With pristine white-sand beaches and gorgeous tropical landscapes, Sarasota offers a rare glimpse into a wild and unspoiled Florida.
Located along the stunning Gulf of Mexico, it’s the perfect destination for the curious nature lover in all of us.
Exploring Myakka River State Park
On my first morning in Sarasota, I make my way, bright and early, to Myakka River State Park to enjoy its spectacular vistas and abundant wildlife. After a scenic drive through the forest, I arrive at the river, surrounded by vast prairies and dense woodlands. Within moments, I spot dozens of alligators and a myriad of bird species, forming an incredible cacophony of sound. The friendly locals point out a bald eagle flying overhead, and I can’t help but envy their daily ritual – a cup of coffee with a side of untouched Florida.
Nestled amidst these wild woodlands lives Florida’s first public treetop trail, 7.6 meters in the air. A haven for researchers and nature enthusiasts alike, the Canopy Walkway offers an in-depth look at tree life and spectacular vistas for those brave enough to climb its 22.5-meter tower. Putting my mild fear of heights aside, I climb the unending wooden staircase to its peak, where I find myself perched high above the trees, with breathtaking views in every direction. The sun breaks through the early morning haze, lending a golden hue to acres of vast green foliage surrounding me. I try to cement the image in my mind, to call upon during those bleak winter days back home.
Myakka River State Park is a must-see for nature-lovers
Sarasota’s Sandy Shores
Sarasota County’s magnificent coastline extends for miles, making it difficult to choose which of its many amazing white-sand beaches to visit first. For all its adventurous offerings, Lido Key’s shores are surprisingly secluded and provide sensational sunset views. At Caspersen Beach, I cross over rolling dunes to discover fishermen and beachcombers of all ages lining the shore. It’s not long before I’m knee-deep in the water with them, marvelling at the exquisite shells, and hoping to uncover one of the many fossilized sharks’ teeth that the area is famous for.
Holding a massive shark’s tooth found at Caspersen Beach
Shopping in Downtown Venice
No vacation would be complete without a few souvenirs to take home, so I head to the trendy town of Venice for some retail therapy. I stop in at The Soda Fountain for a strawberry float and a stroll down memory lane; the cute café is chock-full of classic memorabilia. Hopped up on sugar, I take to the downtown streets, discovering an endless supply of adorable antique shops and trendy boutiques. Finally, after an exhaustive and fruitful shop, I settle in for a relaxed dinner at The Crow’s Nest, treating myself to some of the best oysters I’ve ever had. Here, while admiring the gorgeous waterfront views, I reminisce about my incredible trip, and dream of the next time I’ll visit.
In downtown Venice, shops lining Venice Avenue