Sarasota has so many wonderful things to enjoy – award winning beaches, cultural events and Zagat rated dining but… let’s not forget… the beautiful traversable tranquil bay waters.

We highly recommend you rent a watercraft from the downtown area and make friends with our dolphins, be amazed by our magnificent manatees, nesting shore birds and mega mansions.

See Ringling’s Mansion by Water

Cruise by John and Mable Ringling’s mansion, the Ca d’Zan, on Sarasota Bay. The afternoon sun has a way of glancing off its Venetian-style architecture in a magical way. If you look toward the museum, you can also see the bronze copy of Michelangelo’s David. It is absolutely stunning!

Explore the Islands…

Travel across the bay to one of “the most upscale” resort retreats in the U.S.; Longboat Key. Head to the most northern point and go under a bridge linking Longboat to Anna Maria Island. There, a spit of sand called Beer Can Island on the gulf side. It is here that boaters drop anchor, swim, picnic and scour the shore for sand dollars, horseshoe crabs, starfish and sea urchins.

If you prefer dining in comfort there are plenty of locations offering docking facilities. Just around the corner and back on the bay side is Mar Vista. After a relaxing bite to eat, take some time to stroll the residential side streets and view wild peacocks strutting their stuff. Another popular eatery is the Dry Dock Waterfront Grill which is due south.

Continue in a southern direction under the Ringling Bridge to Bird and Siesta Keys and take a tour of the beautiful waterfront homes including… the celebrity dwellings of Jerry Springer and Brian Johnson (AC/DC). Over the years – Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Tom Selleck, Michael Jordan and the late Lucille Ball — have drifted in and out.

For even more…viewing…

Head to Casey Key where Stephen King enjoys a palatial retreat with his own private beach.

For wild life viewing…

The waters around South Lido Park are very calm with excellent visibility as kayakers glide through tranquil red and black mangrove tunnels. The bays’ sea grasses attract manatees, dolphins and cormorants dive below your boat for a seafood feast and where mangrove islands house a plethora of squawking cackling nesting birds.

The hidden lagoons, beaches and hiking trails of the Jim Neville Marine Preserve are located offshore from Siesta Key.

These islands in Little Sarasota Bay are accessible only by water. This 35-acre preserve provides opportunities for great bird watching while exploring a maze of waterways. The rookeries, (baby nurseries), are home to roseate spoonbill, great blue heron, great egret, brown pelican, osprey and many other birds. The beds of sea grass are home to marine animals…that include the manatee. The islands make for a wet hike during high tides, but the variety of coastal birds, plants and wildlife make a visit here well worth it!

Go to Bay and Gulf Adventures guided tours and kayak rentals.

For the not so nautical adventurer…

Our Sarasota waterways are even more spectacular at sunset. Just leave the driving to us! Key Sailing or Le Barge are excellent options and… you’ll only need your camera!

Boat Rentals & Jet Skis

Chitwood Charters – Hyatt Regency Downtown, Sarasota
Enticer Watersports – Bayfront Drive, Sarasota
Economy Tackle – Sarasota
Siesta Key Watersports – Siesta Key
CB’s Boat Rental – Siesta Key
Cannons Marina – Longboat Key

Planning to sail or motor to Saraosta… in your own boat?

Boaters can moor at Marina Jacks, right in the heart of downtown. It offers a full-service fuel dock, berths to 200 feet, good food and complete amenities.

For a bit more exclusivity, try the Sarasota Yacht Club, which can accommodate transient yachts up to 120 feet.