Lido Key Beach is the official public beach of Sarasota residents, so it isn't hard to understand why it's one of the most popular beaches in the area. It is located on Ben Franklin Drive, just half a mile away from St. Armands Circle. As the beach sees so many guests year-round, there is ample parking for everyone.
Beaches & Parks Details
Mangrove Kayak Tour
Mangrove kayak tours are a popular activity in Lido Key with self-paced paddling along exotic mangroves. Before you enter the tunnel of mangrove trees, keep an eye out for playful dolphins and manatees and end the tour with a swim off of South Lido Beach. Tours are led by professionally trained guides with knowledge of the mangroves, bays, and estuaries for an educational experienced mixed with adventurous fun.
Lido Key Culinary Tour
Why dine in one place when you can sample some of the best restaurants around St. Armands with a culinary tour offered by Key Culinary Tours. Spirited and personable guides take guests on a walking tour to some hand-picked restaurants where you’ll enjoy generous tastings. There are also two bonus stops with an overview of some of the best spices, teas, oils and vinegar and how to best use them with your own creations!
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
Immerse yourself in marine life at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium complete with two touch tanks and a 135,000-gallon shark habitat. Guests learn more about resident manatees, Hugh and Buffett, and sea turtles, Monego and Squirt, two among 100 species of marine life. The campus is also home to a variety of research programs including the health of wild fisheries and the population dynamics of manatees, dolphins, turtles, sharks and coral reefs.
Shore Fishing at South Lido Beach Park
Situated on the southernmost end of Lido Key, South Lido Park Beach offers a stretch of beachfront ideal for shore fishing. Four bodies of water brush-up against various points of the park including the Gulf of Mexico, Big Pass, Sarasota Bay and Brushy Bayou. When the tide is right, anglers cast their lines out to Big Pass to try their luck at a daily catch. Afterward, unwrap a picnic at the tables or let the kids play at the playground.
The St. Armands Circle experience is indeed a memorable one.
Renowned as a continental marketplace, the Circle is a charming and graceful synthesis of the past and present. Explore the shops, dine in the sidewalk cafes, relax in the lush tropical gardens, St. Armands Circle is unique in concept, history, and beauty.
With over 100 stores, St. Armands Circle is an unforgettable destination for visitors worldwide. From trinkets to treasures, gourmet snacks to candlelight feasts, you’ll find it all on St. Armands Circle.
In 1893, Charles St. Amand, A Frenchman and first resident of the island, purchased three tracts of land totaling 131.89 acres for $21.71. He homesteaded the land, fishing in the waters of the Gulf and Bay, and, along with other early pioneers, raised produce which he brought by boat to the market at City Pier in Sarasota. In later land deeds, his name was misspelled “St. Armand” and this spelling has persisted to the present day.
St. Armands Circle was the vision of circus magnate John Ringling, who purchased the key in 1917. He designed a luxury development including custom residences and an upscale shopping retreat laid out along streets radiating from a central park roundabout. As no bridge to the key had yet been built, Ringling engaged an old paddle-wheel steamboat, the “Success”, to serve as a work-boat. His crews labored at dredging canals, building seawalls, and installing sidewalks and streets lined with rose-colored curbs. In 1925, work began on a causeway to join St. Armands Key to the mainland. Circus elephants were used to haul the huge timbers from which the bridge and causeway were built.
Bird Key is a gated community of 510 luxury single-family homes, which is located between Downtown Sarasota and St. Armand’s Circle. Known for being one of the most prestigious areas on Florida’s entire West Coast, Bird Key is a paradise for any home buyer looking for premiere property in a thriving community.
Bird Key is a barrier island in Sarasota Bay, south of the John Ringling Causeway, between mainland Sarasota and St. Armands Key. Originally a small barrier island connected to the Ringling Causeway by a tree lined causeway of its own, it was the home of John Ringling North, nephew of circus magnate John Ringling.
Is Bird Key man-made?
Bird Key is a man-made island, connected to the mainland by John Ringling Causeway. It is located right in between Lido Key and the coast of Sarasota. Bird Key is a favorite among boaters and sailors because it has no bridges or drawbridges that could potentially close down due to inclement weather.
What is the history of bird key?
The island was named Bird Key because of the large population of birds that flock to this area. Bird Key and the Worcester estate were acquired by John Ringling in 1922, along with the purchase of many of the barrier islands off the coast of Sarasota.
The New Edzell Castle
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Bird Key was a small island in Sarasota Bay, rising only a few feet above the surrounding shallow grass flats. In 1906, Thomas Martin Worcester, of Cincinnati, purchased the 12-acre island, and after some dredging and filling, began to build a castle for his beloved wife, Davie Lindsay Worcester. He would name it The New Edzell Castle, after his wife’s Scottish ancestral home. Sadly, his wife died in October1912 and did not live to see the completion of her husband’s “labor of love.” The first mansion in Sarasota boasted electric and gas lights, steam heat, and hot and cold running water in every room. At the opening reception in 1914, the Sarasota Times wrote, “Set in one of nature’s fairest temples, it is a monument to the memory of a gifted and a good woman.”
Thomas Worcester left Sarasota not long thereafter, and in 1922, John Ringling purchased Bird Key. He planned to convert the Worcester home into a summer White House for President Warren Harding, but Harding’s death in 1923 changed his plans. The Bird Key mansion then became the home of John Ringling’s sister, Ida Ringling North, until her death in 1950. Ringling’s yacht, the 125-foot Zalophus, was often docked there before it sank off Lido Key after hitting an unchartered rock in 1930.
In 1959, Arvida Realty, Inc. purchased the key and filled it in to allow for 511 lots; 291 waterfront and 220 off-water sites. One unique feature of the development would be an underground electric utility system, well ahead of its time. Arvida promoted Bird Key in national newspapers, saying, “Who hasn’t dreamed of living on an idyllic tropical island?”
The Bird Key Yacht Club
The clubhouse was built in 1959 near the site of the New Edzell Castle, and now welcomes members from across the country and around the world. Today, Bird Key Yacht Club offers fine dining and a wide array of activities on the idyllic tropical key that first enchanted its residents over a century ago.
Today, the Bird Key Yacht Club is celebrating 65 years as a Sarasota gathering spot. Our Vision is to be the most welcoming, friendly, and active private club in Sarasota. Our mission is to provide a premier club experience, a warm and friendly environment, encompassing a broad range of social and recreational activities, events, and dining venues resulting in higher member and staff satisfaction and retention.
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