Sarasota is a beautiful and quiet city, and among the cities on the south Gulf coast, it is most worthy of an extended visit. The galleries and the performing arts district in the compact downtown area, the gorgeous beaches of Siesta Key, the upscale shopping of St. Armands Circle, the string of islands that hug the coastline, and the wide array of historic sights throughout the area all demand a visitor’s attention.
Unfortunately, these sights are all somewhat spread out in a way that makes the city seem a lot less charming than it really is, but a few days spent wandering the area easily reveals a comfortable and pleasant city that’s often overshadowed by the attractions of the Tampa Bay metro area.
Getting to Sarasota
Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport (SRQ, 6000 Airport Circle, Sarasota, 941/359-2777, www.srq-airport.com) is located in northern Sarasota and is served by Delta, Northwest, US Airways, AirTran, JetBlue,and several charter services. You may be able to find more flight options at the larger Tampa International Airport (TPA, 4100 George J. Bean Pkwy, Tampa, 813/870-8700, www.tampaairport.com), which is about 65 miles (an hour’s drive) away.
Sarasota is about 65 miles (an hour’s drive) south of Tampa Bay via I-75 and I-275. The city itself is about 10 miles west of I-75. The historic Tamiami Trail also runs through the city, although the scenery between Tampa and Sarasota leaves much to be desired.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition