The Shopping List
St. Armands Circle, a retail mecca, waits just steps away from the beach. With 130 stores, it's a shopper's heaven. Visit Fanta Sea, a magnificent seashell and home accessories shop, and Garden Argosy, a gift boutique with everything from baby items to fun jewelry. If you forgot a good beach read, stop by Sarasota News & Books, located on quaint Main Street.
If you stay at The Ritz-Carlton hotel, you're set when it comes to ideal beach access. For folks who stay elsewhere, we recommend the public Lido Beach. Although you won't find someone to bring you tropical drinks here, you will enjoy sugar-white sand, crystal-blue water, free parking, and easy-to-access restrooms.
You may discover that after a trip to Sarasota, you've found a new summer tradition.
For more information: Contact the Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-522-9799 or www.sarasotafl.org.
Don't leave Sarasota without visiting Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. You'll feel as if you've uncovered your own personal paradise.
This lush tropical garden holds some of the world's rarest plants including orchids, bromeliads, and epiphytes (also known as air plants). Covering 81⁄2 acres, the space was once the bayfront estate of philanthropists Marie and William Selby. Now, in addition to a thriving garden, it contains a research center. Admission is $12 adults and $6 ages 6-11.
If it rains while you're in town, which it tends to do on July afternoons, swing by The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. Admission is free on Monday if you can arrange to stay in town an extra day; otherwise it costs $15 adults.
Down to Details
- The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota: 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive; (941) 309-2000 or www.ritzcarlton.com/resorts/sarasota
- La Quinta Inn & Suites Sarasota: 1803 North Tamiami Trail; (941) 366-5128 or www.lq.com
- Sarasota Bradenton Courtyard by Marriott: 850 University Parkway; (941) 355-3337 or www.marriott.com
- Holiday Inn Lido Beach: 233 Ben Franklin Drive; (941) 388-5555 or www.lidobeach.net
- Lido Beach Resort: 700 Ben Franklin Drive; (941) 388-2161 or www.lidobeachresort.com
- Selva Grill: 1345 Main Street; (941) 362-4427 or www.selvagrill.com
- Pacific Rim: 1859 Hillview Street; (941) 330-8071 or www.pacificrimsarasota.com
- The Table: 1934 Hillview Street; (941) 365-4558
- The Old Salty Dog: 1601 Ken Thompson Parkway; (941) 388-4311 or www.theoldsaltydog.com
- Broken Egg: 210 Avenida Madera; (941) 346-2750 or www.thebrokenegg.com
- Fanta Sea: 345 St. Armands Circle; (941) 388-3031 or www.fantaseashells.com
- Garden Argosy: 361 St. Armands Circle; (941) 388-6402 or www.gardenargosy.com
- Sarasota News & Books: 1341 Main Street; (941) 365-6332 or www.sarasotanewsandbooks.com
- Marie Selby Botanical Gardens: 811 South Palm Avenue; (941) 366-5731 or www.selby.org
- The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art: 5401 Bay Shore Road; (941) 359-5700 or www.ringling.org
"Secret Beach Vacation" is from the July 2006 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.