There is a lot to do in Siesta Key and the Greater Sarasota area, including the amazing beaches, shopping, and dining options, as well as numerous cultural attractions. However, there is something to be said about jumping in the car and exploring on your own. The good news is that the rest of Florida has a lot to see and do. What's even better is that a lot of it is just a few hours away. These day trips are a wonderful way to see all Florida has to offer.
Acting as a not-for-profit organization, the large-scale Florida Aquarium is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, meaning its focus is on conservation and education. The attraction is home to more than 7,000 aquatic plants and animals from Florida and around the world.
Tarpon Springs is a small city just a few hours from Sarasota. Known as the sponge capital of the world, It is famous for their sponge docks and Greek heritage. Tarpon Springs also has a charming downtown and its historic district features brick streets, art galleries, antique shops, and other stores housed in buildings that date back to the late 1800s.
Located on St. Petersburg’s waterfront, the Dali Museum is dedicated to the surreal works of Salvador Dali. The $30 million building features a variety of different events for families to attend, including performances, workshops, films, lectures, and other events. A short drive from Sarasota, the Dali Museum is a great way to get inspired and view an amazing art collection.
Visiting Key West for a day by car from Sarasota would be exhausting, but there is a way to still see Key West and be back in your hotel room by that night. The Key West Express Ferry leaves daily from Fort Myers Beach. Enjoy a relaxing cruise to Key West, where you can take in the sights and enjoy a bite to eat at one of many great restaurants. You can board the Key West Express later that day and be home before it gets too late.
A trip to Florida wouldn’t be the same without visiting one of its many world-class theme parks. Here are the most popular:
Many consider this the granddaddy of all theme parks. Located in the Walt Disney World resort area, it is the most visited theme park in the world and the first Disney theme park in Florida, opening in 1971. The park is filled with attractions and rides for all ages.
Focusing on movies and television for its theme, Universal Studios encourages its guests to “ride the movies” and features many rides, attractions, and live shows. It normally ranks around a tenth as the most visited theme parks in the world.
Sea World is a theme park and marine zoological park. It is the 10th most visited theme park in the U.S. Visitors can enjoy live shows and attractions, including rides and animal exhibits. Some of the attractions, like Manta and Wild Artic, combine an animal experience with the ride.
Like the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT is a theme park located at the Walt Disney World Resort. It was the second of four theme parks built at Walt Disney World and is the seventh most visited theme park in the world. EPCOT sits on 305 acres and consists of two primary themed areas, Future World, consisting of attractions and World Showcase. Featuring areas themed like countries with entertainment, dining, and shopping unique to that specific country.
Designed for families with children ages 2 to 12, the Legoland Resort features more than fifty rides, shows, attractions, and shops. The resort also has a botanical garden and water park. If your young children are Lego fans and you aren’t looking for big thrill rides, a day at Legoland might be the perfect day trip for your entire family.
Located at the Universal Orlando Resort, this theme park is modeled after a journey of exploration, where guests embark on an adventure to visit a variety of themed islands. Like Universal Studios, the park features many rides, attractions, and shopping opportunities.
This Disney park is dedicated to the imagined worlds from film, TV, music, and theatre. The area features live shows, rides, attractions, and displays and is the ninth most visited theme park in the world.
Busch Gardens is a 335-acre African-themed animal theme park with many notable roller coasters and rides, along with a children’s area and a wide variety of live animals to learn about and observe. It is the 11th most visited theme park in North America.
Animal Kingdom is a zoological theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort. Different than the other Disney parks, Animal Kingdom features hundreds of species of live animals in addition to its traditional attractions. It is the sixth most visited theme park in the world.
Whatever your level of excitement, there are some great day trips from Siesta Key and Sarasota. Load up the car and set off for an adventure that you will never forget.