Recently, Tyler and I were lucky enough to enjoy the Florida sunshine while visiting his parents in the Naples and Sarasota area. It was so nice to be able to take a few days off of work, catch sunsets together, explore beaches and try lots of new foods! Getting to tie in family time with a vacation is always so much fun.
Sarasota is a beautiful area in Florida, and I am always so excited to take a trip there. The beaches are full of soft, white sand and turquoise water. The town is filled with so many delicious restaurants to try and yummy snacks to grab when you walk around. What’s not to love about that? Plus, it’s super accessible as there are a few different airports you can fly into.
The Best Beaches and Restaurants in Sarasota
During our latest trip, I asked so many of you on Instagram to send me recommendations of the best beaches to visit in Sarasota and the best restaurants to visit in Sarasota. There were so many of you who responded, and I loved getting to hear all of your recommendations! Based on what you sent, we had so much fun during our time in Sarasota. We didn’t want to leave! I’ve compiled a list of the best things to do for the next time you visit Sarasota, Florida, or are looking for inspo on the next getaway you plan!
Visit the Shark Tooth Capitol of the World
If you are looking for the best beaches to visit in Sarasota, Florida, you definitely need to add Venice Beach on your list. Venice Beach is about a 30-minute drive south of Sarasota. It’s a gorgeous drive to see all of the cute beach shops and restaurants along the way. We decided to make a day trip out of visiting Venice Beach and grabbed lunch on our way down. Sub sandwiches are really popular in Florida at the local Publix grocery stores, so be sure to grab yourself a pubsub before hitting the road, so you have a snack on the beach. Venice Beach is actually the shark tooth capitol of the world which I never knew until we visited. You’ll see people searching all throughout the pretty, white sand for shark teeth. After your day of fun lounging on the beach and finding shark teeth, head to Fin’s at Sharky’s for dinner. The sushi and fish entrees are great, as well as the sea foam margarita. It’s the perfect place to end an exciting beach day!
Explore the Restaurants of Long Boat Key
If food and fun restaurants are your favorite part of going on vacation, you will definitely love the Long Boat Key area’s restaurants. Out of our entire trip in Sarasota, my favorite restaurants were the ones we went to in Long Boat Key. All of the food and drinks we had while we were there were so good. Plus, there were beautiful views of the ocean while we enjoyed our meal. The menu is perfect whether you are looking for a great restaurant for lunch or dinner. If you prefer more casual dining, then Whitney’s would be the best restaurant for you to visit in Long Boat Key. Even though it is on the more casual side, it is very trendy and good for drinks or lunch. If you like grapefruit, you have to try the Sara Soda cocktail!
After your lunch, head nearby to Coquina Beach to spend some time catching the sun rays and relaxing the sound of the waves. If you prefer to head back to the city of Sarasota, check out Lido beach. It has a lot of natural vegetation that makes it unique and great for a beach walk. Then, you could get a nice dinner at Ophelia’s on the Bay. They have great fresh fish & don’t skip the key lime pie!
For a nicer lunch or an oceanview dinner, go to Shore Restaurant. The food was amazing (truffle fries, yes please!), and the restaurant sits right on the water. We even saw dolphins while we were there! Long Boat Key is a gorgeous area that you don’t want to miss!
Walk Along Siesta Key Beach
Siesta Key Beach is one of the largest beaches I’ve seen within the U.S.! The walk from the sand to the water seemed endless, but it sure was a stunning view. The beach has an accessibility mat incorporated to help make the trek more manageable, which was much appreciated! After you spend enough time on the beach to make the long walk worth it haha, go to Siesta Key Village for dinner and dessert. We had a delicious dinner at the Cottage and tasted their ahi tuna tacos, sliders, and fish. It was so yummy! If you are in the mood for a nicer dinner, you can opt to eat at Summer House, the restaurant next door by the same owners. For dessert, Meaney’s Mini Donuts was highly recommended. Usually, I don’t like donuts, but the powdered sugar ones were amazing and tasted like a donut mixed with a funnel cake!
Take a Day Trip to Naples
In case you are up for a road trip, Naples is within a two-hour drive from Sarasota, and it was such a fun day trip! During the day we spent visiting Naples, Florida, from Sarasota, we were able to fit in enough time for a few different activities. The first beach we went to was Vanderbilt Beach, which was very narrow but super popular and pretty. After, we went to Bluebill Beach, between Vanderbilt Beach and the state park beach. Bluebill Beach was gorgeous and not as crowded as Vanderbilt. After going to the beach, I would highly recommend grabbing a pizza from Mr. 01 Pizza. The Star Luca is a must-try because the crust is stuffed with ricotta. I’ve never tried any pizza like it before! If you’re looking for a nicer dinner while visiting Naples, you could try Campiello’s Italian Restaurant or the Turtle Club for a more upscale option. Definitely end your Naples day trip by stopping at Gumbo Limbo for sunset drinks. The cocktails are amazing, and you get a stunning sunset view while you are at it. What a fun end to a successful beach day!
If you want to see even more about our trip to Sarasota, Florida, check out the highlight reel on my Instagram. I also have linked all my beach outfits here. Sarasota is a great vacation destination within Florida regardless of if you are looking for a nice place to relax on the beach or to enjoy cocktails with your gal pals. We were able to do so much within the few days that we were there, and I already can’t wait to go back and see more!