If you’re visiting the west coast of Florida, you can find many free things to do in Sarasota! This area is known for it’s great beaches and beautiful sand. Check out our list of some of the top budget friendly places to go:

1) Stop at one of the Beaches – FREE

Photo used with permission from @jujubee99

There are several beaches to visit in Sarasota that are all free. You will find white, soft sand and warm Gulf waters for swimming that are almost always calm. Pictured above is Turtle Beach, which is known for being a popular spot for nesting turtles. This is one of the better beaches in the area for shelling as well! Turtle beach has a kayak launch and a volleyball court. They also have a campground if you want to stay overnight.

Siesta key is a another popular one, has a nice trail to the beach and restrooms on site. Free parking, but plan to go at an off time so that you don’t have to struggle to find a space. Or get there early on the weekend!

The other beach in the area that we recommend is Jetty beach. This beach is a spot to fish or watch the boats. They have a concession stand on site and kayak rentals as well. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can spot a dolphin or a manatee here. If you are looking to shell, make a trip to Turtle Beach or make a farther trip to Sanibel Island (listed on our Ft. Myer’s Page!)

2) Myakka River State Park – $6 per vehicle

Photo used with permission from @andy_feidi_in_florida

Another stop on our list of budget friendly and free things to do in Sarasota is Myakka River State Park. This park is off to the east of downtown. It has miles and miles of river. There is a shady canopy trail here that is nice to walk, even in the Florida heat! This is a must see for hikers and bikers that like to get into nature and in the woods. Not into walking? You can also drive through the park to look for wildlife.

3) Bayfront Park – FREE

photo used with permission from @raeanne.malone

Pictured above is Bayfront park, a nice paved trail to walk or bike along the water in Sarasota. Take in views of the city and of the gulf at the same time. The park has a small sandy area like a beach and it also boasts a splash pad! Bonus: it’s pet friendly. The parking here is free but is limited to three hours. This is another spot that is fun to watch the sunset.

5) Parkway 8 Cinema – $2.50 a ticket

Catch a re-run of a movie on the big screen at this little movie theater is Sarasota. Although a bit run down and old, nothing beats the price of their movies! Somewhere to take the kids during the hot summer months of Florida. Be prepared for no frills, but the tickets are $2.50 during the day and $3.00 evening movies. Check their website for what movies are running; they don’t do new releases.

6) Legacy Trail & Oscar Scherer State Park – $5 per vehicle or FREE

If you are a biker, and interested in biking the Legacy Trail (runs from Venice up the beaches to Sarasota) you can plan to park here! Ride or walk on this fun and well maintained paved trail that runs from Sarasota to Venice! If you’re up for a long ride on a smooth surface, than this is the path for you. You’ll find shade on the trail if you ride in the morning hours. To save yourself the state park fee, you can park at one of the other trailheads listed here.

At Oscar, the other great feature of this park is the lake. At the lake, you’ll find a small beach and a swimming area. If you fish, the lake is 3-acres and it is fresh water. There are lots of small trails in the park as well to hike and explore. Want to stay for the night? Oscar Scherer contains a campground too.

Map of Free things to do in Sarasota: