My family is always looking for great day trips from the Tampa area. I recently had the opportunity to explore Sarasota, and I am so excited to share some of their amazing attractions with you. My drive from the north part of Tampa was only about 90 minutes, which I consider the perfect distance for a day trip. If you’d rather make a weekend of it and explore further, I have a great recommendation for accommodations!
ST. ARMANDS CIRCLE
Fun fact – my family and I lived in Longboat Key when I was six years old. My school bus drove through St. Armands Circle every day, but at only six years old, I did not appreciate the draw of this great area. St. Armand’s is boasts luxury shopping and delicious restaurants, and hosts unique events throughout the year. When I visited in November, the 30th Annual St. Armands Art Festival was underway with large crowds, but an impressive 175 artists and craftsman displaying their work.
Do not miss St. Armands’ restaurants when you visit! We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Tommy Bahama Restaurant (yes, that Tommy Bahama!), where we ate their World Famous Coconut Shrimp, Filet Mignon Flatbread, incredible Pina Colada Cake, and so much more! Want to enjoy a taste of Tommy Bahamas at home? Check out this recipe for their Happy “Huladays” Cocktail!
I loved our visit to The Ringling! Initially, I thought the museum was simply going to display the history of the Ringling Circus. It turns out that circus life is only the focus of the Circus Museum portion of The Ringling. While we did begin our tour by viewing scaled models depicting every detail of circus life in the fictional Howard Bros. Circus, then walking through artifacts from the circus life, The Ringling itself has so much more to offer. When I return with my family, we could very well spend all of our time viewing and experiencing the circus displays, but there is so much more to see!
The grounds are also home to Mable’s rose garden, John and Mable Ringling’s 56-room home Ca’ d’Zan on Sarasota Bay, and the impressive Museum of Art. Ca' d'Zan was the winter home of the Ringlings, one of America's richest couples. The opulence has to be seen to be believed, and there are various tours available to view different areas of the home.
I truly had no idea the Museum of Art had such an extensive collection. I was reminded of my visits to European art galleries with pieces ranging throughout history.
The location of The Ringling is itself a beautiful setting. I am eager to bring my family back to the grounds to leisurely walk along the paths among the banyan trees. For more information about The Ringling and ticket information, visit their website: https://www.ringling.org/.
We are so lucky here in Florida. Finding a resort for a beach vacation is as easy as picking a beach and checking for the good reviews. We have the beauty of the Panhandle's beaches, the excitement of the Atlantic beaches, and the tranquil setting of the Gulf beaches. However, while it is easy to FIND resorts to visit, it is not easy to CHOOSE which resort would meet all of your needs and create lasting memories for your entire group. Luckily, I'm here with an amazing resort to put at the top of your list to please everyone you are traveling with. The Resort at Longboat Key Club has it all, and the staff puts your comfort and pleasure first in all areas of the resort.
FUN IN THE SUN
Like many gulf beach resorts, The Resort at Longboat Key Club recently faced the issue of a shrinking beach space due to erosion. I spoke with the general manager, Jeff Mayers, and learned that the resort chose to bring in sand from a Citrus County mine, rather than dredging in the Gulf, making it more environmentally friendly. The powdery white sand is the perfect setting for their queen cabanas and lounge chairs, along with any beach activities your heart desires!
GOLF AND TENNIS
The Resort at Longboat Key Club is set amidst their highly-rated golf courses and is a golfer's dream! Not an avid golfer but want to try it while on vacation? Build on your skills with their instructional golf programs!
Golf has never been one of my interests, but I was so excited to experience a tennis lesson while staying at the Resort! The Resort at Longboat Key Club has been named the #7 top tennis resort in the world by Tennis Resorts Online in its highly competitive annual listing. The lessons on the Har-Tru court were individualized for my skill-level (I haven't held a racket in about 15 years!) and a perfect way to get some exercise during the trip. I highly recommend spending time on the courts!
You will not have trouble finding delicious food - this AAA Four-Diamond resort boasts eight exceptional Sarasota restaurants featuring fresh ingredients for all tastes. I had the pleasure of dining at Portofino at the marina for amazing Italian food, Sands Pointe for a perfect filet, Tavern & Whiskey at the pro shop for a fresh lunch (order fries, you won't regret it!!), and room service for a relaxing breakfast in my room. I'll let the photos speak for themselves!
Looking for a new destination for a girls getaway, couples retreat, or family vacation?
Check out where we've been!