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Day Tripping to Sarasota From Boca Grande

Added: Nov 02, 2023
Category: Boca Grande

Boca Grande Lighthouse

Looking over the Sarasota Bay and marina.

Sunshine, warm temperatures year round, award winning beaches, and a thriving downtown with beautiful views of the Bayfront….this is Sarasota Florida. Only a short drive from beautiful Boca Grande you will discover another one of Florida’s hidden gems. Load up the car and come spend the day by the bay in Sarasota!

Whether you are a lover of museums, art galleries, the theater, or even nature, Sarasota will have something for you to enjoy. Only about an hour north of Gasparilla Island on US 41 you will see why Sarasota is one of the top vacation destinations in the United States. Originally an orange grove Sarasota was hardly a tourist town, but in 1902 the railroad was added therefore putting this very small town on a very large map. Known as the winter headquarters for the Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, Sarasota began to grow into what would be a busy and bustling area filled with vacationers, retirees, and even students.

Sands between your toes

Boca Grande Lighthouse

Siesta Key is home to world class sand sculpting

First of all, what’s better than enjoying the day at the beach? And what’s better than hitting the #1 beach in America known as Siesta Beach. While famous for its flour like sand (it’s 99% pure quartz) you won’t be disappointed soaking up the warm sunshine at this vacation destination. People travel from around the globe to set up a beach chair and take in a gorgeous sunset on the softest powdery sand you can imagine. Sarasota has plenty of other beautiful beaches for you to cruise the shorelines of. Here are the top 5 you should check out while visiting Sarasota.

~Siesta Beach

~Lido Beach

~Coquina Beach

~Turtle Beach

~Longboat Key Beach

An Afternoon Spent Clowning Around

Boca Grande Lighthouse

The Ringling circus spent its winter months in Sarasota

It was always a big deal when the circus came to town because Sarasota was the winter home for Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus. The circus brought many performers, acrobats, and animals beginning in 1927. So take the day and enjoy the grounds of the John & Mable Ringling Museum. While visiting you will learn about Sarasota’s rich circus history, stroll through Mable Ringling’s rose gardens. Also check out the Ringling Art library, mansion and so much more. It is definitely a day worth spending by the bay!

The museum is free of charge every Monday from 10am-5pm

Here are a list of other popular museums for you to check out:

~Mote Marine Aquarium

~Sarasota Classic Car Museum

~Marietta Museum-Art Whimsy

~Art Center Sarasota

~Crowley Museum and Nature Center

Let The Wind in your Sails

You can’t explore Sarasota without a trip to the marina….Island Marina to be exact. Located directly on the bay in beautiful downtown Sarasota, Island Marina will allow you to relax, enjoy a cocktail at Marina Jacks restaurant and watch the sailboats in the harbor rock as the waves roll by. This pet-friendly park is the perfect setting for a casual walk, or enjoy the bicycle trails that flow through it as you take in the beautiful Bayfront scenery! While enjoying the bay, don’t forget to stop by the iconic art sculpture known as “Unconditional Surrender” and take a few pictures, or recreate this timeless piece with the one you love.

Shop till you drop in Sarasota

Boca Grande Lighthouse

The newest shopping mall in Sarasota.

As you enjoy your day by the bay in beautiful Sarasota you can’t forget to stop and pick up a few souvenirs to take back with you. Sarasota offers everything from the most fashionable on St. Armands Circle, to antiques and vintage markets. You can grab fresh produce at the farmers market, a cool eclectic piece of art from any of the shops on Main St., or even head to the UTC mall which houses every store you could imagine, along with plenty of fine restaurants to dine.

Main Street

As you cruise past the bay and into downtown Sarasota make sure you stop and check out Main St. Starting from Marina Jacks and the bayfront park you can stroll down Sarasota’s Main St. Explore the unique shops and restaurants along the way. You will find an assortment of boutiques, ice cream and candy shops, small galleries loaded with local artists' work, and even a few pet bakeries so you can buy Fido a treat too! Also, you will notice a piano out on the sidewalks of Sarasota, make sure you try your hand at beautiful music. The piano was placed on the streets of Sarasota as part of the Sarasota Art and Alliance project.

There is plenty of free on-street parking in Sarasota, but please pay attention to the signs, because some spots only offer a few hours of parking. Most stores are open Monday-Saturday, while many are closed on Sundays.

St. Armands Circle

St. Armands Key which is a small island in Sarasota is connected by St. Armand's circle. The outside of the large circle is lined with unique shops, restaurants, cafes, and other bustling businesses giving the area that coastal charm Sarasota is known for. The circle surrounds a beautiful Circle park; with tall palm trees swaying and an abundance of shade perfect for relaxing with a cool treat, or cup of java. This is the perfect spot to catch a bite to eat, listen to the random street performers. Also, it a great area to just take a ride around and admire the gorgeous homes that line the streets.

University Town Mall

University Town Mall or UTC as it is known is the largest shopping plaza in the Sarasota area. Close to the interstate UTC is the hub for your shopping needs. If the quaint shops of St. Armands, or the eclectic boutiques of Main street don’t have what you are looking for, this mall certainly will. Dillard's, Macy’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue can all be found here along with several delicious restaurants such as Capital Grille, 52 Seasons, The Cheesecake Factory and more. Sprawling over 880,000 square feet of shopping heaven, UTC will certainly put a smile on your face.

A Day By The Bay….Or In The Gardens

Marie Selby Gardens

We have spoken above about Mable Ringling ‘s beautiful rose gardens that you can stroll through, but Sarasota has more than just one garden. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a horticulturist dream. Nestled on the shores of beautiful Sarasota Bay, Selby gardens is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display of beautiful bromeliads and orchids. Also, the gardens offer an array of educational programs, classes, a gorgeous and serene butterfly garden. Also, a children’s garden which helps to instill the love of rain forest plants to our youth.

Marie Selby Gardens is open every day except for Christmas from 10am-5pm.

Jungle Gardens

What was once a swampy banana grove is now Sarasota Jungle Gardens! This has been a mainstay Sarasota attraction since 1939! Sprawled across 10 acres of lush tropical vegetation, Jungle Gardens offers a truly one of a kind experience. Most famous for their free-roaming flamingos that can be hand fed, the gardens are also home to many tropical birds, plants, and exotic vegetation from all over the globe. Spend the day amongst the cool tree foliage and experience this tropical oasis that is sure to soothe the soul.

The gardens are open 7 days a week from 10am-5pm.

What a day by the bay…..

Boca Grande Lighthouse

Florida sunsets are the best around!

Since Sarasota is such a growing area and there seems to be new things to do daily, we hope this is a good starting point for you. A day by the bay is the perfect one day road trip from Boca Grande and with the assortment of activities, shopping, and museums Sarasota has to offer, we are sure it will satisfy all. Also, remember to stop and take in the beautiful scenery across the Bayfront. Head over Ringling Bridge and circle around St. Armands. Finally, be sure to stop by one of the many world class beaches and soak up a stellar sunset. Your day by the bay wouldn’t be complete without one!

GRANDE ESCAPES also has blogs with other areas to visit. Nearby destinations such as FORT MYERS, and of course things to do on BOCA GRANDE. Check back as we will be adding more day tripping from Boca Grande.

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