Getting there is half the fun when you’re in an RV, and Sarasota, Florida, offers some breathtaking vistas and easy-to-navigate routes. So squeegee that expansive windshield, and take in some of the finest views of the Florida Gulf Coast.
This area provides good, flat road flanked by mature palm trees and water. Bayshore Road is a short, but beautiful, mile and a half stretch. Take the road south from New College and the Ringling Museum of Art until it intersects with Indian Beach Drive. Although the Sarasota Bay is the star of this route, you’ll also pass the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, the perfect place to view native flora and fauna.
John Ringling Causeway
One of Sarasota’s most well-known migratory birds is the “snowbird,” a playful nickname for northerners who come to bask in this area’s golden sun and warm waters during the winter months. John Ringling was one of this city’s most prominent snowbirds as you’ll note from the myriads of buildings, roads, and organizations named after him. This circus tycoon and philanthropist is the reason that Sarasota is a mecca for culture and the arts in a state of perpetual vacationers.
To capture a picture of the iconic causeway bridge, take Bayfront Drive to John Ringling Causeway, and turn on Sunset Drive (before going over the bridge). Sunset Drive will lead you to brick-paved Golden Gate Point, a circular drive surrounded by a mix of old and new Florida condos. While it’s not particularly RV-friendly from a parking standpoint, it is easy to snap a picture in between condo buildings; and it provides an opportunity to see Sarasota’s newest landmark, the gold-domed Grand Riviera Condos.
Return to the causeway for some of the most beautiful views of the bay from the Ringling Causeway Bridge. Drive this route at sunset, and the pink skies seem to melt into the Sarasota Bay. However, doing so often means you’ll be doing more sitting than driving as traffic backs up on the causeway with people heading to the beach for sunset. But no worries. It also affords a beautiful view at night with the lights of the bridge reflecting off the water.
Sailboat lovers will enjoy the gentle s-curve of Bayfront Drive (just south of the causeway) and the views of the many boats docked at the marina. Marina Jacks is a great place to enjoy a drink at sunset or catch a bite. In addition to delicious views of the bay, you can see Island Park from the marina as well as its delightful dolphin fountain. Island Park’s loop of green juts out into the bay, providing expansive views and quiet benches from which to enjoy the balmy breezes. Dense Banyan trees with their dreadlock-looking roots stand sentinel amidst flat, paved walking paths.
If you have extra time, drive through nearby Myakka River State Park. It offers a prime example of Florida’s diverse natural areas.
Sarasota serves up soothing water views and vibrant sunsets. Traffic standstills are common, so roll down the windows, listen to the soundtrack of the sea gulls, and remember that the delight is in the journey.