Sarasota, a city rich in culture and history sits on Florida's Gulf coast, is a spectacular place to dock and stay a while. With top-rated restaurants and attractions, as well as miles of beautiful, sugar-white sandy beaches, palm trees, and the blue oceans of the Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota has something to offer everyone. The natural beauty of Sarasota can be found along the miles of rivers and bays to paddle, hike, bike, and explore; while downtown Sarasota is the center for of arts & culture, restaurants & bars, and other night-life attractions. Sarasota also features outdoor shopping and dining, water sports, golf, jazz, historical and natural museums, beaches and beach activities, world-class art museums, and the Venetian mansion and museum built my John Ringling (of circus fame). With lots to do, for every kind of adventure, your stay at Sarasota is sure to be a memorable one.
Things to do:
Marina Jack Cruise II
Care to let someone else take the wheel while you enjoy a delicious meal and take in the sights of Sarasota and the Gulf of Mexico? Book a cruise on the Marina Jack Cruise II, Sarasota's newest, and most luxurious, dinner boat. Visit for lunch and choose from a buffet featuring Chicken Marsala and Catch of the Day, or for dinner and enjoy the Captain Jack's Prime Rib & Special Entree’s buffet. Every seat is a window seat from the air conditioned dining room or spacious deck so you can relax and enjoy the ride (marinajacks.com/dinnerboat.html)
Van Wezel Performing Arts Center
Are you in the mood for live music? The Van Wezel performing Arts Center located on the bay front in Sarasota has been operating for more than 35 years. The entertainment consists of many different genre's including county, comedy, jazz & blues, to pop, rock and theatrical dance. So experience a night of excitement with your friends and family. Check Van Wezel Performing Arts Center website for their calendar schedule (941-953-3368, www.vanwezel.org).
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Enjoy the natural wonders from around the world within the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota. This museum of horticulture includes thirteen distinct gardens some of which are the Bonsai Garden, Hibiscus Garden, Tropical Fruit garden, Mangrove Forest, Green Roof Exhibit, and the former Christy Payne Mansion: a unique example of eclectic Southern Colonial architecture. One highlight is the incredible Tropical Conservatory where you can see the unusual flora of the rainforest year-round. Many of these plants have been collected from the wild on more than 200 scientific expeditions to the tropical rain forest by the Selby Gardens research staff. Visit their website for the calendar of events to check for specific showcases the Gardens may be hosting during your stay in Sarasota (selby.org).
Where to Eat:
Sarasota Cupcake Company
The Sarasota Cupcake Company, which opened in June 2011, has much to offer. They sold over 10,000 cupcakes in Sarasota before even opening their doors for business. With flavors changing daily, they sure know how to keep their customers wanting more. Currently, they have over 30 different flavors (St. Armands Circle, 27 N. Blvd. of the Presidents, 941-388-2253).
Owens Fish Camp Restaurant
Owen's Fish Camp is the sixth restaurant owned by the Caragiulo Brothers; and although they may be from Brooklyn, they know Southern Cooking. Inspired by Sarasota's history, Owen's Fish Camp prides itself on the southern country comfort in an urban setting, and on their superb food. Reasonably priced, the entrees range from steak to seafood to chicken with true southern sides of summer corn with jalapeno butter, my way or the highway, cheesy 'grits,' spicy collard greens, owen's succotash, and camp coleslaw to name a few. They also have sandwiches, soups, salads, baskets, and a delicious array of pies. Also be sure to grab one of their jars of boiled hot roadside peanuts, smoked fish spread with saltines, Key West conch & scallop ceviche, or fried dill pickles for the road. Visit this delightful restaurant for a good time, a good meal, and a good lesson on Southern cuisine during your stay in Sarasota (owensfishcamp.com)
Sangria Tapas Bar & Restaurant
This beautiful Spanish Restaurant & Bar located in downtown Sarasota is perfect for lunch, dinner, or happy hour. With three varieties of homemade Sangria, delicious Spanish Tapas, and the exciting atmosphere, your dining experience will be amazing, or maravilloso! The lunch menu features affordable sandwiches, entrees, and salads, all served with some Spanish flavor. The choices get even better on the dinner menu- try something new and exciting from their long list of authentic dishes. Visit their website for a preview of the menu, and definitely add the Sangria Tapas Bar & Restaurant to your Sarasota to-do list (sangriatapasbar.com).
Where to Dock
Looking to take a cruise but not quite sure where to go. Check out our featured destinations for suggestions on where to travel. You select the destination and Marinalife can take care of the rest. A detailed description of each destination will help you decide which one appeals to your taste.Select a Featured Destination to view: