A Sarasota Vacation –The Cultural Center of South Florida
If you are debating whether a Sarasota beach rental is the right choice for your
next vacation destination, Sarasota is not only famous for its elegance and
longboat key and Siesta Key beaches but is now widely considered the Cultural
Center of South Florida.
Sarasota traffic can, during the winter season get quite busy. When booking your
Sarasota vacation rental accommodation pay careful attention to the proximity of
the property to the activities that you plan to partake in. Sarasota condo rentals
should be considered if you want to be located on the beach of longboat Key or
siesta key. If you are looking to spend more time at the theatre or partaking in
the arts and dining offered downtown then a Sarasota condo rental with bayside
views could prove ideal. Sarasota is a beautiful City with pristine gardens, parks
and theatres all within walking distance from downtown residences.
Egmont Key State Park (Bradenton/St. Petersburg)
The island of Egmont Key has unique natural and cultural histories which have
made it a valuable resource since the time settlers first arrived in Florida. Named
in honor of John Perceval, the second Earl of Egmont and member of the Irish
House of Commons in 1763, Egmont Key has had Spanish conquistadors and
nuclear submarines pass its shores as they entered Tampa Bay. On March 3,
1847, Congress authorized funds to construct a lighthouse on Egmont. The
construction was completed in May, 1848. Once completed, it was the only
lighthouse between St. Marks and Key West. At the end of the third Seminole
War in 1858, Egmont Key was used by the U.S. Army to detain Seminole
prisoners until they could be transported to Arkansas Territory. In 1939, the
Lighthouse Service was transferred to the U.S. Coast Guard, which has
maintained the light as well as radio guidance equipment. The Key was
designated a National Wildlife Refuge in 1974, managed by the U.S. Fish and
Visitors can spend the day on the beach sunbathing, swimming in the warm bay
waters, walking through the historic ruins of Fort Dade, or walking the brick paths
that remain from the days Fort Dade was an active community with 300
residents. Wildlife to be seen includes gopher tortoise, hummingbirds as well as
During the months of January through May guided walks are conducted on the
second and last Sundays of each month from 10:30 AM until 3:30 PM.
Access to the island is by boat only. The park is located at the mouth of Tampa
Bay, southwest of Fort DeSoto Beach. To visit Egmont Key State Park, contact
one of the following ferry services for schedules and fees.
Cortez Lady (941) 761-9777 (departs from Cortez, south of Bradenton)
Capt. Bill (727) 867-8168
Capt. Daves (727) 367-4336
Capt. Franks (727) 345-4500
Capt. Kidd (727) 360-2263
Dolphin Landing (727) 360-7411
Hubbards Sea Adventures (727) 398-6577. (departs from St. Petersburg area)
Or call (727) 893-2627 for more info.
Fallen Pine Ranch Miniature Horses (Sarasota)
Location: Rainbow Ranch Acres (End of Fruitville Rd.) Sarasota (941) 322-1897
Hours: By appointment only. For 22 years, Norm and Judy Middleton have been
raising miniatures and are primarily responsible for turning Florida into the
second largest population of quot;minisquot; in the country. They will personally guide
you and your family on a tour of their pastures, filled with these very affectionate
Gamble Mansion (Bradenton/Palmetto)
3708 Patten Avenue - Ellenton. One mile West on Exit 43 off I-75, Manatee
Guided Tours: Thursday - Monday, 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and every hour from
1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Site of the oldest building in Manatee County, the quot;Old
Southquot; brought back to life by the United Daughters of the Confederacy who
bought this ruined mansion in 1925 and caringly reconstructed it with authentic
period design, today operated by the Florida Park Service. Entrance to mansion
is by guided tour only and will take 40 to 45 minutes. Call (941) 723-4536 for
Gulf Coast Railroad Museum (Parrish - Manatee County)
The Florida Gulf Coast Railroad Museum, Inc. was created to operate as well as
preserve historic examples of railroad rolling stock, artifacts, and other aspects of
railroad history and is a non-profit Florida corporation. On weekends, you can
see the sights of rural Manatee County northwest of Bradenton on a 1 1/4-hour
narrated sightseeing tour aboard a 1950s diesel-engine train, 83rd Street East,
off U.S. 301 in Parrish (941) 722-4272. The schedule and fares are seasonal, so
call before driving out. Web Site
Linger Lodge/Restaurant & RV resort (Bradenton)
7205 Linger Lodge Road, Bradenton, FL 34202. Manatee County. (941)
Surrounded by the Braden River, 10-acre, 100-unit recreational vehicle and park
model resort with an unusually decorated and popular restaurant, Florida wildlife
exhibit, and a deck overlooking a small island with wild pigs. The Linger Lodge is
old Florida at its best. I-75 to exit 41 West to State Road 70. Turn South on
Braden River road (63rd Street East) which turns into Linger Lodge Road. Follow
to the end (4.5 miles). Private beach, boat dock, fishing, canoeing, shuffleboard,
restaurant, and lounge on site.
Closed Mondays year-round. Closed Tuesdays May 1 to Nov. 1.
Oscar Scherer State Park (Sarasota)
Along with the wildlife at Oscar Scherer State Park, there are a number of
recreational activities available. Swimming is enjoyed in the small freshwater
lake. Fishing is enjoyed in South Creek with freshwater species above the dam
and saltwater species below the dam. A Florida freshwater fishing license is
required for all persons 16 years of age or older. See a park ranger for specific
license requirements. South Creek is ideal for canoeing. Canoes may be rented
at the ranger station. Join a park ranger for a guided canoe program and learn
more about the park's history and plant and animal life.
Contact: Oscar Scherer State Park - 1843 S. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, FL 34229.
Seminole Gulf Railway Dinner Train Theater (Ft. Myers)
The Dinner Train Theater will entertain you with its renowned Murder Mysteries
aboard its four 1930's - 1940's vintage rail cars. You can enjoy fine wines and
your favorite drinks while your meal is being prepared fresh on board. Your five-
course meal begins with a fruit and cheese platter followed by an exquisite soup
du jour, fresh rolls, and garden salad. Murder Mystery Trains depart from
Colonial Station in Fort Myers Wednesday through Saturday at 6:30 PM and on
Sundays at 5:30 PM. Five nights a week for an evening of intrigue, food and fun.
Or try one of the daytime excursion trains to the Caloosahatchee River. For more
information, call 941-275-8487 or 800-SEM-GULF, or see their Web Site.
Solomon's Castle (Ona)
Featured on CNN, Better Homes & Gardens, and Extreme Homes.
This structure was built entirely by the hands of the artist, Howard S. Solomon,
internationally known sculptor. The gleaming exterior is made of printing plates
discarded by the local weekly newspaper. There are more than 80 interpretations
of stained glass windows throughout the Castle.
Lunch, quot;Fit for a Kingquot; is served from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM on quot;The Boat in The
Moatquot;, a replica of a 60 foot 16th century Spanish galleon.
(863) 494-6077. Tours Daily 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. Closed Mondays AND the
MONTHS of July, August and September. Web site
S.W. Florida's Wineries and Vineyards
Local Florida Wineries offering Award Winning Wine, Tastings, Tours, and Retail
Sales. Web Site