Our Weekend in Sarasota

 Disney may be our favorite place in Florida, but we do travel to other parts of the state as well.  We recently spent a long weekend in Sarasota and we definitely packed a lot in.

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Here are the highlights of our four day trip.

Day 1

Our home for the weekend was the Hyatt Regency, Sarasota, along the bay. For not knowing a lot about this area, we booked a great resort in an excellent location. 

Places to stay in Sarasota near the beach and Bay

It was very walkable to places we wanted to be and our resort fee included bike rentals, which we took advantage of so we could easily get to the down town area.

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We could see the bay from our balcony, and each evening we would walk down along the water. It was so peaceful.

Our first evening we just walked around the area and then had dinner at the resort. I wrote a complete review of our resort, the Hyatt Regency, Sarasota. You can read that HERE.

Day 2 

Sarasota is home to the Ringling family ( the Ringling brother's circus) and a lot of the entertainment here revolves around that.  Friday morning we went to the Ringling museums ( there were three museums) and the mansion. 

Ca'D' Zan, House of John
This mansion was built as their winter quarters. It sits right along the Sarasota Bay. 

Here is the view of Sarasota Bay from the back of the property.


The mansion is named Ca'd'Zan, which means "House of John".  

                                   We got to tour many of the rooms inside of the mansion. 

 After touring the mansion, we went into to some of the other museums that told the story of the circus. 

One of the most unique and enjoyable experiences was walking through the building that housed a miniature version of a circus. 

It showed the entire process of what happens when the circus comes to town. 

It started with how they get the train cars to the town, to the set up, and performance.

I was amazed to learn how many people it took back then to put on a circus.  They literally lived at this site ( they made like a camp site with living quarters, a dining tent, a practice tent, a getting ready tent, etc).

Later that day, we went to the beach. The closest beach to where we were staying is Lido Beach. It was less than 5 miles, but we could not easily walk there because we have to cross a very long bridge, so we Ubered.

Lido Beach was gorgeous. Before we got there, I had heard a newscast  saying the Ocean water this week was the warmest it's been in like 100 years (well that might be an exaggeration, but maybe not. I know it was a record high for ocean water temperature).   

While on the beach we learned about a free trolley called the Bay Liner trolley. This trolley picks up at the beach and takes guests to drop off spots all over the island. We rode it just to take a tour of the island and Armand Circle ( which is the shopping and dinning district). Armand circle is a big touristy spot in Sarasota but we did not get off the trolley there because we didn't want to shop.  We were surprised when the trolley crossed the bridge over to the main land. It even made stops in the down town district.

We were craving ice cream, so we got off the trolley near an ice cream shop and got a few scoops. Afterwards, we actually walked the few blocks back to the Hyatt Regency.

While we were out that day, we heard some fabulous things about the rooftop patio at the Westin hotel.  After getting back to our own hotel and cleaning up, we decided to go there for dinner. 

 We could easily walk to the Westin as it was only a few blocks away.

Have you ever seen a more gorgeous view at night? I can't remember what we had to eat but I will always remember this view!

Day 3

This morning we rented bikes from our resort. I say rented, but they were included in our resort fee. We decided to ride our bikes down town to get some breakfast. 

We ended up at First Watch.

I got the Strawberries and cream French toast.

 I got the Strawberries and cream French toast.

There was a farmer's market going on today, so we rode through that a bit.

 In the afternoon we  had a trolley tour booked, called  Circus Secrets of Sarasota so we started riding towards where we needed to meet for that.  Side Note: We had some time to kill before our tour, so we ended up going to the Sarasota   After riding our bikes in that smoldering heat and humidity, it was nice to sit in air conditioning and browse through a magazine. 

The tour company we used for our trolley tour was called Discover Sarasota Tours.  They have plenty of themed tours throughout the year. This one, Circus Secrets of Sarasota took us to famous landmarks of the circus industry while telling us historic facts. It was quite interesting. We even met an older couple on board whose grandfather was the architect for some of the historic building on our tour ( and other historic buildings around the United States).  Turns out this fascinating couple was staying out our same resort, and we would see them again later that night for another tour.

Later that night, we did our second tour with Discover Sarasota Tours. This one was a Murder Mystery trolley called "Who killed the circus queen".  This was a lot of fun. There was probably only a dozen or so people on this tour ( you had to sign up in advance), and each person had a part to play. 

When we checked in, we were given a  name tag and a bag with our character's name on it. Inside the bags were our props, scripts, and a drink ticket. 

We had time to enjoy a beverage before "dressing up" and getting on the trolley.

Our mom had the role of a dancing poodle, I was the bearded lady, and Lacey was a show girl/ tight rope walker. The narrator / ringmaster  told the story as we rode the trolley. We had to keep our eye on our script so we knew when to interject. 

Throughout the evening, the trolley would stop at different landmarks and new characters would get on and give a little song and dance. At one point we had what appeared to be a homeless man try to get on our trolley. The driver had to tell him several times that this wasn't the type of trolley that he could get on and that it was an event trolley.  I don't think he understood, so the trolley driver drove up a little further to another location so the characters could finish their scene. 

At the end of the evening we each had to fill out our ballot as to who we thought the murderer was, what weapon they used, and their motive. I was totally wrong, but my mom and sister were both close.

Day 4

 After having breakfast at the resort, we made our way to the marina to rent some paddle boards. 

Hyatt Regency, Ritz Carlton, Sarasot

Neither my mom nor I had paddle boarded before, so I was very excited about this! The marina attendant let us know to balance ourselves on the piece of tape that was on the middle of the board and we would be fine. It was challenging but in a good way.  

Hyatt Regency, Ritz Carlton, Sarasota Bay

The attendant also told us that morning the water had been a little choppier than normal.  I was a little nervous that I was going to accidentally run into one of the big boats that were docked here at the marina, but I didn't. My mom came back to the dock a little early, but my my sister and I paddled our way all the way over to the opening to the bay. It was a good distance to paddle and I didn't even fall off! 

Later that afternoon we took advantage of the beautiful swimming pool and whirlpool at the resort. It was a great day to lounge at the pool. We ordered lunch from the pool bar and rested up before leaving for the airport to take our evening flight back home. 

We packed so much into this trip. Here were the biggest highlights:

1. Staying at Hyatt Regency was key. This allowed us to walk along the bay each day. We were able to rent bikes, which allowed us to do our own exploring. We also rented the Paddle Boards here which was one of my favorite experiences.

2. Touring the Ringling property was both educational and entertaining. I didn't even know something like this existed.

3. The Discover Sarasota trolley tours were a lot of fun. We especially enjoyed the Murder Mystery. They have many other tours throughout the year.

4. Lido Beach. I mean who wouldn't want to go to the beach. The water was extremely warm which made our time there even more relaxing.

5. Finding the free Bay Runner trolley was a lot of fun. This not only transported us back to the Main land, but we got a tour of the are as well.

6. The roof top bar and grill at the Westin was a great find!  This was a great way to view the city!

Till Next time M & L

You may also like:

Why the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota is a great choice!

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Fairytales and Fitness is a personal blog authored and edited by us, Meranda and Lacey. The thoughts expressed here represent only our own and are not meant to be taken as professional advice. Please note that our thoughts and opinions change from time to time. We consider this a necessary consequence of having an open mind in an ever changing society. Any thoughts and opinions expressed within our out-of-date posts may not be the same, nor even similar, to those we may express today. Some links may contain affiliate links. Some links are just to pages we'd like to share.