If you’re craving some outdoor excitement and breathtaking views, look no further than the sunny paradise of Sarasota/Bradenton. With its stunning landscapes and abundant recreational activities, this coastal gem offers a myriad of outdoor adventures for everyone. From kayaking through serene mangrove tunnels to exploring pristine nature trails, there is something to awaken the adventurer in you. So grab your gear, soak up the sunshine, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the picturesque wonders of Sarasota/Bradenton. Let the outdoor adventures begin!
Siesta Key Beach
Siesta Key Beach is consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the United States, and for good reason. With its powdery white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters, it’s a paradise for beach lovers. As you stroll along the shoreline, you’ll feel the soft sand beneath your feet and enjoy the gentle ocean breeze. Whether you want to sunbathe, swim, or simply relax under the shade of an umbrella, Siesta Key Beach has it all. Don’t forget to stay until sunset – the views are absolutely breathtaking.
Lido Key Beach
Lido Key Beach is another must-visit destination in Sarasota. This gorgeous beach offers a more serene and tranquil atmosphere compared to the bustling Siesta Key Beach. As you soak up the sun, you’ll be surrounded by stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. Take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline and collect seashells, or plunge into the refreshing waters for a swim. With its clear waters and gentle waves, Lido Key Beach is perfect for both families and individuals looking for a relaxing day at the beach.
Anna Maria Island
For a more laid-back beach experience, head to Anna Maria Island. This charming barrier island boasts pristine white sand beaches and a peaceful ambiance. Whether you’re into swimming, sunbathing, or beachcombing, you’ll find your slice of paradise here. Take a leisurely walk along the shoreline and enjoy the sight of dolphins playing in the waves. One of the highlights of Anna Maria Island is Bean Point Beach, a secluded spot that offers stunning views of the surrounding area. So grab your sunscreen and beach towel – Anna Maria Island awaits!
Longboat Key Beach
Longboat Key Beach offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. This secluded beach is perfect for those seeking a peaceful retreat. Sink your toes into the powdery sand and unwind as you listen to the gentle waves crashing against the shore. Whether you want to swim, stroll, or simply bask in the sun, Longboat Key Beach provides the ideal setting. Plus, with its nearby nature trails and picnic areas, you can easily make it a full day of outdoor relaxation and adventure.
Myakka River State Park
Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature at Myakka River State Park. This expansive park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a variety of recreational activities for visitors. Explore the park’s scenic trails on foot or by bike, and keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls the park home. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a thrilling airboat ride on the Upper Myakka Lake, where you can spot alligators and a myriad of bird species. Don’t forget your camera – the breathtaking views and wildlife encounters are worth capturing.
Oscar Scherer State Park
Oscar Scherer State Park is a nature lover’s paradise. With its diverse ecosystem, including pine flatwoods, scrubby flatwoods, and hardwood hammocks, the park offers a unique opportunity to explore Florida’s natural beauty. Lace up your hiking boots and traverse the park’s trails, or rent a kayak and paddle along the tranquil waters of South Creek. If you’re an avid birder, be sure to bring your binoculars – the park is home to over 200 species of birds. With its camping facilities and picnic areas, Oscar Scherer State Park is the perfect place to spend a day or a weekend surrounded by nature.
Robinson Preserve is a hidden gem nestled along the Manatee River. This beautiful nature preserve offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As you wander through the preserve, you’ll be greeted by towering mangroves, serene marshes, and miles of scenic trails. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the waterways, or simply pack a picnic and enjoy a meal amidst the lush greenery. With its abundant wildlife and tranquil atmosphere, Robinson Preserve is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts.
Emerson Point Preserve
Emerson Point Preserve is a stunning nature preserve located at the tip of Snead Island. This hidden gem boasts picturesque views of the Manatee River and Tampa Bay, making it the ideal spot for a peaceful getaway. Explore the preserve’s trails and discover archaeological sites, including the remnants of Native American settlements. Observe the diverse wildlife that inhabits the area, from birds to dolphins. With its rich history and natural beauty, Emerson Point Preserve offers a unique outdoor experience for visitors of all ages.
Exploring the vibrant waterways of Sarasota/Bradenton by kayak is a must for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced paddler, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy this popular water sport. Paddle through mangrove tunnels and observe the fascinating marine life that calls these habitats home. Glide along the peaceful river channels and soak in the serene ambiance of the surrounding nature. With numerous rental services and guided tours available, kayaking is a fantastic way to connect with nature and discover hidden gems along the way.
Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, has become increasingly popular in recent years, and Sarasota/Bradenton offers the perfect setting for this enjoyable water activity. Test your balance and core strength as you paddle along the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico or the serene rivers and bays. Admire the beautiful coastal scenery and keep an eye out for dolphins and manatees that may greet you along the way. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced paddleboarder, this fun and relaxing activity will provide hours of enjoyment on the water.
Sarasota/Bradenton is a haven for fishing enthusiasts, with its abundant freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities. Cast your line from one of the area’s many piers or charter a boat for a deep-sea fishing adventure. Whether you prefer freshwater bass fishing or saltwater sport fishing, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from. From snapper and grouper to tarpon and redfish, the waters of Sarasota/Bradenton are teeming with a wide variety of fish species. So grab your fishing gear, head out to the nearest fishing spot, and reel in the big one!
For those seeking a more exhilarating water sport, jet skiing is the perfect choice. Feel the thrill as you zoom across the waves and experience the adrenaline rush of riding a powerful watercraft. Whether you’re a seasoned jet skier or a first-timer, there are plenty of places in Sarasota/Bradenton where you can rent a jet ski and hit the water. Explore the coastline, jump the waves, and feel the wind in your hair as you enjoy the ultimate water adventure. Just remember to follow all safety guidelines and regulations to ensure a fun and safe experience.
The Meadows Country Club
Nestled in the heart of Sarasota, The Meadows Country Club offers a premier golfing experience for players of all levels. With its lush fairways, pristine greens, and stunning water features, this 36-hole golf course is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. Challenge yourself on the championship courses designed by renowned architects, or fine-tune your skills at the extensive practice facilities. After a day on the course, relax and enjoy the country club’s amenities, including dining options and social events. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a beginner looking to learn the sport, The Meadows Country Club is a golfer’s paradise.
Legacy Golf Club
Nestled in Bradenton, Legacy Golf Club offers a unique golfing experience on its 18-hole championship course. Designed by golf legend Arnold Palmer, this scenic course provides a challenging yet enjoyable round for players of all skill levels. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature as you navigate through oak hammocks, towering pines, and pristine lakes. With its well-appointed clubhouse, professional instruction, and practice facilities, Legacy Golf Club delivers a complete golfing experience. So grab your clubs and tee off at this hidden gem in Bradenton.
University Park Country Club
Discover a golfer’s paradise at University Park Country Club. This award-winning golf course combines the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape with a challenging layout designed by Ron Garl. As you make your way through the fairways and greens, you’ll be surrounded by towering oak trees and serene lakes. Brush up on your skills at the driving range or receive professional instruction at the golf academy. After a round of golf, relax at the country club’s upscale amenities, including a restaurant, pro shop, and fitness center. University Park Country Club is the perfect destination for golf enthusiasts seeking a top-tier experience.
River Club Golf Course
Located in Bradenton, River Club Golf Course offers a scenic 18-hole championship course that will test your skills and captivate your senses. Designed by Ron Garl, this course features beautifully manicured fairways, strategically placed bunkers, and picturesque water hazards. Challenge yourself with the course’s varying tee placements and enjoy the stunning views of Florida’s natural landscape. After your game, unwind at the clubhouse with a refreshing drink or visit the pro shop for the latest golf equipment and apparel. Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or just starting out, River Club Golf Course offers an unforgettable golfing experience.
The Legacy Trail offers a scenic and leisurely way to explore Sarasota’s natural beauty. This 10-mile trail follows the route of a former railroad and takes you through a variety of landscapes, including parks, neighborhoods, and natural areas. As you cycle along the paved path, you’ll pass by scenic bridges, wetlands, and lush greenery. The trail is perfect for all skill levels and is popular among both locals and visitors. You can also rent bikes at various locations along the trail if you don’t have your own. So grab your helmet, hop on a bike, and enjoy a peaceful ride along the Legacy Trail.
Robinson Preserve Loop
Located within Robinson Preserve, the Robinson Preserve Loop is a 7.4-mile multi-use trail that offers a scenic and immersive biking experience. As you bike along the trail, you’ll pass through dense mangrove forests, open marshes, and picturesque waterways. Keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife that calls this area home, including herons, ospreys, and maybe even a manatee or two. The trail is suitable for all skill levels and is a great option for those looking to combine biking with nature exploration. So bring your bike, pack some snacks, and embark on a memorable adventure at the Robinson Preserve Loop.
Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail
Stretching over 47 miles from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs, the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail is a popular biking destination for outdoor enthusiasts. This scenic trail takes you through charming downtowns, parks, and coastal areas, offering a diverse and enjoyable biking experience. Along the way, you’ll pass by beautiful beaches, historic sites, and vibrant communities. The trail is well-maintained and features rest areas and amenities, making it accessible for cyclists of all ages and skill levels. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride or a longer biking excursion, the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail has something for everyone.
Venetian Waterway Trail
The Venetian Waterway Trail is a picturesque biking trail that winds along the scenic waterways of Venice and offers stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. This 10-mile trail takes you through parks, neighborhoods, and historic sites, allowing you to explore the beauty and charm of Venice at your own pace. As you bike along the paved path, you’ll pass by lush greenery, serene lakes, and peaceful canals. The trail is suitable for all skill levels and offers access to amenities such as picnic areas and restrooms. So hop on your bike, enjoy the ocean breeze, and embark on a delightful biking adventure on the Venetian Waterway Trail.
Dolphin and Manatee Sightseeing
Embark on a thrilling and educational boat tour to witness the beauty of dolphins and manatees in their natural habitat. Cruise along the pristine waters of Sarasota/Bradenton and marvel at the playful dolphins as they swim and leap alongside the boat. Keep your camera ready to capture these magnificent creatures up close. Be on the lookout for gentle manatees grazing on seagrass beds or relaxing in the warm waters. This unforgettable experience allows you to learn more about these fascinating marine animals while enjoying a leisurely tour along the coast.
Experience the magic of a Sarasota/Bradenton sunset with a scenic sunset cruise. Set sail aboard a luxurious boat and watch as the sun dips below the horizon, painting the sky with a breathtaking array of colors. As you glide along the water, you’ll have the perfect vantage point to admire the beauty of the coastline and capture stunning photos. Enjoy the tranquility of the evening while sipping on your favorite beverage and savoring delicious hors d’oeuvres. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply want to unwind after a day of exploring, a sunset cruise is the perfect way to end your day in Sarasota/Bradenton.
Explore the diverse ecosystems of Sarasota/Bradenton with an eco tour that takes you off the beaten path. These guided tours provide an educational and immersive experience, allowing you to learn about the unique flora and fauna of the region. Glide through mangrove tunnels, observe bird rookeries, and discover hidden coves as you navigate the waterways. With knowledgeable guides to provide insight and answer your questions, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the natural wonders of Sarasota/Bradenton. Whether you choose a kayak tour, a boat tour, or a combination of both, an eco tour will leave you with lasting memories and a greater understanding of the area’s ecological importance.
If you’re an avid angler or simply want to try your hand at fishing, a fishing charter is a fantastic way to experience the abundant waters of Sarasota/Bradenton. Charter a boat with an experienced captain who knows the best spots to catch a variety of fish species, from snapper and grouper to tarpon and redfish. Whether you prefer inshore or deep-sea fishing, there are charters available to meet your preferences and skill level. Spend a day on the water, cast your line, and reel in a memorable catch. Fishing charters provide all the necessary equipment, so all you need to bring is your enthusiasm and a sense of adventure.
TreeUmph! Adventure Course
For a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping outdoor adventure, visit TreeUmph! Adventure Course. This forested adventure park offers a variety of zip lines, aerial obstacles, and treetop challenges that will put your courage and agility to the test. Soar through the trees and experience the thrill of ziplining while enjoying stunning views of the surrounding nature. With expert guides to ensure your safety and provide instruction, TreeUmph! Adventure Course is suitable for both beginners and experienced zipliners. Whether you’re looking to conquer your fear of heights or simply seeking an exciting outdoor activity, TreeUmph! Adventure Course is sure to deliver an unforgettable experience.
Mixon Fruit Farms Zipline
Experience a different kind of ziplining adventure at Mixon Fruit Farms. This family-friendly attraction offers a thrilling zipline experience through the lush groves of citrus trees. Soar above the foliage and enjoy panoramic views of the farm as you zip from platform to platform. As you glide through the air, you’ll also learn about the farm’s history and the various types of fruits grown there. The Mixon Fruit Farms zipline is suitable for all ages and skill levels, making it a great activity for families and friends. So strap on your harness and get ready to embark on an exhilarating ziplining adventure.
Canopy Walkway at Myakka River State Park
Combine ziplining with nature exploration at the Canopy Walkway in Myakka River State Park. This unique attraction allows you to observe the park’s lush canopy from a different perspective. Walk along elevated boardwalks and suspension bridges, and enjoy breathtaking views of the treetops. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the zipline that takes you from one platform to another, offering an exhilarating and bird’s-eye view of the surrounding landscape. The Canopy Walkway is a great way to connect with nature and experience the splendor of the Myakka River State Park in a whole new way.
Snorkeling and Diving
Venice Shark Tooth Hunting
Venice is known as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World,” making it the perfect destination for snorkelers and divers in search of these ancient treasures. Explore the waters off the coast of Venice and dive into the world of prehistoric fossils. With its unique geology and abundant shark teeth, this underwater adventure is a favorite among both locals and visitors. Simply don your snorkel or scuba gear, and immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters to search for shark teeth that have been deposited on the ocean floor for thousands of years. This thrilling and educational experience is a must for anyone interested in marine history and paleontology.
Sarasota Bay Artificial Reefs
Sarasota Bay is home to several artificial reefs that provide abundant marine life and fantastic snorkeling and diving opportunities. These reefs are created by sinking decommissioned ships, barges, and other structures to provide habitat for fish, corals, and other marine organisms. Explore the underwater world and swim among colorful fish, vibrant corals, and maybe even encounter a majestic sea turtle. With its clear waters and diverse ecosystem, snorkeling or diving at the artificial reefs of Sarasota Bay is sure to be an unforgettable experience for underwater enthusiasts of all skill levels.
Fort Denaud Wreck Dive
For experienced divers looking for a unique and challenging dive site, Fort Denaud is a must-visit destination. Located near Sarasota/Bradenton, this wreck dive offers the opportunity to explore the remains of the USS Mohawk, a World War II-era Coast Guard cutter. The wreck lies in about 90 feet of water, making it suitable for advanced divers. Dive down to the wreck and witness the history and marine life that have made it their home. From colorful corals to schools of fish, Fort Denaud provides a fascinating and immersive dive experience for those seeking adventure and exploration.
Sarasota Jungle Gardens
Sarasota Jungle Gardens is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages. This lush botanical garden is home to a variety of exotic and native animals, providing a unique opportunity to observe and interact with them up close. Explore the winding pathways and encounter beautiful birds, playful primates, majestic big cats, and many other fascinating creatures. Attend educational presentations and shows to learn more about the wildlife and conservation efforts. Whether you’re feeding a flamingo or holding a colorful macaw, Sarasota Jungle Gardens offers a memorable wildlife experience that is both entertaining and educational.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Discover the wonders of the ocean at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. This world-renowned research institution and public aquarium is dedicated to studying and protecting marine life and their habitats. Explore the exhibits and witness a wide range of marine species, from sea turtles to sharks, manatees to stingrays. Learn about important conservation efforts and ongoing research projects that focus on understanding and preserving our oceans. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend informative presentations and interact with marine scientists. A visit to Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is both entertaining and educational, making it a must-visit for wildlife enthusiasts.
Manatee Viewing Center
The Manatee Viewing Center, located near Apollo Beach, is a unique destination where visitors can observe these gentle giants in their natural habitat. As the water temperatures drop, manatees seek refuge in the warmer waters of the adjacent power plant’s discharge canal. The center provides elevated boardwalks and observation platforms, allowing you to view these magnificent creatures up close without disturbing them. Learn about manatee behavior and conservation efforts through informative exhibits and educational presentations. From November to April, the Manatee Viewing Center is a prime spot to witness these endangered mammals in their winter refuge.
Bird Watching at Celery Fields
If you’re a bird enthusiast, don’t miss the chance to visit Celery Fields, a popular bird-watching destination in Sarasota. This former agricultural area has been transformed into a diverse habitat for various bird species, making it a haven for birdwatchers. Bring your binoculars and spotting scope and explore the wetlands, ponds, and marshes that attract a wide variety of birds. Spot elegant wading birds like herons and egrets, or catch a glimpse of raptors soaring in the sky. With its scenic landscapes and abundant birdlife, Celery Fields offers an immersive bird-watching experience that will delight both beginners and experienced birders.
Myakka River State Park
Myakka River State Park offers a fantastic camping experience amidst the beauty of nature. The park provides various camping options, from tent camping to RV sites, allowing you to choose the accommodation that suits your preferences. Wake up to the sounds of nature and spend your days exploring the park’s trails, kayaking on the river, or observing wildlife. With its well-maintained facilities, picnic areas, and recreational activities, Myakka River State Park is the perfect destination for camping enthusiasts looking to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Turtle Beach Campground
Situated on the southern end of Siesta Key, Turtle Beach Campground is a picturesque camping destination. This serene campground offers beachfront camping sites, allowing you to wake up to stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. Spend your days sunbathing, swimming, or beachcombing, and watch the beautiful sunset illuminate the evening sky. The campground provides amenities such as showers, restrooms, and picnic tables for a comfortable camping experience. With its peaceful atmosphere and idyllic location, Turtle Beach Campground is the perfect place to relax and reconnect with nature.
DeSoto National Memorial Park
Immerse yourself in history and nature at DeSoto National Memorial Park. This unique park offers both camping and historical experiences, making it a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Set up your tent in the campground and enjoy panoramic views of the Manatee River. Explore the park’s trails and learn about the expeditions led by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. Attend educational programs and presentations that highlight the park’s rich history and cultural heritage. Whether you’re camping, hiking, or learning about the past, DeSoto National Memorial Park offers a well-rounded outdoor experience.
Oscar Scherer State Park
Oscar Scherer State Park not only offers exceptional nature experiences but also provides camping facilities for visitors looking to spend the night surrounded by natural beauty. Set up camp in the park’s campground, where you’ll be surrounded by towering pines and lush foliage. Wake up to the sound of birdsong and spend your days exploring the park’s trails, kayaking on Lake Osprey, or simply relaxing at your campsite. With its convenient amenities, including showers, restrooms, and picnic areas, Oscar Scherer State Park ensures a comfortable and memorable camping experience for all visitors.