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Seaside Stops in Sarasota

Sarasota Classic Car Museum

In 1953, two brothers who loved working on old cars decided that Sarasota needed a car museum. So they opened a facility to showcase some of their collection of classic automobiles. Today, the Sarasota Classic Car Museum is the second-oldest continuously operating car museum in the country. Visitors will see more than 75 automobiles, including a collection of Rolls Royce cars that belonged to Ringling, Paul McCartney’s Mini Cooper and John Lennon’s 1965 Mercedes Benz.

Groups can arrange docent-led tours of the museum and engage the staff in educational conversations about automobile history and industry issues and solutions.

Myakka River State Park

A short distance inland from the beach, Myakka River State Park preserves a 58-square-mile tract of prairies, hammocks, pinelands and wetlands. The Myakka River flows through the park, which also includes Upper Myakka Lake, where visitors can watch wildlife from a boardwalk and take a treetop stroll along a canopy walkway.

Groups visiting the park often take wildlife tours aboard the Myakka Maiden or the Gator Gal. Tours feature lots of alligators, which are most active during the winter, as well as dozens of species of birds and other creatures. The park also offers a tram safari into its backcountry.


You may never have heard of an Amish snowbird, but you’re likely to see them if you visit Sarasota during the winter. The city’s Pinecraft community is home to a large population of Amish and Mennonite retirees during the cold-weather months, and a growing number are making Pinecraft their permanent residence. Those citizens have set up Amish farmers markets, furniture stores and restaurants that groups often enjoy visiting.

For a taste of Amish culture, many groups have lunch or dinner at Der Dutchman Restaurant, which features traditional Amish recipes, as well as a gift shop and bakery that sells homemade desserts and pies.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.