The Place We call Home
Take a look inside our life between our crazy adventures and fall in love with
Sarasota – Bradenton, Florida
Welcome to our brand new series called Florida Life! Don’t worry, we still LOVE chasing fairy tales and getting into crazy, cool adventures, but we wanted to start sharing something with you that’s near and dear to our hearts…FLORIDA! Why, because we live here! And we love it.
So, we wanted to share a little slice of what our life is like when we’re not sleeping in haunted hotels, exploring castles or chasing awesome literary trails. It’s pretty easy going actually. It involves the great outdoors, plenty of sunshine, and fun quirky adventures. So without further rambling check out this handy list of the best places in Sarasota, Florida (and its greater area).
#1 Skate, Jog, Relax, Play Bradenton Riverwalk Skatepark FREE
The Bradenton Riverwalk Skatepark is AWESOME! It’s literally 10 minutes from our home, and a favorite go to place for us to blow off some afternoon steam after a long day of writing. It’s absolutely gorgeous too, built right on the Manatee river. I love how so many kids get together there (and adults too), and just kick it with their boards. It’s such a fun and peaceful place to hang out and kids love going there.
The skatepark is part of the Bradenton Riverwalk development which is also killer. There’s 1.5 miles spanning into downtown which stretch along the Manatee River and offer:
- Outdoor living room
- Kayak and canoe launch
- Beach volleyball
- A workout lawn
- Tidal discovery zone
- Fishing pier
- Event area
- A family fun zone with a splash zone and playground
- And more…
We spend a lot of time here without little dog and with the Little of course, just enjoying the family and not spending money! Plus, it makes an AWESOME place for a sunset!
#2 Have a Picnic at Jigg’s Landing, Bradenton FREE
If you blinked your eyes you’d probably miss this place. Known mostly by just locals, Jiggs Landing is a fishing camp complete with crazy-adorable, pottery barn-like fishing cottages, and a fishing pier. It’s quiet, peaceful and just a great place to have a picnic or your favorite take out food. There’s a sheltered pavilion and a playground all of which sits on the Braden River Ever’s Reservoir. We’ve never stayed the night there, but I’m sure it would be pretty cool.
#3 Enjoy Florida Style at Regatta Point Marina FREE
This is probably one of the places we spend the most time at. We make our rounds from the skatepark at the Riverwalk and then almost always end up here. It’s such a pretty place with all its yachts and luxurious sailboats. In the afternoons it’s just dreamy. The marina sits on the Manatee River and is home to one large and one small restaurant, a convenience store and a few retail shops. We’ve made it a weekly habit when we’re in town to bring the dog (Noreen) and walk around.
#4 Happy Hour and Appetizers at River House Reef and Grill $
Not in the freebie zone by any means but oh my goodness, is it yummy. Since we’ve become such regulars at this place, we’ve managed to get the spending down to a science. Happy hour and appetizers are usually our M.O. and we always get a free sunset. They are pet friendly too (which is perfect because we love sitting on their giant riverside patio). Such a great restaurant, such a great view, and the food rocks!
#5 Fishing at the Anna Maria Island Rod and Reel $
Anyone looking to visit the Sarasota Bradenton area is most certainly aware of Anna Maria Island, but for locals it is a vacation at our doorstep. Now visiting the island is free, parking can be tricky but that’s pretty standard for beach zones. The beach, playground and Anna Maria Pier are also free and totally awesome and always on our checklist when we hit the island. But, one of our favorite things to do is rent a $2 fishing pole and buy some bait at the Rod and Reel restaurant and fishing pier. Here you can relax, go fishing, get some grub and have a few brews in the beautiful Florida sun with one of the best views in Florida.
#1 Splash Around at Marina Jack’s Water Park FREE
Right in the heart of downtown Sarasota lives Marina Jack’s, home to massive yachts, sails and fine dining. Any local will tell you it’s the place to go for an absolutely gorgeous view, picturesque spots and children’s splash park. Here you can enjoy the view of Sarasota Bay from the stadium seating around the splash zone, or from the shade of a Banyan Tree. It’s a great place to muck around and take in the afternoons.
#2 Watch a Stunning Sunset at Bird Key Park FREE
This place is impossible to miss if you’re heading back from the beach in Sarasota. Undoubtedly, it will be the place everyone is pulling over to, to watch an incredible sunset. Here you can jog, walk, take the dog, and tinker around to the setting of an amazing show of a Florida sunset.
#3 Hike Along Mangroves and on Trails at Quick Point Nature Preserve FREE
This is one of our all time favorite things to do. After a killer bacon, egg and cheese sandwich from New Pass Grill, we head over the little Long Boat Bridge and pull over to a spot I almost GUARANTEE is only known to locals. It’s called Quick Point and it rocks. This little nature preserve runs along the southeast end of Long Boat Key with winding trails through mangroves and along the coast. Here you will find lagoons and loads of wildlife. A perfect place for any curious age.
#4 The Ringling House Garden FREE
Most people outside of Sarasota probably don’t know the Ringling family lived here. That’s right, the famous circus King, John Ringling and his wife had a mansion right on the Sarasota Bay. Named in his honor the Ca’ d’Zan, it’s now a working museum, but the grounds are (say it with me) FREE! The grounds are lovely with banyan trees, a rose garden and a nice view of the bay. You can walk up to and around the mansion and checkout the statues on the grounds as well.
Exploring the inside will cost you but it’s totally worth it.
Thinking of heading to Sarasota for your next trip? There are various companies offering tailor-made packages so you really can make your Florida holiday your own,¬†eShores offers some great Multi Centre USA itineraries on their site including Sarasota!
Keep following our Florida Life posts!
We’ll be sharing our favorite little pieces of our home state of Florida between our travels. There’s never a dull moment when you live between the swamp and the sea!