If you’re a travel nurse looking for the ultimate beach town for your next travel assignment, you need to consider Sarasota, Florida. Sarasota beaches are consistently on “best beaches” lists from around the world, and the city is home to beautiful beachside resorts for both luxury and budget-friendly travelers worldwide. Because of this, Sarasota has many of the amenities you’ll find in bigger cities when it comes to culture, dining and entertainment options, despite it being a relatively small town. This is our city guide for nurses wondering what to eat, drink, do and Instagram while on a travel assignment in Sarasota, Florida.
Have you ever traveled somewhere and found a breakfast spot with food so good it makes you plan future vacations around it? According to numerous travelers on online review websites, Toasted Mango is just such a place. Open for breakfast (served all day) and lunch, the restaurant serves a variety of breakfast favorites, many of which feature their namesake fruit. Salads, wraps and even waffles topped with fresh mangoes make for a delicious tropical treat that you won’t find anywhere else. The casual, friendly atmosphere with outdoor seating available is sure to start your day with a smile. Don’t forget to try the mango butter!
A travel assignment in Sarasota, Florida gives nurses the opportunity to experience some of the world’s best seafood, and Owen’s Fish Camp will likely be a favorite stop while you’re here. Located in downtown Sarasota, the restaurant is an ode to old Florida living, from the mammoth Banyan tree out front to the relaxed, boho atmosphere throughout which often features live music in the backyard. Here you can feast on a wide variety of fresh local seafood cooked multiple ways as well as Southern specialties such as fried green tomatoes, jambalaya and their infamous low country boil.
The vibe in Sarasota is about as tropical as it gets and Lelu Coffee, home of the infamous Coconut Mocha, offers a coffee experience with an island flair that will definitely make you forget your worries, at least for the time being. Serving simply perfect espresso and coffee in any form, from cappuccinos and lattes to Cubanos and café con leches available iced, frapped or hot, their beverages are loved by locals and tourists alike. Breakfast is served daily until noon, and a wide variety of homemade baked goods are always available. They also feature a full bar with margarita, martini and wine lists. Lelu offers a beachy, bohemian vibe that is sure to boost your mood any time of day.
You can’t visit Sarasota without experiencing a bonafide beachside tiki bar, and nurses on assignment there should not pass up a trip to Lido Key Tiki Bar. Located on the beach on the property of the Ritz-Carlton Residences in Sarasota, Lido Key Tiki Bar is open to the public and is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon at the beach while you wait to enjoy a spectacular sunset. A small menu of bar-type food including fresh fish sandwiches, wings and fries is available, but they are known for their succulent lobster rolls. Free, street parking is usually available if you want to avoid the pricier valet option the hotel offers, and after you park you can take one of several walking paths to the actual beach.
The former winter home of John Ringling, one of five Ringling brothers who ran the circus famously known as “The Greatest Show on Earth,” The Ringling is a huge part of Sarasota’s history, and is now home to one of the preeminent art and cultural collections in the United States. In addition to the State Art Museum of Florida, the grounds are home to the historic Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, Bayfront Gardens, the Art Library, two Circus Museums and the Historic Asolo Theater. The grounds and gardens are free to visit daily, and the Museum of Art offers free admission on Mondays.
No travel nurse assignment in Sarasota, Florida would be complete without the opportunity to pet a stingray or feed a shark, right? Mote Marine Laboratory is an excellent place for animal lovers, and especially those who want to learn more about Florida’s unique marine ecosystem and the challenges it currently faces. The museum offers numerous interactive activities and more than 100 species of marine life including alligators, otters, manatees, sea turtles and more. Don’t miss the Shark Zone, a 135,000-gallon shark habitat.
Looking for something to really wow your social media followers while on assignment in Sarasota? Don’t miss a trip to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, a living museum featuring 15 acres of colorful, exotic looking tropical plants and flowers and a children’s rainforest garden with numerous excellent photo opportunities. The profound beauty here will have you so wowed you may even forget to take pictures. The Gardens also feature the largest collection of epiphytes (plants that live on other plants without roots in the soil) in the world.
Travel nurses on assignment in Sarasota have the opportunity to visit what is regularly voted the number one beach in Florida: Siesta Key Beach. Soft, sugar-fine white sand made out of quartz shipped in from the Appalachian Mountains, warm, soothing water and some of the most spectacular ocean views you may ever see in your lifetime await. Parking is free, and there are numerous shops and restaurants located nearby. Oh and did we mention the sunsets? If you’re into those, you’re in for a special treat at Siesta Key Beach. It is truly one of the most picturesque places in Sarasota, and perhaps even the world.