Because Sarasota is so centrally located, and the Tropical Beach Resort is only 15 minutes from Interstate 75, access to many interesting sites is very easy. We recommend limiting your driving time to about two hours so that you will have plenty of time to enjoy your adventures.
Everyone is familiar with the many and varied theme parks in Orlando—from the internationally known Disney World, to the excitement of making movies at MGM or Universal Studios, to gawking in wonder at the amazingly talented whales at Sea World. And, closer to home, Busch Gardens in Tampa combines thrilling amusement rides with world-class roller coasters, a wildlife safari park and beautiful gardens to enjoy all at one venue and for one price.
However, there is another more natural and more timeless side of Florida to be explored, and many destinations can be visited in one day. Myakka River State Park is a short ride directly east of the hotel. Once you are there, exploring the forest for wildlife, climbing the canopy to observe the many birds who make their nests there, or enjoying a marvelous airboat ride while the well-versed guide describes the environment and points out all the alligators that live in the Myakka River, it’s very easy to forget that you are in the 21st century.
Further north in Tampa is the excellent Lowry Park Zoo—family friendly and compact enough to visit all the sites in one day. Seeing an exotic Komodo dragon or a peaceful Florida manatee, or a magnificent Persian leopard for the first time will leave you with unforgettable memories of these unique animals.
Another daytrip about two hours north is one that offers swimming with manatees in Crystal River and/or visiting the fabulous Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. In summer, the manatees congregate in Crystal River and you can rent wetsuits and equipment to swim and be up close and personal with our gentle Florida sea cows in a very safe environment. This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The Wildlife Park is famous and unique because all of its species are native to Florida, except Lulu the resident rhino (but that’s another story). Walk along the paths and observe flamingos, manatees eating endless Romaine lettuce, American eagles, barn owls and a stunning array of colorful birds.
Driving south from Sarasota will also offer you ample choices of daytrips. Boca Grande provides a change from the busy beaches of Siesta Key. Pay your toll, and drive over the bridge onto a quiet, laid-back island that offers beautiful, uncrowded beaches, safe biking paths, tarpon fishing and an unhurried lifestyle.
We hope that your Florida adventures will give you lasting memories of a wonderful vacation and we look forward to seeing you next year.