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When compiling your list of places you’re dying to visit, you may wonder what exactly you will do once you arrive. The excitement of a new city and a new adventure is riveting, and many people choose to jump into the vacation and leave it up to chance. If you’re hoping to visit a new and exciting city, may we offer up the Gulf Coast of Florida: Sarasota. With an endless amount of outdoor activities, attractions, and beautiful beaches, there is fun for the whole family in the “best small city in the U.S.” Let’s break down four of the best reasons to visit Sarasota, FL.

1. Outdoor Adventures


If you’re a bit of a thrill seeker you will be pleased to know that the options for outdoor excursions are quite endless. Sarasota kayaking is a fantastic time for everyone in the family, and you most likely will be able to see dolphins swimming through the water alongside you. You can fill up your sunny days with paragliding, surfing, or renting a boat to sightsee. If you are looking to take on a new skill there is a bevy of surfing lessons, kiteboarding lessons, and paddleboarding lessons. You can even rent a boat to take out sailing, with a captain included. Don’t forget to bring lots of sunscreen, a hat, and a comfortable swimsuit.

2. An Array of Places to Stay


Oftentimes, the best part of a vacation is choosing a place to stay. Luckily, Sarasota offers many different styles of hotels, luxury rentals, boutique motels, and a plethora of RV campgrounds if you’re trekking across the country in your motorhome. Accommodation options range from luxurious establishments, such as The Ritz-Carlton, to oceanfront properties, such as The Resort at Longboat Key Club, a romantic location that is as popular with couples and wedding parties as it is with families. Whether you’re traveling for a special event or are looking for a quiet and relaxing vacation, there is assuredly a perfect option for you.

3. Museums and Tours


Get lost in the Sarasota Art Museum, which offers free second Sunday events with a bistro, shop, and a performance auditorium. There are regular artist talks and museum curator events to fill your afternoon with creativity and beauty. Hop on a tour bus to zip around town learning about the culture and history of Sarasota. Tours offer insight into the best restaurants, bars, nightclubs, historical walks, murder mysteries, and ghost walks for the adventurer in you!

4. Animal Sanctuaries


Florida is home to over 700 terrestrial animals, more than 200 species of freshwater fish, more than 1,000 species of marine fish, numerous other aquatic and marine vertebrates, and thousands of terrestrial insects and other invertebrates, Florida is literally crawling with wildlife. This is the perfect outdoor adventure for the animal lover in your family. Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary in Sarasota has become the safe, loving, and permanent home of over 150 exotic and domestic animals. Their mission is not only to provide the best animal care possible but also to preserve the human-animal connection in our world. An adult pass is only $20 and children’s passes are $10 each. Big Cat Habitat offers free entry for veterans and active military members.

Whether you want to fill your days up with outdoor animal adventures, or you would rather sip on a frozen pina colada on the Longboat Key beach as you watch turtles nest and lay their eggs, every person in your family is sure to find their perfect activity in the recently revitalized city of Sarasota, FL.

Lucia Fowler