You don’t need a tour guide to enjoy Sarasota lifestyle! Here’s some must-do items a new Sarasota resident must check off their to-do list to live like a local.
1. Siesta Key Drum Circle
If you’re moving to Sarasota, you should know about Dr. Beach’s two-time award-winning Siesta Beach. It’s all about the sand. While Siesta Key is home to multiple world-class events during the year, if we could pick one must-do activity it’s a visit to the drum circle. The free community event is every Sunday starting about an hour before sunset between lifeguard stands three and four until it’s all done.
2. Bicycle/Run Casey Key
A personal favorite activity, a bicycle ride down Casey Key can be as leisurely or intense as you’d like. Either way, enjoy the sound of surf as the road winds between incredible private estates, the shoreline, and the bay.
3. Visit the Ringling Museum
This iconic Sarasota location is one of TripAdvisor’s top 10 things to do in Sarasota. The estate has a world famous Art museum with rotating exhibits, a Circus Museum, and tours of the John and Mable Ringling estate. The Ca’ d’Zan Mansion right on the Sarasota waterfront is truly a wonder to behold. The grounds and gardens are free and the Museum of Art is free on Mondays.
4. Holiday Lights at Selby Gardens
Marie Selby Gardens are a treat to visit any time of year, but they’re especially charming during the annual Lights in Bloom festival running from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Stroll beneath the banyan trees awash with flickering butterflies and enjoy holiday-themed live performances.
5. Try Siesta Key Rum
Siesta Key Rum creates award-winning small batch rum from its local still, Drum Circle Distillery. Distillery tours are free and last around an hour, but require pre-registration. If you like something local, give this a try.
6. Hunt for Shark Teeth
Another quintessential local activity, drive to Venice or Caspersen Beach for a fun day of hunting shark teeth. Buying a special sifter or even jumping in the water isn’t necessary. Just stroll along the beach, keeping a sharp eye out for shark teeth of all sizes. Bring along the little ones and see who has the sharpest eye.
7. Stroll St. Armand’s Circle
Sarasota’s iconic dining and shopping center, St. Armand’s Circle on Lido Key has it all: incredible restaurants, name-brand apparel, and sweet treats perfect after a day on the sand. It’s an open-air venue with over 130 merchants like Tommy Bahama, Daiquiri Deck, Columbia, Kilwin’s, Lilly Pultizer, Soma, Wyland Galleries, and many more.
8. Kayak or Paddleboard the Lido Key Mangrove Tunnels
This unique adventure launches from Ted Sperling Park on Lido Key. You’ll soon forget you’re near an urban center as you vanish into the thick tunnels winding through the mangrove islands. Spot birds, all varieties of fish, and if you’re lucky, a dolphin or manatee. Check with local outfitters for rentals.
9. Myakka River State Park
Opposite from the shoreline is one of Florida’s largest state parks. The native prairie preserved here is home to hundreds of Florida alligators. Get up close to these historic reptiles sunning along the banks of Myakka River. The canopy sky bridge gives you as close to a bird’s eye view of the surrounding land as possible. Note that Myakka tends to flood during the rainy season.
10. Try Yoder’s Pie
Did you know Sarasota is home to a Mennonite community called Pinecraft? The simple folk have been wintering in Sarasota for decades. They operate several businesses, with Yoder’s being most renowned for their pie. A Yoder’s pie is a local Thanksgiving tradition. They make upwards of 7,000 fruit and cream pies for the holiday. Expect lines to snake around the block for pie pick-up.