A Weekend at Lido Beach Resort for Every Kind of Traveler
Whatever you want out of your vacation, you can find it at Lido Beach Resort, with its top-notch restaurants, wide range of amenities, and plethora of surrounding activities. Here we offer a day or weekend schedule (depending how much you like to pack in) for five personality types. If you’re multifaceted, as most of us are, then feel free to mix and match as the mood strikes! Whatever direction you’re headed, the resort provides the perfect home base and launching pad for your personalized adventure.
FOR THE THRILL-SEEKERS
Start your Day with Scuba Diving
Explore Sarasota’s extensive system of offshore artificial reefs and their many colorful inhabitants, or swim by the wreck of the Bayronto, a British freighter sunk in a 1919 hurricane, on a local charter with Florida Underwater Sports. Typically accommodating a maximum of six divers, charters head out at 8:30 am and return around 1:00 pm, so you’ll still have time for afternoon and evening activities. If you’re not quite ready for a boat dive, take a lesson in their high-tech training facility or a beginner course at a pool or in shallow water.
Meet an Alligator Face to Face
The Sarasota Jungle Gardens gives visitors an opportunity to get up close and personal with our feathered, furry, and scaly animal friends. Meet a regular old alligator or (for a few dollars more) an albino or piebald version. You can also cuddle with a lemur, pet a deer, or hang out with a tortoise — don’t forget to take selfies.
Now that you’ve dived into the deep, take an airborne leap in a tandem skydive with an experienced Skydive Sarasota instructor. After a scenic 20-minute Cessna plane ride, you’ll jump out attached to your instructor and freefall for around 30 seconds, with the support of a state-of-the-art Sigma harness and parachute system. Your instructor will then deploy your chute for a peaceful and picturesque five-minute float downward to a smooth landing.
Treasure-hunt at St. Armands Circle
If your definition of thrills includes discovering the perfect new party outfit or wardrobe staple, then end your afternoon at this world-class shopping destination. In between perusing dozens of clothing, jewelry, and specialty boutiques, stop by the Circus Ring of Fame in the central park, with honorees including animal trainer Gunther Gebel-Williams, astounding aerialists the Flying Wallendas, and of course P.T. Barnum and the five Ringling Brothers.
FOR THE NATURE-LOVERS
Take a Kayaking or Paddle-boarding Tour of Mangrove Tunnels
Spend your morning paddling through the mazes of overhanging mangrove trees amid the abundant wildlife of Sarasota Bay. Watch for manatees and bottlenose dolphins; herons, cormorants, egrets, and pelicans; starfish, conch, and sea cucumbers. Multiple companies offer both kayak and standup paddleboard rentals and tours, or bring your own equipment.
Get a Birds-Eye View from the Myakka Canopy Walkway
Suspended 25 feet above the ground and extending 100 feet through the canopy, this outdoor observatory and research laboratory is located in Myakka River State Park, a little over a half hour’s drive from Lido Beach. The first public treetop trail in North America, the walkway offers an incredible perspective on the wetlands and prairie below and the network of flora and fauna that inhabits the tops of the live oak and sabal palm trees — including hawks, vultures, tree-hopping insects, mosses, and airplants.
Kick Back on the Beach
After immersing in nature from the water level and from the air, it’s time to become one with it. Head to Lido Beach Resort’s secluded 300-foot sugar sand beach to float in the clear turquoise waters and soak up the warm breezes. On your way, stop to fuel up at Tiki Bar with a quinoa bowl loaded with veggies and hummus, chili-topped nachos, or a coconut shrimp basket.
Take a Sunset Sail
Experience the beauty of the Gulf Coast on a sunset cruise with Key Sailing — complete with chocolate! Sail away on the Key Breeze, a 41-foot Morgan yacht, with guides Tim and Jan Solomon, who have been sailing together since 1975 and have traveled to 30 countries on five continents. They’ll even let you take the helm; free sailing lessons are offered by request to guests of all ages. The resort concierge will be happy to book your charter.
FOR THE SELF-IMPROVERS
Start your Day with a Great Workout and a Healthy Breakfast
Yes, you’re on vacation, but that doesn’t mean you have to mess with your fitness routine. Wake up early and get in your workout at the Lido Beach Resort’s fitness center, which is equipped with everything you need to break a good sweat. Think: elliptical machines, strength training equipment, free weights and more. Then, head to Drift Kitchen & Bar for a Banana-Berry Smoothie or a Granola Berry Bowl with Greek yogurt, honey-almond granola, fresh berries, and wildflower honey.
Attend a Lecture
Olympian Michael Phelps, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis, and chef/humanitarian José Andrés are among the speakers featured in Sarasota’s 2023 Town Hall lecture series, presented by the Ringling College Library Association. You can also catch some pearls of wisdom at the nonprofit Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning, which focuses on discussions of the arts and contemporary global issues.
Take a Yoga Class with Tigers, Foxes, or Lemurs
It’s easy to connect with your spirit animal when you’re surrounded by real ones. The Wild Yoga Program at Big Cat Habitat in Sarasota invites you to salute the sun in the company of tigers and other big cats (safely in their habitats); connect with the playful energy of silver foxes Stormy and Miko in a gentle yoga class; or move through an energetic yoga flow while Ruffed Lemurs Marley and Ziggy freely leap around you.
Relax in the Water
In the late afternoon, head to one of the resort’s two Gulf-front heated pools for some time under the sun. If you’ve still got some energy left, grab a pair of goggles and hop in for a swim — swimming is known to lower stress, improve sleep and keep anxiety at bay. Alternatively, use this time to completely relax by soaking in one of the resort’s three hot tubs. Both the warm water and the massaging effect of the jets work to soothe sore muscles, relieve aches and leave you feeling refreshed and renewed.
FOR THE CULTURE BUFFS
Spend the Morning at Sarasota Art Museum at Ringling College
Located in the historic Sarasota High School, this vibrant contemporary art museum focuses on work that pushes boundaries in multiple mediums — such as textile and bead constructions; photography and video installation; sculpture woven from salvaged rope, yarn, clay, and wire; and site-specific works that house interactive performances. The events schedule includes gallery talks, drop-in art-making workshops, family programs, and live music in the museum’s Klein Plaza.
Wander through Sarasota’s Arts District
The Rosemary Arts + Design District, known as RADD, has been revitalized and beautified over the past decade, and its main street, Boulevard of the Arts, is now the place to go to view the recent explosion of public wall murals by local and national artists. Roam through outdoor markets, salvage shops, art shows, and community events like crafting workshops and yoga classes in the revamped Rosemary Square. For lunch, head to Chef Mica England’s BLVD Café for breakfast all day or one of their savory croissant sandwiches.
Go to a Beach Reading at Hermitage Artist Retreat
For the optimal combination of beach and culture, head down the coast to this multidisciplinary artist retreat for a reading by the sea with one of their resident artists. Bring your own beach chair and beverage, and listen to great writers, playwrights, and poets read from their work, with the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico as their backdrop.
Head to the Theater
After a cocktail at Lido Beach Resort’s oceanside Tiki Bar, find your velvet seat at the historic 1926 Saratoga Opera House for a Verdi, Mozart, or Puccini classic. If you’re a dance lover, catch an innovative modern dance performance by Sarasota Contemporary Dance, a cultural staple in the region for close to 20 years. Theater fans should be sure to check out what’s onstage at West Coast Black Theatre Troupe, which mounts productions ranging from musicals like “Dreamgirls” and “Guys and Dolls” to jazz revues and new plays.
FOR THE FOODIES
Take a Cooking Class
Prepare a four-course Italian luncheon with award-winning cooking teacher and cookbook author Giuliano Hazan, at the riverside home he shares with his wife, Lael. Then savor what you’ve created, along with fine Italian wine. Classes are typically offered once a week at most, so plan ahead.
Spend the Afternoon Fishing
Every foodie should know where their seafood comes from. Head out on Sarasota Bay with the experienced guides of Sarasota Fishing Charters for a variety of angling experiences and catches: deep-water fishing for sheepshead; shallow-water casting for trout and redfish snapper; or an offshore expedition in search of grouper and amberjack around the bay’s reefs and shipwrecks.
Visit the Pie Mecca of Sarasota
Yoder’s Restaurant & Amish Village, at the center of the Pinecraft Amish Community, is famous for its homemade pies, baked from scratch every morning. Choose if you can among nearly two dozen options, including butterscotch and fresh strawberry cream, Florida Key Lime with a graham cracker crust, and classics like pecan, shoofly, peach, and Dutch Apple Crumb. Maybe one slice a la mode now and a few pieces to go?
Linger over a Luxurious Dinner at Drift Kitchen & Bar
After a walk on the beach to build up your appetite again, head up to this recently reimagined eatery on the 8th floor of Lido Beach Resort’s Palm Building, featuring elevated decor and soaring 180-degree floor-to-ceiling views of the Gulf. The cuisine highlights local ingredients with an emphasis on fresh seafood and contemporary American fare. Start with the Tuna Crudo, served up with ever-changing seasonally inspired accoutrements. The menu of gourmet pizzas, pasta, seafood, and meat offers something for every foodie in your group, as does the extensive wine list (and if you don’t finish your bottle, you can take it home in a Wine Doggie Bag).