Sarasota Visitor Information Services and Updates

Hurricane Irma Recovery

Hurricane Irma passed through Sarasota County early September as a category two storm. While we temporarily experienced some power outages, our local community has worked tirelessly to get our businesses and hotels back open for you and other visitors to our area.

Don’t miss the World Rowing Championships 2017

The World Rowing Championships is still on schedule Sept. 23 through Oct. 1. This competition returns to the USA for the first time in more than 20 years! Tickets are as low as $10 for a single-day pass.

September in Sarasota is Shoptember

Enjoy dozens of deals this September in Sarasota, from downtown districts to major shopping malls. The deals aren’t limited to material items either, save on room nights, yoga sessions and more during this great shopping holiday.

Fall Events

There is more than ever to do in Sarasota County. Don’t miss the Sun Fiesta this October in downtown Venice, the popular architecture festival the SarasotaMOD in November, the world-famous Siesta Key Crystal Classic, The Ringling International Arts Festival, The Englewood Beach Waterfest and more this fall. Check out our events page for the latest activities in the area.

Update - 9/14/17, 10:11 a.m.

St Armands Circle, UTC Mall,  Westfield Siesta Key Mall and Westfield Sarasota Square are also shopping areas that are currently open for business.  Thank you, and please stay tuned for additional updates.

Update - 9/13/17, 2:30 p.m.

Thank you to all who have checked in and sent positive thoughts our way during Hurricane Irma. They are appreciated. Sarasota County was fortunate to receive minimal damage from Hurricane Irma; however, limited areas of Sarasota are still without power. Visit Sarasota County will do all we can to assist our friends and neighbors around Florida who were impacted by the hurricane and we are grateful for all of those who are working to restore power and other services to our area. For most accurate updates, please continue to get information below.
We look forward to welcoming you to our sunny shores!

Notes of interest:

  • Most of the restaurants and businesses on Siesta Key are open
  • The majority of restaurants and businesses in downtown Venice are open.
  • The majority of restaurants and businesses in downtown Sarasota are open.

Update - 9/12/17, 12:15 PM

Venice downtown restaurants are opening today and most businesses will open on Wednesday.

Please note that we'll update further as more info becomes available.

Update - 9/12/17, 8:30 AM

Per Sarasota County Government, the following parks are currently open:

  • Brohard Beach / Paw Park
  • Celery Fields
  • Centennial Park
  • Laurel Park
  • Manasota Beach
  • Nokomis Beach
  • Nokomis Community Center
  • Payne Park Tennis Center
  • Service Club Park
  • Venice Beach

Lifeguards will be moved back tomorrow.  Please note that we'll update further as more info becomes available.


A mandatory evacuation has been issued for Zone A in Sarasota County. This includes Longboat, Lido, Siesta, Casey and Manasota keys as well as the idland of Venice. Check you zone using the link above.


Dangerous weather is likely to hit parts of Florida and cause a major disruption to travel within the state September 8 – 10, 2017. Keep informed with the following information and have an emergency preparedness plan.

Hotel availability

VISIT FLORIDA is working closely with Expedia and the accommodation industry to keep hotel inventory and availability up to date.  Visit Sarasota County advises checking availability accordingly. 

Keeping up-to-date

Sarasota County’s Emergency Services is the best source of up-to-date information. Sign up for their “Code Red Weather Warning” here. Keep up with their Facebook and Twitter.


Governor Rick Scott has issued a state of emergency declaration for all 67 counties in the state. In this state of emergency, price-gouging for water, food and gas is prohibited by Florida law. You can report incidents of price gouging to (866)-9-NO-SCAM. Violations of price-gouging laws are $1000 per violation and up to $25,000 in damages within a 24-hour period.


Several area attractions have closed temporarily for the storm. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens closes today through noon Sept. 12. Mote Aquarium is open Sept. 8 with normal hours and has not yet determined the remainder of the weekend. The Ringling is currently closed, and visitors should check their website for re-open date. Sarasota Jungle Gardens remains closed since Sept. 6. Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary remains closed until further notice.

Contacting VSC during the Emergency Event

In addition to VSC staff emails, [email protected] is an email that will be regularly checked.