To the west of Venice Municipal Airport is Venice Beach, where you'll find the 740-foot Venice Pier, offering a breathtaking view and a place for fishermen to compete for local fishing. This is the most popular beach and attracts a lot of visitors. To get away from the crowds, consider a few beaches adjoining each other, not far from the pier. Head south along Harbor Drive and you'll find the lesser-visited beach parks, such as South Brohard Beach Park, a hidden gem with boardwalks that wind through mangroves and stretch over sand dunes covered in sea oats.
The park next door is pet-friendly Brohard Beach & Paw Park, where your canine companion can play and swim without a leash. The southernmost park is Caspersen Beach, popular with locals and considered the best place to find shark teeth. Not far from downtown Sarasota, iconic Ringling Causeway leads to Lido Key. Tour the charming shopping district of St.
Armands and head to the beach. The most popular spot is called Playa Lido, but if you continue south on Benjamin Franklin Drive to the end, you'll land at South Lido Park, also known as Ted Sperling Park. This family park, nestled under shaded pine trees, is an ideal place for families. It stretches from the Gulf to the Bay overlooking Big Pass, the waterway that separates Lido from Siesta Key. Boats flow past, visitors light grills, children play on the playground and beach lovers walk along the coast.
At the intersection of Benjamin Franklin Drive and John Ringling Boulevard is North Lido Beach. If you want some real privacy and a place to read a book and relax, North Lido is your place. The natural walkway adjacent to the sand dunes offers a peaceful retreat and a good spot for shorebird watching. Sarasota is an amazing city with plenty of activities for everyone! From visiting museums to exploring nature trails or enjoying outdoor concerts, there are plenty of things to do in Sarasota that will keep you entertained. One of the most popular attractions in Sarasota is the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium located on City Island.
Founded in 1955 as Cape Haze Marine Laboratory, it was renamed in 1967 in honor of William and Lenore R. Mote and William's sister Betty Mote Rose. The aquarium part of Mote Marine Laboratory is open for visitors to explore with more than 100 species of marine animals both local and from around the world. Another popular attraction in Sarasota is The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art located on Bay Shore Road. It first opened its doors in 1927 with works of art donated by its titular figures John & Mable Ringling.
More than 10,000 different works ranging from paintings to photographs and from sculptures to prints are distributed in 21 different galleries each dedicated to a different region and style. Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary located in Palmer Boulevard is another great place to visit in Sarasota. It works to educate visitors on life conservation while also providing entertainment with exotic bird shows featuring macaws and cockatoos. The Ringling Mansion located on Bay Shore Road was built between 1924-1926 by John Ringling as his winter home. It spans five stories high with 36,000 square feet of space inside. The Myakka River State Park located on Myakka River Road is another great place to explore nature in Sarasota.
It spans 37,000 acres with 58 square miles of waterway providing water to grasslands, hammocks, wetlands and pine forests alike. Open from 7 am to 1 pm it's the perfect place for weekend activities no matter what the weather is. Ed Smith Stadium located on 12th Street is another great attraction in Sarasota. It has a capacity for 7,429 spectators making it one of the best stadiums in Florida. The Legacy Trail located on Palmer Boulevard runs from Sarasota to Venice covering 10.8 miles of paved road with 15 great rest stops along the way. St Armands Circle located on St Armands Circle Drive is another great place to visit in Sarasota with more than 130 different shops to visit and a wealth of restaurants ranging from budget and casual to chic and elegant.
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall located on North Tamiami Trail was built between 1968-1969 with funds donated by Lewis & Eugenia Van Wezel. Renovations made in 2000 kept it updated with 6,000 square foot Grand Foyer that can accommodate 350 people while the entire hall has a capacity of 1736 people thanks to lawns and bay front terrace. The Sarasota Jungle Gardens located on South Tamiami Trail was once used as an exotic bird show featuring macaws and cockatoos. It covers 295 acres of land with 18,200 graves in its facilities including 15,200 crypts 7,200 niches placed above ground for ashes and 9,000 burial places buried in ground. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens located on South Palm Avenue was donated by Patterson Foundation can accommodate 2,800 people. It covers 600 acres with 400-acre lake making it a favorite among rowers while also featuring lush gardens spanning 30 acres archaeological sites throughout area buildings full of rich history outdoor amphitheater hosting shows accommodating up 400 people. Finally Woodlawn Memorial Park located on North Tuttle Avenue was established in 1926 making it one of oldest cemeteries in area stretching 1.5 miles offering plenty sights stops along way keep busy.