Planning a trip to Florida must include a visit to the Gulf Coast. From the towns and cities that speckle the coast to their beaches and everything in between, this article can inspire your vacation ideas to include the Gulf Coast.
Areas of interest:
Attractions and More
The area's peak season begins in February and continues until Easter, when accommodation reservations are necessary. The value season is June through September.
A wide variety of accommodations is available, from campgrounds to luxury resort hotels. Meeting space and facilities are available for groups at hotels and other locations.
Arts & Cultural Community:
Sarasota is recognized as Florida's Cultural Coast, and is home to a professional symphony, ballet, and opera. Several theaters and art galleries are also located in Sarasota. The Ringling Museum is Florida's State Museum, and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, known for its architecture and great acoustics, seats 1,700 people and features a dazzling season of music, shows, and programs for all ages.
Sarasota County has a variety of attractions appropriate for family enjoyment. Visitors to the area can visit The Ringling Museum, Children’s Garden, Big Cat Habitat, Mote Marine Laboratory, Historic Spanish Point, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, and more.
Myakka River State Park, covering 28,875 acres, and Oscar Scherer State Park are Sarasota's destinations for bird-watching, biking, walking, camping or just communing with Florida's natural setting of swamps, palmetto brush and towering pine trees. Myakka State Park offers guided boat and train tours that include informative narration of the area's wildlife and history.
Sarasota was home to the first course in the state and one of America's first golf courses, built in 1905 by Sir John Hamilton Gillespie, a Scottish colonist. The nine-hole course was located in the heart of today's downtown near today's Golf Street and Links and Gillespie avenues.
The community's early ties to golf still can be found today at Bobby Jones Golf Complex. Designed by famed architect Donald Ross, the course opened on Sunday, Feb. 13, 1927, and was dedicated by Robert Tyre Jones Jr. In 1930. Bobby Jones won the "Grand Slam of Golf" by sweeping the British Amateur, British Open, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open, the only golfer ever to accomplish this feat. Today, Sarasota offers more than 1,000 holes at public, semi-private and private courses.
Piers, Marinas & Boat Ramps:
Fishing piers include the Englewood Public Fishing Pier, Ken Thompson Park Pier, New Pass Pier, Osprey Fishing Pier, Tony Saprito Pier, Turtle Beach Pier and Venice Fishing Pier.
2010 Census population numbers
- City of Sarasota: 51,917
- City of Venice: 20,748
- City of North Port: 57,357
- Town of Longboat Key: 6,888
- Sarasota County Total: 379,448
Consumer Phone Numbers:
Official Sarasota County Visitor Information Center
Erin Thomas Duggan CDME, Director of Brand for Visit Sarasota County
1777 Main St., Suite 302 (In the SunTrust building)
Phone: (941) 955-0991, Ext. 108
Fax: (941) 955-1929
Information sources include:
Sarasota County Planning Department, Sarasota County Parks & Recreation, Sarasota County Department of Natural Resources, Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau, and WWSB News 40 Weather Center. "Sarasota Over My Shoulder" by Janet Snyder Matthews, Bobby Jones Golf Complex, ABC Channel 7.