Runners in the Frosty 5K in Sarasota

Celery Fields, Sarasota

Runners participate in a local race

Casey Key

Aerial view of Downtown Sarasota

An organized run on one of Sarasota County's beaches.

Legacy Trail, Sarasota

An aerial rendering of Nathan Benderson Park

Runner Friendly Community logo

Ringling Bridge at dusk, as a small boat passes beneath the arches

Venice beach

Running Locations in Sarasota County

Runners rejoice -- you can take your vacation without having to pause your training. Sarasota County is an excellent Florida Gulf Coast destination and a Runner Friendly Community, as chosen by the Road Runner Club of America. Download a running guide to learn more about the area's running hot spots!

Vacation and training for a race tend to pair together about as well as oil and water. Too often, "training" on vacation means running loops around the small park next to the hotel, or laboriously dull treadmill jogging.

Training in Sarasota County, however, can be a much different experience. This Florida Gulf Coast destination is popular for its white beaches and distinguished arts, but has also been recognized as a Runner Friendly Community by Road Runners Club of America. With several running locations near hotels and vacation rentals, long runs can double as an opportunity to explore the area.

Enjoy some of our favorite locations below and other useful information to make the most out of your stay:

Nathan Benderson Park

801 N. Cattleman Road

About:
Nathan Benderson Park is a recreational venue, the center of which is a large lake-turned-World Class Rowing facility. While the facility is often used for rowing regattas, the paved route circling the lake is often used for road races, as it's an excellent 5k route. Near the park is plenty of shopping, especially on University Parkway. Four hotels -- Fairfield Inn and Suites Lakewood Ranch, Hampton Inn and Suites University Park, Holiday Inn Lakewood Ranch and Courtyard by Marriott-University Park -- are all within 2.5 miles of the park.

The facility is just minutes away from Interstate 75. Take either the University Parkway exit and head south on Cattleman Road, or the Fruitville Road exit and head north. Pocket parks and other diversions add additional ways to vary your route if running long distances.

Distances:
3 miles: 1 loop around lake
5 miles: 1 ½ loops around lake
10 miles: 3 loops around lake

Route:

Nathan Benderson Park
Nathan Benderson Park

3.3 miles / 5.3108352 km

Siesta Key

948 Beach Road (Siesta Beach public parking)

About:

Voted one of the most beautiful beaches in America, Siesta Beach on Siesta Key offers seven miles of round-trip seaside paradise and, at low tide, provides a supportive and stable surface for runners and walkers. Accessible sidewalks and designed cycling/running lanes on roads provide additional options through the charming village and communities to the south and north of the beach, as well as shaded Midnight Pass Road. Nearby hotels include Best Western Plus Siesta Key, Hibiscus Suites, Holiday Inn Express, Tropical Beach Resorts, Hyatt Siesta Key Beach and Captiva Beach Resort.

Routes:

3 miles: Run along the sand from the public beach south and back.

Siesta Key Beach 3 mile
Siesta Key Beach 3 mile

2.9 miles / 4.6670976 km

6 miles: Run the entire length of Siesta Beach.

Siesta Beach 6 mile
Siesta Beach 6 mile

5.7 miles / 9.1732608 km

10 miles: Run 6 miles along the beach and then head to the parking lot. Run south out of the parking lot onto Midnight Pass Road. Go 2 miles and turn around.

Siesta Key 10 miles
Siesta Key 10 miles

10.2 miles / 16.4153088 km

Downtown Sarasota & Ringling Bridge

2 Marina Plaza (The parking area is by Marina Jack's Restaurant and Bayfront Park.)

About:
A central spot for many local runners and walkers, the city of Sarasota has many running options, the best of which is a trip over the Ringling Bridge. Featuring one of the only inclines in the region, the Ringling Bridge offers an iconic view of the Sarasota Bayfront with options to extend runs and walks through St. Armands Circle and onto Lido Key. Nearby hotels include Best Western Midtown, Hotel Indigo, Hyatt Regency Sarasota, The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota and Hotel Ranola.

Routes:

3 miles: Cross the Ringling Bridge and turn around, then run back to 2 Marina Plaza.

Ringling Bridge 2.7 mile
Ringling Bridge 2.7 mile

2.6 miles / 4.1842944 km

5 miles: Cross Ringling Bridge and continue around St. Armands Circle. Turn around and run back to the start.

Ringling Bridge 5 miles
Ringling Bridge 5 miles

5 miles / 8.04672 km

10 miles: From 2 Marina Plaza, cross the Ringling Bridge to St. Armands Circle. Go north towards Longboat Key, and head right to Ken Thompson Parkway. Return through St. Armands Circle towards Lido Beach. Run south to Ted Sperling Park and turn around, go back through St. Armands Circle and then back over Ringling Bridge to the start.

Ringling Bridge 10 miles
Ringling Bridge 10 miles

9.9 miles / 15.9325056 km
 

Legacy Trail

303 E. Venice Avenue, Venice Train Depot

About:

The Venice Train Depot, located near downtown Venice, serves as the trailhead for the Legacy Trail -- a 10.8-mile paved road for walkers, runners and bikers. This trail runs through Oscar Scherer State Park and offers plenty for all levels of fitness. For nature enthusiasts, a run or walk along Oscar Scherer's 15 miles of trails is possible with a nominal admission fee. Plenty of hotels are near this location, including Ramada Venice Resort, Hampton Inn & Suites Venice Bayside, Island Breeze Inn, Motel 6 Venice, Historic El Patio Motor Hotel, Inn at the Beach and Bentley's Resort.

For other places to hop on the Legacy Trail, trailheads are located at:

  • Culverhouse Nature Park in Sarasota
  • Osprey Junction Trailhead in Osprey
  • Laurel Park in Laurel
  • Nokomis Community Park in Nokomis
  • Oscar Scherer State Park in Nokomis
  • Patriots Park in Venice
  • Historic Venice Train Depot in Venice
  • Rest stations are available throughout the Trail.

Routes:

3 miles: Run north 1.5 miles, turn around and return to the start.

Legacy Trail 3 mile route
Legacy Trail 3 mile route

3 miles / 4.828032 km


5 miles: Run north 2.5 miles, turn around and go back to the start.

Legacy Trail 5 Mile Route
Legacy Trail 5 Mile Route

5 miles / 8.04672 km

10 miles: Run north 5 miles and turn around. Note: If you want to run the entire trail, it's 10 miles long. Instead of turning around at the 5-mile point, continue to the northern trailhead located at 7905 McIntosh Road.

You can run inside of Oscar Scherer State Park. A nominal entry fee is required. The park offers 15 miles of trails.

Legacy Trail 10 mile route
Legacy Trail 10 mile route

10.5 miles / 16.898112 km
 

Casey Key

100 Casey Key Road

About:
Spanning approximately five miles end to end, Casey Key offers low-traffic, winding roads with sweeping views of the Gulf. Places to stay include Bentley's and Best Western.

Routes:
3 miles: Start at the public pavilion just over the Nokomis Bridge, run north 1.5 miles and turn around.

Casey Key 3 mile
Casey Key 3 mile

3 miles / 4.828032 km

5 miles: From the public pavilion, run north 2.5 miles and turn around.

Casey Key 5 mile route
Casey Key 5 mile route

4.8 miles / 7.7248512 km

10 miles: From the public pavilion, run the entire length of the road and turn around.

Casey Key 10 mile route
Casey Key 10 mile route

10.7 miles / 17.2199808 km
 

The Ringling

5401 Bay Shore Road

Less than a mile from the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport and nearby hotels, the renowned Ringling Museum and official state art museum of Florida provide the perfect backdrop to start and finish any run or walk. Low-traffic roads provide views of some of Sarasota County's most well-to-do and historic neighborhoods, including Indian Beach and Sapphire Shores, as well as inspiring views of Sarasota Bay. Near the airport, places to stay include Courtyard by Marriott-Airport, Hampton Inn and Suites Airport, Hilton Garden Inn Airport, Hyatt Place, Ramada Waterfront, Residence Inn by Marriott, Sleep Inn and Springhill Suites.

Distances:

2.3 miles: Run north to the New College of Florida campus. Run through the campus and back to The Ringling.

Ringling 2.25 Mile Route
Ringling 2.25 Mile Route

2.2 miles / 3.5405568 km

4 miles: Run north to New College of Florida's campus. Run south past The Ringling. Turn right onto Sapphire Road. Run to the end, turn left, and run until you must turn left again. Turn left, turn right onto Bay Shore Road, and continue south to Sarasota Jungle Gardens before returning north to The Ringling.

Ringling 4 mile route
Ringling 4 mile route

4 miles / 6.437376 km

10 miles: Run north to New College of Florida's campus. Run south past The Ringling. Turn left onto Sapphire Road to the bay. Turn left and run until you must turn left again. Then turn right on Bay Shore Road and run until you reach U.S. 41. Turn around and run back to The Ringling.

6.75 Mile Route Ringling
6.75 Mile Route Ringling

6.7 miles / 10.7826048 km
 

Other Popular Areas to Run & Walk

  • Myakka River State Park: One of Florida's largest state parks, Myakka offers 39 miles of trails. Nominal entry fee required.
  • North Port: Named one of America's Most Playful Cities, North Port offers numerous parks and recreation areas great for running or walking.
  • Manasota Key: Idyllic and laid-back, the beaches of Manasota Key in Englewood offer unspoiled views of the Gulf and nature alike.
  • Celery Fields: A nature preserve of more than 300 acres and 20,000 aquatic plants and trees, this is ideal for runners, walker and bird enthusiasts.

Popular Local Races & Fun Runs

For a race calendar, visit manasotatrackclub.org.

Top Places to Run and Walk, As Voted By Locals

  1. Downtown Sarasota & Ringling Bridge
  2. Siesta Key Beach
  3. Casey Key
  4. The Legacy Trail
  5. Oscar Scherer State Park

More Resources

Manasota Track Club

The region's largest running club with more than 750 members offers annual race calendar and information on local training runs and programs for all ability levels.

New Balance Sarasota & University Park

Community-based and locally owned specialty retail stores offering professional shoe and apparel fit experts. Two convenient locations in Sarasota and University Park/Lakewood Ranch area offer additional information on local races, fun runs and training programs, which are also posted on their website.
941-921-3696
1872 Stickney Point Road, Sarasota 34231 (corner of U.S. 41/Tamiami Trail)
8204 Tourist Center Drive, University Park 34201 (west of I-75, University exit)