Eight years I lived in the States and specifically in New York. The connection between New York and Florida was always very easy and I would fly to Miami and drive to the keys almost every year.
This year COVID gave me an opportunity to explore Florida a little bit better. I’ve spent my quarantine in Orlando and would multiple times visit the West coast of Florida, which was a very surprising discovery to me!
I this article I will share with you one of my favorite places on the West Coast — Sarasota.
Before 2020 I only knew about Sarasota by its remarkable American architecture. But no one told me the inspiration for the houses came from surrounded beauty.
I swear, it is a paradise with the most gorgeous sunset by the beach scene.
From place to stay I would recommend to first looks for a good deal on the keys, but if you cannot find what you are looking for or it’s too expensive for you (which was the case for me), a very good option would be to stay in Downtown Sarasota. It’s easy for parking, walkable with beautiful scenery, and also very well located to explore all the keys and the land. I stayed in Marriott Downtown and I was very happy with this choice! We had a swimming pool and other hotel amenities. There are a few very good coffee places in downtown and places to eat. We love to explore and this location gave an opportunity to go to different beaches every day.
If you are trying to choose between morning and evening time for the beach, I would say it’s not even a question! Go in the evening! Nothing can make the end of the day here better than a sunset on the beach.
A very good option also is to grab dinner at The Beach House during the sunset time, but don’t forget to make a reservation!
- The Beach House (bradington beach)
- PhillippiCreek Oyster Bar (land by the siesta key)
- Yoder’s Restaurant & Amish Village (must go!, Really good, especially pies)
- The Fountain Kitchen & Wine Bar(Italian in downtown, beautiful building, garden and food is great!)
- GREEN ZEBRA CAFE (in downtown or at Armand’s; good for easy snack, very good healthy options of acai bowls, wraps and more)
- Wicked Cantina Sarasota(Mexican, closer to downtown Sarasota)
- Columbia Restaurant (Spanish, Cuban since 1905)
- Buddy Brew Coffee - Sarasota (downtown)
- Breaking Wave Coffee(downtown)
- Mojo Risin' Coffee Co.(siesta village)
A quick fact about the legendary sand on Siesta Key beach: the sand became famous because of its clean white color, flour-line texture, and because it keeps a cold temperature. It’s hard to believe walking on the beach for the first time especially on a very hot day, thus sun is heavily burning sand stays chill. This is all because it is made almost 100% out of quarts that come through the rivers all the way from the Appalachian mountains in Georgia. The water flows created a safe path for quarts to Siesta Key. Interesting that other keys didn’t get such a high percentage of quartz in its sand as lucky Siesta.
- Siesta Beach (402 Beach Rd, Sarasota, FL 34242)
- Bean Point Beach (793 N Shore Dr, Anna Maria, FL 34216)
- Lido Key Beach
Places to walk around and see:
- St. Armands Circle Park
- Ocean Blvd on siesta key
- Main street downtown Sarasota (downtown)
- Bayfront Park (downtown)
- ~Historic Fort Desoto(St Petersburg historical fort)
- The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
- Sarasota Jungle Gardens
- Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Downtown Sarasota campus
- The Dalí (Salvador Dalí Museum)(st Petersburg)
- Fun Life Entertainment(in the middle of the water)
Since I have been traveling there during COVID many places were closed and unfortunately, I cannot share with you the museum experience or weather parks. Though I have to say that I didn’t even plan to visit them when I was getting ready for the trip. I just wanted a relaxing time by the water with a keys vibe, seafood, and wine at the sunset, and explore a unique Floridian architecture.
The last place that I cannot skip without commenting is Amish restaurant Yoder’s Restaurant. This is a place that you must visit while in Sarasota!
This is what I define soul food. Tasting these homemade meals you feel the simplicity and at the same time uniqueness of this place! The colors of the kitchen cannot be compared with any groceries from the even organic markets. This is a truly organic farm quality food!
And yes, you will fall in love with their pies, so get ready!