Beautiful beaches and year-round sunshine make Sarasota and Bradenton the perfect place for a relaxing holiday. The beauty of Sarasota's beaches stretches along the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay, to the brilliant white sand and azure waters of Longboat, Lido and Siesta beaches. But there is so much more to this area than just beaches! Experience the sophistication and charm of Sarasota - it has restaurants, shopping, golfing and cultural activities. Outdoor activities are popular, including canoeing, fishing and diving, or stick to dry land with cycling and golfing. There’s a well-established cultural community, many architectural splendours, upmarket shopping and a certain obsession for circus-style entertainment!
- Beautiful Beaches
- Huge variety of outdoor activities
- Fantastic restaurants
- Year-round sunshine
Jan - Circus Ring of Fame / St. Armands Winter Art Festival
Feb – Taste of the Suncoast / Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival / Downtown Sarasota Festival of the Arts / Sarasota Exotic Car Fest / St. Barbara Greek Glendi Festival
Mar – Sarasota County Fair / Giving Hunger the Blues / Downtown Venice Art Classic
Apr - Florida Winefest and Auction / Florida International Air Show / Venice Sharks Tooth Festival / Siesta Fiesta
May – Fiesta on Main / Classic Corvettes on the Circle
Jul – Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix
Nov – Cine World Film Festival / The Venice Holiday Parade
Dec – The Sarasota Christmas Boat Parade / Sarasota Downtown Holiday Parade / Holiday Night of Lights
Please note: all events listed are for helpful information only and many are subject to entrance fees and/or prior reservation, and may be cancelled at any time. Please check with the relevant tourist office if you need further information on these or any of the other events in this region.
Postcards from... Top ideas from our travel experts
Our Top 4 hotels
This is a lovely little hideaway, nestled next to the beach in densely vegetated Longboat Key. The pace of life here is gloriously slow, with bicycles as popular as cars. At sunset, cocktail specials are served at the bar, with tropical drinks poolside. Latitude's Beach Café, where you can dine indoors or out, has a great reputation for its seafood creations in a casual setting.
The sand is beautifully bright and sugary soft on this 600ft stretch of private beach and you can hire watercraft to drift along on the waves. This really is a must-see paradise, and right on the doorstep it only makes this pleasant and inviting hotel even more appealing. There are lots of dry land activities too, including bicycle hire.
Nestled on the white-sand beaches of Florida’s relaxed Gulf Coast, this delightful resort-style hotel is full of relaxing features to make your holiday one to remember. You may find yourself unable to do anything but soak up the sunshine on one of the comfy loungers beside the beautiful Gulf-side swimming pool.
No details are available for this accommodation at present.
Fun and games
Circus Sarasota keeps alive the Big Top tradition and even high schools teach circus skills and stage annual circus events! G-Wiz Science Museum is popular with the kids, as are watery pursuits, cycling and nature walks. The theatre and arts district in downtown Sarasota cover everything. Art galleries are rife, particularly along Main Street and Palm Avenue.
Sarasota has plenty of eating options available, from relaxed informal dining to something a little more up-market like the AAA Four-Diamond Awarded restaurant ‘Michael’s On East’. The trendy restaurants along Main Street and Palm Avenue give the town a reputation for innovative dining.
Finding great music in Sarasota is easy with its many bars, jazz venues and night clubs. Why not try La Barge, where you can dance the night away on the top deck of a boat overlooking the tropical water!
Beaches and Sea Life
The beach is part of a broken chain of sand that spreads north and south. At the north end of Lido Key, the shore boasts soft talcum powdery sand. Watch out for the dolphins as they come close to shore.
Circus Sarasota keeps alive the Big Top tradition and the high schools even teach circus skills and stage annual circus events! G-Wiz Science Museum is popular with the kids, as are watery pursuits, cycling and nature walks.
The theatre and arts district in downtown Sarasota encompass everything. Art galleries are rife, particularly along Main Street and Palm Avenue, where trendy restaurants give the town a reputation for innovative dining.
Head to St Armand's Circle for speciality stores or to historic Venice Main Street for a taste of small-town Americana. Malls include Ellenton Mall Factory Outlet and Westfield Shopping town with over 140 shops and prime outlets.
Different destinations have different magic touches so make sure to check them out to see what makes your holiday with us so special.
Flight Details - You fly direct non-stop to Orlando international airport from Gatwick, Manchester or Glasgow with award-winning Virgin Atlantic. Easily the best way to get here!
Flight Time - Approx 9 hours
Time Difference - GMT -5 hours
Distance - Approx 132 miles from Orlando international airport. 240 miles from Miami international airport.
Driving Times - 2 hours 30-min drive from Orlando. 3 hours 30 min from Miami. 1 hour from Busch Gardens and St Pete Beach.
Did you know?
The John and Mable Ringling Museum is a must-see attraction when in Sarasota. Initially the estate of John Ringling, the museum consists of the Museum of the Circus, Ringling's mansion of Ca d'Zan and an art museum.