Best & Fun Things To Do + Places To Visit In Sarasota, Florida. #Top Attractions

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You won’t believe what Sarasota, Florida, has to offer. For the best travel experience in Sarasota, Florida, check out our curated list of things to do in Sarasota, Florida, and the best places to visit in Sarasota, Florida, below. As a Web 3.0 travel startup, Wondrous Drifter has big plans to shake things up in the field.

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, Sarasota, Florida
Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary is one of the best places to go in Sarasota, Florida

Those who enjoy cats should stop by the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary while in the area.

On the Palmer Boulevard in Sarasota, the Large Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Refuge is a secure sanctuary and expanding large-animal rescue for big cats and other species.

As part of its goal, the sanctuary rescues and cares for exotic cats and other animals, such as bears and birds, while also educating people about wildlife conservation.

It initially started as a refuge founded by Kay Rosaire in 1987.

In 2005, They subsequently incorporated it as a non-profit organization dedicated to helping big cats and other exotic animals.

Visitors can learn about conservation and environmental preservation by training with large exotic cats. This place is ideal for visitors to enjoy, experience, and participate in a family-friendly, up-close, and personal experience with exotic animals.

This location is a must-see to observe how the big cats are cared for in Sarasota!

Address: 101 Palmer Boulevard, Sarasota, Florida, United States

Bradenton Riverwalk

Bradenton Riverwalk Sarasota Florida
Bradenton Riverwalk, Sarasota, Florida / Jared / Flickr

Check out the breathtaking Bradenton Riverwalk, which you can find close to the Manatee River in Sarasota.

The Riverwalk is the focal point of downtown Bradenton as an outdoor gathering place.

It stretches one and a half miles long, and this Riverwalk is close to plenty of other attractions along the route to keep anyone busy and interested.
It is an ideal area to work out and accessible for people with mobility issues.

It’s a great place to do a variety of things for anyone. Families with children may enjoy a splash pad or a playground, a volleyball court, skate parks, and open spaces.

Bradenton Riverwalk is commonplace to enjoy the fishing pier, live music, and festivals.

Visitors may learn about science, native tribes, native plants, native butterflies, and tidal zones at educational stops and enterprises.
If you gaze over the river, you may see a train crossing its railroad bridge nearby.

Riverwalk is a must-see destination to visit.

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

Ca’ d’Zan Mansion

Ca-d Zan Mansion Sarasota Florida
Ca-d Zan Mansion, Sarasota, Florida / Roger W / Flickr

There is more about Ca’ d’Zan Mansion as a gorgeous mansion and has a bit of history with the Ringling family.

From 1924 to 1926, this waterfront estate was erected over 36,000 square feet on five stories in the Mediterranean Revival style, reminiscent of the Doge’s Palace attraction in Venice.

As stated in an old mention, it once served as the winter residence of John Ringling and his family. After two years of construction, Mable and John would settle in 1926.

This mansion is open for tours regularly for anyone to come and visit.

It is currently near the waterfront and intended to resemble a favorite destination that the Ringling couple loves visiting, which is Venice.

Besides looking around this iconic mansion, there are authentic art and artifacts collections for visitors to sightsee around this famous tourist spot.

It’s a famous museum that gives a fascinating look into the couple’s lives.

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

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Central Sarasota Farmers Market

Central Sarasota Farmers Market, Sarasota, Florida
Central Sarasota Farmers Market is one of the best places to go in Sarasota, Florida

Since 1979, the Central Sarasota Farmers Market has been a Saturday staple in Florida’s district.

This market is known for its high-quality food, including vegetables, fruits, and herbs produced in Central Sarasota.

It is just directly across from the Sarasota County Technical Institute.

In any case, it’s open from 7 a.m.-1 p.m., making it the ideal site to visit this weekend regardless of the weather.

Many vendors sell various delicacies, such as cheesecake, coffee, orange juice, spaghetti sauce, honey, salsa, and more.

Nonetheless, it’s not the only reason to visit this market in Sarasota.

In this market, you’ll find products that aren’t accessible elsewhere.

People from all walks of life sell baked goods, body products, crafts, art, and other things sold. The people who sell include musicians, farmers, artists, and crafters.

Every vendor is a grower or farmer ready to share their agricultural experience with customers.

The environment is lively and crowded, and the number of merchants and customers is steadily rising.

Get some lunch here, and then explore this market around Sarasota!

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

Ed Smith Stadium

Ed Smith Stadium Sarasota Flickr
Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota, Flickr / Roger W / Flickr

There is no better spot in Sarasota to view some fantastic sporting events than here.

Right next to Interstate 75 in downtown Sarasota is the Ed Smith Stadium.

They built it in 1989 as a Minor League Baseball stadium to replace Payne Park.

Eventually, popular teams like Baltimore Orioles play baseball and practice there. Before that, teams like Chicago White Sox played there until 1997, which was used in 2008 by the Cincinnati Reds.

They renovated the stadium in 2011, so all of the seats are brand new, and the whole stadium is better than it used to be.

It can fit up to 7,429 people and is among the best stadiums to witness regularly played in Florida for many visitors to come, watch, and enjoy the upcoming games to await.

You better buy tickets in advance if you want to watch and know when the games will start.

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

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Historic Spanish Point

Historic Spanish Point, Sarasota, Florida
Historic Spanish Point is one of the best places to go in Sarasota, Florida

Are you looking for Sarasota’s hidden oasis?

Check out the Historic Spanish Point for its unique architectural structure.

By the time the Webb family came to New York to settle here at the Little Sarasota Bay in 1867, it was when they constructed the Historic Spanish Point.

A visit to this place is like a trip back to ancient Florida. The Webbs gave the spot the name “Historic Spanish Point” to be an homage to the Spanish trader who first told them about it.

Webb’s Winter Resort was once a popular tourist resort for people traveling from colder locations to experience Florida’s mild winters.

It has 30 acres of gorgeous gardens, ancient sites spread across the region, and additional structures with a rich history.

You’ll see the artifacts that the area’s prehistoric residents left behind as you go through it.

It’s a lovely location to visit, even if you are a history geek or not.

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

Legacy Trail

Legacy Trail, Sarasota, Florida
Legacy Trail is one of the best places to go in Sarasota, Florida

The Legacy Trail is one of the best things to do in Florida.

Of all the places to do biking in Florida, Legacy Trail is a must-go-visit among the most amazing trails to visit.

The Legacy Trail is long, stretching with a paved trail over 10.8 miles from Sarasota to Venice.

Dogs are welcome on the Legacy Trail, parking areas, and trailheads. It is open daily from 6 a.m. till sunset.

It was open to the public around 2008, right beside the railroad track that had been in use for decades. The trail is a well-lit and well-protected path for strolls, bike rides, and jogs.

Since 1911, the railway route ran until the 2000s, at which point it eventually became decommissioned.

Palmer Ranch is the starting point of this intriguing path, one of Florida’s best spots for tourists to visit.

If anyone wants to come back, they will eventually expand the trail and improve the connection from North Port through Venice to downtown Sarasota. This trail is ideal for getting some exercise and fresh air!

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

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Lido Key Beach

Lido Key Beach Sarasota Florida
Lido Key Beach, Sarasota, Florida / r chelseth / Flickr

Although this beach appears to be a typical one, it contains a unique history that meets the eye.

Since the 1950s-1960s, Lido Key was a beach known as a beach exclusive in Florida only for white people.

African Americans could only have 2-mile open beach for them in Florida. People from a nearby town did sit-ins on the beach as their way of protesting.

Now that it has been segregation-free, Lido Key has become a popular place to visit in Sarasota, located on Lido Key. It is famous for its gorgeous scenery, magnificent sunsets, and wide range of water sports and activities.

Besides hanging out on the beach, many eateries in the immediate vicinity provide distinct food, particularly ice cream and fresh fish, to enjoy the outdoor beach.

You may even fish in the deep sea, sailing, or even watch dolphins on the surrounding beach.

This beach makes it an excellent place to rest and unwind!

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

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Sarasota Florida
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, Florida / Laura Lee Dooley / Flickr

The Mote Selby Botanical Gardens are a must-see for everyone who enjoys visiting botanical gardens.

Located in Sarasota Bay near Hudson Bayou on South Palm Avenue, this 7-acre garden is an extensive botanical garden near Hudson Bayou that gathers and displays plants.

This botanical garden is a tropical urban oasis for anyone to stay and enjoy, surrounded by nature and unique plants you cannot find anywhere else in Flordia.

Marie and William Selby were once the initial owners of this iconic garden. They had an extensive collection of plants, such as ferns, orchids, bromeliads, and cacti.

Over 6,000 plant species dwell in 20 ecosystems on the grounds, with 20,000 plants living and growing there.

The plants include Mangroves, bamboo lands, succulent habitats, and other ecosystems.
You can also find a study library, a herbarium, and several greenhouses at this Florida site.

So come visit to appreciate and admire looking plants at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

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

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Mixon Fruit Farms

Mixon Fruit Farms Sarasota Florida
Mixon Fruit Farms, Sarasota, Florida / Avinash Bhat / Flickr

It is more than just picking fruit at the Mixon Fruit Farms!

This farm is a great place to take the whole family to Florida.

Among the few attractions at Mixon’s Garden Center, people can check its unique butterfly garden, a magical maze, and a citrus fruit processing company.

You can get to eat their star fruit, oranges, mangos, and grapefruits, among the unique fruits this farm offers.

Wine, orange ice cream, citrus sweets, fudge, and juices from the local area are great to have on hand.

However, fruits are not the only thing found here!

If you take their tram tour, you will see animal rehabilitation areas, including sandhill cranes, raccoons, skunks, hyacinth parrots, tortoises, alligators, and a vibrant yellow python.

The Mixon Fruit Farms is also known for hosting weddings and as an event venue ideal for nuptials, reunions, family gatherings, and business events.

This farm has a lot to offer for youngsters to eat and see.

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

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

 Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Sarasota, Florida
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is one of the best places to go in Sarasota, Florida

Anyone interested in marine life will be intrigued by the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota.

Located in a bit spot called Ken Thompson Parkway, this laboratory conducts marine and estuarine research.

It was initially named the “Cape Haze Marine Laboratory” in honor of William and Lenore R. Mote and William’s sister Betty M. Rose.

As an aquarium, the Mote Marine opened its doors to the public in 1980 to view exotic marine animals. 

It is home to around 100 aquatic creatures, including rays, jellyfish, sea turtles, otters, seahorses, sharks, and other species.

Among its many attractions is shark feeding narrated for visitors’ benefit.

Free parking is available, and you may also take public transportation and walk a short distance to get there.

It even holds educational activities, including school visits, field trips, and summer camps.

Anyone who wants to get up and personal with marine life should visit this lab and aquarium.

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

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Myakka River State Park

Myakka River State Park Sarasota Florida
Myakka River State Park, Sarasota, Florida / Carol VanHook / Flickr

Are you looking for an iconic river state park to enjoy?

The Myakka River State Park has to be among your places to visit in Sarasota.

This River State Park is among Florida’s most beautiful, prominent, and oldest parks, spanning Manatee and Sarasota counties.

It got its name from the Myakka River, which flows around the park for over 58 square miles.

It has biking and hiking routes in the park’s dry prairie section. Visitors can there wander around the paved and dirt trails for anyone to explore.

Along with the river, there are two lakes where people can canoe, fish, and kayak as people say good things about the wild and beautiful Myakka River and the lakes surrounding the park.

Even better is that anyone can take an airboat journey along the Myakka River!

The Myakka River State Park is a must-see in Sarasota.

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

Nathan Benderson Park

Nathan Benderson Park, Sarasota, Florida
Nathan Benderson Park is one of the best places to go in Sarasota, Florida

Nathan Benderson Park may look like any park, but it is a park you have to visit to enjoy the outdoors of Sarasota.

It was a typical park having a prominent central lake, considered artificial. It was a great place to do water-related activities like kayaking or paddleboarding and traditional park activities like walking, hiking, and running.

This park in Sarasota appears to have a lot of charm, and it is among the few spots in Florida and the entire country that offers rowing equipment.

The size of this park stretches 600-acre, along with a lake of over 400 acres is now a favorite rowing destination for locals and visitors alike to take advantage of various places and surroundings within the park.

The Nathan Benderson Park has a lot to offer training and boat maintenance facilities, racing and coaching lanes, wave dampening, a regatta center, a 2,000-meter sprint rowing course in North America, and other activities.

Here is a fun park for the whole family to enjoy!

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

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Sarasota Classic Car Museum

Sarasota Classic Car Museum Sarasota Florida
Sarasota Classic Car Museum, Sarasota, Florida / runarut / Flickr

The Sarasota Classic Car Museum is one of the top attractions in Florida.

For vehicle fans, the Sarasota Classic Automotive Museum is a must-see!

It is the second-oldest continuously operational vintage automobile museum in the country. The Ringling and this little museum are both close.

Explore the history and future of man’s most incredible creation, the automobile, at the museum. This sixty-thousand-square-foot museum has exhibitions that frequently change throughout the museum, seven days a week.

It features 100 antique autos, exotic, vintage, European, one-of-a-kind classics, and rare vehicles. It displays John Lennon’s Mercedes-Benz from 1965 and John and Mable Ringling’s huge Rolls-Royce collection.

The museum’s entryway features a collection of expertly restored antique vehicles dating back over a century. Vintage and muscle vehicles coexist here, including the Ringlings’ Rolls Royce collection and Don Garlits’ dragster number two.

Additionally, there is a collection of Italian automobiles, including the Alfa Romeo, Rivolta, and Ferrari.

This museum is a must-go-to bring along your family!

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

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Sarasota Jungle Gardens Sarasota Florida
Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota, Florida / Karen Blaha / Flickr

If you want to see Florida’s flamingos or other exotic birds, you may want to include visiting Sarasota Jungle Gardens as part of your bucket list.

As the name suggests, this iconic Sarasota attraction focuses on plants and animals.

They built this garden in 1939 with only land over ten acres and used hundreds of beautiful tropical plants and flowers from different places to decorate the garden.

The Macaws and cockatoos performed in an Exotic Bird Show at this Jungle Garden during the 1970s.

If you went to Florida’s Sarasota Jungle Gardens right now, you would be going to one of Florida’s oldest attractions that are still open.

You can look at, feed, or take photos of small animals like iguanas, lizards, parrots, monkeys, crocodiles, snakes, pink flamingos, and alligators that live in this area.

This unique jungle garden is a must-visit to glimpse Sarasota’s natural wildlife and greenery.

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

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Sarasota Opera

Sarasota Opera, Sarasota, Florida
Sarasota Opera is one of the best places to go in Sarasota, Florida

Those who enjoy high-quality performances should look forward to the Sarasota Opera!

Attending this place feels surreal with anticipation and excitement during the Sarasota Opera season.

You can encounter other opera enthusiasts and meet new people.

Our small 1119-seat theater has exceptional acoustics for live opera, giving our performances a feeling of closeness and making the whole experience better.

People go from all over the world to watch this world-class production, ranging from the early Italian Bel Canto to contemporary opera from the United States.

This winter, we will put on Manon Lescaut by Puccini, Carmen by Bizet, Norma by Bellini, and Tiefland by d’Albert.

All performances offer simultaneous English translations above the stage, enabling every spectator to comprehend, whether a local or a foreigner attending the Sarasota Opera.

They advise that people visiting this place to watch are encouraged to dress comfortably, wearing suits and ties to khakis and jeans.

So come and see if any worthwhile performances are taking on tonight at the opera house!

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

Siesta Key Beach

Siesta Key Beach Sarasota Florida
Siesta Key Beach, Sarasota, Florida / SNORKELINGDIVES.COM / Flickr

Siesta Key Beach, located on Florida’s beautiful gulf coast, is a must-see for anybody who enjoys the outdoors.

It is a swimming beach opened to the public and noted for its hard-packed, clean sands.

This place is famous for being named the best beach in the country. It is located just a short drive from downtown Sarasota to reach Siesta Beach on the Gulf of Mexico.

This beach is a must-go island paradise with stunning quartz beaches, turquoise waters, and seaside facilities.

Beachgoers and explorers alike will enjoy crystal-clear water and soft sand.

Families bringing along young children will love the enormous playground and the tidal pools in the neighborhood.

Besides staying on the beach, people can go shopping, resorts, dining, and nightlife around this eight-mile-long island. In addition, It is a great place to spend a romantic time in Sarasota.

This beach is the ideal place to unwind during your Sarasota outdoor vacation!

Address: Sarasota, FL, United States

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St. Armands Circle

St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, Florida
St. Armands Circle is one of the best places to go in Sarasota, Florida

The St. Armands Circle is one of Florida’s best places to visit.

In line with a great family-friendly location, people should visit St. Armands Circle.

Charles St. Armand first owned it, and it was eventually open to the public in the 1800s.

Then in 1917, John Ringling bought the land and turned it into what it is today with shopping centers with restaurants and shops that are a must-see in Sarasota, Florida.

St. Armand’s Circle lived on St. Armand’s Key, which people can only pass through the bridge.

It makes a quiet little corner of the peaceful and busy neighborhood.

The St. Armand’s Circle has over 130 boutiques, specialty shops, galleries, and restaurants, from cheap and casual to expensive and fancy.

In search of some entertainment, St. Armands Circle tends t host many special events, including art and craft festivals, sidewalk sales, exotic vehicle displays, and holiday-themed activities.

St. Armands Circle visitors may even unwind in a tiny park on the Boulevard of the Presidents.

Making this street a must-go place to have unique shopping and dining experience in Sarasota.

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

The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art

The John Mable Ringling Museum of Art Sarasota Florida
The John Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida / Dan Lundberg / Flickr

The John & Marble Ringling Museum of Art is a must-see if you enjoy seeing historical artworks.

It is an iconic 66-acre estate museum located on Bay Shore Road in Sarasota.

They named the museum after Circus and Marble, circus co-founders of the old famous “The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.” The museum’s namesakes contributed artwork in 1927.

This museum has been their legacy to welcome people worldwide to see exquisite art, a historic home, a jewel box of a theater, and two circus museums.

The museum has various classical architecture and art examples from several historical periods, replicas, and other authentic collections.

The Renaissance is well-represented here but works from antiquity and classical antiquity.

It has nearly 11,000 pieces and other memorabilia on display, with twenty-one unique galleries focusing on different regions or periods.

This museum is worth visiting if you want to see some important works of art!

Address: 401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243, United States

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Sarasota Florida
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Sarasota, Florida / Roger W / Flickr

If you seek entertainment, visiting the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is a must-do in your top things to do in Sarasota.

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is a performing arts venue in Sarasota. It is a lively, vibrant venue that hosts theater, comedy, music, and dance events.

Wezel Performing Arts Hall has entertained audiences for over 45 years with Broadway, classical and musical performances.

They built the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in 1968 and 1969 by its namesake Lewis and Eugenia Van Wezel.

The 6,000 square-foot Grand Foyer seats 350 people, while the Bayfront Grounds and Terrace, refurbished in 2000, accommodates 1,736 people.

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall also has an education center where people may learn.

The Sarasota trail system wraps around it, so you can stroll by and see the gorgeous building even if you’re not into live music.

It is worth the visit if you’re looking for some amusement.

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

Volunteer At Animal Shelters

Animal Shelters in Sarasota, Florida
Animal Shelters in Sarasota, Florida

Looking for meaningful things to do? Animal shelters require your help! There are between four thousand and six thousand shelters in the United States. 8–10 million dogs and cats end up in shelters each year. These shelters are responsible for their temporary care. These animals are brought to the shelter when their owners no longer want them or when they are found wandering the streets. Every year, between 4 and 6 million animals are euthanized because there are not enough homes or people ready to adopt them.

Depending on the size of the shelter, each animal may need more attention. So volunteering to spend time with them helps improve their lives, prevent them from being stir-crazy in their kennels, and increase their chances of getting adopted

Volunteering ideas include: walking dogs at a local shelter, collaborating with a rescue organization to foster kittens, doing clerical work such as stuffing envelopes for a good cause, assisting with fundraising or organizing events benefiting local animal charities, and participating in local events aimed at raising awareness about animal welfare, to name a few.

Check out the list of animal shelters in Sarasota, Florida, where you can volunteer. Help needy animals!

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Do you need any more convincing that Sarasota, Florida is worth a visit? Check out reasons to visit Sarasota, Florida at least once in your lifetime here.

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