A picture of the Sarasota Bayfront, one the the many beautiful places in Sarasota to see the sunset over the Florida Gulf Coast
Bayfront Park during sunset
Cormorants, white and brown pelicans
Monarch on milkweed
Bike in Sarasota County

Sarasota Nature Tips for Essential Rec Time

From trails, to parks, to wildlife and beyond, nature is always waiting just outside the front door in Sarasota County

April 2, 2020

Those who prefer a daily dose of sunshine can give a sigh of relief that participating in recreational activities, such as walking, biking, hiking, fishing, hunting, running, and walking pets are allowed as long as you’re practicing social distancing. With so much stress, we encourage you to stretch your legs and get some fresh air in #SarasotaNature.

Bayfront and Nathan Benderson Parks

Don’t have a trail outside your house? Two popular paths in Sarasota are still open to the public. Bayfront Park is located just off Sarasota Bay and is currently displaying Embracing Our Differences, an annual international art exhibit with 50 billboard-sized works of art, each accompanied by an inspirational quote. There is also the 15-foot multi-purpose path at Nathan Benderson Park that’s perfect for running, roller blading or pushing a stroller.

Lakewood Ranch

East of I-75 lies Lakewood Ranch, a master-planned community that spans Manatee and Sarasota Counties. As they like to say in The Ranch, “The great outdoors are all around you here, and you’ll have lots of ways to enjoy them.” Traverse 150 miles of multi-surface trails on two wheels, or two feet, through 10,000 acres of open space and wood hammocks, sparkling lakes, fun-filled parks, and nature's own peace and quiet.

Go Bird-Watching in Sarasota County

Welcome to Florida's Gulf Coast: a birder's paradise. Rich in its diversity of native Florida birds, and a well-populated pit stop for hundreds of migratory species, birdwatching is a fascinating and rewarding endeavor in Sarasota County. Birds typically seen include waders, such as herons and egrets, pelicans, gulls and terns, and the fierce aquatic raptors: the osprey. The Florida scrub jay is especially easy to spot, along with bald eagles.

Shark Scavenger Hunt

Venice is known as the Shark's Tooth Capital of the World due to the thousands of fossilized teeth that wash up each year on their south Sarasota County beaches. Historic Downtown Venice  encourages guests of all ages to learn more about the species of sharks found in the Gulf with their Shark Spotting scavenger hunt. Spot 10 bronze sculptures of different shark species as you roam the sidewalks of Venice Avenue, and if you can't find a few, check the website for some helpful hints.

Post #AMomentInNature

Just because everyone is self-quarantined doesn’t mean they don’t want to be one with nature. If you’re lucky enough to trek through Sarasota County, share your surroundings with folks through social media. #SarasotaNature is one way, but feel free to follow the lead of CBS Sunday Morning and incorporate the hashtag #AMomentInNature. Tag us for a chance to be featured on our Facebook or Instagram!

Walk (Safely) on the Wild Side

Attention nature enthusiasts — both novice and experienced… During your daily walk, keep a sharp eye for wildlife scurrying by, and see if you can identify which animals call Sarasota County home. The destination is great for viewing armadillos, deer, gopher tortoises, rabbits, turkey, snakes, and more. There’s even more near the water, such as dolphins and manatees.

Note, according to Executive Order #20-91, a social gathering in a public space is not an essential activity and groups of people greater than ten are not permitted to congregate in any public space. Be sure to consult Sarasota County Parks and Rec for openings and availability.