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Best parts of gulf coast - Sarasota as a base

Watford, United...
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Best parts of gulf coast - Sarasota as a base

We have booked accomodation for 10 nights in Sarasota as a base to expolre the gulf coast followed by 9 nights in Orlando this July august. We have never been to gulf coast and would like a relaxing holiday as well

We would like to visit a range of beaches from Clearwater and st Petes to siesta key and maybe anna maria island and Venice??

Does anyone have any advice/feedback on those beaches and activities to do there (bearing in mind have already spent a lot on park tickets (no Disney but discovery cove ultimate plus unlimited universal Orlando instead!!) or reccommemdations for others??

Also, as we are staying in southern Sarasota, would it be worth staying one night around st petes and clearwater, to spend enough time at those beaches, and go to Tampa for busch gardens??

We are a family of four - with teenage boy and girl - is the beach at sarasota nice as well and what activities would you recommend there especially for evening? Thanks very much hope you can help :)

sarasota, FL
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for Sarasota, Venice, Siesta Key
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1. Re: Best parts of gulf coast - Sarasota as a base

Where are you staying in south Sarasota? Will you be close to Siesta Key?

Best beaches in the U.S...there is a large Public Parking lot at Siesta Key Public Beach..Siesta Village is fun to walk around in the evening.

You should start south, do your daytrips and end in the Tampa area before driving east ot Orlando. (Disney). You could spend 1 night in St. Pete and `1 night in Tampa to see Busch Gardens, Aquarium etc. More nightlife in those areas.

Lots of daytrips:

You can go to Lido Key and walk St. Armands Circle (shopping/dining)...another beach area.

In the area there are many things to do:

www.sarasotafl.org

www.see-sarasota.com

kayaking, fishing, museums, Mote Aquarium, downtown Sarasota, Anna Maria Island, Boca Grande etc etc.

Sarasota doesn't have any beaches..they are located on the barrier islands:

Siesta, Lido, Longboat, Anna Maria, Venice.

What types of activities are you looking for in the evening?

You can have a relaxing beach vacation here...depends on how much you want to drive on those daytrips.

~SRQgirl

sarasota, florida
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2. Re: Best parts of gulf coast - Sarasota as a base

Just wanted to point out that Venice is not that far from Sarasota, especially south Sarasota. AND Tampa is not that far. Tampa is an hour away. The beaches in Clearwater can take a bit longer to get to. Busch Gardens is an hour away. So as far as spending a night there, if you don't want to drive an hour or a little over an hour, then spend the night, but its not that far. I would even encourage a trip to Sanibel island, south of Venice if you want to venture further.

Check out hte links SRQgirl sent….and have fun.

UK
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3. Re: Best parts of gulf coast - Sarasota as a base

I live south of sarasota and Do BG as a day trip. You don't need to stay there, but if you did stay a night or 2 in st pete beach (on the beach as you won't be in Sarasota) you could do it your last day after checkout.

I think you must visit the beaches from Ft Desoto down as far as venice or even further to Manasota Key and Gasparilla/Boca grande.There are shark's teeth to find on the beaches which is fun to do. AMI and SK are 2 of my favourites as well as Ft DS.

Berkshire, England
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4. Re: Best parts of gulf coast - Sarasota as a base

We have stayed in both Sarasota (Lido Key), St Pete Beach and Clearwater Beach. All are lovely. St Pete and Clerwater are quite a drive from the Sarasota area, so we divide our time and this year are having 6 nights in Sarasota, 4 in Clearwater and 3 in Orlando at the end of our visit.

Fort De Soto is lovely and well worth a visit but it is near St Pete Beach. The beaches are fantastic and there are the remains of the fort to look round. You can hire bikes and I believe it is a 7 mile ride round the whole of the park.

Last year, after leaving Sarasota it took us 2 hours to get to Clearwater Beach. The drive along the coast from St Pete to Clearwater is very nice.

Falkirk, United...
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5. Re: Best parts of gulf coast - Sarasota as a base

Stayed in BRADENTON last September, going again this september, went to Anna maria Island, Sanibel, Fort Myers, and Tarpon Springs, [further north] and visited Myakka State Park, all worth a visit

Ohio
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6. Re: Best parts of gulf coast - Sarasota as a base

Anna Maria and Siesta Key are two of my favorites in the area. Anna Maria for its laid-back style, funky Old-Florida beach houses, smaller crowds, (we never had to wait in line to be seated in a restaurant), and the beaches, of course, are beautiful.

Siesta Key for baby-powder-fine sand, beautiful clear water.

I also like Venice beach for the sheer numbers of fossilized shark's teeth that are to be found. Several hundred in 2 afternoons. :-)

florida
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7. Re: Best parts of gulf coast - Sarasota as a base

Make sure you plan a day trip to boca grande which is a small island community about one hour south of srq.take the kids out to Makkah state park,rent a boat from mr cb,s on siesta key for the day. Most of the teenagers got to the public beach on siesta for the beach experience and then head into the village on siesta for a bite to eat. If you are in south Sarasota go to eat at two great waterfront restaurants,Casey key fish house and Spanish pointe pub. Having lived here all my life and having teenagers I think this is what they would enjoy.

Maryland
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8. Re: Best parts of gulf coast - Sarasota as a base

Definately do Anna Maria Island, there are shops and restaraunts there and ocean front. Not to mention a georgeous drive.

It's a beautiful drive down A1A from Sarasota. Venice is not that far, i think it may have been 1/2 hour. Venice has a huge beach and nice large town square with shops and restaraunts. You can definately spend a whole day there between the beach and town centre. There are also outdoor restaraunts on the square.

Sarasota Farmers market on Saturday mornings is great. Lots of great local food and procude, art, artisan food, great food to eat there. Perfect if you are staying in a condo, you can get wonderful local produce. I never got to try the gourmet popsicles :(

One thing I do is see what events are occuring in each town, if they have something going like a festival or art show, on we would go there that day. There is always some kind of festival in all of these downs, especially Sarasota and Siesta Key.

Ft Meyers is about 1.5 hours away and has a nice town as well as events going on.

Further down is Naples, definately worth a day trip. 5th Ave rocks, that's the towncenter here. Grteat shops and restaraunts too.

Ringling Museum in Sarasota is worth a visit. Get there early and bring comfy shoes, there are things to see outdoors on the property too. Lots of walking.

Gulf coast is beautiful, you'll love it !

sarasota, florida
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9. Re: Best parts of gulf coast - Sarasota as a base

(Just a little note: A1A is on the east coast of Florida. Here on the west coast, the north/south (and often slow) road is US41, or Tamiami Trail).

Maryland
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10. Re: Best parts of gulf coast - Sarasota as a base

oops thatnks for the correction. How can i forget the name Tamiami ? It's all Route 1 to me.