On the Gulf of Mexico, south of Tampa, lies the resort of Sarasota, famed for is perfect weather, wonderful beaches and thriving arts scene.
Sarasota deserves its reputation as a cultural center, but it also boasts fantastic golf courses, stunning wilderness areas and great watersports.
There is no bad time to visit Sarasota thanks to its climate. The busiest times are winter and spring. It is a popular destination for winter sun seekers from November onwards and Spring Breakers flock to the city in March and April.
Plenty of summer vacationers brave the rising temperatures, which can hit 90°F, and the chance of rain from June to August, but cheap fares to Sarasota are available at this time of year.
The quietest time of year is fall, which is often the best time to visit, with temperatures maxing out at around 85°F.
Festivals worth looking out for when booking a vacation include the Sarasota Film Festival in April, the Sarasota Music Festival in June, the Ringling International Arts Festival in October and November’s sidewalk chalk festival.
When you search for cheap flights to Sarasota with Orbitz there are many ways to increase your chance of grabbing a bargain.
Several airlines fly into Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, but even more go to Tampa, just an hour’s drive away. That means there are plenty of departure airports to choose from if you are planning a trip to Sarasota. Use the ‘Nearby Airports’ option to explore flights to and from alternative locations.
Another great way to find lower-priced air fares is to be flexible on your travel dates. Click in the ‘My Dates Are Flexible’ tick box when making your search to browse cheap flights to Sarasota across a range of dates.
You can filter your results by using the ‘Show options’ drop-down to sort your flights by price or duration, airline or airport. You can explore direct or connecting flights limit your results to refundable flights and look for flights at certain times of the day.
Optimal flight times from US airports to Sarasota include:
Around a million passengers a year travel to Sarasota-Bradenton International, which lies just three miles north of the city. Eight car rental firms have a presence at the airport, many hotels and airlines offer shuttles into the city and there is a public bus. Taxis to downtown cost around $40.
Much bigger than Sarasota-Bradenton, Tampa International Airport welcomes flights from all over the world and handles 20 million passengers each year. It has more than 30 bars and restaurants and dozens of shops. It takes just over an hour to drive from Tampa to Sarasota.
The airlines flying to Sarasota-Bradenton International include:
Although it is easy to get from the airport to the city, public transport within Sarasota itself is limited, and there is no bus service on Sunday. The sights are spread out so it is worth hiring a car - the causeways linking the keys and islands are free to use.
Siesta Beach on Siesta Key, to the south of the city, is known as one of the best beaches in the world. The sand is 99 per cent quartz from the Appalachian Mountains which is always cool underfoot. The shallow waters are perfect for splashing and there are lifeguards on duty all year round. Other beaches on Siesta Key, including Turtle Beach and Crescent Beach, are also worth a visit.
No trip to Sarasota is complete without a visit to the vast estate of John and Mable Ringling, which includes Florida’s state art museum, the Ringling Circus Museum and their opulent home, Ca d’Zan.
The tropical Mary Selby Botanical Gardens are one of the best in Florida, and home to thousands of orchids and bromeliads, banyans, mangroves and bamboo. Further north is the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, where you can feed flamingo among the plants.
Sarasota is the ideal base from which to explore Florida’s west coast. The Everglades, Tampa and even Orlando’s theme parks are all within reach.
An artistic community blessed with beaches galore, Sarasota celebrates beauty created by both nature and people. In the high season, especially around Easter and spring break, the sandy shores teem with beachgoers. Siesta Key has been named the top beach in the world by “Dr. Beach” (Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, the director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University), who praises its powdery white sand, child-friendly waves, clean and clear waters, and recreational fitness opportunities. With a dozen or so public courses, golf is another popular outdoors pursuit.
Summer is a little slower in Sarasota, thanks to showers and high temps that send people looking for shade (although the heat usually tops out in the low 90s). But if fun in the sun is what you’re after, you’ll benefit from lower-priced accommodations. There are special kids’ programs at Sarasota Jungle Gardens, an old swampy banana grove–turned–botanical garden. Inside its 10 acres, reptiles, birds of prey, flamingos, and other animals (many of which are rescues) live among exotic flora. For classical music lovers, this season hosts a can’t-miss event: the Sarasota Music Festival. Top talents from around the world converge for three weeks in June to mentor the most promising up-and-coming student musicians, resulting in artist showcases and concerts that give the public rare listening opportunities.
Fall is a quieter time, when the kids go back to school and the snowbirds are still away. Check out the Sarasota Chalk Festival in November, an event that turns the street into a canvas you have to see to believe. For more handmade inspiration, hit the Towles Court Arts District, a collection of bungalows containing galleries and studios where you can usually find someone hard at work on a portrait, print, painting, or pair of earrings.
*Savings based on all holiday package bookings with Flight + Hotel on Orbitz.com from January through December 2017, as compared to the price of the same components booked separately. Savings will vary based on origin/destination, length of trip, stay dates and selected travel supplier(s). Savings not available on all packages. For Free Flight or 100% Off Flight deals, package savings is greater than or equal to the current cost of one component, when both are priced separately.
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