Sarasota, Gulf Coast

Travel distance/time from Florida Delight (111 miles: 1 hour 53 minutes)

We first visited Sarasota just for a day in 2016 on our way up the coast from Naples and had a wonderful day at the Moot Aquarium followed by a trip out on the bay with the Sarasota Bay Explorers. This boat trip was great fun on so many levels. Just being out on the boat gazing at the spectacular mansions lining the bay was an experience in itself but the amount of wildlife we got to see was fabulous. With many chances to see dolphins, pelicans and a variety of fish as we sailed along in the sunshine we found ourselves loving every minute of the trip. 

After enjoying being out on the water we headed into the town of Sarasota. Very impressed by the marina packed with million dollar boats which were a real sight.   

We were very happy with the dinner that we had in a very pretty little restaurant called Indigenous which was tucked away in the charming streets of the arts district of Sarasota.

This area is a real treat and well worth a visit if you can tear yourselves away from the fun and excitement of Orlando for a day or two.

It is now 4th February, 2018 and we have had a 5 day stay in Sarasota before we head up to our villa in Watersong tomorrow. Having now visited St. Pete's, Naples, Clearwater and Sarasota I can say that Sarasota is way and above our favourite place to stay on this coast and we will hopefully make it a regular place to visit when we are in Florida. 

The hotel we are staying at is The Hyatt Regency and we have been really pleased with it. Having seen its location compared to others in Sarasota we feel the Hyatt is the best as our room with a balcony gets the sun all day and overlooks water with boats on it and the beautiful hotel pools. You have to pay a resort fee but you do get free use of bikes and kayaks.

On our first night here we eat at Owen's Fish Camp. The wait for a table was well over an hour and whilst Richard enjoyed his dinner I was a bit disappointed in my fish tacos. However, this restaurant is well worth going to just to see and experience the amazing garden area where you can sit and enjoy a drink while waiting for your table. We have honestly never experienced a restaurant like it before. It was like being at a large, private gathering with live music, old swing seats, all sorts of tables and chairs and lots of pretty coloured lights in the trees. 

Last night we went to St Armands Circle which is a collection of boutique shops and restaurants. It is quite a big place and really nice to stroll around and get something to eat.

A real must do in Sarasota is the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. We cycled from our hotel along past the beautiful marina to the botanical gardens. The cycle ride itself was lovely (the hotel has bikes available). We spent a couple of hours strolling round the gardens and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Siesta Key has been voted number 1 beach in the US. Situated just to the south of Sarasota it has an array of beach cafe's and restaurants and is a really popular place. We were not so keen on Siesta Key although the beach itself is lovely. What we did really like though was the viewing spot just before you leave Siesta Key (before the bridge over the water). Here there are fabulous views across the bay.