Featured Destination:

Sarasota County

Powdered-sugar sands.

Fresh after being named the best beach in America by TripAdvisor readers in 2015, Siesta Beach completed a $21-million-dollar makeover this year that added new facilities such as a playground and concessions. Enjoy these pure quartz-crystal sands all day long, and stop by Siesta Key Village for a cool cocktail and fresh seafood.

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Secluded shores.

Longboat Key, Lido Key and St. Armands Key stretch between the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay, offering miles of beaches and azure coastal waters. Brush off the sand and head to St. Armands Circle for high-end shopping and alfresco dining. Bring the family to Mote Aquarium and Save Our Seabirds.

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Beyond the beaches.

Sarasota has been a hub for arts and theater since 1927, when John Ringling of the famous Ringling Circus established his winter home here. His 66-acre estate now houses a fine art collection and theater performances. Local galleries decorate the downtown district and feature regular showcases such as the Friday Night Art Walk.

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Shelling & shopping.

It’s not gondolas you’ll be searching for here -- instead you’ll be combing Caspersen and Venice beaches for shells and the world-famous sharks’ teeth that wash up on the shores. Shop at eclectic boutiques in palm-tree-lined downtown Venice, or head to the farmers market early on Saturdays.

Old Florida.

Feel at ease on the beaches of Manasota Key and the artsy community of Englewood. Explore nature trails scattered around Lemon Bay, or head east to North Port and take a kayak onto the canals in the area, or take a dip in the healing waters of Warm Mineral Springs.

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