Park It – Top 10 Sarasota Area Parks

Fall is the perfect time to enjoy a picnic in any of our area parks.

Fall is the perfect time to enjoy a picnic in any of our area parks.

Now that the crisp fall weather has put a slight chill to the air and cooled the water of the Gulf of Mexico, our beautiful beaches are frequented much less than when the days of summer provided sun-drenched fun in the sand. While a day at the beach becomes a little less attractive, the weather is perfect for outdoor recreation at one of our many area parks.

Filled with an assortment of recreational facilities to ensure a healthy, active lifestyle, the parks throughout Sarasota County serve as the perfect destinations for biking, hiking, canoeing, picnicking, camping and more. So, plan an afternoon to enjoy our perfect fall weather at one of these top 10 Sarasota area parks:

1.  Myakka River State Park – Florida’s largest state park offers a step back in time when Florida was a pristine wilderness. With 45 square miles of native landscape, lakes, the Myakka River and more, this park offers picnic areas, camping, cabins, boat ramps, tram tours, fishing, bird watching, hiking, and miles of trails to explore by bike or foot. Also, the park’s marshlands and forest are among the best places around to observe Florida wildlife. The park is located 9 miles E of I-75 at 13208 State Road 72. For more information, call 941.361.6511, or visit HERE.

2.  Oscar Scherer State Park – A large acreage with fifteen sprawling miles of trails through beautiful natural areas provides opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and wildlife viewing. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along South Creek, with canoe and kayak rentals available. For bicycle enthusiasts, the park offers several trails totaling approximately 15 miles, and freshwater and saltwater fishing are available along the creek. Picnic areas along South Creek are equipped with grills, and pavilions can be reserved for a small fee. The park has full-facility campsites and a youth/group campground. The park is located on U.S. 41, just two miles south of Osprey. For more information, call 941.483.5956.

The children's fountains at Sarasota's Bay Front Park are surrounded by sparkling bay waters.

The children's fountains at Sarasota's Bay Front Park are surrounded by bay waters.

3.  Sarasota Bay Front Park

– Located at the base of downtown Sarasota, this scenic island park filled with beautiful water views in every direction. Bay Front Park is situated on an island peninsula right on the waters of Sarasota Bay. Sidewalks wind all around the area, making this a great spot for long walks, rollerblading, and bike rides. Children will love the water fountains to splash in and the huge playground zone. For more information, call 800.800.3906.

4.  Gillespie Park – Located among historic homes, Gillespie Park offers a quiet, natural respite just a breath away from the action of downtown. The park offers 10 acres of picnicking area with children’s playground and a shaded gazebo. Dogs on a leash are welcome. For more information, call 941.316.1172.

5.  Woodmere Community Park and Recreation Center – With tennis courts, a basketball court, a sand volleyball court, a nature trail, children’s playgrounds, and an adjacent paw park for dogs of all sizes, Woodmere Community Park in Venice offers an abundance of activities for the whole family. Located at 3951 Woodmere Park Boulevard at Jacaranda, Venice. For more information, call 941.486.2780

6.  Twin Lakes Park – These were the grounds of the Royals, Mets, Twins, Indians, Reds, Dodgers and Orioles training. Now, Twin Lakes Park offers several recreational activities including 5 major and 4 little league baseball fields, a basketball court, canoeing, fishing, a football field, 2 outdoor handball/racquetball courts, indoor rental, a jogging trail, a multi-purpose field, a passive recreation area, an ADA playground, a large picnic shelter, 5 small picnic shelters, 4 soccer fields, 2 tennis courts and an ADA picnic area. Plenty for the athlete to keep busy! Located at 6700 Clark Road in Sarasota. For more information, call 941.951-5890.

7.  Fruitville Park – Located at 5151 Richardson Road in Sarasota Florida, the 20-acre Fruitville Park offers a fitness/jogging trail, football/soccer fields, plenty of picnicking area, tennis, volleyball and grilling facilities. Enjoy your day surrounded by lush landscaping. For more information, call 941.316.1172.

8.  Phillippi Estate Park – Located on the shores of Phillippi Creek, Phillippi Estate Park is a scenic, 60-acre natural area park south of downtown Sarasota and east of Siesta Key. The beauty of the park and facilities can be enjoyed by residents and visitors seven days a week, including a rose garden, gazebo, children’s playground, canoe/kayak launch, nature trails, fishing piers and more. For more information, call 941.861.5000.

9.  Lemon Bay Park – Visit the butterfly garden, picnic sites and nature trails at this park located on Lemon Bay, north of Dearborn Street in Olde Englewood. Nature walk adventures are available January-April. Lemon Bay Park has more than 200 acre of pine and scrubby Flatwoods along the natural bay shoreline, a scenic bay boardwalk, canoe launch and a large picnic pavilion. For more information, call 941.474.3065

10.  South Lido Park – Set at the north end of Taft and South Blvd of Presidents on Lido Key, Lido Key Park is a great place to get away from the rush of downtown without going too far. Adjacent to the beach, the park features 2 walking nature trails and a canoeing nature trail, plus volleyball courts and swimming. This is a large park that wraps around from the Gulf to Sarasota Bay offering good comfort facilities, picnic pavilions, and BBQ grills right under the tall Australian Pines. For more information, call 941.861.7275.

Visit HERE for more information on all area parks.

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