North of Downtown Sarasota

<a href="">The Old Salty Dog</a>

The Old Salty Dog

We learned about this place by watching the Travel Channel. It is one of the best located restaurants on the west coast of Florida. If you plan your seating right, you can view back to downtown Sarasota, admire the environs of New Pass, and the bridge to Long Boat Key. Time it right, and you can watch the sunset. Get there by boat or car.

St Armands Circle

The place to go if all you want to do is shop, eat and drink (and beach it too, since Lido Beach is close by). St. Armand's Circle has a collection of fine shops and fine dining to rival that of Worth Avenue and Rodeo Drive - but with a casual flair that the others lack. Promenading about the circle is a great way to spend an afternoon. Start with lunch from anyone of a bunch of restaurants, and then begin your journey about the circle. Park benches are kindly placed for those accompanying others who are shopping. And if that get's dull, well there is a pub not too many steps away.

<a href="">St Armands Circle</a>

<a href="">Mote Aquarium</a>

Mote Aquarium

Mote Aquarium is another one of the activities to save for a cold or even a rainy (light rain) day. Inside are a couple of dozen aquariums with representive sea life from around the southwest Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Outside are the sharks, dolphins, manitee and stingray tanks. Also on the grounds is a rescue center for injured birds. A great place to see up close and personal birds of all kinds from the area.

Lido Beach

A beautiful beach just a couple of blocks from St. Armand's Circle, Lido Beach is a beautiful alternative to Crescent Beach. Lido Beach sand is not quite as white, not quite as powdery, and not quite as comfortable to the touch. But it offers great views to downtown Sarasota and the Bay.

<a href="">Lido Beach</a>

<a href="">Cannons Marina</a>

Cannons Marina

Renting a boat or jet ski is a great way to enjoy the Intercoastal and Sarasota Bay. But, rentals are limited in duration and, more importantly, the range you are allowed to travel. The rentals from Stickney Point and even Marina Jacks limit you basically between Venice and City Island. If you want to get north, a great rental place is Cannons Marina. Located in north Longboat Key, you are a long way toward Santa Maria Island and in view of the Sunshine Causeway. During our rental, we saw dolphins and a manatee!