Top 10 Activities to do in Sarasota

What to do and see in Sarasota, FL

Have you been spending a lot of time on Anna Maria Island? Looking for a change of pace? Experience the beautiful city of Sarasota, where there is a whole lot to do! Below are our pick for the top 10 Sarasota activities to take part in.

 

1 ) John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art – The Ringling museum is the best bang for your buck in Sarasota. Costing only $25 for adults, your ticket gives you access to the entire Ringling “campus”, where you will get lost for hours wandering around the immaculately landscaped grounds. The actual museum of art runs special exhibits year round, and is packed with Asian, European, and American treasures. Be sure to make it out to the breathtaking 56 room Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, built in 1925, which overlooks gorgeous Sarasota bay. Last but not least, be sure to visit the Circus Museum. Built in 1948, it was the first museum to commemorate the robust history of the American circus.

2 ) St. Armand’s Circle – After you’ve experienced all the shopping that Anna Maria Island has to offer, the next logical step is St. Armand’s. The circle as we know it today was developed in the early 1950s, and has been steadily growing alongside the city of Sarasota ever since. Enjoy a cocktail before your meal at Tommy Bahamas’, or experience the fine dining of The Columbia Restaurant, which is based on the restaurant of the same name in Tampa, founded in 1905. After your meal, be sure to check out one of the many elegant shops that populate the circle, which include luxury clothing stores, jewelers, and multitudes of specialty shops.

3 ) Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium – Mote Marine is one of the most interesting attractions in the greater Sarasota area, for multiple reasons. First and foremost, it acts as a marine animal rescue and research center, which is an incredibly important service with the ever-growing population of people around the Gulf of Mexico. Now here’s the fun part: the animals that they can not rehabilitate for the wild are put into educational exhibits where they are treated like royalty. Be sure to check out the different touch tanks, which are full of sting rays, hermit crabs, sea anemones, and other cool creatures. This is a perfect place to bring your kids!

4 ) Sarasota Jungle Gardens – One of the oldest consistently open attractions in Florida, The Sarasota Jungle Gardens are truly amazing. The diversity of the plant life is a major attraction, with over 3000 different species of flora that have been introduced to the ecosystem since it opened. I, however, found the wildlife to be the most interesting aspect. The Gardens play an important role in the upkeep of central Florida’s wildlife, as the vast majority of the exotic animals there are rescues, with many of them being taken in from the wild after previous owners abandoned them. Be sure to check out one of the daily shows featuring local wildlife.

5 ) Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall – Sitting on sparkling Sarasota Bay, The Van Wezel is known by locals as the premiere location to catch a good play or concert in the area. Built in 1970 and recently renovated in 2000, The Van Wezel has been serving the community for a long time. As a child growing up in the greater Tampa Bay Area, every school I attended would come to a show put on specifically for children that was always a blast. Shows include performances ranging from nationally acclaimed stand up comedians, to lesser known dance troupes, and of course musical acts from all walks of life. The Van Wezel is about a half an hour drive from Anna Maria Island and is always 100% worth it.

6 ) The Sarasota Classic Car Museum is the equivalent to any car fanatics dream! It is the second oldest continuously operating antique car museum in the Nation. With a beautiful, and very wide variety of antique care, including a car that was John Lennon’s, this is a great place to take the entire family to admire the fine craftsmen ship of the vehicles that have gone down in history.  Punta Gorda hosts another classic car museum.

7 ) Siesta Key Beach – While Anna Maria Island certainly has some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, they are simply surpassed by the beach at Siesta Key, and that’s saying something! When you’re taking your trip to St. Armand’s, make sure you stop off here and soak up some sun. This is the highest rated beach in the entire United States of America.

8 ) Yoder’s Amish Restaurant – Easily my favorite restaurant in the greater Sarasota/Bradenton area, Yoder’s is simply the best place in Sarasota to enjoy a good meal. Featured on a few different national television shows, the restaurant’s home-cooked style meals never disappoint. I usually keep it simple with my order; succulent turkey breast, mashed potatos, corn on the cob, and fried okra. At that point, I’m always far too stuffed for desert; so I take home one of their famous peanut butter cream pies.

9 ) Myakka River State Park – I’ve always found Myakka River State Park to be one of the best places to get a true taste of what little bit of “wild” Florida is left. Located in eastern Sarasota County, I’ve spent days at a time experiencing all the amazing activites the state park provides us. Your options are endless; there’s hiking, biking, fishing, and even a “canopy walk” where you walk between giant trees on rope bridges. My personal favorite: the air boat tour. You and a few friends jump on an airboat and the driver whips you around the marshes, while giving a verbal tour detailing the history, wildlife, and vegetation in and around Myakka River.

10 ) The Powel Crosley Estate – This giant mansion overlooking Sarasota Bay is an absolutely gorgeous place to visit. Built in 1929 by Powel Crosley for his wife, the estate now serves as a venue that you can rent for weddings, family reunions, etc. That, however, isn’t even the fun part! When it isn’t being rented out, the estate decorates the mansion and puts on intimate, interactive “plays” where actors read poetry, or re-enact scenes from classical literature. I’ve personally attended multiple Edgar Allen Poe readings, A Charles Dickens Christmas, and a reimagining of Shakespeare that was a blast.

 

Siesta Beach Drum Circle | Sarasota, FL

Siesta Key Drum Circle
Every Sunday feel the rhythm through your body at the Siesta Beach Drum Circle! Only a 45 minute drive to the South from Anna Maria Island it is a great event to attend for the evening.  The circle-goers come out before sunset and get the dancing started with beats on their drums. Many people join in the perpetual dance, and you can even hula hoop or belly dance your way through the middle! The drum circle lasts for quite a few hours so bringing drinks along might be a good call if you plan on staying for a while.

As the drum circle starts dying out you can continue your party at Siesta Key Village, which is just down the road a little over a mile. If you choose to walk, or if you choose to drive, there are plenty of beautiful houses to take in along the way!  For more ideas on late night entertainment visit our Anna Maria Island top ten information page.

 

Siesta Key Activities

The main attraction of Siesta Key is the beach! In 2011 it was rated the #1 beach in America by Dr. Beach! It consistently ranks in the top 10 beaches of America, and the water is nearly always pristine and refreshing! The white sand is as soft as could be and also keeps the ground cooler so that you will not burn your feet walking along the miles of shore.  There are plenty of Siesta Key Activities, take a day to lay out and tan, splash in the water, or build a sand castle. You can also grab some food, drinks, and snacks from the snack bar under the pavilion located towards the center of the main parking lot.

Every Sunday the Siesta Key Drum Circle comes to Siesta Key as well playing from a couple hours before sunset on into the night!

Looking for something to do on Siesta Key before returning to Anna Maria Island? Here are a couple of our favorite restaurants and activities to do in the Sarasota area!
Captain Curt's

Captain Curt’s features karaoke, delicious food, and live music on select nights!

Captain Curt’s
941-349-3885
1200 Old Stickney Point Road
Sarasota, FL.

Need directions from Anna Maria Island? Here is an address you can use with your gps to get to the beach:

Siesta Key Beach
948 Beach Rd
Sarasota, FL

Captain Curt’s Crab and Oyster Bar

Captain Curts Crab LogoLooking for that “Old Florida” place to take the family, a place that will take you back in time to an era where good fresh seafood was a standard?   A place where reasonable prices, a casual family atmosphere and courteous service still exist?   Look no further… Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar is just that place.

Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar is located at Captain Curt’s Village in Sarasota Florida on beautiful Siesta Key.  Home to one of the best beaches in the world!  The Travel Channel, in their Best Beaches series, ranked Siesta Key Beach “The Best Sand Beach” and “Captain Curt’s the Best Family Restaurant on Siesta Key”.  So come to Siesta Key for all it has to offer and visit us at Captain Curt’s and enjoy great seafood, great entertainment, and great fun.

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