Lido Key is a beautiful little spot right near Sarasota
, Florida. This is a place where you can shop in trendy St. Armands Circle, find fabulous Florida
seafood, go fishing and boating, or if you choose, simply relax on the vast expanse of white sand beach.
Things to do on Lido Key
here is divided into three sections: North Lido Beach, Lido Beach and South Lido Beach. North Lido Beach is located one quarter mile northwest of St. Armands Circle, off of John Ringling Blvd. The beach is easy to get to and very private, but there are no lifeguards, which isn't a problem, but be aware of the currents that tend to move fast.
The middle section, known as Lido Beach, is of half a mile southwest of St. Armand's Circle, on Ben Franklin Drive. This is the most popular section of the beach and has amenities that include: cabana beach rentals, a snack and gift shop, rest rooms, a play ground, a handicapped accessible lookout deck, a large parking lot and even a meeting room.
St. Armands Circle
St. Armands Circle is one of the main attractions on Lido Key, and has more than 130 shops, boutiques, salons and restaurants; this location has been compared to the world famous Rodeo Drive, in Beverly Hills. You'll find many fine jewelers there, along with Brighton and Fresh Produce. In 1917, John Ringling, of Ringling Brothers Circus, bought the property and planned to build the circular shopping center
and homes there. The real estate of St. Armands is still some of the most desirable to this day, and homes there sell for well over a million dollars.
Don't think you have to be a millionaire to be welcomed here, tourists and residents alike can be seen at the side walk cafes, boutiques and ice cream parlors, because they have all uncovered the quiet charm of this place. St. Armands also serves as the night time entertainment center for hotel guests who have spent the day on the beach.
South Lido Park
South Lido Park is located on Ben Franklin Drive, at the southern tip of Lido Key. The beauty and draw of this part of the beach is that it is bordered by four bodies of water; The Gulf of Mexico, Big Pass, which has a marina and Yacht club, Sarasota Bay, and Brushy Bayou. When you go to the very southern tip, you can see the skyline of downtown Sarasota and the Gulf; on the northern part, visitors can enjoy a nature trail which includes scenic overlooks and boardwalks. Some of these park amenities include: a picnic area with rest rooms and grills for cooking, a volleyball court and play ground; there is also a canoe trail if you prefer to see nature from the water. This beach does have lifeguards on duty on weekends during the 'season', which is from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Mote Marine Laboratory Aquarium
If you're looking for something to do on land and as a family, be sure to visit the Mote Marine Laboratory Aquarium
. You can see actual working labs and enjoy high-tech interactive exhibits that showcase this world-renowned research laboratory. There are over 100 species of marine life here and you are invited to explore the mysteries of the sea with touch pools, shark, dolphin, manatee and sea turtle exhibits.
Boating is a very popular pastime on Lido Key. There are several marinas in nearby Sarasota to dock and launch from, as well as two public boat launches; one at Turtle Beach on Siesta Key, and one at Centennial Park. However, many boaters choose Lido Key for their home, because of its easy access to the Gulf of Mexico, the abundant canals and bays along the Intercostals Waterway. All of the water and easy access to it make launching a power boat or sailboat simple, and that’s what makes Lido Key a boating paradise.
Lido may be a little Key, but it's big on fun, sun and sand; a great place to visit or stay. Go see and then decide for yourself.
By Beverly Martinez-Collins – PlacesAroundFlorida.com