Cities to Visit Near Sarasota

Excited to Explore: Best Cities to Visit Near Sarasota

One of the best cities to visit near Sarasota is St. Petersburg. Just a 45-minute drive from Sarasota, St. Petersburg is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant arts scene, and world-class museums. You can spend the day exploring the Salvador Dali Museum, strolling through the historic downtown area, or relaxing on the white sand beaches of St. Pete Beach.

Another great city to visit is Bradenton, located just 20 minutes north of Sarasota. Bradenton is home to the beautiful Riverwalk, a scenic park that runs along the Manatee River and features playgrounds, splash pads, and picnic areas. You can also visit the South Florida Museum, which houses an aquarium, planetarium, and history museum. With its charming downtown area and laid-back vibe, Bradenton is a great place to spend a day or two.

Siesta Key: Sun and Fun

The first recommended destination near Sarasota is obviously, Siesta Key. This barrier island is located just a short drive from the city and offers miles of pristine white sand beaches. Naturally, most people arrive to Sarasota on their way to their Siesta Key vacation (like we did).

Siesta Key Beach is the main attraction, and for good reason. With crystal clear waters and soft, powdery sand, it’s consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the United States. Take a dip in the ocean, lounge on the beach, or rent a cabana for some extra shade.

Aside from the beach, Siesta Key has plenty of other activities to offer. Take a stroll down Siesta Key Village, a charming downtown area with shops, restaurants, and bars. If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at parasailing or rent a jet ski for some high-speed fun on the water.

When it comes to dining, Siesta Key has options for every taste. From seafood shacks to upscale restaurants, you’ll find something to satisfy your cravings. Be sure to try some of the local specialties, like the famous Siesta Key Oysters.

Venice Beach: Sharks and Shells

Known as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World,” Venice Beach is a must-visit for anyone interested in finding fossils and shells.

The beach is located south of Venice Airport on Harbor Drive, and offers a stretch of mostly natural shoreline. While there are no lifeguards on duty, the beach does have restrooms, a picnic area, and a 1,100-foot boardwalk.

But the real draw of Venice Beach is the chance to find shark teeth and shells. The best places to look for fossils are any beach accesses south of the Venice Jetty, including Casey Key and Manasota Key. The Venice Fishing Pier at Brohard Park is also a great place to start your search, especially if you’re new to the area.

Shark teeth collectors say that the best time to look for fossils is after a storm, when the waves have churned up the sand and exposed new treasures. You can also try sifting through the sand with a mesh screen or using a snorkel to search underwater.

Bradenton Beach: Family Escapades

One of the main attractions in Bradenton Beach is the beautiful white sand beach. The beach is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and building sandcastles. You can also rent beach chairs and umbrellas if you want to relax in the shade.

For those who want to get out on the water, there are plenty of options for fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. You can rent equipment and take a guided tour with one of the many local companies.

If you’re interested in history, be sure to check out the Bridge Street Pier. This historic pier has been a landmark in Bradenton Beach for over 100 years and offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. You can also visit the Bridge Street Market, which is held every Sunday and features local vendors selling everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts.

Coquina Beach: Natural Beauty

One of the unique features of Coquina Beach is its natural coastline, which offers a glimpse of Florida’s untouched beauty. You can take a walk on the footpaths and boardwalks that lead off from the boat launch ramp around the mangrove-lined lagoons. The shady pine trees provide a tranquil spot to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.

Coquina Beach is also ideal for fishing and bird watching. You can spot a variety of birds such as pelicans, seagulls, and sandpipers. The beach is home to several fish species, including redfish, snook, and tarpon. You can bring your own fishing gear or rent it from the on-site bait and tackle shop.

The beach is equipped with all the amenities you need for a comfortable visit. You can find plentiful free parking, lifeguards, concessions, picnic tables, restrooms, and showers. The beach is also wheelchair accessible.

North Port

One of the best things to do in North Port is to explore its canals. The city is on a lattice of canals, adding up to almost 80 miles, to go with the lower Myakkahatchee Creek and the connecting Myakka River. You can rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard and explore the waterways on your own or take a guided tour.

Another must-visit attraction in North Port is Warm Mineral Springs. This natural spring is the only warm water mineral spring in Florida and is said to have healing properties. You can relax in the warm waters or get a massage at the spa.

If you’re a nature lover, you’ll also want to visit Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. This park has over 8 miles of hiking trails, a boardwalk, and a canoe/kayak launch. You can spot alligators, turtles, and a variety of birds as you explore the park.


One of the top attractions in Osprey is the Historic Spanish Point. This 30-acre museum and environmental complex is home to an archaeological exhibit of a prehistoric shell mound known as a midden, which dates back 5,000 years ago. You can also explore a turn-of-the-century pioneer homestead historic house museum, a citrus packing house, a chapel, boatyard, gardens, and more.

If you’re interested in outdoor activities, you can visit the Oscar Scherer State Park. This park is home to several hiking trails, picnic areas, and a lake where you can go fishing, kayaking, or canoeing. You can also spot Florida’s wildlife, including alligators, bobcats, and bald eagles.

For a more relaxing experience, you can head to the Osprey Fishing Pier. This pier is a great spot for fishing, birdwatching, or simply enjoying the stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. You can also visit the Blackburn Point Park, which offers a playground, picnic tables, and a boat ramp.


Located just south of Sarasota, Englewood is known for its beautiful beaches, excellent fishing, and friendly locals. Here are some of the top things to do in Englewood:

Englewood Beach

Englewood Beach is a great place to relax and soak up the sun. The beach is wide and spacious, with plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the sand and surf. There are also several picnic areas and pavilions, making it a great spot for a family outing or a romantic picnic, or even unique proposal.

Stump Pass Beach State Park

Stump Pass Beach State Park is a hidden gem that’s worth the visit. This beautiful park boasts stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico and is home to a variety of wildlife, including dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles. You can also enjoy hiking, fishing, and kayaking in the park.

Lemon Bay Park and Environmental Center

Lemon Bay Park and Environmental Center is a great place to learn about the local ecosystem. The park features a variety of habitats, including mangrove swamps, pine forests, and salt marshes. You can also enjoy hiking, fishing, and birdwatching in the park.

Historic Dearborn Street

Historic Dearborn Street is the heart of Englewood. This charming street is lined with quaint shops, art galleries, and restaurants. You can also enjoy live music and other events throughout the year.

Englewood Farmer’s Market

If you’re looking for fresh produce and local goods, be sure to check out the Englewood Farmer’s Market. This weekly market features a variety of vendors selling everything from fruits and vegetables to handmade crafts and jewelry. It’s a great place to support local businesses and find unique souvenirs to take home with you.


One of the top attractions in Palmetto is Emerson Point Preserve, which offers stunning views of the Manatee River and Tampa Bay. You can take a leisurely hike through the park’s trails, go fishing, or simply relax and enjoy the scenery.

Another must-visit spot in Palmetto is Detwiler’s Farm Market, which offers a wide variety of fresh produce and other local goods. Whether you’re looking for some delicious fruits and veggies or some unique souvenirs to take home, Detwiler’s is definitely worth a visit.

If you’re interested in history, be sure to check out the Palmetto Historical Park and Manatee County Agricultural Museum. Here, you can learn about the region’s rich agricultural heritage and explore a variety of exhibits and artifacts.

Anna Maria Island

One of the best things to do on Anna Maria Island is to hit the beach. With over 7 miles of pristine white sand beaches, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to soak up the sun. Bean Point Beach, located at the northern end of the island, is a local favorite and offers some of the best views on the island.

If you’re looking for a more active adventure, you can rent a bike or kayak and explore the island’s natural beauty. The island also offers a variety of water sports, including paddleboarding, parasailing, and fishing.

For those who prefer a more laid-back approach, Anna Maria Island offers plenty of shops, restaurants, and galleries to explore. The Beach Market at Coquina Beach is a popular spot to shop for local crafts and souvenirs.

Port Charlotte

Located halfway between Sarasota and Fort Myers, Port Charlotte boasts of its perfect location to offer every kind of water-borne activity. From kayaking, fishing, and boating to golfing, there’s something for everyone in Port Charlotte.

One of the main attractions of Port Charlotte is its immaculate white-sand beaches. The area is perfect for those who love to relax and soak up the sun. There are plenty of resorts and high-end residential communities in the city that offer luxury and exclusivity. Longboat Key is a must-visit destination for those who crave luxury and exclusivity near Sarasota.

Port Charlotte is also a popular destination for golfers, with seven golf courses located in the area. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced golfer, you’ll find a course that suits your needs. One of the best golf courses in the area is Riverwood Golf Club, which features an 18-hole championship course.

If you’re a nature lover, then you’ll love the local wildlife and ecosystems in Port Charlotte. You can explore the local wildlife and ecosystems by kayaking, hiking, or taking a guided tour. There are plenty of tour companies in the area that offer guided tours of the local wildlife and ecosystems.