Wade Tatangelo at the Sarasota Herald Tribune put together this great list of things to do outdoors during these days of social distancing and limited events around our area. “Keep in mind, visitors to area parks and attractions are reminded to practice safe social distancing, to remain home if they have any signs of illness and to wash their hands regularly with soap and water. Also, certain cities such as the city of Sarasota, Holmes Beach and the city of Anna Maria, have introduced mandatory mask rules; with Bradenton being the latest to adopt a COVID-19 mask ordinance.”
1. Explore The Ringling grounds
Take a relaxing walk along The Ringling grounds, including the gorgeous waterfront along Sarasota Bay, on a Monday when the museum is free of charge. Say hi to David, the replica of Michelangelo’s famed statue found towering over the Courtyard, stop by Mable Ringling’s Rose Garden and before leaving, be sure to take a trip through the the Ringling’s creepy Dwarf Garden, which you’ll find tucked away by the the Visitor Pavilion, right before entering the bridge leading to the main art museum. Yes, it’s almost as if they don’t want you find these scary little sculptures.
2. Walk or run across the John Ringling Causeway
The bridge traverses Sarasota Bay, connecting downtown Sarasota to St. Armand’s and Lido Key, offering spectacular views and some great exercise, especially if you decide to jog.
3. Unearth sharks’ teeth on Caspersen Beach
Locals and tourists have been coming to this beach for years to collect prehistoric sharks’ teeth, which make for totally rad jewelry.
4. Take a walk around St. Armands Circle
You won’t find a more fun place to do some window shopping — and people watching! — in the region.
5. Climb the tower at Robinson Preserve
Admire the views of Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
6. Walk or bike, skate and play on the riverside
Bring your skateboard, bicycle, running shoes, volleyball, dog and/or child and spend the day at Bradenton Riverwalk, which also includes a splash park and playground. Oh, and be sure to look for dolphins and manatee, which both love the brackish river waters.
7. Bike the length of the Legacy Trail
It starts just south of the city of Sarasota and continues about 10 miles to Venice.
8. Spend an afternoon at Bayfront Park in downtown Sarasota
Relax in the shade while enjoying the views and breeze of Sarasota Bay and/or take the children to the splash park.
9. Bring your pooch to Paw Park
Venice’s Brohard Paw Park is the only beach in the county where canines are allowed. Trust us, your doggy will thank you after a day at Paw Park.
10. Picnic on Coquina Beach
The beach on the southern tip of Anna Maria Island backs up to hundreds of Australian pines providing ample shade for the extensive picnic area, parking lot, and paved trail. Plus, there are nice restrooms and private, and stand-alone changing stalls. If you do want to spend money, there’s also the Coquina Beach Cafe.
11. Play at Nathan Benderson Park
The Ronald A. Balducci Playground is open with hour-long closures at 8 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. to allow crews to clean playground equipment. The boat ramp is also open (only electric motors are authorized; gas motors must be raised to indicate they aren’t in use).
12. Take a walk through Fishermen’s Village
Located on Charlotte Harbor in Punta Gorda, Fishermen’s Village features dining and shopping plus lots of free sight-seeing.
13. Test your skateboard, bike or inline skate skills in South County
The North Port Skate Park features concrete bowls, ramps, jumps and rails with restrooms, two small shelters and vending machines.
14. Go bird watching at Celery Fields
Sarasota County’s Celery Fields is “an ideal location for wildlife watching and passive recreational use,” according to the Sarasota Audubon Society.
15. Get to the beach for sunset
We have some of the best beaches on the planet and few things are more perfect in nature than witnessing the sun sink into the Gulf waters.