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Sarasota, Florida

This week has been pretty busy for me. People are starting to get antsy and are looking to get out of the house and travel again. I’ve spent a good part of the week helping a few of these friends plan their next vacation, some as soon as October this year but most for 2021. I have also been working on something special for October through December this year. I’m not going to talk about that now but watch for a special email for that in the coming weeks.

For now, let’s talk about getting out and travelling, that seems to be what people are looking to do again.

This is Labor Day weekend and for most people it is a three-day weekend. Schools are closed on Monday and many businesses will be closed as well. This means that there are a lot of people that will be out and about. For most people it is too short of a break to travel overseas. Listening to the radio this morning it sounds like while air flights are down in numbers right now, there is a spike of people coming to Florida for the weekend. Their destinations include Orlando, Tampa, and Miami.

Who wants to stay home when you can go out and enjoy one of the last weekends in Summer? If you are a Florida resident, that may actually be “enjoy one of the first weekends of enjoyable weather”!

When looking for someplace to go, you want to stay away from where all the tourists gather. Florida has many little out of the way places stashed around that most tourists don’t know about. Today I am going to talk a little about Sarasota, Florida.

An hour south of Tampa on the West coast of Florida is Sarasota. In recent years, Sarasota has been marketing itself as a tourist destination. It is attractive for Eco-tourism, outdoor adventurists, or those looking for something to do without breaking the budget. There are no theme parks here, it is a county with plenty to do for those who want to enjoy more outdoor and cultural activities.

Let’s start with the beaches. There are six barrier islands that hug the coast line of Sarasota County. Longboat Key is the Northern most beach. It caters to more pristine tastes and elite resorts.

Lido Key is next as we move South. It has 3 beaches; North Lido, Lido Beach, and South Lido. St. Armand’s Circle is a great place to go in Lido if you want to do some shopping or if you are a foodie, and it is only steps from the beach! If you are looking for a more secluded hideaway, head to the North Beach where there is 3,000 feet of pristine sand and hiking trails.

If you want to relax and rejuvenate, head over to Siesta Key. This eight-mile island attracts sun bathers by day and party goers by night. It is also a popular site to launch standup paddle-boards and kayaks.

For secluded luxury, head over to Casey Key. This key is dotted with million-dollar homes. Some are owned by the rich and famous such as author Stephen King. The beaches are family friendly with lifeguards on duty, free public parking, picnic areas, and a pavilion.

Venice beaches are a great place to go if you want a very clean beach or shark teeth! Venice beaches are recognized by Clean Beaches Coalition as a Blue Wave Beach. This means they are clean and well-maintained beaches. Venice is also a great place to find shark teeth. Many divers go here because they can find fossilized shark teeth at the bottom of the bay. You can also find them washed up on the beaches here.

Finally, we have Englewood and Manasota Key. If you are looking for a tranquil getaway, Englewood is the beach for that. It has antique shopping and cozy restaurants. And nature lovers will love the dunes and beaches at Manasota Key.

On most of the beaches you can go kayaking, go for nature walks, bird watch, and do all sorts of beach and water activities. But Sarasota also has a rich cultural side to it as well.

Performing arts are big in Sarasota. There are at least a dozen performing art venues around the county. Everything from the circus to contemporary ballet. If you are looking for something relaxing to do where you can just enjoy the moment while watching people perform, you won’t be let down by going to Sarasota.

Music is also huge in Sarasota. There are eight musical venues where you can watch operas or the symphony perform. Looking for Jazz or a symphonic choir? They got that covered too, plus space for large concerts.

On March 23, 1927 the Sarasota Herald announced that the Ringling Brothers would be making Sarasota the winter corporate headquarters for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Even though the circus closed its doors for good in 2017, it has left a lasting impact on Sarasota. Sarasota is known as the “Circus Capital of the World”. In addition to going to the circus while you are there, you can also visit the Ringling Museum.

So even if you are just looking for something to do for the day or for a three-day weekend like say…Labor Day, Sarasota has something for everyone and it’s only a few hours away at most from any point in Central Florida. And if you are coming to Florida on vacation (I know at least one of my readers is coming down to Tampa for a cruise in April next year), this is a worthy place to visit.