8 Rainy Day Activities in Sarasota

Don’t let rain get you down during your visit to Sarasota, Florida. There’s still plenty to do in and around the city. Just choose any of these eight destinations for a unique or fun experience.

Visit the Ringling Museum of Art

This property was once home to circus founder John Ringling and his wife Mable. You can make a full day of your visit to the Ringling Museum, with its art gallery (rivaling that you’d find in a bigger city), circus museum, the 56-room residence Ca’d’Zan, and other highlights. Even its rose garden can be beautiful in the rain; you’ll spot lots of social media-worthy shots as you make your way around the property.

Located on Sarasota Bay, The Ringling Ca’ d’Zan mansion was home to John and Mable Ringling. The 36,000-square-foot mansion reflects the splendor and romance of Italy.Photo credit Nita Ettinger. | Must Do Visitor Guides, MustDo.com

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Mote Marine Aquarium and Laboratory

Marine life is a big part of the heritage and industry of Sarasota—glimpse it up close at Mote Marine Aquarium and Laboratory, featuring touch pools, working labs, and interactive exhibits. Sharks, manatees, and sea turtles are just a sampling of the 100 species of marine life you’ll find. In fact, sharks are such a big part of Mote, there’s an area called Shark Zone, with narrated sessions in the 135,000-gallon Shark Habitat. You’ll get a better understanding of how Mote keeps its sharks healthy.

Mote Marine Aquarium Sarasota, Florida. Photo credit Nita Ettinger. Must Do Visitor Guides, MustDo.com

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

Gain a better understanding of early mammal and archaeological life in Florida at Bradenton’s Bishop Museum of Science and Nature (formerly the South Florida Museum). Meet Snooty, the 65-year-old manatee (the longest living manatee in captivity); watch out-of-this-world movies and programming at Bishop Planetarium; and discover more about Florida’s environmental heritage. The museum regularly hosts special exhibits and programs.

South Florida Museum, Bishop Planetarium and Parker Manatee Aquarium Bradenton, Florida USA. Photo credit Nita Ettinger, Must Do Visitor Guides

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

Go Bowling

Strike! Get your bowling shoes on and gear up for some friendly competition at Sarasota area bowling alleys. At AMF Gulf Gate Lanes and Sarasota Lanes you can bowl, grab a hot dog, or take part in special events like Cosmic Bowling.

Dining Out

Sarasota residents like eating—a lot. The city has a reputation for fine dining, and local residents support and celebrate area farms and food purveyors. So, use a rainy day to try one of the many famous dining options around town. A few ideas: In downtown Sarasota, the vegetable-focused restaurant Lila gets visitors buzzing; Sharky’s Pier in Venice has a great view (even in the rain) and seafood; Indigenous focuses on unique dishes that often use locally-grown items; and customers at Toasted Mango Café serve up rave reviews for the restaurant’s breakfast options. See more great dining options here.

BLT sandwich and fries with ice tea. Delicious Sarasota dining options. Photo credit Jennifer Brinkman. | Must Do Visitor Guides, MustDo.com

Photo credit Jennifer Brinkman

Sarasota Classic Car Museum

Got four wheels on your mind? Then zoom off to the Sarasota Classic Car Museum. It’s the second oldest continuously operated antique car museum in the nation, and it displays 75 automobiles. Some highlights include John Lennon’s 1965 Mercedes Benz, Paul McCartney’s Mini Cooper, and John and Mable Ringling’s Rolls Royce collection. From classic to muscle cars to one-of-a-kind autos, there’s a little something for everyone here. The gift shop also has plenty of automobile books and miniature collectibles.

Rainy Day Activities. Sarasota Classic Car Museum exotic car exhibit. Photo credit Jennifer Brinkman. | Must Do Visitor Guides, MustDo.com

Photo credit Jennifer Brinkman

Check out Some Local Breweries

Florida has experienced a major upswing in the craft brewery business, and the Sarasota area has been part of the tasty trend. Take a rainy day to try a few different brews and vote on your favorite. Check out Big Top, JDub’s, Calusa, Motorworks, Darwin, or Sarasota Brewing Co.

Written by: Vanessa Caceres | Author Website

Vanessa Caceres is a Bradenton-based travel, food, and health freelance writer, specializing in writing about Florida. She regularly writes about Florida food and travel for Visit Florida, Edible Sarasota, Forward Florida, and other media outlets. Her work has appeared on the Today Show website, The Huffington Post, USAToday's GoEscape, and other venues.

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