30 Best & Fun Things To Do In Sarasota (Florida)

things to do in Sarasota
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Sarasota is a southwestern city in the state of Florida, just south of Tampa.

It is known for its connection to the circus known as the Ringling Brothers Circus and is quite an intriguing place to visit with tons of vacation spots to enjoy.

But what sort of tourist attractions can you enjoy here?

What activities are available, and where are the most opportune places for sightseeing?

Here are the 30 best and fun things to do in Sarasota, Florida.

1. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
Paulleon / Shutterstock

The Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is situated on City Island, in a little spot called Ken Thompson Parkway in Sarasota, Florida.

It was first founded as the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory in 1955, and its name remained that way until 1967 as a way of honoring William and Lenore R. Mote and William’s sister, Betty Mote Rose.

The laboratory portion of the Sarasota location specializes in research of an estuary and marine nature.

Estuary refers to the point in a big river where the stream meets the tide.

The aquarium portion, on the other hand, is wide open for visitors to visit, with more than 100 species of marine animals, both local ones and even a few from across the world.

There are rays, jellyfish, turtles, otters, manatees, sea horses, eels, sharks, and many, many more.

The shark tank is huge and has over 100,000 gallons of water within it!

Speaking of sharks, shark feeding time is extremely popular here, and is one of the many activities drawing tourists; feedings are narrated.

If you’re looking for what to do here that’d keep your kids occupied, there are lots of educational programs available, including summer camps.

There are also seasonal exhibits, such as the annual reptile showcase featuring crocodiles and alligators!

Expect to fork out quite a bit for admission prices, but it will be worth it if it’s something you can afford.

Parking is free, and you can also get there through public transportation and a tiny bit of a walk.

Address: 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236, United States

2. The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art
mariakray / Shutterstock

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art can be found in Bay Shore Road, Sarasota.

It is named after the co-founder of an infamous circus you have likely heard of: the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus – yes, that Barnum!

The museum is truly unique and is a one-of-a-kind type of location – hence why it’s one of the top things to do in Sarasota.

Within the museum, classical architecture and art – both reproductions and genuine originals – from many different eras.

This includes the Renaissance, of course, but also dates as far back as Greek and Roman works.

When you enter, you won’t feel like you’re in modern-day Florida anymore – it’ll be like you’re in a different century!

It’s a lot of fun, and there are 45-minute tours, too.

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art first opened in 1927 and was originally made up of artwork donated by its titular figures.

It is now maintained by the Florida State University and is considered the go-to art museum of the state.

Over 10,000 different works, ranging from paintings to photographs and from sculptures to print, are spread across 21 different galleries, each one dedicated to a different region and style.

There’s even a gallery for Cyprus’ ancient artifacts!

Address: 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243, United States

3. Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary
Jim Mullhaupt / flickr

The Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary is situated in a part of Sarasota called Palmer Boulevard.

It was first opened by Kay Rosaire in 1987 and, a couple of decades later in 2005, it would become a non-profit organization – and now, it’s one of the top 10 spots for tourists in Sarasota, Florida.

As its name suggests, the sanctuary mainly functions as a site for rescuing exotic cats and providing them with needed care.

Other animals, such as birds, chimpanzees, and bears, are also taken care of here.

There are three large habitats on the compound, some of which are indoor and some of which are outdoor.

Swimming pools and natural flora help to simulate the animals’ original habitats.

The Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary also work on educating visitors regarding wildlife preservation.

Shows, demonstrations, and talks – usually with the big cats and birds!

There is also a petting zoo, which is the best place to bring kids to; they can feed llamas and goats.

For the brave, feeding the lions, bears, and tigers can also be done, for a small fee!

Address: 7101 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34240, United States

4. Ca’ d’Zan Mansion

Ca' d'Zan Mansion
Mia2you / Shutterstock

The Ca’ d’Zan Mansion is one of the top spots in Sarasota, Florida when it comes to tourist attractions.

It was the winter home of John and Mable Ringling, who we’ve already mentioned in a previous entry.

The circus owner and his wife would stay here after its construction was complete in 1926, after two years of building.

The mansion spans five stories in height, with a whopping 36,000 square feet of space within.

Situated on the waterfront, it is meant to emulate Venice, one of the married couple’s favorite locations.

It is made in a Mediterranean Revival style, reminiscent, rather, of a Venetian building called Doge’s Palace.

Tours of the Ca’ d’Zan Mansion are held regularly.

Go on one and you’ll be wowed by the roof of Spanish tiles dating back to the 16th century, the game room, the terrace of marble that looks out over Sarasota Bay, the domed ceiling of an 82-foot-tall tower, a crystal chandelier, and an Aeolian organ!

It’s a fun glimpse into the rich lives of the couple.

Address: 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243, United States

5. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
jeep2499 / Shutterstock

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is located in Hudson Bayou on South Palm Avenue, just on the fringe of Sarasota Bay.

It’s one of the must-see things to do in downtown Sarasota, and for good reason!

The gardens are large and span seven acres, each one rich in history.

The gardens are on land once owned by Marie and William Selby.

They house an elaborate collection of a group of flowering plants known as bromeliads, the proud owners of the biggest and most diverse collection of such flora in the world.

Over 6,000 different species of plants live across 20 habitats on the gardens, with a total of 20,000 plants living and thriving in the gardens.

These habitats include mangroves, bamboo lands, succulent habitats, and more.

A wide range of facilities is also available in this Florida attraction, including a research library, a herbarium, and multiple greenhouses.

The Rainforest garden and Butterfly garden are the most popular areas of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, but everything is worth exploring, from the goldfish ponds to the man-made caves, to the rope bridges!

Address: 900 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236, United States

6. Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Sarasota Jungle Gardens
ellaria / Shutterstock

The Sarasota Jungle Gardens can be found on Bay Shore Road.

As its name suggests, it is one of the Sarasota attractions focused on both flora and fauna.

It was founded in the year 1939 with just 10 acres of land, decorated with thousands of delightful trees and flowers of a tropical variety, not just from Florida, but from all over the world.

Decades later, in the 1970s, an Exotic Bird Show was held in the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, featuring macaws and cockatoos.

It was the first of many shows featuring animals and birds to be added to the location’s repertoire.

If you were to visit the Sarasota Jungle Gardens in Florida now, you’d be stepping foot in one of the state’s oldest attractions that still operates now.

And it’s also one of the top ones! Small mammals, lizards, primates, crocodiles and alligators, parrots, snakes, pink flamingos, and iguanas call this spot their home.

You can feed the flamingos, take pictures with reptiles and even sit on an alligator!

Address: 3701 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34234, United States

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7. Myakka River State Park

Myakka River State Park
Kent E Roberts / Shutterstock

Myakka River State Park is one of the best, largest, and oldest parks in the state of Florida, covering areas of Manatee County alongside parts of Sarasota.

It spans 37,000 acres and earned its name from the Myakka River, which flowers through it over the course of 58 square miles, providing water to prairies, hammocks, wetlands, and pinelands alike.

While you’re in Florida, this highly scenic spot is undoubtedly one of the most relaxing places to go.

You can head to the boardwalk to view all sorts of wildlife, walk through a treetop canopy walkway, hike through the prairie areas, or canoe, kayak, or fish on one of the two lakes.

Better yet, there are airboat rides available that travel through the Myakka River!

Address: 13208 State Rd 72, Sarasota, FL 34241, United States

8. Central Sarasota Farmers Market

Central Sarasota Farmers Market
Stephen B. Goodwin / Shutterstock

The Central Sarasota Farmers Market has been a highlight of Saturdays in this Florida region since 1979.

Open from 7 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon, it’s the perfect spot to head to this weekend, no matter what the weather is like.

Of course, the Central Sarasota Farmers Market is primarily famous for its local produce, grown and sold fresh – vegetables, fruits, and other delectable ingredients all await those seeking some high-quality edible ingredients.

Cheesecake, coffee, orange juice, pasta sauce, honey, salsa, and other consumables are available through the vendors of all kinds!

But that’s not all that makes visiting this market one of the coolest fun things to do in Sarasota.

Products that you can’t find anywhere else in the region are sold here.

Baked goods, body products, crafts, art, and more are sold by musicians, farmers, artisans, and people from all walks of life!

Address: 4454 S Beneva Rd, Sarasota, FL 34231, United States

9. Ed Smith Stadium

Ed Smith Stadium
Jim Mullhaupt / flickr

Ed Smith Stadium is located close to downtown Sarasota, just off Interstate 75.

It was first built as a Minor League Baseball site to replace the Payne Park one back in 1989.

It also served (and continues to serve) as a spot for Spring Training.

It is home to the Baltimore Orioles, who train here in the spring, though that only began in 2010 – before that, it was a Chicago White Sox training ground till 1997, and a Cincinnati Reds one till 2008.

In 2011, Ed Smith Stadium underwent a renovation, so all the seats and the entire stadium is brand new and refurbished.

It can sit 7,429 audience members and is undoubtedly one of the top stadiums in the state of Florida.

It’s relaxing but fun, and games are playing regularly, so if you’ll be in Sarasota, you might as well check out the stadium’s website for ticketing information and game schedules.

Address: 2700 12th St, Sarasota, FL 34237, United States

10. Legacy Trail

Legacy Trail
Sanibel sun / CC BY-SA

The Legacy Trail is a long trail, running all the way from Sarasota to Venice, spanning 10.8 miles of paved path.

It’s often considered one of the greatest trails for bicycles in Florida, too.

The trail first opened in 2008, running alongside a rail corridor rich in history.

The railroad line itself was used from its conception in 1911 until a point in the early 2000s.

The fun trail – one of the most exciting places to visit for active tourists in Florida! – starts near Palmer Ranch.

It passes through and connects with a number of other trails within Oscar Scherer State Park, and makes its way through Nokomis, entering Dona Bay, and finally, finishing off at the Venetian Waterway Park.

Worried about losing steam? Don’t!

There are 15 great rest stops along the way, and lots of beautiful landscapes to take in as you go.

Address: Central Sarasota Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34238, United States

11. Sarasota Opera

Sarasota Opera
Alexanderstock23 / Shutterstock

The Sarasota Opera is a professional opera company that lives on a street in this Florida region called the North Pineapple Avenue.

The company was first known as the Asolo Opera Guild, and this house was first called the Edwards Theatre.

Renovation and reopening led to how the house stands today, and it’s been that way since 2009.

If you’re seeking some exciting live shows while you’re here, the Sarasota Opera offers some of the best.

During the Winter Opera Festival in February and March, four fully-staged operas are held in the opera house.

The most famous of its plays is the Verdi Cycle, which is an intricate presentation of Giuseppe Verdi’s operas – yes, all of them! – alongside his Requiem, orchestral works, and chamber works.

There are also programs for education outreach.

Check out the opera house and see if there are any good shows tonight!

Address: 61 N Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236, United States

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12. Siesta Key Beach

Siesta Key Beach
Suncoast Aerials / Shutterstock

The Siesta Key Beach is located a short distance away from the bustle of downtown Sarasota.

It is essentially a barrier island that fringes along the Gulf Coast of Florida, spanning 8 miles and boasting fine white quartz sand that many consider among the world’s finest and most pristine.

It almost feels like magic, and the beach has even won awards!

The type of sugary sand means it doesn’t overheat, either.

The blue waters and delightful sand are perfect for beach-lovers and adventure junkies alike.

On top of that, visiting the Siesta Key Beach is known for being one of the more romantic things to do in the county of Sarasota, so it’s definitely worth the trip if you’re there with your partner!

Tide pools make the spot good for families with kids, too, and children will also have fun on the big playground.

A pavilion offers sunscreen, toys for the sand, accessories, ice cream, food, and drinks to purchase.

If you’re here this weekend or during a busy holiday, expect it to be quite full – especially on Sundays, where there’s a drum circle of musicians!

Address: 948 Beach Rd, Sarasota, FL 34242, United States

13. Mixon Fruit Farms

Mixon Farms
Mixon Farms

One of the commonly mentioned Sarasota attractions for generations, Mixon Fruit Farms isn’t just a farm for fruit.

It’s a family farm perfect to bring kids to for an afternoon of fun in Sarasota, Florida.

Orchards within the farm promise exotic fruits like star fruit and mangos as well as more common offerings like grapefruits and oranges, all fresh and juicy!

Local wines, orange ice creams, citrus candies, citrus fudge, and fresh juices make for great refreshments as you explore.

But it’s not just about fruit!

There are wildlife rehabilitation areas that a tram tour brings you through, showing off sandhill cranes, blond raccoons, a bright yellow python, tortoises, skunks, alligators, and bright blue hyacinth parrots.

The farm store offers slushies, barbecue meats, and paninis, too.

There’s so much to explore that kids won’t know what to see first!

Address: 2525 27th St E, Bradenton, FL 34208, United States

14. St. Armands Circle

St. Armands Circle is a great, family-friendly location that is packed with stuff to do.

It’s one of the most loved places to visit for dining and shopping with kids in Sarasota.

St. Armands Circle first opened up in the 1800s after being purchased by Charles St. Armand.

John Ringling (yes, him again!) purchased the area in 1917 and converted it into a shopping location, packed with restaurants and stores that make it a place not to be missed in this Florida county.

St. Armand’s Key is what St. Armands Circle calls its home, and you can only get to it by bridge.

This makes for a quiet little nook of the area that is relaxing but lively, with over 130 different stores to visit and a host of dining locations ranging from inexpensive and casual to fine and fancy.

Dessert cafes make for good pit stops, too.

And whether you’re looking for cheap souvenirs or expensive high fashion, you’ll likely find it in St. Armands Circle!

Address: 300 Madison Dr Suite 201, Sarasota, FL 34236, United States

15. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Maciek Lulko / flickr

For fans of entertainment, taking a trip to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is among the best things to do in Sarasota, Florida.

Not only is it a landmark for architectural marvel, it’s also a happening, fun venue that houses all sorts of theater, comedy, music, and dance performances.

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall was built from 1968 to 1969, using donated funds from none other than the titular Lewis and Eugenia Van Wezel.

Renovations done in the year 2000 kept the spot up to date, and it has a 6,000 square foot Grand Foyer that fits 350 individuals, while the whole hall has a 1,736-person capacity thanks to the Bayfront lawn and Terrace.

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall also has an education center that offers programs for people of all ages.

It’s romantic, exciting, and a great spot to watch some good live shows – and even if you’re not into that, the Sarasota trail system winds through it, so you can walk by to catch a glimpse of the marvelous structure in person.

Address: 777 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236, United States

16. Sarasota Classic Car Museum

Sarasota Classic Car Museum
GagliardiPhotography / Shutterstock

If you’re an automobile fanatic, then the Sarasota Classic Car Museum should head your list of things to see in this county.

It is actually one of the oldest classic car museums that is still operating in all of America – the second oldest, in fact!

Over 60,000 square feet, this museum showcases exotic, vintage cars that are amazingly unique, with the ones on display rotating regularly.

Some of the best cars displayed are the 1965 Mercedes Benz owned by John Lennon and a large collection of Rolls Royce vehicles once owned by – yet again – John and Mable Ringling.

There is also an Italian Car Collection, which showcases a ton of much-loved Italian vehicles, like the Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, and Rivolta!

Address: 5500 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243, United States

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17. Bradenton Riverwalk

Bradenton Riverwalk
Leigh Trail / Shutterstock

The Bradenton Riverwalk runs alongside the Manatee River of Sarasota, Florida.

It spans for about 1.5 miles – though some say it’s closer to two – and offers plenty of sights and stops along the way to keep you occupied.

It is wheelchair accessible and has a mix of fun and exercise in one.

Plenty of activities can be done in the Bradenton Riverwalk.

Volleyball courts, open spaces, and skates parks offer many options, and children can find entertainment in a splash pad or the playground.

An outdoor amphitheater occasionally holds shows and seats 400 people.

A fishing pier is available, too, and in the summer, festivals and live music are especially commonplace!

Educational stops and stores teach visitors about native butterflies, tidal zones, native tribes, science, and native plants.

There’s also the chance that you’ll catch a glimpse of the railroad bridge that rests across the river with a train going through it!

Address: 452 3rd Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205, United States

18. Sarasota National Cemetery

Sarasota National Cemetery
spencerleephoto / Shutterstock

Like spooky things?

Few things are spookier in this Florida county than the Sarasota National Cemetery!

It was first opened in 2007 with the aim of serving veterans and being their final resting places.

It covers 295 acres of land, with 18,200 gravesites on its premises.

Of them are 15,200 crypts, 7,200 niches placed aboveground for ashes, and 9,000 burial spots in-ground.

An administration center and public information center provides information to guests, and an electronic locator is provided to guests so they can easily access the right gravesites.

Maintenance buildings, restrooms, a memorial walkway, and a flag assembly area are also scattered throughout the cemetery.

Interestingly, there is also an amphitheater within the cemetery grounds known as Patriot Plaza.

It was donated by the Patterson Foundation and seats 2,800 people.

It houses a number of art pieces, all commissioned by great artists.

A guided tour takes you through this spot and the areas near it.

Address: 9810 State Rd 72, Sarasota, FL 34241, United States

19. Historic Spanish Point

Matthew Paulson / flickr

The Historic Spanish Point first was born when the Webb family arrived from New York in 1867 and settled on this spot in Little Sarasota Bay.

Since a Spanish merchant told the Webb family about this location, they named it Historic Spanish Point as a bit of an homage.

Visiting this place now is like visiting old Florida.

It used to be a tourist resort called Webb’s Winter Resort, where people from colder regions flocked to Florida to enjoy its warm weather in the winter.

Now, things have changed – there are lush gardens spanning 30 acres, archaeological sites all over the area, and buildings steeped in rich history.

The Historic Spanish Point is on the US National Register of Historic Places, which makes it quite a special place in Sarasota.

As you stroll through it, you’ll even get a chance to witness the wonders left behind by prehistoric inhabitants.

It’s a fun place to take a trip to, whether or not you’re a history buff!

Address: 337 N Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229, United States

20. Longboat Key Turtle Watch

Longboat Key Turtle Watch
David Evison / Shutterstock

Longboat Key Turtle Watch is situated along the Gulf Coast of Florida.

It’s one of those Sarasota attractions that you have to time a visit to, as the turtle walks only happen on Saturday mornings in the month of July.

If you do get to Sarasota around this time, though, this is one of the best ways to spend a Saturday.

You meet the walk group at Longboat Key, walk over to the beach, and spend the time looking for the tracks of sea turtles who came up on land to lay eggs.

It’s fairly rare to actually spot a turtle during any of these walks, but you may get lucky!

21. Lido Key Beach

Lido Key Beach
Dylan Jon Wade Cox / Shutterstock

Lido Key Beach may look fairly simple as a tourist place in Sarasota, but it has a deeper history.

In the 50s and 60s, it was a white-only beach (as were most beaches in Florida, with only two miles of beach open for African Americans in the whole state), and residents from a community near the beach held sit-ins as a manner of protest at this beach.

Now, Lido Key Beach is segregation-free, and it’s among the fun things to do in Sarasota for its stunning panoramas, gorgeous sunsets, and numerous water sports.

You can sail, go dolphin watching, and even go deep-sea fishing!

If you’re looking for a place to eat, there are plenty on and close to the beach, serving ice cream for snacks and fresh seafood for meals.

Address: 400 Benjamin Franklin Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236, United States

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22. Nathan Benderson Park

Nathan Benderson Park
Dex Sightseeing Photography / Shutterstock

Nathan Benderson Park wasn’t much to shout about in terms of sightseeing when it was first opened.

A normal park with a big central lake – man-made, it was ideal for simple water sports like paddleboarding or kayaking and the usual park activities – running, walking, and hiking.

Then, it was revealed that this seemingly quaint Sarasota park was absolutely perfect for rowing – and it’s one of the only places in not just Florida, but all of America that has such facilities.

Today, this park, spanning 600 acres with a 400-acre lake, is a favorite among rowers and is commonly used for competitions.

The lake has a huge number of usable facilities for rowers.

Coaching lanes, racing lanes, a boathouse, wave attenuation, huts and towers for starts and finishes, a training center, straight shorelines, a boat maintenance center, and grandstands are all available.

So if you’re in the mood for something to watch while you’re in Sarasota, maybe there will be a regatta at Nathan Benderson Park!

Address: 5851 Nathan Benderson Cir, Sarasota, FL 34235, United States

23. Southeastern Guide Dogs

Southeastern Guide Dogs
Stupina Kseniia / Shutterstock

If you and your family are animal lovers, Southeastern Guide Dogs is a great place to stop by – and it might be the best place of its kind in Sarasota, Florida!

The 23-acre area is located close to Palmetto, and it is essentially a school for guide dogs.

Young puppies are here to socialize and practice, in training to one day help the visually impaired – or even to aid law enforcement or veterans!

Hug A Puppy sessions are a great way for your kids to spend their time playing with the puppies in the kennels.

Visitors are welcome most days of the week – Mondays, Tuesdays Wednesdays, and Fridays – between 9 and 11 in the morning to visit the main kennel.

There, they can walk, groom, and enjoy the company of these brilliant dogs.

If you give staff some notice in advance, tours of this Sarasota location are also available!

Address: 4210 77th St E, Palmetto, FL 34221, United States

24. Snook Haven

Snook Haven Restaurant
Snook Haven Restaurant

Looking for a fun, romantic spot in Sarasota, Florida?

Look no further than the Snook Haven Restaurant & Fish Camp.

It’s more than just a place to eat! Hidden in a subtropical wooded area and obscured by trees and moss, Snook Haven has been around for 50 years, located right close to Venice.

It’s fairly well-known and was even used as a filming location for Revenge of the Killer Turtles.

When you get past the dirt road and into the Snook Haven, you’ll be glad it was among your places to visit.

You can rent a boat of some kind, whether a pontoon, kayak, powerboat, or canoe, to travel through the Myyaka River of Sarasota, or simply follow a tour.

You’ll be able to spot otters, wild boar, alligators, Florida bobcats, and more forms of wildlife along the way.

Address: 5000 E Venice Ave, Venice, FL 34292, United States

25. Village of the Arts

Village of the Arts
Village of the Arts

If you’re seeking unique things to do while you’re visiting Sarasota, Florida, you really need not look any further than the Village of the Arts, which is one of the best places for a mix of culture and modernity.

Over 100 homes live in this 40-acre village, alongside public spaces such as studios, galleries, workshops, and dining establishments.

A bohemian setting that feels foreign to Sarasota permeates the atmosphere of the Village of the Arts, making it feel like a totally different environment.

Most of the structures in the area date back for approximately one hundred years, and you’ll be able to take them all in as you stroll along them, viewing interesting art.

You can find the little village on 12th Avenue West, which is a location in Bradenton.

Whether you aim to buy some one-of-a-kind local art or just observe, you’re sure to enjoy the experience.

Address: 1017 12th Ave W, Bradenton, FL 34205, United States

26. Lake Manatee State Park

Lake Manatee State Park
Lake Manatee State Park

Lake Manatee State Park is only 20 minutes away from the area of Bradenton.

It covers 556 acres of land, much of which is comprised of mixed-up landscapes that provide unique and fun opportunities for what to do in Sarasota, Florida.

The state park was first opened in the 1960s, during the time that the famous Sarasota river, Manatee River, was dammed.

As Lake Manatee State Park, it is a haven of nature and also a popular spot for swimmers, boaters, and freshwater fishing hobbyists.

Do note, though, that if you want to fish here, you need an official license that allows you to fish in the freshwaters of Florida.

Aside from water sports, you can also camp here, or take the opportunity to see a bunch of interesting wildlife.

The beach area is great for lounging in, too.

If you’d like to make a camping reservation, call the Lake Manatee State Park in advance!

Address: 20007 FL-64, Bradenton, FL 34212, United States

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27. Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy

Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy
Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy

If you’re on a budget, you’re likely on the lookout for free things to do in Sarasota, Florida that don’t skimp on fun – and you need look no further than the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy.

It’s the kind of establishment that knows how to make you smile!

The museum is curated by Marietta Lee, who put together a collection of unique and eclectic art pieces in 2006 and has been growing the collection ever since.

The whimsy and wonder of the creative works, which are from many different forms of mixed media, are vibrant and exciting, sure to be hits even with people who aren’t big art fans.

You get a good idea of what kind of establishment the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy is from the outside.

Gigantic flamingos, glowing in neon, call to you from the outside, and indoors, a sculpture garden welcomes you in.

From there, explore the halls, galleries, and more!

Address: 2121 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234, United States

28. South Florida Museum

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature
The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

The South Florida Museum is among the best that Sarasota has to offer in terms of points of interest.

It is essentially three places in one.

The first place is the Art Museum, which takes you through ancient times and beyond, showcasing skeletons and artifacts from centuries and centuries ago as it progresses into more contemporary art.

The second part is the Parker Manatee Aquarium, which offers a glimpse into the life of a manatee, showcasing its environment and speaking of its endangered status.

The star of the aquarium is Snooty, who lives right in this Sarasota location! This manatee is a common favorite among visitors as the world’s oldest sea cow!

The final stop in the South Florida Museum is The Bishop Planetarium.

It provides a projection experience that lets visitors view heavenly bodies from right here on earth!

Better yet, all of these parts of the museum are relatively inexpensive to access.

Address: 201 10th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205, United States

29. Oscar Scherer State Park

Oscar Scherer State Park
Jim Schwabel / Shutterstock

We’ve briefly mentioned the Oscar Scherer State Park on this list already, but did you know that it’s one of the places to go that tourists shouldn’t miss in Sarasota?

It’s one of the last scrub habitats found in the state and is both a hidden gem and a natural, valuable wonder.

Many, many hiking trails stretch throughout this Sarasota park.

On Sunday mornings, a ranger named Ranger Tony leads guests through some of them on a hike where you may be lucky enough to catch sight of bald eagles, the endangered scrub jay, and other cool birds.

A number of other events are also held at Oscar Scherer State Park.

There are talks, events, walks and all sorts of happenings listed in its itinerary, including one that you can go for at night: a guided night paddle activity!

Of course, you can also avoid these organized events altogether and focus instead on kayaking, staying at the campground, birdwatching, and trying to spot as much wildlife as you can.

Address: 1843 S Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229, United States

30. Florida Maritime Museum

Florida Maritime Museum
Florida Maritime Museum

Sarasota, and the state it’s in, has a lot of coastlines – and that’s why it’s no surprise that the Florida Maritime Museum calls this region its home.

It is in Cortez, one of the best historic towns that the region has to offer, and it lives in a schoolhouse dating back over a century.

The museum itself focuses on the state’s rich maritime history, and it’s one of the more common tourist attractions and therefore one worth checking out.

You can view photographs, nautical equipment, commercial fishing information, maritime transportation information, and even ship’s logs in the museum.

Before you leave, don’t forget to stop by the Maritime Museum’s research library.

It’s one of the biggest of its variety that you can find in the whole world, not just in Sarasota!

Address: 4415 119th St W, Cortez, FL 34215, United States

Start Planning Your Trip To Sarasota

Sarasota is among the most beautiful places in America and full of points of interest, so if you’re searching for what to do, you’re sure to find plenty of ideas.

Hopefully, this list of the best things to do in Sarasota helps you decide exactly where you would like to go when you’re ready to plan your trip!