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Home to some of the most breathtaking beaches in the U.S., it’s no wonder Sarasota, FL continues to be a tropical destination for families. In addition to its coastlines, the Southern beach town is also known for its delicious restaurants, unique architecture and shopping districts. Start planning your next beach vacation by taking a virtual tour below.

Take a Virtual Tour of Sarasota, FL

Siesta Beach

Siesta Beach continues to rank highly on “top beach” lists curated by worldwide travelers and renowned coastal experts (named “#1 Beach in America” by TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards in 2020, 2017 and 2015). Its nearly 100% quartz-crystal sand is like walking on a cloud that never gets hot under the Gulf Coast sun and tropical weather. The recent addition of playgrounds, a renovated Sarasota School of Architecture pavilion and 150 additional free parking spaces have helped Siesta continue to delight visitors year after year.

Siesta Key in Sarasota, FL

The quartz-crystal sand at Siesta Beach is like walking on clouds. Image: Eddie Kirsch

St. Armands Circle

Just steps away from Lido Beach is St. Armands Circle — a sophisticated outdoor dining and shopping area with distinct European flair and mid-century modern architecture surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay. Beachgoers retreat from the sand and head to St. Armands for tropical cocktails, exquisite dinners, boutique shopping and live island tunes. Pose with statues scattered along sidewalks and browse the “Ring of Fame” plaques honoring the top circus performers of the last century.

St. Armands Circle

Head to St. Armands Circle for a fix of shopping, live music, and delicious food and drinks. Image: Eddie Kirsch

The Ringling

5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243 • (941) 359-5700

When circus magnate John Ringling died in 1936, he bequeathed his $1.5 million winter home — the Ca’ d’Zan — and massive property to the state of Florida, which became The Ringling museum. In addition to more than 600 Baroque masterpieces, a delightfully playful circus history museum, rotating art exhibits and 66 acres of bayfront property, The Ringling is also home to the Historic Asolo Theater — an 18th-century playhouse originally constructed in Asolo, Italy and still hosting shows today!

The Ringling museum in Sarasota, FL

Step inside the circus ring when visiting The Ringling museum. Image: Adam Cellini

Siesta Key Oyster Bar

5238 Ocean Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 34242 • (941) 346-5443

Siesta Key Oyster Bar — or “SKOB” as it is affectionately known by locals — is a landmark in the world-famous Siesta Key Village. The laid-back, beachy atmosphere puts you in the island spirit with a mix of al fresco seating and live tunes. From raw oysters to crab cakes to creative cocktails, SKOB is always a great time. Notes written on dollar bills and left behind by satisfied customers are stapled to the walls, giving SKOB its iconic interior look.

SKOB restaurant

Notes written on dollar bills stapled to the walls at SKOB give the restaurant its iconic interior look. Image: Lauren Jackson

Sarasota Opera House

61 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236 • (941) 328-1300

The Sarasota Opera House plays host to everything from opera, symphony and classical ballet to film festivals, pop music concerts and comedians. The Sarasota Opera professional company is one of only a few in the U.S. to own its own house and is known for completing the “Verdi Cycle” in 2016 — producing the entire works of Giuseppe Verdi. Originally built in 1926, the opera house has undergone several changes to become the acoustic jewel it is today, most notably a $20 million upgrade in 2008.

Sarasota Opera House

The Sarasota Opera House plays host to everything from opera, symphony and classical ballet to film festivals, pop music concerts and comedians. Image: Adam Cellini

Check out more amazing Southern destinations in our “Virtual Vacation” series. Click HERE!

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