Both Sarasota & Bradenton offer some of the world's most beautiful beaches - soft white sand, a beautiful climate and crystal clear waters really do make this area one of the best in the State for beach lovers.
Sarasota is a popular city on the Gulf Coast of Southwest Florida and the county seat of Sarasota County. It is known for its vibrant arts community, excellent restaurants, unique shopping, and beautiful beaches. Sarasota, although a mid-sized city, is considered to be the cultural center of West Central Florida. The city has a metropolitan flavor unique to cities of its size and to cities in Florida.
Sarasota's downtown comprises a true urban cityscape with offices and several upscale downtown condominiums. It is complemented by Saint Armands Circle, on Saint Armands Key, which is surrounded by Lido Key, across Sarasota Bay from downtown via the Ringling Causeway (with sweeping views of Sarasota Bay.) Saint Armands Circle is an upscale outdoor shopping area, with several cafes, reminiscent of Europe. The idea for Saint Armands was from John Ringling who also intended to build a Ritz hotel on Longboat Key. Today, Sarasota has a Ritz hotel downtown as well as the Longboat Key Club on Ringling's original site. The Longboat Key Club includes two golf courses, tennis, and all other resort facilities and is located just north of Saint Armands on Longboat Key.
The beaches are a major draw to the area. Siesta Key Beach is consistently ranked among the most beautiful beaches on Earth. (Siesta Key was also the site chosen for the marriage of Chrissy and Brian, of Home Today fame.) Crescent Beach, Turtle Beach, Lido Beach, and the beach running the 15 mile span of Longboat Key are equally beautiful and accessible. Indeed, much of Sarasota's charm comes from the fact that the beaches are so plentiful and accessible.
Sarasota beaches are the Winner of the "Worlds finest, whitest sand,"
Bradenton is known as Florida's Gulf Island. It's on the West Coast of Florida about 45 minutes south of Tampa.
Bradenton has 3 main areas associated with it - Bradenton Beach, Anna Maria Island, and Longboat Key. Bradenton is known as one of Florida's last undiscovered beach areas. There are no fast food restaurants or big hotel chains, just an abundance of cozy cottages and "Mom and Pop" shops. People know your name when you walk in and take a lot of time to make it a really personal visit.