The sparkling shores beckon with more than 40 miles of sunny coastline and nearby barrier islands. Discover long stretches of warm, sandy beaches, luxury hotels, award-winning restaurants, and eco-friendly attractions. Plus, if you’re a baseball fan, the first pitch starts early at spring training. It’s root, root, root for the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota and the Atlanta Braves who are moving to North Port in 2020.
Lido Beach Resort – Ideal Location and Fabulous Amenities
This casual, beachfront resort, part of the Opal Collection of luxury hotels, features 222 newly renovated, spacious guest rooms and condo-style suites. From Florida-inspired furnishings to flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, Lido Beach Resort makes you feel welcome and comfortable. Hotel amenities include two heated pools (one for adults, one for families), a fitness center, plus a seafood restaurant and Tiki Bar. Some guest rooms/suites also are dog-friendly, so bring Fido along. Head to the top of the Lido Beach for Sarasota’s best Sunday brunch (10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.). Sip a mimosa as you feast on seafood to prime rib to gourmet specialties, fresh fruits and salads, made-to-order omelets, and more. With exquisite views of the Sarasota skyline, this is an ideal place to get your Sunday on! The resort is just minutes away from the hip St. Armand’s Circle. Complimentary shuttle service puts you in the center of all the action. Check the website for special hotel offers.
The Resort at Longboat Key Club – the Key to Luxury and Pampering
You deserve this! The Longboat Key Club is Sarasota’s only AAA-ranked full-service resort boasting 45 holes of golf on two gorgeous courses, a signature spa, world-class Tennis Gardens, 8 dining venues, and lounges as well as deep water marina, all on the Gulf front pool and beach. There’s really no reason to ever leave the resort, but if you do, their personalized concierge service can take care of all the details. Complimentary shuttle service to St. Armand’s Circle and nearby shopping means you don’t even need a car.
Dine Around the Resort
Choose from fine dining to more casual fare as well as its courtside café. Go for Northern Italian cuisine at Portofino Ristorante in a trattoria-style atmosphere. Enjoy handmade pasta, wood-fired pizza and fresh seafood, accompanied by a fine selection of Italian wines. For more casual farm-to-table dining, hang out at the Tavern and Whiskey Bar for soups, salads, sandwiches and of course, top-shelf drinks. Enjoy breakfast at Sands Pointe as you watch the “morning commuters” walking the beach.
On the courts…
The resort boasts a $4.5 million tennis facility at its Harbourside property, just a few miles down the road. Ranked the number one tennis facility on the Gulf Coast of Florida, tennis buffs will find 20 Har-Tru clay courts with optimal playing conditions as well as private instruction.
Re-energize mind, body, and spirit
The Opal Spa is designed for relaxation and rejuvenation through their personalized approach to health and wellness. The spa offers a variety of signature therapies, treatments, and skin care enhancements to find your own radiant center. I opted for the Hot Stone Massage and entered a state of pure bliss as the warm, basalt stones melted the stress away.
Shopping and Dining at St. Armand’s Circle
St. Armand’s is like a wheel with spokes coming out from all sides. Surrounding the circle are beautiful boutiques, bars, and fabulous restaurants like Café L’Europa and Columbia. Also recommended is Tommy Bahamas – no, not the clothier, but an upscale restaurant that incorporates an island theme with Caribbean cuisine. There’s nothing quite like sitting outside on St. Armand’s, watching the crowd go by while you sip an iced mocha. Did I mention Kilwin’s? You won’t miss this famous chocolatier… your nose will lead you to the sweetest (and busiest) place on the Circle!
World-Class Art at the Ringling Museum
Once the winter residence of John & Mable Ringling, this magnificent waterfront complex now includes a mansion, art museum, lovely gardens, and entertaining circus museum. Choose from several docent-led tours or go solo as you envision life at CA’D’ZAN (Venetian for House of John.) Don’t miss the world-class gallery with the works of Flemish artist, Paul Rubens. My favorite exhibit was the Howard Brothers Circus Museum, the world’s largest miniature circus. Imagine 40,000 miniature circus models, including wagons, animals, and clowns, all under the big top!
Eco-Tours with Sarasota Bay Explorers
Take to the waves and see what’s out there. Choose from a variety of cruises such as the Sea Life Encounter that’s narrated by a marine biologist. Kayak through the mangroves, go on a dolphin and manatee-watching trip, or embark on a nature safari.
Spring Training in Full Swing
This is where the baseball season really starts. From February through March, the Ed Smith Stadium is home to the Baltimore Orioles spring training camp. Unlike regular baseball, you’ll find it easy to collect autographs and see your favorite players. The action on the field is major league, but the atmosphere is more like hometown America. Other baseball training camps Florida’s Grapefruit League are a short drive away; the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, New York Yankees in Tampa, and the Phillies in Clearwater.
The beach is waiting…