Sarasota County, Florida is comprised of the mainland and a string of eight islands right on the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico. It is home to some of the most beautiful beaches, world class culture and arts, amazing food, and eco-activities that the entire family will enjoy. These traveling moms don’t miss an opportunity to spend time at one of the luxury resorts, so they are happy to share their guide to the best Sarasota County has to offer with all of their luxury loving friends.
Sarasota County, Florida Guide For The Luxury Loving Family
Sarasota County, Florida happens to be not only a great vacation spot for the family, but also one that keeps us happy with its luxury lifestyle. It is home to many of the most exclusive communities and clubs in the U.S. For those who love to shop, you will find some of the best in Lido Key, St. Armands, and the elite resorts on LongBoat Key. But even if you prefer the more active lifestyle, you will never be bored with all the area has to offer.
Where To Stay
There are so many options of where to stay in Sarasota County for the luxury loving family, but we have found The Ritz Carlton and The Resort at LongBoat Key Club to be two of our favorites.
The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota
The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota is located near the city center on 11 beautiful acres. Their exclusive beach club is located just a three mile shuttle ride from the hotel and well worth it! Once you arrive, you have access to a private, white sand beach with tons of activity options, such as Ritz Kids’ programs, a beautiful gulf-front pool, and of course the legendary Ritz service.
- Ritz Kids – We always love a great kids’ club that is filled with activities for all to enjoy. This one also has a nanny service available.
- Restaurants – There are four restaurants that offer local flavors and of course, craft cocktails. Dining at Jack Dusty is a must. It is one of Sarasota’s finest seafood restaurants with a view of the ocean and sunsets to die for.
- Rooms – There is a room type for everyone. From the limited view rooms to the suites, each is appointed in the finest Ritz way.
- The Club Level is a favorite of ours. The Lounge is like an extension of our room and provides a place to gather with others you are traveling with. Our favorite part of the Club is a dedicated Club Concierge to help meet all of our needs and wants.
- Rates run $450 for a limited view room to $3000 a night for the top suites during high season.
The Resort at Longboat Key Club
The Resort at Longboat Key Club is right on the beach on Longboat Key. Their one rule is to make sure they cater to you from arrival to departure; our kind of rule! The beach service and amenities are beyond wonderful. While you will receive lounge chairs with your stay, we highly suggest also renting a queen luxury bed. It is perfect for the entire family. The resort at Longboat Key Club has all you need from stand-up paddle boards and kayaks to golf and tennis to a fabulous spa.
- Camp Loggerhead – Camp Loggerhead is the resort’s kids’ camp. It offers programs from 9 AM to 3PM and there’s even a Friday night club so you can enjoy a date night. An additional babysitting service is available.
- Restaurants – The Resort at Longboat Key Club is known for its fresh local ingredients served in their eight restaurants. They offer everything from fine dining at Sand’s Point overlooking the gulf to the Farm to Table Tavern & Whisky Bar.
- Rooms – There is a room type for everyone. For a quick stay, the junior suite offers all you need, but standard rooms are also available. When traveling with the family and staying more then two or three nights, we highly suggest a suite. The two bedroom suite is one of the largest we have found with over 1200 and 1700 square feet and a full kitchen. The two bedroom deluxe suites also include a dining room table to seat six.
- Rates – You can often book a standard room for around $390 and a two bedroom suite for around $1000 a night. We also suggest checking out the great packages offered.
Where To Spa in Sarasota County, Florida
We all know that spas are a huge must when looking for a bit of luxury when we travel. Whether it is a spa getaway or a vacation with a little spa time thrown in, finding the right spa with the right treatments is a huge plus. Sarasota County is full of fabulous spas that offer a wide variety of services.
Two must go to spas are at the hotels listed above. Both have treatments that are seasonal and exclusive to each. In addition, other local favorites include the Warm Mineral Springs, which is the nation’s only warm mineral springs with a constant temperature of 87 degrees. With its high mineral content, many consider it the “fountain of youth”. If you prefer a spa with a bit of wellness, head to the Mandala Med-Spa & Yoga Shala. This holistic spa specializes in Indonesian treatments.
Where To Eat
Sarasota County is home to some amazing award wining chefs. It has one of the highest concentrations of Zagat-rated restaurants around. There are many old classics and new restaurants worth trying and you will most likely come back to try the rest. A few of our favorites are:
- Siesta Key Oyster Bar is for you if you’re looking for some laid back vibes with amazing food and cocktails. You must stop at Siesta Key Oyster Bar for brunch and then go back for dinner another night. It may look like a typical bar, but the food is fine dining! From the oysters with Bloody Mary Granita to the Big Boil to their amazing variety of desserts, you will go back.
- Roessler’s is a Sarasota County staple that is in its second generation of chefs in the family. The chef sources the finest of ingredients for the classic menu that includes Veal Oscar and Steak Diane. The service is outstanding and traditional steak house service – top class. Roessler’s has been featured in Gourmet and has received the Wine Spectator’s award of excellence.
- Cafe L’Europe is located in one of the best shopping areas around and is a must for all, especially seafood lovers. It is rated the area’s most elegant restaurant and we understand why. New owners took over in August of 2016, but are continuing with the traditions with some of their own touches. We look forward to getting back and checking it out.
What To Do
There is an endless list of activities to do in Sarasota County. Here is our short list of what not to miss.
- The Ringling Estate – Visiting the Ringling Estate will take a day in itself. We suggest taking it all in and plan on having lunch at Muse at the Ringling (make a reservation). For the full experience, we suggest calling the tour number and arranging a day that is right for your family. The admission ticket will give you entry to the Museum of Art and Circus Museum as well as the grounds, where you can spend hours and hours. Call ahead to book your Ca’ d’Zan Combo Tour, which has limited tickets each day, but will take you to areas only a few see in the private residence.
- Kayaking – Either rent some kayaks or hire a local guide to take you on a tour of the mangroves and waterways. We have seen so much, including manatees and dolphins.
- Circus Life – Sarasota is home to the Ringling Circus, so circus fun is a must. We suggest a day at the Circus Arts Conservatory to learn some new skills.
- Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a wonderful spot for the entire family, but don’t miss the children’s rainforest!
- Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium – Mote is a working marine hospital caring for, rescuing, and releasing marine wildlife. Plan on a half day exploring the laboratory and visiting the aquarium, enjoying the touch tanks and more.
- Fishing – We suggest working with your concierge to plan a half or full day on the water with a private charter captain. The family can fish or just enjoy a fun day on the boat.
- Polo Games – For those wanting to turn it up a notch, we suggest enjoying a polo game. Take it all in from the sidelines and clubhouse at the Sarasota Polo Club.
- Cultural Experiences – Make sure to check out the local events calendars before your visit. Sarasota County is considered Florida’s Cultural Coast and well-deserved, with the countless performance spaces, including the ballet, concert halls, and FIVE professional theatre companies.
Where To Shop
We would be remiss if we left shopping off this list, because Sarasota County is known for its shopping. You can shop just about anywhere for amazing items and visiting one of the many arts’ festivals is how we have bought much art. There are two specific areas that should not be missed for those of us who like to do a little shopping on vacation. As you all know, we are not those “pack-in carry-on” type of travelers, as we are very good at shipping anything home from art, to wine, and everything else.
SheBuysTravel Tip: One of our favorite things to do when taking a beach vacation is to hire a photographer for family photos. This is a special gift and souvenir that we cherish. We use Flytographer to book a local photographer located in the area that we're traveling to. Use this link and you will get $25 off your photo session.
- St. Armands Circle – Lido Key/St. Armands is a favorite for both domestic and international visitors, with its European feel and beautiful architecture. It is pleasant on the eye and easy for non-shoppers to find a cafe to sit, people watch, and enjoy a treat while you shop.
- Downtown Sarasota – We have to admit that we have only been window shopping in Downtown Sarasota and are very sad about this. The shops are growing in number and include many of our favorites, as well as local gems. You can find anything from jewelry and art to the finest of clothing and accessories. Our issue is we have only been there early during the Farmers’ Market, which is a must visit or late for a fabulous dinner at one of the many restaurants.
Start planning now and get yourself and your family to Sarasota County for Spring Break!
What will you do first in Sarasota County, Florida?
Dana Zucker & Sherry Wernicke, Luxe SheBuysTravels says
So many places to love! Thanks Tara.
Loved the Siesta Key Oyster Bar during my visit to Sarasota!