By: Vanessa Caceres
Who doesn’t like free?!
The Sarasota area has plenty of free things to do. From its natural beach beauty to parks and city strolls, all you need to do is pick one or more of the ideas below to start your free tourism extravaganza!
- Swim and sun at the beach. Did you know that Sarasota County has 35 miles of beach shoreline? The calm that comes with beach time has no price tag attached. Just bring your towel and sunscreen to enjoy Sarasota’s award-winning beaches like Siesta Beach, Lido Beach on Lido Key, and Venice Beach.
- Watch the Siesta Key Drum Circle. Every Sunday at about an hour before sunset, the Siesta Key community drum circle livens up the beach scene. Drummers from all walks of life create a bohemian vibe as spectators dance and enjoy the music.
- Take a walk around St. Armand’s Circle. This famous shopping district is known for its coastal-themed shops, good eats, and people-watching.
- Fly a kite at one of Sarasota’s local beaches. Take advantage of a beachy breeze and you’ll get a colorful, scenic view while you fly a kite.
- Take your share of selfies and beautiful pics at Bayfront Park, near Marina Jack Restaurant. Don’t forget to do a selfie in front of the Unconditional Surrender statue. The statue shows a woman kissing a man and is modeled after a famous World War II photo.
- Visit the Ringling Museum of Art for free on Monday. This local gem features a world-class art museum with more than 70,000 items, many of them featuring European and Asian art. The items were part of the personal collection from John and Mable Ringling. On Mondays, you get to enjoy the museum for free, saving you about $25. Other attractions on site, including the Circus Museum, still require an admission fee on Mondays.
- Get a bird’s eye view of Sarasota from a rooftop bar. Snap a quick shot of a fabulous city view at the Westin Sarasota’s The Roof Bar and Eats, located on the hotel’s 19th floor.
- Take a stroll in the Burns Court area. Just south of downtown Sarasota is the Burns Court neighborhood. It has several historical homes and sites on the National Register of Historic Places; this charming area also has a variety of restaurants as well as art galleries and boutiques.
- Bring your binoculars to The Celery Fields. Located on land that was once—you guessed it—celery fields, the park is now famous for its hilltop views and its abundance of birdwatching. The hill makes it a great destination for hard-core exercisers. At The Celery Fields boardwalks, you’ll sometimes find a master naturalist onsite who can answer your birdwatching questions.
- Search for shark’s teeth in Venice. Venice is considered the Shark’s Tooth Capital of the World, as millions of teeth have washed ashore for years. Come early in the day to Venice Beach or Caspersen Beach for the best shark teeth finds. Although some people invest in a “Florida snow shovel” to sift for teeth, you can use a colander from home in a pinch to sift through the sand and search for the sometimes small teeth.
- Visit the area’s farmers markets. Discover more about Sarasota’s farm-to-table emphasis and agricultural roots at the area’s farmer markets. From the large downtown market on Saturdays to weekday markets in Sarasota and Englewood, you’ll have fun talking to vendors and checking out locally produced food items. You may even make a meal out of free samples.
- Bring Fido to Brohard Beach and Paw Park. Dogs can get in on the beach fun at Venice’s Brohard Beach and Paw Park, which has fenced-in areas for your canine best friends. Dogs can run leash-free on the beach.