bay park
The Bay Park

Five Scenic Picnic Spots to Connect

Picnic like you mean it—there's no shortage of picture-perfect outings to enjoy quality takeaway foods in Sarasota

January 17, 2023

Prefer to get outdoors and share a meal on a picnic blanket than to dine out at a restaurant? We've got you covered. These are five scenic spots of solitude and serenity—not to mention not-too-shabby views—for you to pack a basket of tasty snacks and sandwiches, along with a cooler of your favorite beverages.

Whether you live in Sarasota or just visiting, take advantage of the supreme year-round weather and picturesque landscapes to get outside and enjoy some tapas in the sun. Compared to big, metropolitan cities, our striking, seaside town makes it easy to disconnect from social media and the world. Go solo, grab your S.O. or a crew of friends and take in the sights, scenery and sounds of Sarasota—alfresco-style.

1. Celery Fields
CeleryFieldsSunset
East Sarasota

An ideal location for bird watching and passive recreational use for hikers, joggers, dog walkers and people just looking for some peace and quiet outdoors. Celery Fields is on the Great Florida Birding Trail and remains an idyllic landscape with more than 300 acres of greenery. Its lush, winding trails wrap around the elevated hilltop, which boasts one of the best spots to catch a Gulf Coast sunset. Closeby, grab a six-pack of locally brewed beers at Big Top Brewing Company, where a rotating lineup of food trucks provides bites to eat. Or, if you're more of a morning person, order some bagels at Brooklyn Bagel & Deli before heading to Celery Fields, bagels and cream cheese in tow, for your hilltop picnic. 

2. The Bay Park
the bay park
Sarasota Bayfront

The newly-constructed community park and conservancy recently transformed 53 acres of city-owned land into a gorgeous public park and greenscape by the Sarasota bayfront. From access to water, nature, wildlife and stunning sunsets every day, The Bay Park is accessible, free and welcoming to the full diversity of locals and visitors. Down by the "Living Shoreline," enjoy a man-made beach with wooden benches and yellow Adirondack chairs for your waterside picnic! Or, head to "The Lawns," a 1.5-acre section of land located between the Mangrove Bayou and Boulevard of the Arts, a perfect spot to throw a blanket down and enjoy personal Margherita pizzas from Bavaro's Pizza Napoletana, just a short drive from downtown. 

3. The Ringling Museum
Sarasota

The Ringling Museum's Ca' d'Zan and Bayfront Gardens are free to the public to walk around and enjoy. The famous Venetian-Gothic style palatial mansion that dazzles on the water is a breathtaking spot to snap some pics and soak in the sun. Pick a spot under the trees on one of the benches that line the water to break out some snacks and refreshments while taking in all the arts and culture of Ringling. A fun food idea for your cultural picnic could be coastal lobster rolls to-go from the newly-opened LobsterCraft, just a short distance drive from St. Armands Circle to the Museum. 

4. Myakka River State Park
East Sarasota

With its dozens of miles of hiking trails, palm trees and slash pines, wetlands and canopies, it seems like you're a world away when you drive into the entrance of Myakka River State Park. Feel immersed in jungle-like flora and fauna as you make your way through the back roads and trails of the state park, eventually hitting a scenic lake where the Myakka Outpost resides. In addition to providing rentals for visitors, find a concession, boutique and the Pink Gator Café for you to purchase some refreshments and snacks before making your way to the picnic area by the water. Take in all the sights and sounds of the Florida wildlife over grilled hamburgers, hotdogs and craft beers. Cheers to nature at its finest!

5. On a Catamaran
kathleensailingcatamarans
Gulf of Mexico

Perhaps the most favorable picnic spot for water lovers, why not take a day trip out on a catamaran tour with Kathleen D Sailing Catamarans?  With new, modern vessels that are not only clean and safe, but exceptionally comfortable and roomy, you and your company can set out on the turquoise waters of the Gulf for an unforgettable "picnic" as gentle waves lap up against the boat. Look out for dolphins and manatees as you nosh on an artisan cheese and charcuterie board from Morton's Gourmet Market. Perhaps some fresh-baked pastries and desserts from their bakery as well. Thirsty? Grab a craft beer crowler or bottle of wine from 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop and it's all smooth sailing from there!