Attractions & Fun Things to Do in the Sarasota Area

If you are planning a Florida vacation and want to experience some of the world class attractions without staying in the hustle and bustle of Orlando, Tampa or Miami, try the secluded, historic area of Siesta Key near Sarasota.

Siesta Key is home to one of the world’s greatest beaches, the award-winning Siesta Key Beach.  It’s famous for its white powdered sand and spectacular sunsets.  The Inn on Siesta Key is just steps away from this beach and just a short walk from Siesta Village, where you can enjoy both casual and world class restaurants, wonderful shopping and lively night entertainment.  And if it’s world class attractions you’re looking for, Siesta Key is just a short drive away from everything you can imagine.  Here are some fun things to do in the Sarasota area.

Walt Disney World

The most visited vacation resort in the world is home to four theme parks; the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney Studios and Animal Kingdom.  It is also home to two water parks, four golf courses and Disney Springs; a restaurant and shopping paradise.  There is something for everyone in this 27, 258 acre complex.

Walt Disney World is only about a two-hour drive from the Inn on Siesta Key, so a day trip there and back is very doable.

Universal Studios Orlando

Universal has two theme parks; Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.  Plus it has a night-time entertainment complex, Universal CityWalk Orlando.  Universal has plenty of unique attractions, thrill rides and activities geared towards children.

Universal is just a little further east than Walt Disney World on I-4 and can be considered a day trip from the Inn on Siesta Key as well.

SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando is a theme park and marine zoological park.  The SeaWorld Parks & Resorts complex also includes Discovery Cove, a theme park that allows guests to get up close with marine life, and Aquatica, a water park.

SeaWorld is just a few miles closer than Universal Studios on I-4.

Busch Gardens, Tampa

Just an hour away from the Inn on Siesta Key, Busch Gardens is an amusement park with plenty of thrill rides and includes a large, zoological area with more than 2,700 animals.

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

Come face-to-face with manatees, sharks, turtles, stingrays and more.  The research arm of Mote is at the cutting edge of helping seabirds, even creating prosthetic legs for wood storks and other large birds.

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art

One of top attractions in Sarasota, the famed Ringling Bros. circus family operates an impressive museum of art sitting on 20 acres of land. The property includes a Venetian Gothic mansion that built in the mid-1920s.  The property's Museum of Art houses Baroque paintings and rare antiquities and the Ringling site also operates a Circus Museum that highlights the family's Ringling Bros. circus, including a mini model of a circus. Also on the property is the 66-acre Bayfront Gardens.

Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary

Experience lions and tigers at this unique animal sanctuary.  Open Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

This impressive attraction contains a large collection of orchids and bromeliads found in its conservatory.  Equally extraordinary are the tall palm trees, the cactus garden, and the massive Chinese banyan and fig trees.   Not to be missed and it only takes an hour or two to visit.

Robinson's Nature Preserve

This 487 acre preserve in nearby Bradenton is worth the drive if you love nature.  Kayaking, bird watching and biking are spectacular activities in this natural setting.  You can also climb the 40 foot observation tower for a birds eye view of the area.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Jungle Gardens is a delightful, old-school Florida attraction much like the former Cypress Gardens.  Stroll through 10 acres of tropical vegetation to hand-feed flamingos, watch birds of prey and reptile shows, and visit the butterfly gardens.

Sandy Hooves Horse Adventures

If you’ve ever dreamed of riding a horse along the beach, or in the water, this is the adventure for you.  You may even see a dolphin or two in the water.

Spring Training at Ed Smith Stadium

The months of February and March mean spring training for baseball and Ed Smith Stadium is a great modern training facility to see a Baltimore Orioles game.

Spring Training at McKechnie Field – Just up in Bradenton, you have even more spring training options with this great park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

St. Armands Circle

This is a great shopping and dining area with more than 130 vendor choices to choose from, including casual and fine dining, ice cream and dessert shops.

When you stay at the Inn on Siesta Key, there are many attractions just a short drive away.  Please ask us about any attraction or activity.  We're here to help you have the perfect vacation.

And, for those days after visiting a world class attraction when you just want to rest and relax, there is no better place to experience the tranquil, vintage Florida lifestyle than the Inn on Siesta Key.

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