Sarasota Travel Guide

USA  #4 in Best Places to Visit in Florida
Credit

Courtesy of KarolinaBorkowski/Getty Images

Getting Around Sarasota

Sarasota's attractions are spread throughout the city, so the best way to get around is to hire a car or ride the SCAT, Sarasota County's bus service. Though SCAT buses offer many convenient routes – including to and from Sarasota–Brandenton International Airport (SRQ) – most do not operate on Sundays, and service is typically limited at night. Rental cars, while more convenient, average around $20 per day. Taxi and ride-sharing services can also be arranged but cost significantly more than bus rides and car hires. Bike rentals are available as well, but are not ideal for traveling long distances.

Bus

One of the easiest and most affordable ways to travel in Sarasota is by bus. Known locally as SCAT, the Sarasota County Area Transit service costs $1.25 per one-way ride or $2.50 per ride on the Express Route 100x, which travels between the airport and downtown Sarasota. One-way fares are paid in cash on board the bus. Visitors can also purchase a one-day, seven-day or 30-day bus pass for $4 to $60 each. All tickets are sold at the Downtown Transfer Station, the SCAT Transit Administration or various Goodwill stores throughout Sarasota County.

In addition to servicing the airport and the center of the city, SCAT routes make stops near attractions like The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Lido Key Beach and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Most buses do not run on Sundays and offer limited evening schedules from Monday to Saturday. Many start at about 5:30 a.m.; some buses stop operating around 7 p.m., while others are available until approximately 10 p.m. Bus frequency varies depending on the route and time of day, but most come every 20 to 60 minutes.

Car

Rental cars are one of the city's most flexible modes of transportation. Since many of SCAT's buses are not available late at night or on Sundays, cars are an ideal option for night owls and travelers who are visiting on weekends. Plus, bus routes to some areas are limited, so having a car may be the easiest and quickest way to get to select attractions. Keep in mind that fees may apply for some parking garages, although many attractions and streets in the downtown area offer free parking all day or for a few hours. All major car rental vendors have locations throughout the city and at the airport.

Taxi

Several taxi companies service the Sarasota area. However, all rides start with a $3 drop charge on top of a per-mile rate of about $4. Cabs can be hailed at the airport, on the street or arranged through your hotel concierge. Additionally, ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber are bookable in Sarasota County via their respective smartphone apps.

Bike

If you plan on sticking to a limited area while in Sarasota, renting a bike may be worth considering. The city does not offer a public bike-share service, but several bicycle shops supply rentals, and many attractions provide free bike parking. Some bike stores charge by the hour, while others have daily or weekly rates. Expect to pay less than $10 per hour, $10 to $60 per day or $40 to $250 for each week. Most bicycle stores include helmets, locks and chains in their rental rates.

Explore More of Sarasota

Recommended

The 5 Best Kauai Helicopter Tours

See the Garden Island's far-reaching beauty from the air.

Holly JohnsonJune 14, 2019

The 6 Best Las Vegas Helicopter Tours

Get a thrilling look at the lights and sights of Sin City and its surroundings with one of these tours.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

20 Road Trip Essentials for Your Vacation

These road trip must-haves can help you save money, travel more comfortably and ensure you stay safe on the open road.

Holly JohnsonJune 13, 2019

13 Top Charlottesville Wineries to Visit

Sip a glass of Virginia's signature viognier as the sun sets over the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Gwen PratesiJune 12, 2019

The 16 Best Seattle Tours

Explore the Emerald City's natural beauty and urban offerings with these guided excursions.

Lyn MettlerJune 12, 2019

The 24 Best London Tours

Whether it's your first time in London or you're a repeat visitor, you'll experience a side of the city you've never seen with these tours.

Kim Foley MacKinnonJune 6, 2019

The 21 Best Paris Tours

Enhance your visit to the City of Love with one of these top tours.

Claire LawtonJune 5, 2019

The 20 Best New York City Tours

These guided tours help make the most of your time in the Big Apple.

John RodwanJune 4, 2019

The 24 Best Rome Tours

Enjoy the efficiency of an organized tour led by experts who bring Rome's history to life.

Kyle McCarthyMay 31, 2019

The 8 Best Savannah Ghost Tours

Prove you're not afraid of the dark by taking one of these terrifying tours.

Gwen PratesiMay 31, 2019