Sarasota Florida

FEATURED LISTING: Florida ::: Sarasota

Sarasota has something for everyone, pristine beaches and water sports, world class shopping and international cuisine, renowned museums and galleries, nature preserves and urban living. Located on Florida's west coast between Tampa and Ft. Myers on the Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota is a sophisticated city where you can choose to relax at a luxury resort or a quaint seaside inn, play golf or canoe through unspoiled mangrove-lined waterways, dine on a bay front cruise or watch the sunset from the beach.

Sarasota was built in the 1880s, enticing settlers with a promise of excellent weather, fertile land, plentiful citrus groves, and affordable housing. Many immigrants from Scotland were tempted to relocate here. One of the early settlers was John Hamilton Gillespie, a Scottish aristocrat and lawyer. He built Florida’s and perhaps America’s first golf course, earning Sarasota the name, Cradle of Golf. He also built the upscale De Soto Hotel on Main Street for tourists and prospective investors. His contribution to the growth of Sarasota made him very popular and he became Sarasota’s first mayor in 1902.

In 1910s, America’s wealthiest people built homes here and enjoyed the clean air and pristine surroundings of the area. Historic Spanish Point was once the waterfront winter estate and gardens of Bertha Palmer, widow of a Chicago developer, Potter Palmer. What is today Myakka River State Park was once her 30,000-acre ranch called Meadowsweet Pastures. John & Mabel Ringling owned a magnificent Venetian-style mansion on Sarasota Bay, named Cà d’Zan (house of John). They housed their collection of 17th-century Italian and Flemish art including Reuben’s works in what is now Sarasota’s big attraction, the Ringling Museum of Art. John Ringling owned a circus and used his elephants to help build the first bridge from the mainland to St. Armands Key. He developed this area into a commercial and residential center. He later moved the circus’ winter quarters to Sarasota, which earned the town the nickname “circus town.”

Sarasota is the center of the Theater and Arts District and hosts professional symphony, ballet and opera. The Wan Wezel Performing Arts Hall is known for its architecture and great acoustics, and features top notch shows. Sarasota’s Main Street hosts art festivals, and the ever-popular Saturday morning Farmers Market. There are many fine restaurants offering international cuisine. Just off Main Street are Palm Avenue’s fine art galleries, the famous antique and retro collectible shops of Pineapple Avenue, and the picturesque Sarasota Bayfront area.

Do not miss the Mote Marine Laboratory, G-WIZ or the Gulfcoast Wonder & Imagination Zone, a hands-on Science Museum, Historic Spanish Point, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, with its tropical plants from bamboo to colorful bromeliads to exotic orchids, and Pelican Man's Bird Sanctuary, one of the largest Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Centers in the U.S. The Myakka River State Park is 28 thousand acre Wildlife Park.

Sarasota offers a range of accommodation from luxury resorts to time-shares and condominiums.

Florida Cities and Towns