Tucked away on the quiet west coast of Florida, you’ll find Sarasota. This almost sleepy series of towns is perfect for a quiet getaway when all you’re craving is a little beach time, lots of shopping, and refreshing relaxation and maybe even a little history learning.
1. THE BEACHES
Sarasota is located on the west coast of Florida and is surrounded by seven islands that were once part of Sarasota Proper. These islands include: Lido Key, Siesta Key, St. Armands Key, and Longboat Key—all known globally for their beautiful white sand beaches and gorgeous sunsets, where you'll often see dolphin and manatees swimming close to shore.
2. THE COCKTAILS
There’s nothing like a fruity cocktail to help cool you down after a long day on the beach. While visiting Sarasota, you’ll find no shortage of options. If you happen to stop by Zota Beach Resort, check out Viento Kitchen & Bar for dinner and order the Sunset Lemonade: concocted with New Amsterdam pineapple vodka, muddled fresh raspberries and pineapple, fresh lemon juice, and agave nectar.
3. THE ARCHITECTURE
Italian architectural influence is seen throughout the area, as it is home to the Ringling Museum. Cà d'Zan, meaning “House of John,” in Venetian was the winter home built by John and Mable Ringling in 1926. The large estate has inspired many of the homes and buildings in Sarasota.
4. THE SHOPPING
Visitors can easily spend a day or two shopping when visiting St. Armands Circle. There are over 140 boutique shops, galleries, and restaurants. Visit at the right time and you'll catch sidewalk sales, art festivals, or maybe even a classic car show. Expect to find known names like Lily Pulitzer and Tommy Bahama alongside local gems selling everything from clothes to gourmet foods, to treats for the family pup, Porter!
5. THE HISTORY
The area of Zarazote was founded in 1763 and for centuries settlers were attracted to Sarasota for its sheltered bay and plentiful fishing.
In the early 1900s the Ringling family of the Ringling Brother Circus took to the area and began developing several family compounds. Today, visitors can walk the grounds of John and Mable Ringling’s massive estate that is also the site of the Ringling School of Art and Design and home to the Ringling Museum of Art featuring art exhibits from around the world and props from early circus days.