With its fabulous beaches, almost year round sunshine and thriving arts & culture scene, Sarasota is a great destination for people from all walks of life. This friendly town in the southwest of Florida is ideally situated on the beautiful Gulf of Mexico and water sports such as sailing, fishing and swimming are a big attraction.
The city’s beaches regularly appear in top ten lists, and Siesta Key beach has been named the ‘most beautiful beach in the world’ more than once thanks to its shimmering white crystal quartz sand and magnificent views over the Gulf. Other beaches include Turtle Beach, Crescent Beach, Lido Beach and the 15 mile expanse of Longboat Key.
Outdoor pursuits are big news, and as well as fabulous golf courses and sports grounds, the city has an exceptional wilderness area within easy reach of the city centre. The Great World Way covers over 100,000 acres and the Myakka River watershed has horse riding and cycling trails. Birdwatching is highly popular and a wide range of species can be seen at Myakka River State Park and Celery Fields.
Culture and the arts are thriving, and the Ringling Estate is an essential stop. The former home of circus stars John and Mable Ringling is beautifully renovated, and highlights include the Ringling Museum of Art where you can see works by Titian, El Greco, Rubens and many more. Do stop off at the amazing Circus Museum to learn more about one of Sarasota’s most colourful citizens, and see a wonderfully documented history of the modern circus and its performers.
The city is a prime shopping location, and you’ll find a massive range of malls and original shops and outlets in Historic Palm Avenue and St. Armand’s Circle. Fine dining and top notch entertainment add to the allure of this sunny Gulf coast destination where history, the arts and the great outdoors meet.
With its hot summers and mild winters, Sarasota is a great choice at any time of year. The winter season from December to April is popular with travellers who enjoy warm days with average temperatures of 22C (72F) in the coolest month of January. However, from June to October the town attracts watersports lovers and sun worshippers who make the most of July temperatures that can reach 33C (91F) to enjoy long days at the beach and balmy nights in the city.
From April to May, conditions are pleasant and it is not as crowded as summer, while the autumn months of September to November are considered highly attractive thanks to temperatures in the region of 29C (85F) and low rainfall. Memorial Day at the end of May and Labour Day in September are when people traditionally flock to the beach to mark the beginning and end of the official summer season.
The cheapest flights to Sarasota can be found from December to March, but lower fares are often available in the off-peak months of April to May and September to November. However, it is still possible to find good deals on flights during peak periods.
The city is connected by causeways to its keys or islands, and these are free to use. Local bus services run between downtown Sarasota and Siesta Key as well as to the other beaches and major points of interest within the city. Bus fares are low and the services are clean, safe and reliable.