive at Beer Can Island by boat, it is possible to walk there from Longboat Key in shallow waters.

If you do go looking for a secluded weekend excursion in this magical hidden gem , be warned, that the island may see more visitors on the weekend. Be sure to bring a hammock to tie around two trees and enjoy!

Check out our Tips For Visiting And Finding Beer Can Island if you want to visit!

The downed trees and driftwood littering the shores of secluded Beer Can Island, one of the best things to do in Sarasota.

Kayak Through Mangrove Tunnels

For those who like adventure, one of the best things to do in Sarasota is to try kayaking through Sarasota’s mangrove tunnels. Paddle through blue water and stay in the shade created by the mangrove trees on either side of you.

A guided kayak tour is a great family activity in Sarasota, especially if you haven’t kayaked before! On a kayak tour, you begin your adventure in Ted Sperling Nature Park. From there you can test your equipment in Sarasota Bay before heading into the unique ecosystem of mangrove tunnels.

Keep an eye out for all sorts of wildlife, including the dolphins and manatees that frequent the area!

Book here : Kayak Tour through Mangrove Tunnels

A red kayak floats through a tunnel of green-topped mangrove trees, an outdoor activity that is one of the best things to do in Sarasota.

Owen’s Fish Camp

One of the best things to do in Sarasota is to try the cuisine at local restaurants ! At Owen’s Fish Camp, that cuisine is seafood, of course.

At Owen’s you will be treated to some of the best seafood in the area, with fresh catches coming right from the bay. Enjoy Southern classics like shrimp and grits or whatever the current “Naked Fish” is, depending on the season, with a side of collard greens.

You’ll come to Owen’s Fish Fry for the food, but stay for the atmosphere. Hang out in the backyard under the banyan tree, listen to live music, or chat with the locals.

Just be aware that Owen’s can get quite busy, so get there early to avoid a wait!

A platter of shrimp, corn, and sausage sits on a rustic table, with sides of lemon, cocktail sauce, and a glass of beer.

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Sarasota Vacation Itinerary + Best Tips For Your Visit

This post may contain affiliate links, view our disclosure policy .

Look no further for the best all-encompassing   Sarasota vacation itinerary for spending up to 6 days in Sarasota, Florida!

Sarasota is known for its year-round warm temperatures and attracts a plethora of visitors looking to experience unending outdoor fun.

With its soft, powdery white sand beaches and a multitude of family-friendly attractions, there are many reasons to fall in love with Sarasota, Florida.

In this post, you will learn all about what to do, where to stay, and how to plan the absolute best vacation in Sarasota.

With this Sarasota itinerary, you’ll have plenty of time to experience the best Sarasota restaurants and attractions while discovering our best tips for your visit!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.  

Sarasota vacation tips from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan.

Table of Contents

Best Time to Visit Sarasota Florida

Found in the United States, Sarasota is located on the Gulf of Mexico on the southwest coast of Florida.

The beauty of Sarasota, FL is that it can be enjoyed year-round and is visited by thousands of vacation-goers throughout every season.

The best times to visit Sarasota are during the months of March to May when temperatures average in the low 80s.

Another popular time to visit is between September and November when crowds and prices are more manageable, and when temperatures are in the mid-80s.

The mild, comfortable temperatures and predictable weather during these months make it a great time to enjoy the beaches and watersports, as well as experience all of the best things to do in Sarasota .

For those looking to get away during the summer months, Sarasota offers the same great attractions but with higher temperatures (90+ during the day) and humidity levels.

If visiting during June, July, or August, be sure to learn how to beat the Florida heat while there.

Additional planning tip: Be mindful that Florida’s Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak of the season being the first week of September.

And psst…check out these related posts before your trip!

  • Best things to do in Sarasota with Kids!
  • Sarasota Kayak Tours: A Complete Guide + Best Tips!
  • Complete Florida Packing List & Must-Have Vacation Extras

Click here to discover the ultimate Sarasota vacation itinerary for spending up to 6 days in Sarasota, Florida!  #Sarasota #Florida #familytravel #bestfamilyvacations

Sarasota Vacation Itinerary Ideas

Below you can find suggested Sarasota vacation itinerary ideas from one to six days.

The itinerary suggestions are based on our personal experiences and is filled with insider tips for visiting Sarasota for the first time.

No two Sarasota vacations will be exactly the same, however, so use these itinerary suggestions as a guide.

You’ll need to adjust your itinerary as needed to account for weather, where you stay, how much time you spend at each attraction, and the varying interests of your travel party.

Also, be sure to consult our Florida packing list before your trip to be sure that you pack the correct clothing, accessories, and necessary Florida extras for when you plan to visit!

*All of our top recommended restaurants, landmarks, and attractions are bolded. Their physical locations fit into the flow of this itinerary. If you choose to substitute a restaurant or attraction in their place, be sure to adjust the timing of your itinerary accordingly.

Sarasota Vacation: Day 1

  • Arrival Day!
  • Check in to your Sarasota accommodations and get settled in.
  • In the evening, drive to Bayfront Park . Park your car there and spend time strolling along the seaside and through the park.
  • From Bayfront, walk to Owen’s Fish Camp and enjoy local seafood for dinner.

Downtown Sarasota

We never recommend planning too much to do on the first day of a family vacation. Arrival day (Day 1) should consist of checking in to your lodging and getting acquainted with your immediate surroundings.

Get to know the local area before venturing out to explore and experience the sights and attractions that draw you away from your overnight accommodations.

Determine where you will get your morning breakfast and coffee. Are there late-night bars and restaurants nearby? Do you have access to the amenities that you’ll need throughout the week?

Finally, check out the onsite pool and work-out facility, or nearby beach and park trails in order to establish what to do during your downtime, and where to get in your daily exercise.

Downtown Sarasota & Bayfront Park

Downtown Sarasota is located directly on Sarasota Bay and is a lively area filled with restaurants, shops, and galleries. It is also home to Bayfront Park , an awesome, clean park with walking trails, a children’s splash pad, panoramic ocean views, and amazing sunsets.

Enjoy your evening here by parking at Bayfront Park (free!) and strolling around the paved trails. You will be in awe of the beautiful luxury homes, cars, and yachts that line the Bay.

Afterward, walk .4 miles (8 minutes) to Owen’s Fish Camp for dinner.

Owen’s Fish Camp is an awesome beach-bungalow-style restaurant with a casual, laid-back atmosphere, and an amazing menu. When there, be sure to try the market-fresh oysters and jambalaya while sipping cocktails on their outdoor patio.

Unconditional Surrender statue in Sarasota, Florida

Additional planning tip: As of January 2021, Sarasota’s iconic Unconditional Surrender statue has been moved to Bayfront Park (between O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill and Marina Jack). Be sure to grab a photo op of this iconic statue!

Sarasota Vacation: Day 2

  • Head to Lido Beach for a beach day!
  • On your way there, grab donuts and coffee at the Five-O Donut Co .
  • Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the beach.
  • Head back to your hotel and relax by the pool.
  • Take a Tropical Sunset cruise with LeBarge Tropical Cruises .
  • Afterward, wind down with live music, dinner, and drinks at nearby O’leary’s Tiki Bar And Grill .

The best Sarasota vacation itinerary from Top US Family Travel Blog, Travel With A Plan.

The highlight of Day 2 during your Sarasota family vacation is spending the day at the gorgeous Lido Beach .

The sugary-white sand and clear turquoise water found here are what draw families and vacation goers to Sarasota year after year.

Along with bringing your vacation beach essentials , plan to pack a picnic lunch to eat under the shaded pavilions, or to purchase and enjoy snacks from the Seabreeze Concession.

The full line-up of amenities offered at Lido Beach includes:

  • Year-round lifeguards
  • Public restrooms and outdoor showers
  • (Free) 400 car parking lot
  • Concessions and gift shop
  • Handicap-accessible observation deck
  • Beach umbrella and chair rentals
  • Shaded picnic tables and pavilions

Families may also enjoy these additional amenities at Lido Beach:

  • A heated swimming pool (for a small fee)
  • Playground equipment

Additional planning tip: Lido Key Beach is just a short walk to  St Armand’s Circle  where there are cafes, restaurants, and shops that you may want to explore.

The best Sarasota vacation itinerary from Top US Family Travel Blog, Travel With A Plan.

Sarasota Vacation: Day 3

  • Spend the day outdoors!
  • Take a morning guided kayak tour of the Sarasota mangrove tunnels .
  • Head to lunch at the Old Salty Dog (City Island location).
  • Visit the Mote Aquarium , which is next door.
  • Check out the fishing piers behind MOTE and watch boats pass by.
  • Tour the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens .
  • Drive 1 mile from the botanical gardens to Mandeville Beer Garden for dinner, craft beer, and a fun atmosphere (large kid-friendly outdoor garden area).

The best Sarasota vacation itinerary from Top US Family Travel Blog, Travel With A Plan.

Sarasota Mangrove Tunnels

The Sarasota mangrove tunnels are so unique to this area, that you just have to experience them while you’re here.

Mangroves are an amazing collection of tangled shrubs and roots that form interconnected tunnels perfect for kayaking or paddleboarding through.

Once inside the mangroves, you’ll see the Florida ecosystem at its finest as you’ll get to see fish, crabs, jellyfish, and native grasses beneath the crystal-clear waters.

Dolphin and manatee sightings are also very common when on the outskirts of the mangrove tunnels, which ends up being an exciting addition to your adventure.

Though you can go kayaking in Sarasota without a guide, I recommend utilizing a tour company, such as top-rated Kayaking SRQ Tours and Rentals to assist with your experience.

SRQ provides the kayak, paddle, and lifejackets for both kids and adults, as well as fits you with a double kayak if you have kids who are too young to paddle on their own.

Additional planning tip: You do not need any kayaking experience to do these excursions. All of the tours start with a short paddle lesson and the entire tour takes place in protected bodies of water (for easy paddling).

Mote Aquarium manatee

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Mote Marine Aquarium is a must-do during your Sarasota vacation!

The aquarium features over 100 species including sharks, manatees, sea turtles, seahorses, and stingrays. There are also octopuses, sea jellies, anemones, and corals.

Similar to our visit to the Great Lakes Aquarium in Minnesota , our kids loved the up-close animal encounters and touch pools at Mote Aquarium.

Additional planning tip: Nice to know is that you can visit Mote Aquarium rain or shine as all of the exhibits can be viewed from undercover spaces.

Sarasota Vacation: Day 4

  • Spend the day on Siesta Key!
  • Start off by grabbing donuts at Meany’s Donuts .
  • Lounge and play on Siesta Beach (Grab an award-winning sandwich at Anna’s Deli if you have time).
  • Spend the evening in Siesta Key Village browsing the shops on Ocean Boulevard .
  • Enjoy “Big G’s Happy Hour”, live music, and dinner at Siesta Key Oyster Bar (located in Siesta Key Village) or visit one of the many other amazing Siesta Key restaurants !
  • Grab a waffle cone at Big Olaf Ice Creamy , or a drink at the Daquiri Deck afterward (also in the village)!
  • Watch the sunset at Sunset Point (Siesta Key Beach Access #2).

The best Sarasota vacation itinerary from Top US Family Travel Blog, Travel With A Plan.

Siesta Beach

Siesta Beach, also known as Siesta Key Beach, is the most popular beach in the Sarasota area. Likewise, it was rated the #1 beach in America by TripAdvisor users in 2015, 2017, and 2020.

This is such a phenomenal place, that we’ve also created an entire Siesta Key family vacation itinerary that you don’t want to miss!

The full line-up of amenities offered at Siesta Key Public Beach includes:

  • First aid center with lifeguards on duty year-round
  • Public restrooms and showers
  • 800 car public parking lot
  • Full-service snack bar and gift shop
  • Picnic areas with and without cover
  • Gazebos and shelters that can accommodate 60-120 people.

Families can also enjoy all the following sporting activities at Siesta Key Beach:

  • A tennis court complex
  • Volleyball courts
  • A 20-station fitness trail

Additional planning tip: Here’s a complete breakdown of where to park when visiting Siesta Beach, as parking can be tough.

Oh, and don’t forget to check out our much-talked-about article on the Best Beach Bags for Moms !

Siesta Key Village

Siesta Key Village is a hip hub of beachy bars, restaurants, shops, and sport rental outfitters (for the beach and land). The Village is located in the center of the island, only a few city blocks from the ocean.

Spend time here strolling the sidewalks, shopping for souvenirs, and taking in the sights while enjoying the company of other tourists.

You will run into several options for fun bars and restaurants and live music, which is why visiting Siesta Key Village is at the top of the list of the best things to do in Siesta Key !

The best Sarasota vacation itinerary from Top US Family Travel Blog, Travel With A Plan.

Sarasota Vacation: Day 5

  • Spend the day touring the rest of Sarasota…or hanging at the beach!
  • In the morning, spend time touring The Ringling . You will not be disappointed!
  • Next, travel south and stop for lunch at the Sunnyside Café (Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice 2020 winner!).
  • Hit up the Sarasota Jungle Gardens for some animal fun.
  • And/or take an afternoon Sarasota City Sightseeing Tour via trolley to learn more about this awesome city.
  • Finally, end the day by heading to St. Armand’s Circle for an awesome dinner at Shore . This modern and trendy restaurant is a perfect way to wind down your vacation.

The Ringling

With its history dating back to 1927, The Ringling honors the legacy of Mable and John Ringling, the “King of the American Circus”.

Even if you’re not into history or art, the Ringling Museum is a spectacular sight to see.

The grounds are set right along Sarasota Bay and are covered with the most beautiful trees and plants that Florida has to offer.

Kids will absolutely love the Circus Museum and  Tibbals Learning Center  where they can view the world’s largest miniature circus model, walk on a high wire, stand on a horse’s back, and squeeze into a clown car.

Our favorite part is exploring the gardens (complete with koi fish, turtles, and blue herons) and taking in the grandeur of the Ca’d’Zan mansion and terrace.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Family-owned Sarasota Jungle Gardens is an awesome and affordable experience when visiting Sarasota with kids.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens  is home to more than 200 exotic animals including parrots, macaws, flamingos, primates, snakes, iguanas, alligators, crocodiles, and other reptiles.

There are 1.2 miles of paved jungle trails suitable for both strollers and wheelchairs, most of which are shaded. Seating for the outdoor animal shows is on shaded bleachers as well.

Unlike a typical zoo experience, there are many chances to ‘hold’ the animals at Sarasota Jungle Gardens.

We’ve seen visitors hand-feeding flamingos, holding a parrot, and getting their photo taken with an alligator.

*Click the image to get our exclusive FREE Family Vacation Packing List that is both customizable and printable!

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Sarasota Vacation: Day 6

  • Take a day trip to experience more of Florida’s finest!

It’s hard to vacation in Florida and only stay in one spot. After all, the US state of Florida offers so many amazing destinations and attractions to make for a perfect family vacation.

If you have more than a few days to spend in Sarasota, consider taking a day trip to its surrounding cities or beachside communities.

Here are some of our favorite Florida attractions and their driving distance from Sarasota:

  • Walt Disney World’s  Magic Kingdom , Orlando – 1 hr. 48 min. drive
  • Busch Gardens theme park, Tampa Bay – 1 hr. drive
  • Universal Studios theme park , Orlando – 1 hr. 55 min. drive
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium, Clearwater – 1 hr. 15 min. drive
  • Anna Maria Island – 40 min. drive
  • Fort De Soto Park , St. Petersburg – 56 min. drive

Where to Stay in Sarasota

Our favorite places to stay in Sarasota include  Lido Beach Resort , in Sarasota,  Tropical Breeze Resort , on Siesta Key, and  The Resort at Longboat Key Club (especially if you’re into golf).

If you don’t necessarily want to stay oceanfront, our top recommendations include Embassy Suites by Hilton Sarasota , The Westin Sarasota , and finally, Homewood Suites by Hilton Sarasota .

For current deals and further inspiration on where to stay in Sarasota, browse and book here:

Sarasota Vacation: Getting There

The closest airport to the city of Sarasota is the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. In fact, the airport is only 5 miles from the heart of Downtown Sarasota.

All major rental car companies such as Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, and Hertz are available at the Sarasota-Bradenton airport.

Other nearby airports include St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and Tampa International Airport; both a 1-hour drive from the airport to Sarasota.

Taxis and ride-hail companies such as Uber and Lyft are available from the airports as well.

How to Get Around

Sarasota’s attractions are spread throughout the city and local area, so it is best to have or rent a car for your Sarasota FL vacation.

Be mindful that traffic does get heavy during high tourist seasons, so do plan accordingly and bring along your patience.

Sarasota County’s bus service (SCAT), as well as taxis and ride-hail companies, are another way to get around the city, however.

The best Sarasota vacation itinerary from Top US Family Travel Blog, Travel With A Plan.

Tips for Visiting Sarasota

  • During the hot summer months, plan your outdoor activities for the morning or after dinner when temperatures aren’t as hot.
  • If you spend time outdoors during the afternoon, wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing, put on sunscreen, and bring along plenty of water.
  • If you’re looking to avoid crowds, the best time to go to the beach is either early in the morning or later in the afternoon. Most of the tourists hit the beach between 10 am and 2 pm, and then everybody starts leaving between 3 pm and 5 pm.
  • If visiting during the months of April to October, always have a travel-size umbrella handy for the frequent, unexpected rain showers that pop up.
  • Traffic congestion is an issue in Sarasota. Expect heavy traffic and for it to take twice as long to get places during the winter tourist months.
  • Sarasota is a popular location for Major League Baseball teams to hold their spring training. If you come in the spring, check out the spring training schedules to catch a practice or game!

Sarasota Vacation: Conclusion

Hopefully, this itinerary and tips have provided fun inspiration for a Sarasota family vacation.

My hope is for you to have an amazing and carefree experience!

Before you go, don’t forget to read these amazing family packing tips .

Last, consult our top tips on  flying with kids , and  road-tripping with kids  (depending on how you plan to get there) to keep the kids calm and happy while traveling!

*All photos courtesy of VisitSarasota.com unless otherwise noted.

Are you anxiously planning your Sarasota vacation? What part of the trip are you most looking forward to? Jen

If you like our 6-day Sarasota Vacation itinerary, click here to read our Related Posts:

Sarasota, Florida:

  • Sarasota Kayak Tours (+ Best Tips When Going)
  • 11 Best Things to Do in Sarasota While on Vacation

Siesta Key, Florida:

  • The Ultimate Siesta Key Vacation Itinerary + Tips For Your Visit
  • 11 Best Things to Do in Siesta Key While on Vacation
  • Siesta Key Parasailing: A Complete Guide for Kids & Adults
  • 11 Restaurants in Siesta Key That You Must Try!

The surrounding area:

  • 11 Best Things to Do on Anna Maria Island
  • 11 Fun Things to Do in Tampa Bay (+3-Day Itinerary)
  • The Ultimate Orlando Family Vacation Itinerary

*Before leaving, be sure to check our  Travel Resources Page  to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

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Jen Brommer is a family travel expert. She has been featured as an authority on several notable travel websites and is a member of the Family Travel Association (FTA), Midwest Travel Network, and TravMedia global media network.

A prominent content creator and influencer on Instagram, Jen has over 150K unique monthly blog readers from countries all over the world. She has spent the last 16 years planning fun, and hassle-free family vacations for her family of 5.

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I regret not going up to Sarasota when we were in Naples all summer. I heard the Ringling is cool and didn’t realize there was an aquarium up there. Kayaking, sunset, beach bars are such standard gulf of mexico activities! I need to get up there. Also thanks for the hotel tips. I guess the chain hotels are more in the city?

Yes…all of the chain hotel brands are in the downtown area, however, there is a Holiday Inn that is located directly on the end of Lido Beach. We haven’t stayed there, but the reviews look good.

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Flight and hotel packages to Sarasota

The Avalon Club

The Avalon Club

Thunderbird Beach Resort

Thunderbird Beach Resort

Bay Palms Waterfront Resort - Hotel and Marina

Bay Palms Waterfront Resort - Hotel and Marina

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Hotel Tampa Riverwalk

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Plaza Beach Hotel Beachfront Resort

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Kompose Boutique Hotel

Kompose Boutique Hotel

Hyatt Regency Sarasota

Hyatt Regency Sarasota

Carlisle Inn

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Golden Host Resort - Sarasota

Golden Host Resort - Sarasota

The Westin Sarasota

The Westin Sarasota

Spark by Hilton Sarasota Siesta Key Gateway

Spark by Hilton Sarasota Siesta Key Gateway

Popular places to visit in sarasota.

Nothing says vacation like spending a lazy day at Lido Beach, a popular beach in Sarasota. Wander the picturesque gardens or discover the area's beautiful sunsets.

St. Armands Circle

Enjoy the beautiful sunsets and explore St. Armands Circle, a well-known green space in Sarasota. Wander the beautiful beaches and seaside in the area.

Mall at University Town Center

You can search for that perfect souvenir at Mall at University Town Center during your visit to Sarasota. Attend a sporting event or discover the beautiful sunsets in this family-friendly area.

Sarasota Vacations

Sarasota, Florida has been popular for its mild climate and lovely bay views since the pioneers first came to the area, and you're sure to agree that it is one beautiful place to visit. Sarasota vacation packages can get you enjoying the sandy beaches and warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico in no time.

Major Attractions

It's a good idea to rent a car in Sarasota so you can easily drive to the beach and around town to see all the city has to offer. When you're not soaking up the sun at Long Boat Key or Siesta Key, Sarasota has some great rainy day activities as well. Try the Mote Marine Laboratory to get up close and personal with the marine life at the aquarium, or visit the John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art for a more high-minded cultural experience. The city is also home to many examples of Italian-inspired architecture, thanks to the tastes of its most influential residents, the Ringling Brothers of circus fame.

Festivals and Events

Book your hotel in Sarasota at the right time of year, and you can enjoy local festivals and special events that you wouldn't otherwise get to experience. Sarasota hotel packages can be your ticket to the Sarasota Film Festival in April or the Ringling International Arts Festival in October. The Sarasota Chalk Festival also takes place each fall, a major international celebration of sidewalk artists that's organized around a new theme each year. Their amazing works don't last long, so Sarasota vacations in the autumn are truly one-of-a-kind.

Travelocity can help you find a great deal on Sarasota hotel packages for the vacation of your dreams. You can even get mobile exclusive deals on the Travelocity app to help you get the biggest bang for you buck. What are you waiting for?

Tours and Activities in Sarasota

It's okay to have a run-of-the-mill retreat lazing by the pool, but travel's all about broadening your horizons. So why not throw yourself into some awesome new adventures? (This way, you'll have heaps more to boast about when you get back to work!)

Are you ready for some new experiences? While you're exploring Sarasota, keep busy with a Sarasota Inshore Fishing Trip .

Frequently asked questions

Where to stay in sarasota: best areas for travelers.

  • Holmes Beach : If you're dreaming of a beach vacation, this is an ideal base in Sarasota. Go on peaceful walks along the waterfront and get some fresh air at Manatee Public Beach. The New Anna Maria Island Cottage!! Swim up Tiki Bar ! , the 120 m² Condominium With Nice Afternoon sun or the Vrbo Property will have a comfortable room for you when you're done exploring.
  • Bradenton Beach : No matter if you're just overnighting or having an extended stay, this neighborhood offers plenty of things to do. Don't know where to start? Coquina Beach, Bradenton Beach Marina and Brandenton Beach are a few excellent options. So are the Panoramic Views of the Gulf in This Beautiful 2br/1.5ba, Sleeps 6 , The Anna Maria Island Beach View 209 and the Pelican Post .
  • Bradenton : The Hampton Inn & Suites Bradenton Downtown Historic District , the Courtyard by Marriott Bradenton Sarasota Riverfront and the Bay Breeze Inn are popular in this neighborhood. You'll jump out of bed feeling refreshed after a night at any of these options. If you need a little more to unwind, a visit to Robinson Preserve and Anna Maria Sound might be just the ticket.
  • Anna Maria : There are lots of exciting things to do after the day's over here, including visiting Island Players. If you're planning to stay out till all hours, the Waterfront Views - North End Anna Maria Island , the Spoonbill Hideaway -huge Pool/spa/private Tropical Oasis/across From Gulf Beach and the Luxurious Waterfront Home With Pool on the Bayou, the Beach at Gulf Beach and Bay are a few places to consider in the area.
  • Venice : Your trip won't be complete without seeing Venice Beach, which is found in this neighborhood. Reserve a room at the Walk to Venice Beach and two Blocks to Historic Downtown Venice, FL! , the Island Breeze Inn or the Motel 6 Venice FL and you can be snapping pictures at this famous attraction not long after.
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Discover Sarasota Tours - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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Discover Sarasota Tours

The Best Way To See Sarasota In Style!

Trolley tours & special events, all trolley tours, special events.

  • Channel Your Spiritual Energy

Psychic Sundays Tour

Learn about the psychic history of Sarasota. Discover Pixie Dust Metaphysical Boutique, have a sound healing immersive experience, and walk a labyrinth. Add a tarot card reading to your tour!

  • Calendar Year Round
  • Hour Glass 120 minutes

Featured Trolley Tours & Special Events

  • Sunset Musical Cabaret Tour!

Sunset Cabaret

Enjoy stories of Sarasota’s history, music, jokes, trivia, a gorgeous setting sun driving by Lido Beach and a stop for craft beer at the new Sun King Brewery.

  • Most popular daytime tour!
  • User 10+ ONLY
  • Hour Glass 90 minutes

City Sightseeing Tour

On this classic City Sightseeing Tour, learn where to tour, dine, shop or visit! Get an entertaining overview of Sarasota’s rich history, culture, and neighborhoods.

  • Advance Reservations Required!
  • User 12+ ONLY

Murder Mystery Trolley: Who Killed The Circus Queen?

On this 90-minute interactive tour, solve the mystery of the Circus Queen’s murder in a fun circus-themed theatrical show aboard the trolley.


Circus Secrets of Sarasota

Learn about the Circus Secrets of Sarasota by visiting key landmarks and hearing stories of the colorful cast of circus characters, showmen, and performers who called Sarasota home.

  • Visit Pinecraft Amish Community
  • Calendar Nov-May
  • Hour Glass 105 minutes

Amish Experience Tour: Bridges To Understanding

Learn about Amish & Mennonite cultures in Sarasota from tour guide Kendra Cross. Stops at Alma Sue’s Quilt Shop, The Carlisle Inn & Der Dutchman Amish Kitchen Cooking Restaurant for a pie shooter.

  • Explore Sarasota Architecture

Architecture Tour

Hop aboard our air-conditioned trolley to learn about Sarasota’s distinctive architectural styles. Tours feature Mid-Century Modern, Art Deco, and Mediterranean Revival buildings, homes, and structures.

  • Explore Sarasota Art

Public Art Tour

Hop aboard our air-conditioned trolley to see more than 50 pieces of public art in downtown Sarasota neighborhoods on our Public Art Tour led by painter Jerome Chesley.

  • Sarasota's Founding Women
  • Calendar Nov-Apr

Leading Ladies of Sarasota

An Historical City Trolley Tour led by one of Sarasota’s Founding Women: Rose Wilson, Mable Ringling, Marie Selby, and Bertha Palmer, as portrayed by actress and guide Kathryn Chesley.

Most weekday tours run in Dolly The Trolley , our 31-seat, enclosed & air-conditioned trolley.

If you book through us directly and need to reschedule, we will be happy to do that for you with a $10 per ticket rebooking fee. We encourage you to book with us directly, as this option is not available on tickets booked through affiliates.

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Gift certificates, about discover sarasota tours.

Discover Sarasota Tours is a locally-owned tour company offering many entertaining, interactive, and informative air-conditioned trolley tours about the most interesting people, intriguing places, and amazing stories that have shaped Sarasota’s rich cultural past.

If you are looking for a fun activity for your next group outing, look no further. Our tours are perfect for groups. Check out our Group Tours page.

Our tours run year-round, but during our hottest months of the summer, we don’t run all tours every day, so please check the calendar. If there is a date not listed when you would like to tour, please email us at [email protected] .

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What a joy to spend the time with Kendra, who is such a vivacious tour guide. She knows her stuff and we learned so many interesting things never considered before this tour. She also learned and remembered each and every one of our names on the full bus! (That is amazing!) We were able to meet a delightful Amish photographer who captures daily life of the Amish and Mennonites here. We went with a dear friend who told us about it and it was her 4th time on the tour. That should tell you that perhaps this deserves a 10-star rating! Thank you for having this fabulous opportunity. We look forward to trying another one of the tours! It was a great day!

This was by far one of my most favorite things that we did on vacation this year! From the tour guide to the bus driver, everyone was very kind and humorous. I learned a lot about the history of Sarasota and its ghostly inhabitants. It was a perfect mix of fun and fright!

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Tour guide Jon Macdonald was both informative and funny. Not least especially for a jaded traveler like me who has been coming to Sarasota for close to 70 years. Can’t wait to take the next one.

The Penn Alumni Club really enjoyed the Leading Ladies Trolley Tour on Thursday, January 19, 2023. Our guide Kathryn, who came in character as Rose Wilson, was awesome, so knowledgeable and informative! We received so many nice comments from alumni on the tour about how much they enjoyed learning about Sarasota history and landmarks from our wonderful guide.

My wife and I have had numerous city tours all around the world. The tour guide on this trolley, Steve, was perhaps the very best one we have ever experienced. His narrative was interesting and his timing was superb for the entire 90 minutes.

Really a great tour. Our guide, Kendra, was very well schooled in the traditions of the Amish, and her delivery was wonderful.

I can’t wait to do this tour again and to show someone in Sarasota a great time... You will leave the tour with a warm feeling and desire to explore the great city of Sarasota even more!

The "overview" tour was packed with insights into the founding of Sarasota and the founders' foibles underneath their aura of riches, including the fabulous architecture. If we knew earlier in our trip how good these tours are we'd have done more!!

The tour was so informative and fun. We learned a lot about Sarasota that we never knew before and we have been here 14 years. We are going to book more tours in the near future. Jon was an excellent guide.

Absolutely fantastic tour today (Circus Secrets) with Bob Collins. The tour was so well-planned, entertaining, informative and Mr. Collins was a kind a gracious host. I plan to come back with neighbors and friends in the near future. Don't miss this one!!

Our goal, after living here for a (very unusual) year, was to learn about the city of Sarasota and find secret historical, cultural, shopping and dining options to enjoy. Our guide Steve delivered that big time and in a VERY entertaining way.

Both the owner of Discover Sarasota, Tammy Hauser, and Jerry Chesley, the art historian, were very knowledgeable and accommodating. A party atmosphere while obtaining knowledge is an absolute winner!

The tour was really informative, learned alot of history and things I didn't know about the area. The staff were WONDERFUL! From checking in/registering to the tour professionals, they were great, very friendly and knowledgeable.

What a wonderful way to see and learn about Sarasota whether you are visiting or live here it’s worth the trip. The store is adorable and the trolley is comfortable. Our guide and trolley driver made the trip a fun adventure.

Take this tour — as soon as you can — upon arrival to Sarasota. Fun and informative. Pat was our guide and Dori was our driver. They were both gracious and hospitable and Pat’s knowledge of Sarasota is unparalleled. You will get many ideas for fun things to do and tips for great places to eat and drink.

4 girlfriends who have lived in the area for many years decided to do a Discover Sarasota Leading Ladies Tour on Wednesday, 1/5/2022. We were thoroughly entertained, learned new information, and saw neighborhoods which we normally didn't travel through. Our tour guide was very informative, very knowledgeable, and provided an extremely enjoyable tour. Upon completion of our tour, we all enthusiastically exclaimed we wanted to do another tour soon. Well done, Discover Sarasota!

Our tour guide, Kendra, made this very interesting tour exceptional. She is probably the most enjoyable tour guide we have had. We knew nothing about the Amish and have learned so much. We also have discrded any preconceived ideas we had and have acquired a great deal of respect for the Amish. We highly recommend this tour.

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Help us address an urgent challenge to save these iconic animals, mote and taiwan formalize major partnership, mou focused on heat-resiliency coral research and restoration, new exhibit open now, crack the case at mystery reef, mote named #1 revenue-generating cultural nonprofit in tampa bay region, join mote for world ocean day, enjoy ocean-themed games, educational displays, visits with local authors, photo ops with mote's mascots, and more..

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Campers can dip their toes into Mote's groundbreaking research while having a blast.

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Mote has big news!

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Rendering of new Mote aquarium coming soon

Dive into the Aquarium

Our manatees, sharks, sea turtles and otters are ready to meet you 365 days a year at Mote Aquarium, located just minutes from downtown Sarasota and Lido Beach. Visitors can explore touch pools, hands-on exhibits and windows into the science and conservation of Mote Marine Laboratory. Come have a blast and discover why Science Is The Attraction!

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  • 4 star rating Good
  • 5 star rating Great

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Photo of Marina B.

We recently had the pleasure of working with DR appliance repair service and I couldn't be more impressed (the washer machine wouldn't spin/drain properly). From the exceptional bedside manners to their efficiency and professionalism, they have exceeded my expectations. Not only did Alex provided the best price for the repair, but he was also incredibly flexible in his work hours, making it easy for me to schedule an appointment (a huge plus for our bnb business!). Overall, it was an absolute pleasure to work with them and I would highly recommend their services to anyone in need of appliance repairs.

Photo of Tammy C.

Disappointed with my visit. I spoke to Alex prior to my appt. and told him that I had checked the dish washer myself because I have previous eletrical experience . I told him the dishwasher either needed the main control board or the top user interface panel board but I am now disabled so I couldn't diagnose which part it really needed. I also told Alex that I checked the power so I know it wasn't a breaker or a power supply issue. Alex arrived early which was ok because I am permanently disabled so I'm home unless I have a doctors appt. The first thing Alex checked was the power to the dishwasher which I understood because he needed to make sure before proceeding. My husband already had the dishwasher loose and unscrewed from the counter and was already out. It had just been pushed it back in so it wasn't in the way until it got repaired. Alex didn't need to spend any labor loosening and pulling out the dishwasher. The only thing he did was removed 2 screws and the bottom panel to check the power to the main control. The whole visit including "diagnosis" took 15 minutes or less. He charged me $149.00 and told me it needed the main control board but may also need the top user interface panel board. That is no different than what I already knew before he got there. I was very surprised at how high the diagnostic charge was because every other company I spoke to only charged $75-$85 for the diagnosis. On the yelp site it showed they ached $25/ per hour but u guess that is not the case. Shame on me because I didn't to ask his fee prior to scheduling as I was having a hard time communicating with him on his phone. He was driving and his Bluetooth in his vehicle was very poor. Then he told me if he ordered and installed the main control that he would waive the $149.00 diagnostic charge and would only charge $149.00 for the install of the main control board plus the amount the part cost. He said the main control part for the GE dishwasher is very expensive and would be $250.00 and would take 3-5 days to get. So essentially it would cost $428.00 for the main control board but it would be more if that didn't fix it. The user interface control panel would approximately be an additional $350.00 if that also needed to be replaced. I said for $750 I might as well buy a whole new dishwasher. Alex replied that a new dishwasher would be anywhere from $1100 to $1500.00 installed. I guess spending $750 would be money well spent spent?? I looked the parts up on the GE appliance site. A brand new main control board is only $102.80 and Alex wanted to charge me $250.00 for part only. The user interface control panel sells for $82 and again he wanted charge me $200 for the part plus additional labor (another $149.00) I get that he has to make money but he's way overcharging. Most companies charge a 20-50% increase on the parts they purchase. They also aren't paying retail for them! A 300% mark up on parts is absurd! $149.00 for 15 minutes of work is also ridiculous.Especially when he didn't really diagnose anything but to check to see if the power supply was good. Alex told me no more than I already knew before he charged me $149.00!! I was willing to pay someone to diagnose the dishwasher so I knew which part was needed so I didn't gave to spend more than needed, but that didn't happen. What a complete waste of $149. I'm on a limited income because I'm disabled and not able to work. $149 is a lot to loose when you're on SSDI and you can't work.That is 2 weeks worth of grocery money that's just gone now. I'm worse off now than before I spent it. I will pay my handyman to come install both parts. He'll charge me $50. ($1 hr labor) and I'll buy the parts $184.80 - 10% = $166.32 (because GE is currently running a summer promo) Both parts installed by my handyman will cost me $216.32 (parts and labor) not mthe $750 Alex from D.R Express wanted to charge. I feel I was taken advantage of because I'm disabled and a woman. A woman couldn't possibly be able to know what was wrong with her own dishwasher. Alex knew I was physically unable to install the parts due to my disability. I feel I was overcharged on the diagnostic fee by $100.00 compared to what everyone else charges ($85). Alex from D.R Express couldn't even diagnose the real issue, telling me the same thing I had already told him prior this appointment. He should have just charged me a $49 travel fee for his time to drive to my house because he couldn't diagnose which part the machine really needed. Stay clear of this company. They are way too expensive compared to other repair companies and the mark up on parts is also outrageous. I was going to give a 2 star review. 1 star for being early. 1 star because he was courteous. But I guess I'd be courteous also if I made $600.00/hour. So I changed my rating to a 1 star review. This is the 1st time using a repair service and probably the last time What a disappointing repair service visit.

Photo of Aleksandr K.

Aleksandr K.

Apr 10, 2024

Dear Tammy, I hope this message finds you well. I wanted to take a moment to thank you for sharing your feedback with us. Your input is incredibly valuable to us, and we appreciate the opportunity to address any concerns you may have. I understand that you have raised some points that are important to you, and I want to sincerely apologize if your experience with our business did not meet your expectations. Please know that we take your feedback seriously, and we are committed to making things right. I would like to offer a solution to address the issues you have raised. Unfortunately the parts that needed for your dishwasher machine are not cheap: one part cost $175.75 plus shipping and taxes and the other part cost 105.00 plus shipping and taxes , labor for the first part is free this will be part of the service call , .;/the labor for the second part is $250 since it will take 2 hours to install . Both parts are original from the manufacturer and I am giving a warranty for 2 months on the parts that I install. Since you are not happy with the estimate, I will refund you $49 as a gesture of goodwill . Just to be clear that I only changed you for a service call and made it clear to you that fixing your dishwasher will cost you more than buying a new dishwasher. At D R express services , we strive to provide the best possible experience for our customers, and your feedback helps us improve and grow. Your satisfaction is our top priority, and we are dedicated to ensuring that your concerns are addressed promptly and effectively. Thank you once again for bringing this matter to our attention. We value your feedback and look forward to the opportunity to make things right. Please feel free to contact me directly at 9413215511 to continue this conversation. Warm regards,

Photo of Roman L.

I had an issue with my dishwasher and Alex came quickly on-time and was able to resolve the issue. Reasonably priced, so would definitely recommend if you have any issues with your appliances.

Photo of Mykhailo A.

Alex is top-notch! He fixed my washing machine and refrigerator quickly and reliably. Plus, accepts Apple Pay. Definitely my go-to for appliance repairs

Photo of Igor S.

Good service. Very recommend! Very qualified professionals that understand my needs and resolved any problem.

Photo of Julietta B.

Excellent service. Great communication. Quality work. Easy transaction.Will be happy to recommend.

2 other reviews that are not currently recommended

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Norwegian introduces new cruise discount, onboard credit offer for teachers

sarasota tourism discounts

School is nearly out for summer, and Norwegian Cruise Line is offering teachers a deal on their next vacation.

The cruise line launched a new cruise discount for teachers this week, giving educators and related staff 5% off their fare and a $50 onboard credit. The year-round offer comes as Norwegian marks the return of its Giving Joy campaign, which awards free trips to teachers who are “making a difference in their classroom and communities,” the line said in a news release .

"We are proud of our history of thanking educators for their hard work and commitment to shaping the next generation of future leaders," Norwegian Cruise Line President David J. Herrera said in the release.

"To honor these education heroes for the long-lasting impressions they make inside and outside the classroom, we are excited to not only award 20 teachers on the fifth-year anniversary of Norwegian's Giving Joy program with a free vacation aboard the soon-to-debut Norwegian Aqua , but to also extend the recognition to the broader educator community across the U.S. and Canada with our new Teacher Cruise Discount,” he continued. “Travel is a powerful means of education, and we look forward to welcoming educators to join us on board to explore the world.”

What are the terms of Norwegian’s Teacher Cruise Discount?

The discount applies to active pre-K-12th grade classroom teachers, principals, assistant principals, school employees and college or university professors, according to the line’s website . They must be 18 or older and legal residents of the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico or Canada.

Short vs. long cruises: Here's how they compare

Educators can apply online .

Applicants must be verified through ID.me. The discount applies to the verified teacher’s whole stateroom and is limited to “one stateroom per verified teacher per sailing.”

Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville. You can reach him at [email protected].

Study names discount carrier Spirit as Safest Airline of 2024

File - Spirit Airlines flight. (Courtesy: Spirit Airlines)

UNDATED (WKRC) - Ultra-low cost carrier Spirit was named the safest airline of 2024 by WalletHub .

The personal finance company ranked the nine largest carriers in the United States, as well as one reginal airline. The company compared the carriers across several metrics in these five categories:

  • Best Airline Overall - Alaska Airlines
  • Most Affordable Airline - Spirit Airlines
  • Most Reliable Airline - Delta Air Lines
  • Most Comfortable Airline - Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways
  • Safest Airline - Spirit Airlines

The Florida-based airline topped two categories, coming in third overall, behind Alaska Airlines and Skywest.

In deciding the safest airline, WalletHub examined the following metrics:

  • The number of fatalities from 2018 to 2023
  • The number of injuries in aviation incidents and accidents from 2018 to 2023
  • Average fleet age

"For each airline, we divided the number of incidents and accidents by the total number of flight operations," WalletHub wrote.

Spirit also secured the number one spot for WalletHub's Most Affordable Airline, with rival Frontier placing second.

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Illustration: Jamie Wignall

From holidays to shopping: eight discounts for UK over-60s you might not know about

It’s still the magic milestone when senior citizenship begins … with a host of money-saving offers to take advantage of

Travel for free

The UK state pension age has risen but many companies and organisations still hold on to “the big 6-0” as the point at which senior citizenship begins, and it continues to represent a money-saving milestone as a result.

In Wales and Scotland you qualify for an older person’s free bus pass from the age of 60. You have to apply and provide proof of age and address and a passport-style photo.

In Scotland you access free bus travel via the National Entitlement Card, which also gives those who live on Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles two free return ferry journeys to the Scottish mainland each year.

In England, the older person’s free bus pass only arrives when you hit the state pension age (currently 66) – with notable exceptions being London and Liverpool. If you live in the capital, you can travel there for free when you are 60. You can get a 60+ London Oyster photocard until you are eligible for a Freedom Pass, for which the current eligibility age is 66.

The 60+ photocard gives you free travel on buses, the tube, trams, Docklands Light Railway, London Overground, the Elizabeth line (excluding between West Drayton and Reading) and most National Rail services in London, from 9am on weekdays and at any time at weekends and on bank holidays (it’s from 9.30am on weekdays for the National Rail services). You also get discounted fares on river services such as Thames Clippers, and discounts on Santander cycle hire. For full details, check out the TfL website .

Merseytravel offers a similar arrangement in Merseyside.

A tube train at a London station

Get a rail or coach card

The senior railcard is for those aged 60 and over and costs £30 a year, or £70 for three years, and gives you a third off rail travel.

National Rail, which issues the cards, says people with a senior railcard save on average £86 a year , or £5.26 a journey . The railcard is not valid during the morning peak period – times differ around the country, so you will need to check before you travel.

A National Express senior coach card, which costs £15 plus £3 postage, gives you a third off standard and fully flexible fares, plus £15 day returns to anywhere in the UK on Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays.

There are no restrictions on peak and off-peak travel times, so you can travel when it suits you.

Holiday for less

If you are booking a trip away, ask whether your airline, train company or hotel, including chains overseas, offers a senior discount.

The budget hotel chain Travelodge has in the past offered over-60s 25% off selected stays, while Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in the US is among those offering reduced rates. Eurostar offers special senior fares for those aged 60-plus on its continental routes (for example, Brussels to Paris and Brussels to Amsterdam), but not for journeys between the UK and mainland Europe.

Enjoy a show

Many theatres and cinemas have special deals and showings for those aged 60-plus.

You can get £20 off tickets for midweek matinees (applying to full-price £89 and £69 tickets, or £79 and £59 tickets for the forthcoming production of Ballet Shoes) at the Lyttelton and Olivier theatres at London’s National Theatre . For shows in its Dorfman Theatre, higher-priced tickets are reduced to £36 for midweek matinees.

Other London theatres offering discounted tickets for over-60s include the Old Vic and the Young Vic.

Inside the Old Vic theatre

The Ambassador Theatre Group runs one of the UK’s biggest ticketing operations, ATG Tickets, and says those over the age of 60 will get discounts at selected venues and shows, so it’s worth checking before you book. The Picturehouse cinema chain’s free-to-join Silver Screen club gives over-60s a free hot drink and discounted tickets, typically for matinee shows. The Odeon chain’s Silvers scheme shows films at quieter times of the day, with tickets from £3.50 including tea, coffee and biscuits served before the film.

Showcase cinemas have Silver Screenings on a Monday, with tickets for all films starting before 4pm usually discounted to £4.99.

Almost a million over-60s take advantage of the National Trust’s senior concession, a 25% discount off membership, bringing the cost down to £68.40 for individual senior membership, or £113.40 for joint senior membership, provided you have been a member for at least the last three consecutive years. The Royal Horticultural Society offers a hefty discount on its life membership, reducing the individual price from £1,495 to £935.

Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, England

Shop with a discount

The supermarket chain Iceland has a Bonus Card scheme that provides all shoppers with offers and savings, but has an extra perk for cardholders over 60: a 10% discount in its shops every Tuesday. When shopping you will need to show ID – a senior bus pass, senior railcard or driving licence.

Asda is another retailer that targets the over-60s with deals. It ran a popular “winter warmer” meal deal between 1 November last year and the end of February this year, which offered soup, a roll and unlimited tea and coffee for only £1 in any of its 205 cafes. Keep an eye out for future offers.

Play or watch sport

Older fans of sports including football, cricket and rugby can often get discounts on tickets. In many cases you have to be at least 65 or 66 but there are several football club season ticket schemes, such as Sheffield United’s, that start reductions at the age of 60.

Some golf clubs offer membership discounts or incentives to older players. The age requirements vary. The GolfSupport.com website carried out a UK survey and published its findings , which may help you track down a good deal in your area.

A golfer tees off on a coastal links course

Stay healthy

NHS prescriptions in Scotland and Wales are free for everyone but in England you need to pay until you turn 60; after that they are free.

In Wales, those aged 60-plus can get free NHS dental examinations, too. Everyone in Scotland is entitled to free NHS dental examinations.

NHS-funded eye tests are free for everyone in Scotland. In the other countries of the UK, those who are 60 and over are entitled to free NHS eye tests, which you can take up at most opticians.

Specsavers offers over-60s 20% off glasses, while Boots Opticians has a 10% discount on your first pair of glasses.

With the Advantage Card loyalty scheme at Boots you can access Over 60s Rewards, which gives you more points: eight for every £1 spent on Boots brands and selected exclusives, including No 7, Botanics, Liz Earle, Champneys and Joules.

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