Best Ways To Spend 3 Days In Sarasota

Best Ways To Spend 3 Days In Sarasota

  • Victoria Turner
  • 08/16/22

When you’re ready to look at some of the houses for sale in Sarasota, take your time exploring the area.  This quintessential Floridian city has a rich history dating back thousands of years as well as plenty of modern-day entertainment, from Sarasota shopping options to the Sarasota Country Club. Just three days of fun is more than enough time to fall in love with this slice of South Florida paradise, particularly if you visit some of the highlights.

Day 1

9:00 AM - Breakfast at Sunnyside

Photo Courtesy of Sunnyside Cafe

Start your day with breakfast at Sunnyside Cafe. The local favorite offers home-cooked favorites in a homey and relaxed atmosphere. The frijoles eggs Benedict provides a nice protein boost along with some bold and spicy flavors. If you’re in the mood for something a little sweeter, try the light and fluffy Belgian waffle that’s topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

10:00 AM - The Ringling

Photo Courtesy of The Ringling’s Facebook

Learn about circus legend John Ringling, one of the five Ringling brothers, at the enchanting Ringling Museum. Set on his old estate, the attraction features six different sections that are perfect for touring. Ca d’Zan, an ornate Gothic-style mansion, is the original home of John Ringling and his wife Mabel and was inspired by their love of Venice. The house has been carefully restored to its original grandeur, with marble floors, antique furniture, and even clothing from the couple’s wardrobe.

1:00 PM - Break at Antojitos Cuban Cuisine

Photo Courtesy of Antojitos

Refuel for the afternoon with a taste of Havana at Antojitos. The Cuban restaurant serves up traditional dishes, including oxtail stew with a red wine sauce that’s bursting with flavor and slow-roasted spicy pork.

2:00 PM - Get wild at Sarasota Jungle Gardens

At the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, you’ll have the opportunity to admire a variety of wild animals and learn what makes each one unique. Flamingos walk freely through the grounds while visitors wander by beautifully designed habitats that provide homes to parrots, alligators, and other tropical animals. For added fun, arrange an animal encounter and get up close and personal to learn more about your favorite species.

6:00 PM - Dinner at Indigenous

Enjoy fresh ingredients in excitingly unique dishes at Indigenous. The restaurant uses local sources for almost everything, working hard to promote sustainable practices while supporting the South Florida community. Try a savory take on beignets with parmesan and thyme, followed by sun shrimp in a white wine sauce. Splurge on dessert with the banana cake that showcases a litany of contrasting textures and balanced flavors.

8:00 PM - Take the Haunted Sarasota Trolley Tour

Finish the evening with a ride on the Haunted Sarasota Trolley Tour. Learn about local murders, unsolved mysteries, and the ghosts that haunt Sarasota buildings. Educated tour guides share facts about the tales and legends behind the spectors, and if you’re lucky, you might even see something you can’t explain.

Day 2

8:00 AM - Start the day at Five-O Donut Co.

Everybody loves a donut, and at Five-O Donut Co., the selection will tempt you into buying a dozen. While classic flavors like glazed and chocolate-frosted are naturally represented, more creative options include banana peanut butter, Nutella s’more, and cookie butter cheesecake. Have some fun and pick a donut you know you’ll like as well as one that’s more adventurous  – you might find that everything’s good on a donut.

9:00 AM - Visit the past at Historic Spanish Point

Get a peek into Sarasota’s history at Historic Spanish Point. Run by the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the 30-acre property features a museum of artifacts ranging from prehistoric times to more recent events.  Also on site is a prehistoric burial mound, a cemetery for the original pioneers, and a stunning butterfly garden.

12:00 PM - Lunch at the Boatyard

Photo courtesy of Boatyard

Have lunch overlooking the water at the Boatyard Waterfront Grill. This neon restaurant serves fresh seafood like flounder stuffed with crab and shrimp or sea scallops in a creamy lemon sauce. Despite its casual setting, the food is so top-notch that customers will find it tempting to  eat their way through the entire menu.

1:30 PM - Cool off at the Orange Octopus

Finish your meal with ice cream at the Orange Octopus. The small family-owned shop makes ice cream in-house and offers a variety of flavors. Adults will love the Kentucky bourbon flavor, balancing real liquor with sweet honey to tame the bite. Kids – or those who aren’t bourbon fans – will want to try either the rich chocolate-peanut butter flavor or the bright and creamy mango.

2:30 PM - Take a hidden mangrove kayak tour

Take a guided kayak tour through the mangrove tunnels to spot gorgeous hidden beaches. While you paddle through the water, you’re likely to see an array of local coastal birds, from ospreys to egrets, and potentially some marine life as well. The tour will take up the majority of your afternoon but is an amazing opportunity to get closer to nature.

6:00 PM - Dine at Ophelia’s on the Bay

When people seek out the best restaurants in Sarasota, this one always makes the list.  Ophelia’s on the Bay is a gorgeous restaurant with glass walls offering unfettered views of the water. Whether you opt for scallops cooked in clarified butter or the grouper filled with lobster, every plate is delicious and decadent. After dinner, take a walk on the beach to enjoy the view.

Day 3

9:00 AM - Breakfast at Fresh Start Cafe

This quaint restaurant is an excellent choice for breakfast or lunch.  They have excellent shakshuka, frittatas, salads and more.  The staff is also super friendly!

10:00 AM - Tour the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Photo Courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Garden’s Facebook

Spend a couple of hours wandering through the beautiful Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.  Filled with over 20,000 plants, the space is not only gorgeous but an excellent opportunity to learn more about tropical and exotic plants. Visitors have the option to go through the expansive gardens on their own, but the better option is to take a guided tour with a trained staff member who can provide you with fascinating information on the plants housed in the facility.

11:00 AM - Shopping at St. Armand’s Circle

Photo Courtesy of St. Armand’s Circle’s Facebook

Finish the morning by browsing through the stunning, unique goods at the boutiques in St. Armand’s Circle. The smaller shops are scattered among high-end designer stores, elevating the vibe and providing a bounty of items to admire as you window-shop.

1:00 PM - Lunch at Cha Cha Coconuts

Photo Courtesy of Cha Cha Coconuts

Cha Cha Coconuts is the perfect place to stop for a midday break. The brightly-colored grill serves tropical flavors in a relaxed beach-bum atmosphere. Try sweet coconut shrimp or chicken marinated in a bright citrus sauce that’s served with fresh fruit. Everything on the menu pairs well with their minty mango iced tea.

2:00 PM - Take a peek under the sea at Mote Marine Aquarium

Photo Courtesy of Mote Marine Aquarium

Learn more about marine life in South Florida at Mote Marine Aquarium. The nonprofit research center is dedicated to preserving and protecting marine ecosystems while raising awareness. Inside the facility, guests can get up-close views of the fascinating creatures that live in the water, from sponges and coral to otters and alligators. For a more personalized experience, book a Choose Your Own Adventure tour and get a behind-the-scenes peek at the aquarium’s work.

6:00 PM - Dine at Crab and Fin

Photo Courtesy of Crab and Fin’s Facebook

Enjoy a luxurious dinner at Crab and Fin, a phenomenal restaurant where every dish is made from scratch using the best locally-sourced ingredients. The mangrove snapper dish is extraordinary, where the chef balances the light fish with bright flavors of mint and ginger. Many guests also enjoy the yellowfin tuna, which is prepared simply to allow the freshness of the fish to shine. Finish with a slice of their key lime pie.

8:00 PM - Take a nighttime Fun Tiki Cruise

Photo courtesy of Fun Tiki Cruise

See the Gulf at sunset with a Fun Tiki Cruise. The 90-minute tours cruise around Sarasota Bay as the lights go on in the city, providing an excellent view while you relax on the rolling waves. Bring a cooler of cocktails to enjoy as you ride.

Find Sarasota real estate

When visiting Sarasota, the list of activities can be endless.  If you’re ready to spend more time in the city, contact real estate agent Victoria Turner at Michael Saunders & Company about Sarasota homes for sale. Her real estate expertise, passion for the area, and attention to detail mean that she can not only help you find your dream home but can guide you through the bidding and closing process. Victoria will help you head off any problems during the homebuying process, ensuring a smooth deal and stressless journey.

*Header photo Courtesy of Sarasota Jungle Garden’s Facebook

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