Sarasota National Cemetery#6 in Best Things To Do in Sarasota
Designed to highlight Sarasota's background as a military post for flight training, the 295-acre Sarasota National Cemetery has served as the final resting place for thousands of fallen veterans since it opened to the public in 2009. Funerals are still regularly held at the facility, but visitors are more than welcome to pay their respects.
Though this burial site isn't as well-known as Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., it does regularly wow travelers with its beautiful grounds and knowledgeable staff. Plus, this free cemetery offers a convenient locale near other top attractions like Myakka River State Park and the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, which are both less than 10 miles away. To make the most of your visit, reviewers suggest joining one of the complimentary guided tours of the on-site amphitheater (Patriot Plaza), which features artwork honoring veterans. Tours last an hour and are available at 10 a.m. every Tuesday.
Sarasota National Cemetery is open daily between sunrise and sunset and sits approximately 14 miles southeast of downtown Sarasota. A car or taxi is required to get to the cemetery, but free parking can be found within walking distance. Available facilities include public restrooms, an electronic gravesite locator and a memorial walkway. Check out the cemetery's website for more information.
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#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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