Lido Key Beach picture
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Key Info

400 Ben Franklin Drive

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Beaches, Natural Wonders, Free Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.5scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Though visitors have access to several beaches in Sarasota County, one of the easiest to reach from downtown is Lido Key Beach. Situated less than 5 miles southwest of the city center, Lido Key Beach offers more than 3,000 feet of white sand. Several recreation areas, with amenities like picnic tables and a pool (which can be enjoyed for a fee), are also available.

If you like hunting for seashells, visitors say you'll love Lido Key Beach. (But if you want to swim, plan on wearing shoes; the shells will likely hurt exposed feet.) Additionally, families will appreciate this beach's calm water and ample space. What's more, Lido Key Beach sits within walking distance of St. Armands Circle, where various shops and eateries reside.

Complimentary street and lot parking is offered at this beach, as well as restrooms and water spigots for washing off sand. A gift shop is also available by Lido Key Beach's main parking lot. Travelers are welcome to bring food and beverages to the beach to enjoy on the sand or at one of the provided picnic tables. The beach itself is free to visit and can be accessed between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily, but keep in mind that lifeguards are only on duty from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. For visitors without a car, the No. 4 SCAT bus makes several stops nearby. Visit Sarasota County's website for more information.

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Myakka River State Park
The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 8
#1 Myakka River State Park

Considered one of Florida's oldest and largest state parks, Myakka River State Park stretches across 58 square miles of wetlands, hammocks, pinelands and prairies. The area also features a river and two lakes, making it a prime place to enjoy water activities like canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Or, visitors can tour the lakes via one of the attraction's airboats, which are the largest in the world. Land-based tours are offered seasonally as well.

Though some travelers caution that finding the park's entrance and parking near the lake's main activities can be a bit of a challenge, many agree that this scenic spot is a must-visit for nature lovers. All sorts of animals – including alligators, roseate spoonbills and armadillos – are known to frequent the area. What's more, the park offers nearly 40 miles of hiking trails – including one walkway suspended 25 feet above the ground – and several biking paths.

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