Summer is in full swing with the weather warming up, which means that it’s time to take a trip to your local park. If you live in Sarasota, you might notice that many of its venues are rich in artistic culture and seaside sports, but the city also offers a broad span of recreation for families, too. Read on for our list of the best parks in Sarasota and check out the one(s) that appeals to you and your family this summer.
Right on the edge of Sarasota Bay, Bayfront Park includes a playground area for kids to explore and a park promenade, which skirts around a series of murals and statues scattered throughout the park. Take a seat in one of their swinging benches or dip your feet in the bay. If you’re running low of fuel, take a seat under an umbrella at Oleary's Tiki Bar & Grill or Marina Jack as both are located conveniently close to Bayfront.
Related content: Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Sarasota This Summer
Payne Park began as a 60-acre baseball field that was donated by Calvin and Martha Payne in 1924. In 1990, the baseball field was demolished and replaced with a playground and walking path. The jungle gym is gigantic and displays a circus-themed pad complemented by roller coaster monkey bars and a miniature Ferris wheel. Payne Park is also the location of many school events as it's walking distance for students at several different schools.
If you enjoy kayaking, canoeing, or running, then you'll enjoy Nathan Benderson Park, a prime spot for sporting events like triathlons and rowing competitions including the FISA World Rowing Master Regatta and the Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon Festival. With 600 acres of land and a 400-acre lake skirting the perimeter, this park is perfect for joggers, walkers, and bikers looking to get in their daily routine. The Mall at University Town Center is just a walk away if you need to do some shopping while you're out.
Urfer Family Park is flexible for a variety of visitors as it offers bike trails, hiking trails, picnic facilities, and playgrounds. Older kids may take advantage of their challenging jungle gyms while younger kids can settle for the easier steps and slides. Bring your dog to this pet-friendly park or explore the one-mile nature trail and see some of Florida's beautiful birds along the way. Sarasota’s wetlands are located just on the periphery of this park, which gives visitors the opportunity to become surrounded by nature.
With over five miles of paved trail, Rothenbach Park is perfect for the walking enthusiast. Ride your bike and tour the lush, Floridian greenery or take a seat on one of their many picnic benches and enjoy lunch. If you’re looking to host an event, this park has several pavilions with grills and nearby restrooms for your convenience. Rothenbach Park also has two playground areas for kids that are well-padded with rubber mulch so that your kids can play safely and to their heart’s content.
Depending on what you’re looking for, Sarasota's best parks have something for visitors of all ages and interests so everyone can find a way to enjoy the summer sun at a park they love.
Courtesy photo of Peter Aschoff at Unsplash