Area Sports and Recreation
Michael’s Top Picks for enjoying sports and recreation in Sarasota
With an average annual temperature of 72 degrees, Sarasota is the place for outdoor recreation. It’s a golfer’s dream come true, with over 30 courses throughout the county. In fact, Sarasota is home to nine of the Top 20 Southwest regional courses featured in Florida Golf News. Below is a list of semi-private and public courses.
During the summer months many of the local private courses also permit public play, and I highly recommend purchasing The Big Summer Card if you plan on spending several weeks in the area, as this affords you special pricing at some of the area’s best courses.
Semi-Private and Public Golf Courses
Bobby Jones Golf Club, Sarasota, FL 941-365-4653
IMG Academy Golf Club, Bradenton, FL 941-758-1466
Legacy Golf Club, Lakewood Ranch, FL 941-907-7067
The Meadows – Highlands or Groves Courses, Sarasota, FL 941-371-0982
Preserve Golf Club at Tara, Bradenton, FL 941-756-2944
The River Club, Bradenton, FL 941-751-4211
Rosedale Golf and Country Club, Bradenton, FL 941-756-0004
Stoneybrook Golf and Country Club, Sarasota, FL 941-966-1800
Tatum Ridge Golf Links, Sarasota, FL 941-378-4211
University Park Country Club, Sarasota, FL 941-359-9999
Waterlefe Golf Club, Bradenton, FL 941-744-0393
Sarasota tennis is legendary! In addition to being one of the region’s favorite pastimes, Sarasota boasts a history rich in tennis. Did you know that famed tennis coach Nick Bollettieri called renowned Colony Beach & Tennis Resort on Longboat Key his home courts for many years before moving his world-class academy to the Bollettieri/IMG Academy location in nearby Bradenton? And tennis enthusiasts’ beloved announcer and writer Bud Collins also spent several months each year at The Colony and even hosted an annual international tournament there. Visitors and residents are often surprised to find themselves on an adjacent court to world ranked players warming up for championship tournaments, as many live in the area and others come because of the extraordinary facilities located throughout the area. USTA leagues are some of the best in the nation – men, women, senior and super-senior teams from the region boast national top rankings. While virtually every community, hotel and condominium have private courts, there are also some excellent facilities available for public play.
GT Bray Recreation Center, Bradenton, FL 941-742-5923
Longboat Key Tennis Center, Longboat Key, FL 941-316-8367
Payne Park Tennis Center, Sarasota, FL 941-861-8196
Siesta Beach Tennis Courts, Sarasota, FL 941-346-3207
Boating in Sarasota
Whether your passion is deep sea fishing, angling in the flats, sailing in the calm Gulf and Bay waters around Sarasota, renting your own motorboat for a cruise to one of the many waterfront restaurants dotting the Intracoastal shoreline, or enjoying a leisurely tour with a cold beverage in hand, there is something for every lover of the boating. Here are a few popular options to consider:
For its vast number of options for fishing enthusiasts, The Flying Fish Fleet something for just about anyone.
If you prefer to be your own captain for the day CB’s Saltwater Outfitters offers several types of boats to choose from. They also have a terrific boutique if there’s anything you might have forgotten to bring along for your adventure on the local waters.
For sailors, Key Sailing with captain and first mate Tim and Jan on their stunning 41′ “Key Breeze” vessel, you’re sure to have one of the most peaceful journeys on Sarasota Bay…and Jan always has the best chocolates on hand!
Marina Jack II hosts individuals and groups for a luxury tour of Sarasota Bay. With excellent cuisine and a full bar, plus air conditioned indoor spaces and a narrated tour, you can spend as much time as you like outside on deck, or viewing the beautiful Sarasota waterfront from a comfortable indoor seat.
For a more informal option for touring Sarasota Bay, check out LeBarge – a floating island. With real palm trees, music, a full bar and narrated tours including the daily “dolphin watch”, this a a fun and relaxing way to spend a few hours.
Since 1924 Sarasota has played host to professional baseball spring training. With 15 teams playing in the Grapefruit League around Florida, visitors and residents are sure to have a chance to watch one or more of their favorite MLB team play. Sarasota is home to the Baltimore Orioles who base is the beautiful Ed Smith Stadium. In nearby Bradenton, the Pittsburgh Pirates play at McKechnie Field.
And There’s More!
Adventure Kayak Outfitters – rentals and guided tours
Nathan Benderson Park – home of International Rowing Championships
Sarasota Kennel Club – live Greyhound racing
With so much to do, it’s hard to know where to begin. We’ve compiled this list of some of the most popular things to do in Sarasota…aside from enjoying activities along our waterways, beaches, and golf courses check out all of the options in our parks, nature and wildlife centers located HERE.