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Sarasota-Bradentongulf coast getaway

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Sarasota-Bradenton Basics

Sarasota-Bradenton

Photo Courtesy of www.sarasotafl.org

Whether you feel like relaxing along the sandy Gulf Coast of Florida or hitting wonderful museums, restaurants and shops, you will definitely find your bliss in the Sarasota-Bradenton area. Sarasota is located south of Tampa on the west coast of Florida and encompasses a gorgeous chain of islands that line the Gulf of Mexico, including Lido Key, Longboat Key, Nokomis, Siesta Key and St. Armands Key. The pristine beaches along this stretch make you feel like you just walked out of a postcard and stepped into powdered sugar. And even on the hottest of days, the sand remains refreshingly cool thanks to the way the quartz in the sand reflects the sun’s heat.

Besides all of the beach and water activities at your disposal, there are also plenty of national parks to explore, full of walking and running trails, rivers, lakes and warm mineral springs. And if you are more of an indoors-type of person, you really can’t top the shopping at St. Armands Circle. The area also boasts farmer’s markets and impressive thrift shops.

After some retail therapy, explore the top-notch restaurant scene. Insider tip: Head to C’est la Vie for fabulous French breakfast or brunch. (See the restaurants section for more great eateries.) Sarasota is also home to a very active arts community and impressive artist colonies like the Towles Court Arts District, which is full of colorful galleries, shops and restaurants.

Did you know that Sarasota is the circus capital of the world? John Ringling started the trend when he snatched up a bunch of land here in the late ’20s, and then decided to cart his circus family into town for the winter quarter. The circus train first rolled into town in 1927 and did again and again for the next 33 years. His massive mansion, now known as the Ringling Museum of Art, is an exquisite museum that houses a seemingly endless, world-class collection of art.

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