This featured blog is written by one of our Account Executives, Kyle Wood, who loves the city he lives in. In this blog you will get an inside look at what it's like to live in such a gorgeous city and where to have your out of town guests visit while in this city for your wedding or special event.
Enjoying Sarasota: Part 1
"Yesterday, I had a bride and groom come in with their coordinator, and we spent the better part of the day going over their wedding plans, rehearsal dinner and reception. They are expecting 400 guests and are spreading the festivities out between two of Sarasota’s premier venues – the lawn behind the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art's art museum courtyard. Over 80% of their guests are coming from Orlando, Miami, and New York, and this had me thinking of what they are going to do while they are visiting the world renowned city of Sarasota. I was born and raised in Clearwater, Florida, and lived in the same house my entire life. Other than a brief couple of years in the Air Force, I was always in Clearwater and had thought itwas second to none. Heck, I went as far as making it known to everyone that my ultimate goal in life was to be the Mayor of Clearwater." That was until 2011 when Kyle took a position at US Tent Rental and moved to Sarasota. After only 4 years of joining the company, Kyle says, “I have abandoned that goal of becoming mayor because I never want to leave this beautiful city. With all the beaches, restaurants, museums, aquariums, festivals, fundraiser events, the farmers market, St. Armand's Circle, spring training baseball plus minor league baseball, numerous city parks, dog parks, a charming downtown, a top notch school system, state parks with wildlife and scenery, I am exactly where I want to be.”
In the below journey around Sarasota, Kyle begins with the thing that attracts most people to Sarasota, the beaches. Up first is Siesta Key Beach, which consistently ranks top 10 on lists such as those produced by the New York Times and the Travel Channel because of its 40 acres of sugary white, 99% pure, quartz crystal sand. Most recently Siesta Beach
was named the winner in 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards for Beaches. “It is the third year TripAdvisor has highlighted the world's top beaches based on the millions of reviews and opinions collected in a single year from travelers around the globe. It is an honor to be chosen by our fans for this award," says Virginia J. Haley, CDME, President of Visit Sarasota County. "We are fortunate to have such a beautiful beach in Sarasota County. This honor is a reflection of the outstanding service provided by Sarasota County Parks & Recreation and volunteers who give their time and talents daily to ensure the beach is pristine and welcoming to all. We are proud to share the beach with the world." Siesta Key isn’t the only beach visitors should check out.
Next up, is Venice Municipal Beach and Caspersen Beach, a popular beach with the locals and tourists alike, especially for families with kids. At these two particular beaches, you have a great shot of finding shark teeth washed ashore as Caspersen Beach is known as the Shark Tooth Capital of the World.
Another beach to visit is Lido Beach, which is just past the upscale shopping area of St. Armand’s Circle. Lido Beach is a very wide beach which makes it extremely fun. Often you will see people tossing a frisbee, participating in a yoga class or families setting up beach tents and ready to spend an entire day under the sun. All in all, it’s a great mixture of people coming together. Plus, at the very southwestern tip of Lido Beach is the South Lido Park Beach, which is a 100 acre park. It is the perfect spot for picnics because it has grills, restrooms, parking, volleyball nets, nature and canoe trails.
Kyle says, “One of my favorite beaches is Longboat Key Beach. It’s the spot I go to when I need a tranquil afternoon overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.” Longboat Key is 10 miles of gorgeous white sand, but there is limited parking because of all the homes and condos. However, look for the small signs along Gulf Of Mexico Drive that say Beach Access. You will find small parking lots next to extremely beautiful beaches. Besides the few beaches Kyle has already mentioned, he also urges you to check out Turtle Beach, which is a popular kayak and camping location. Amongst others, you can also visit Coquina Beach
Park, Nokomis Beach (which is the area’s oldest public beach), Anna Maria Island, Whitney Beach, Manatee Public Beach, and Bradenton Beach. As you can see, we have an abundance of prime beach destinations for your guests coming to town that want to see what the buzz is all about. Now get out there and curl your toes on our award winning sand! And soak up some rays!!
Keep a lookout for more great ideas for keeping your guests busy with all Sarasota has to offer in Kyle’s continuing blog piece entitled “Enjoying Sarasota: Part 2.”