Welcome to the radiant shores of Sarasota, Florida, where coastal wonders and sun-soaked adventures await. From captivating parks that showcase the area’s diverse ecosystems to pristine beaches that beckon with their soft sands and azure waters, Sarasota offers an idyllic retreat for nature lovers and beach enthusiasts alike.
Whether you’re browsing on Redfin for a new house for sale in Sarasota, or visiting the area as a tourist, be sure to take notes on your favorite places as we unveil the enchanting parks and pristine beaches that make life in Sarasota so wonderful. If you’re seeking adventure, tranquility, or a vibrant coastal atmosphere, Sarasota’s coastal gems promise unforgettable experiences and a true taste of Florida’s coastal splendor. Let’s get started.
Popular parks in Sarasota
Myakka River State Park
Step into the untamed beauty of Florida’s wilderness at Myakka River State Park. Spanning over 37,000 acres, this sprawling park offers a captivating blend of wetlands, prairies, and woodlands. Its crown jewel is the majestic Myakka River, where adventurers can embark on scenic boat tours or kayak through the serene waters, observing alligators, turtles, and a variety of bird species.
Adventurers can explore the park’s extensive network of hiking trails, leading to hidden lakes, towering palm hammocks, and take vistas. For a touch of excitement, hop aboard an airboat and glide across the shallow marshes, feeling the rush of wind and the thrill of spotting wildlife up close. With its diverse ecosystems and opportunities for outdoor recreation, Myakka River State Park is a nature lover’s paradise.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Immerse yourself in a horticultural wonderland at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Nestled on the shores of Sarasota Bay, this enchanting garden is renowned for its stunning collection of orchids and epiphytes. Stroll through a series of themed gardens, each boasting its own unique ambiance and plant displays. The Tropical Conservatory is a lush oasis where vibrant blooms and cascading vines transport visitors to a rainforest paradise. The Children’s Rainforest Garden invites explorers to discover the wonders of nature through interactive exhibits and imaginative play areas.
Situated in the heart of downtown Sarasota, Bayfront Park beckons with its idyllic setting and picturesque views of the bay. As you wander along the waterfront promenade, gentle ocean breezes carry the scent of saltwater, and the sight of sailboats gliding across the horizon captivates the imagination. Relax on shaded benches or spread out a picnic blanket and savor the tranquil ambiance. The park’s marina offers docking facilities for boaters, and fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines from the pier in search of a prized catch.
The Bayfront has a playground, and cyclists can enjoy a leisurely bike ride or a refreshing jog along the scenic paths. As the sun sets, the park transforms into a captivating gathering place, where locals and visitors alike come together to witness the breathtaking spectacle of vibrant colors painting the sky.
Nathan Benderson Park
Discover a world of water sports and natural beauty at Nathan Benderson Park. Set around a sprawling 400-acre lake, this vibrant park is a hub for rowing, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. Watch as athletes glide across the water, their oars slicing through the mirrored surface with precision and grace. Adventure awaits on the park’s extensive network of walking and biking trails, leading through lush wetlands and serene wooded areas.
Whether you choose to participate in water sports, explore the tranquil trails, or simply bask in the natural splendor, Nathan Benderson Park offers an invigorating escape into the great outdoors.
Oscar Scherer State Park
Tucked away between Sarasota and Venice, Oscar Scherer State Park is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Nature enthusiasts will revel in the park’s diverse ecosystems, from the shimmering depths of Lake Osprey to the shady canopies of the scrubby flatwoods. Hike along the scenic trails that wind through pine forests, spotting rare and elusive Florida scrub-jays, gopher tortoises, and an array of bird species along the way. Cast a line into the calm waters of Lake Osprey, where largemouth bass and bluegill await eager anglers.
For an immersive experience, pitch a tent at the park’s camping facilities and fall asleep to the serenade of nocturnal creatures. With its unspoiled landscapes and opportunities for outdoor recreation, Oscar Scherer State Park offers a tranquil retreat from the bustling city, inviting visitors to connect with nature in its purest form.
Most visited Sarasota beaches
Siesta Key Beach
Prepare to be dazzled by the radiant beauty of Siesta Key Beach, where the sand is as soft and white as powdered sugar. This world-renowned beach consistently ranks among the top in the United States, and for good reason. Sink your toes into the velvety sand as you bask in the warm sunshine, or take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
Siesta Key Beach offers excellent amenities, including picnic areas equipped with grills for a beachside barbecue, volleyball courts for friendly competitions, and concession stands serving up delicious snacks and drinks. As the day draws to a close, find a cozy spot on the shore to witness the mesmerizing spectacle of the sun melting into the horizon, painting the sky with hues of pink and gold.
Tucked away on the enchanting barrier island of Lido Key, Lido Beach offers a tranquil escape just minutes away from downtown Sarasota. This pristine stretch of coastline beckons with its soft sands and gentle waves. Take a leisurely stroll along the shore, collecting seashells and enjoying the warm ocean breeze, or find respite under the shade of an umbrella, allowing the rhythmic lullaby of crashing waves to wash away your cares.
Lido Beach has a public swimming pool where you can splash and play to your heart’s content. After a day of sun-soaked bliss, head to nearby St. Armands Circle, a vibrant shopping and dining district brimming with boutiques, galleries, and restaurants. Lido Beach is the perfect destination for those seeking a peaceful coastal retreat with a touch of sophistication.
Longboat Key Beach
Longboat Key Beach is a pristine haven on the barrier island of the same name. This uncrowded beach offers a tranquil atmosphere, inviting tourists to unwind and reconnect with nature. Try out some recreational water sports like surfing or stroll along the shoreline, breathing in the salty ocean air and savoring the panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico.
Longboat Key Beach is a paradise for nature lovers, with an abundance of wildlife and lush coastal vegetation. Keep an eye out for playful dolphins dancing in the waves or shorebirds elegantly gliding through the sky.
Venture to the southern end of Siesta Key, where Turtle Beach awaits with its unassuming charm and natural allure. This tranquil stretch of shoreline offers a more laid-back atmosphere compared to its bustling northern counterpart. As you stroll along the beach, keep your eyes peeled for turtle nests, as the beach gets its name from the loggerhead sea turtles that frequently nest here during the nesting season.
Turtle Beach boasts a more natural landscape, with sand dunes and native vegetation providing a picturesque backdrop for beachcombing and sunbathing. Anglers will appreciate the beach’s boat launch and fishing opportunities, where they can try their luck at reeling in a catch.
While not located within Sarasota city limits, Venice Beach is well worth a visit for its unique charm and natural treasures. Known as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World,” this beach offers a thrilling adventure for fossil enthusiasts. Take a walk along the shoreline, scanning the sand for fossilized shark teeth, treasures from the ocean’s ancient past. The beach has a fishing pier, where anglers can cast their lines or simply enjoy the panoramic views of the Gulf.
Barbecue shelters dot the area, providing shaded spots for enjoying a beachside meal. Nearby, the Venetian Waterway Park beckons with its paved trails, ideal for biking, walking, or rollerblading alongside picturesque canals and scenic landscapes.