As far back as the 1920s and even to this day, Florida’s Cultural Coast is still a flourishing hub of creative vision and cultural significance. Its dynamic art scene, architecture, diversity, and white sand beaches are the magnets that draw many to experience the very best of one of Florida’s gem. Created in 1921, Florida’s Cultural Coast, which is Sarasota County, is situated at the southern end of the Tampa Bay Area, with its official limits extending to Sarasota Bay and several barrier islands, including Casey Key, Lido Key, Bird Key, Longboat Key, St. Armands Key and Siesta Key. Its wealth of cultural arts and natural beauty sets it apart from larger cities that could only wish that they boasted the rich mix of artists, performers, galleries, museums, film, theater, music, architecture and art schools that make Cultural Coast such an incredible place.
It was 1839 before the use of the name “Sarasota” appeared on the first complete maps of Florida. The origin of the name Sarasota is unknown, but one theory is that it may have its roots in a Spanish word that means “a place of dancing.” Native American groups, such as the Seminoles, were some of the first peoples to settle Sarasota before it became Florida’s Cultural Coast, after discovering the lush greenery and abundance of wild fruits and game that flourished in the region. William H. Whitaker became the first permanent white settler in the region, after he was granted 144.81 acres on Sarasota Bay.
Regarded as the cultural center of the southeastern U.S by some, Florida’s cultural coast is home to several acclaimed artists and an abundance of theaters and performing halls. It is known for The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Ringling School of Art and Design, and the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Beyond the arts, the beauty of Florida’s Cultural Coast extends to its natural environment. The “unspoiled” coastline areas, off the beaten path getaway spots,along with secret and hidden beaches, offer plenty of opportunities for adventure. Sarasota’s beaches are diverse, with Longboat Key, Lido Key, Venice, Siesta Key, Manasota Key, and Casey Key with some of the best beaches. There are plenty of must-sees in Florida’s Cultural Coast, including Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Myakka Wildlife, Venice’s Snook Haven as well as Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary.
All sizes are approximate.