The Sarasota-Manatee county area holds something (and then some) for everyone who lives or visits here. Whether you’re looking for a permanent residence or just want to enjoy the warm winter weather or a short vacation, you’ll find more than you can imagine to fill your time.
Here are some suggestions:
Probably the Number One reason for the area’s attraction. The powder white sand and gentle surf make playing on the beach or in the waves a relaxing and fun time. The area boasts beaches along its entire shore line. North to south, here’s how they line up:
In Manatee County:
Anna Maria Bayfront Park
Coquina Bayside Park
Manatee Beach Park
Palma Sola Causeway Park
For more information about these beaches, click here.
In Sarasota County:
For more information about these beaches, click here.
Closely following playing on the beach is playing in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico or the intercostal waterways or lakes. Where there’s water, there is scuba diving and snorkeling, fishing, boating, parasailing, etc. Get wet!
The month of March at Sarasota’s Ed Smith Stadium finds the Baltimore Orioles in full swing training in front of thousands of fans. Take yourself out to the ballgame!
Over $40 Million was committed to developing a world class rowing and aquatic sports center. Near I-75 and University Parkway, it’s almost complete, and if you like regatta racing and other paddle sports, this is the place to see them.
If you come to Manatee-Sarasota only for golf, you’re not alone. The area boasts 89 (no typo there) golf courses!
Find Courses & Book Tee Times
If you’re happy in the midst of awesome art and history, beautiful plants, terrific plays, symphony, opera, and marine life, try these activities for size:
South Florida Museum – which includes a manatee aquarium and planetarium is a don’t miss for children and adults of all ages that want to see a manatee close up and personal, and the stars from light years away! Check it out!
Mote Marine Laboratory – Is it a scientific laboratory? Is it an aquarium? It’s both! Wonderful displays of Gulf aquatic life (including a not-so-alive giant squid) teach as well as delight. Kids love it, and so do their parents. Mote is a hop, skip and a jump from St. Armand’s Circle, which means that you can plan your day to balance out fantastic shopping, eating, and educational sightseeing!
The Ringling – The family name which carries the biggest wallop in Sarasota. John Ringling brought his famed circus to Sarasota for the winter and built himself a house on the bay which is just like an Italian villa. And he collected art Renaissance art – lots of it. The Ringling Museums include the Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, and the fabulous home Ca’d’Zan, as well as the Historic Asolo Theater (brought piece by piece from Asolo Italy) which is still in use, and an Art Library and magnificent Bayfront Gardens. This place usually tops a visitor’s list – and for good reason. Plan a whole day and wear comfy shoes.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens – 14 acres of a plant collection of over 20,000 plants in eight greenhouses and thousands more in the outdoor gardens, a Tropical Conservatory, and elegant mansion – and a gift shop where lovely plants may be purchased.
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall – Sarasota’s go-to venue for one or two night performances of every type of entertainment from rock and roll, to country, to comedy to dance, classical – name it. If it’s on the road, chances are it will come to the Van Wezel.
Manatee Players – in Bradenton, now in its new theater presents award-winning drama and musicals. If you’re in Manatee County and you love theater, you don’t want to miss the Manatee Players!
Asolo Theater – with up to 15 productions each year seen by over 100,000 patrons, the Asolo has a partnership with the Florida State University actor training program. And it’s only a short walk from the Ringling Museum complex.
Florida Studio Theatre – in downtown Sarasota and a short walk from wonderful dining, features three theaters and never-disappointing plays by outstanding artists.
West Coast Black Theatre Troupe – featuring can’t-sit-still-in-your-seat musical revues by outstanding performers and thought provoking drama and musicals about the black experience. Hurry- tickets are sold out before the ink is dry!
The Players – Sarasota’s community theater and where Montgomery Clift made his acting debut, has been delighting audiences with local talent and reasonable prices since 1936! The Players has a Broadway Series and also focuses on theater for children. Are you a permanent resident and in the entertainment business? You need to let The Players know you’re in town. They’ll be interested in your talent – and your scripts!
Venice Theatre – the third largest community theater in the United States, boasts a huge repertoire of shows and activities – serving the community’s audience, as well as its population. This is a theater with a huge heart!
The Sarasota Orchestra - with its concerts that include chamber music, masterworks, pops and an annual music festival is one of the city’s treasures. If you can get a ticket, don’t miss it.
Sarasota Opera - performing in its newly renovated historic Sarasota Opera House downtown, is a feast for the eyes and ears of opera goers. If you like opera, it’s a don’t-miss. And if you don’t know much about it, it’s a great place to learn!
Sarasota Ballet - founded in 1987. With the appointment in 2008 of Ian Webb as director and his wife Margaret Barbieri as assistant director, the company became a tour de force on the national stage. The Sarasota Ballet is the talk of the town.
And to no one’s surprise, in an area as full of interesting things to do as Sarasota-Manatee, you will find all types of shopping, dining, festivals, galleries, and other “supporting” activities.
Join in and enjoy!