37 Free Things to Do in Sarasota in 2022 [Complete List]

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This is a list of free things to do in Sarasota, Florida.

These are the most unique and fun places to go when you’re bored.

And they’re completely free!

Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market

Let’s get started!

Here are the best places & activities that are free:

  1. Sarasota Farmers Market
  2. Waterside Farmers Market
  3. Ranch Nite Wednesdays
  4. UTC Night Market
  5. Free Events at The Bay
  6. Sarasota Beaches
  7. UTC Events on The Green
  8. Siesta Key Drum Circle
  9. Ringling Museum of Art
  10. Siesta Key Rum
  11. Sarasota Pier
  12. Venice Pier
  13. Humphris Park (South Jetty)
  14. Conservatory Park
  15. Robinson Preserve
  16. The Nest at Robinson Preserve
  17. Sarasota Architectural Salvage
  18. Myakka State Park
  19. Oscar Scherer State Park
  20. St. Armands Circle
  21. Bayfront Park
  22. Payne Park
  23. Bradenton Riverwalk
  24. Anna Maria Island Trolley
  25. Drive on Casey Key
  26. John Ringling Causeway Bridge
  27. Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy
  28. Collect Sand Dollars
  29. Collect Shark Teeth
  30. Point of Rocks
  31. Tube Dude
  32. Legacy Trail
  33. Night Volleyball at Waterside
  34. Nathan Benderson Park Finish Tower
  35. Gulf Gate Public Library
  36. Selby Public Library
  37. Manatees in Portosueno Park
Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market

Sarasota Farmers Market

Sarasota Farmers Market features local farms, local restaurants, home baked goods, local art, crafted coffee and more. It’s fun, there’s live music and you can easily spend a few hours there.

When: Every Saturday 7am-1pm. Even if it rains.

Waterside Farmers Market

The Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch is very large and features lots of new restaurants. You’ll find local farms, local produce and local vendors. They started with 75 vendors and have grown way past that. It’s super kid friendly and there are lots of families.

When: Every Sunday 10am-2pm.

Ranch Nite Wednesdays

Ranch Nite Wednesdays is a weekly outdoor hangout with food trucks, restaurants, live music, water views, cornhole, outdoor drinking and more. It’s fun, super lively and there’s nothing really like it.

It’s great for families and there are lots of things to do for kids. You’ll be coming back almost every week. Definitely one of the best free things to do in Sarasota.

When: Every Wednesday 6-9pm
Where: Waterside Place in Lakewood Ranch

UTC Night Market

UTC Night Market

The UTC Night Market offers live music, food trucks, local food vendors, outdoor drinking, outdoor dancing, kids games, cornhole, building blocks for kids, handmade goods, jewelry, local art and more. It’s super fun and very family friendly.

When: Every 3rd Thursday of the month. 5-9pm
Where: The Green in University Town Center.

Free Events at The Bay

In 2022, The Bay Park started running outdoor kids movies, tai chi, yoga, zumba, salsa, moving moms, fit kids and other really cool events. If you’re looking for free things to do in Sarasota today or this weekend, check out the The Bay Sarasota event calendar.

Sarasota Beaches

There are over 35 miles of beaches in Sarasota County. Here are the best ones and what makes them different.

Siesta Key Beach

The #1 beach in the US and one of the best in the world. 3 mile white sandy beach, free parking, bathrooms, showers and shallow entry. But always busy and a long walk to the water.

Lido Key Beach

White sandy beach, free parking, shallow entry and less crowded.

Longboat Key Beach

White sandy beach, quiet and free parking. Public beach access points are scattered over 12 miles.

Turtle Beach

Slightly darker sand, quiet, less crowds, free parking & free trolley. Restrooms are a decent walk.

UTC Events on The Green

Storytime on the Green in UTC

University Town Center runs many events during the year. Especially during the holidays. Kids Storytime, Cars & Coffee, Dance Parties, Zumba, outdoor movies, outdoor workouts, sunset yoga & more. Check out their events calendar.

Sunset Yoga: Wednesdays 5:30pm
Workout classes: Saturdays 9:30am
Storytime: Every 2nd Wednesday 10am
Night Market: Every 3rd Thursday 5pm

Siesta Key Drum Circle

The Drum Circle on Siesta Key beach is lively and magical. It’s a free event that’s been going on since 1996. People drum along, dance, hula hoop and have a great time. It’s fun and impossible to miss.

Where: Siesta Key Beach. Left of the concession stand.
When: Every Sunday evening. About 1 hour before sunset.

Ringling Museum of Art

The Ringling Museum with Kids

The Ringling Museum has an art gallery, rose garden, circus museum, shaded kids playground and beautiful banyan trees. There’s also a giant mansion with a courtyard. You can also walk the grounds with a great view of Sarasota Bay.

When: Free on Mondays.

Siesta Key Rum

Siesta Key Rum offers free tours of their distillery. Which usually run about 45-60 minutes. You can also sample different rums in their tasting room. We love the coconut and spiced rum flavors.

When: Every day 11am, 1pm or 3pm
Free Tours: Registration

Sarasota Pier

Venice Fishing Pier Florida

The Sarasota Pier is one of the best fishing piers in Sarasota! It extends 550 feet into Sarasota Bay. There’s a kids playground, public restrooms and a walking path along the water. The views of downtown Sarasota are excellent. The water views are even better.

If you decide to fish, they have a bait shop with live shrimp & pinfish. They also have beer, wine, sandwiches, fishing pole rental, fishing tackle and more! It’s also known as Tony Saprito Pier.

Venice Pier

Venice Fishing Pier Florida

Venice Pier is a 720 foot long pier that stretches into the Gulf of Mexico. Since it faces West, it’s one of the best places to watch the sunset in Sarasota County. If you’re looking for free things to do with kids, you’ll love this pier.

It’s also one of the only free fishing piers in Sarasota county. So if you have a fishing pole, you can fish for free. They also have fishing pole rentals and live bait right on the pier.

Humphris Park

Jetty Jacks at Sunset

Humphris Park has an asphalt walkway that stretches into the Gulf of Mexico. There are giant rocks on both sides that separate Venice Inlet from the Gulf of Mexico. It’s one of the best free things to do in Sarasota for couples.

Since it also faces West with no obstructions, it’s one of the most romantic places to watch the sunset. During the day, you can watch fishermen catch mangrove snappers almost every few minutes along the South Jetty.

Conservatory Park

Conservatory Park is one of the most hidden gems in Sarasota. It’s a beautiful park surrounded by different kinds of trees and ferns. There are paved walking trails that’ll take you around the park. It’s safe, clean and free. There’s also a decent amount of free parking.

You’ll find unlimited shade. If you’re looking for off the beaten path Sarasota activities, this is it.

Robinson Preserve

Robinson Preserve is a 682 acre natural preserve with 7.5 miles of nature hikes. You can walk around, go for a bike ride, kayak or even paddle board. There’s a 5 story observation tower with breathtaking panoramic views of Tampa Bay and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. You’ll find strategically placed benches and free parking.

The Nest at Robinson Preserve

The Nest at Robinson Preserve has a giant treehouse with long tunnels made of rope. You’ll find a 2 story slide and a 5 story slide. The entire kids area is enclosed and there are only 2 entrances. It’s one of the coolest outdoor play areas!

Open: Every day 7am-7pm

The indoor section is open on Saturdays. “Explore the canopy boardwalk among banyans, climb to the top of the crow’s nest, take in breathtaking panoramic views & make an exciting exit via slide.” – Manatee Chamber

Open: Saturdays 9am-12pm
Cost: Free

Sarasota Architectural Salvage

The Sarasota Architectural Salvage is the most unique place in Sarasota. You’ll find 1000’s of salvaged items. Salvaged boats turned into furniture, upcycled desks, chandeliers from any decade, unique antiques and all types of wooden slabs. It’s a weird and cool place.

Myakka State Park

Myakka River State Park is a 37,000 acre park with beautiful scenery, lots of hiking trails, canopy walkways, a 74 foot tower and more! You’ll find a 25 foot observation tower that connects to the larger tower via a suspended bridge.

The hammock canopy (suspended bridge) is about 100 feet long and isn’t for everyone. You’ll slowly cross 1 at a time and get to see a lot of alligators.

Cost: Free admission with a Florida public library card.
How: Pick up a free day pass at your local library for up to 8 people in 1 car.
Expires: September 13, 2022

Oscar Scherer State Park

Oscar Scherer State Park is a 1,400 acre state park with 15 miles of hiking trails. It’s also one of the best places to kayak, canoe and go on a bike ride. You’ll see American alligators, bald eagles and a great nature center. If you’re patient, you’ll see lots of wildlife. This is one of the best free things to do in Sarasota.

Cost: Free admission with a Florida public library card.
How: Pick up a free day pass at your local library for up to 8 people in 1 car.
Expires: September 13, 2022

St. Armands Circle

St. Armands Circle always has something going on. It’s a great place to walk around and people watch. If you’re looking for free things to do in Sarasota this weekend, check out their event calendar. You’ll find boat shows, luxury car shows, art festivals, handcrafted festivals and more.

Bayfront Park

Bayfront Park is a beautiful area with scenic views of Sarasota Bay and the Ringling bridge. There are convenient benches throughout the park. It’s a great place to watch the sunset with yachts and sailboats in the background. You can also have a picnic in the lawn area.

There’s a tiki bar with live music, picnic tables and a kids playground. Should you choose to stay for lunch or dinner, you’ll find Marina Jacks. Known as one of the best Sarasota restaurants on the water.

Payne Park

Payne Park has something for everyone. You’ll find one of the best kids playgrounds in Sarasota, skate park for older kids and a disc golf course. The circus themed playground is full gated, safe, has a small splash and mist fans. They also have a 9 hold disc golf course for beginners.

Bradenton Riverwalk

The Bradenton Riverwalk is a beautiful paved walkway along Manatee River. It’s a great place to walk around with a nice cool breeze. There’s also a fishing pier that stretches into Manatee River. It has great scenic views and occasionally you’ll see a dolphin or a manatee.

They have a decent size splash pad for the kids and a kids playground. It’s very well shaded and there’s lots of free parking. Looking for things to do with kids in Bradenton? This is one of the best places to go.

Anna Maria Island Trolley

Anna Maria Island Trolley stops at 35 different locations on Anna Maria Island. If you’re in the mood to explore, you can hop on and off. There are convenient stops every 2-4 blocks. The AMI trolley runs at no cost to you.

Cost: $0
When: Every 20 minutes (6am-9pm). Every 30 minutes (9pm-10:30pm).
Where: From Coquina Beach to Anna Maria city pier.

Drive on Casey Key

If you’re in the mood for a drive, we highly recommend driving on Casey Key. It’s a two way single lane winding road along the coast. There are beautiful mansions on both sides of the road. Occasionally, you’ll drive along the Gulf of Mexico or Sarasota Bay, since it’s right in the middle of both.

John Ringling Causeway Bridge

The John Ringling Bridge is 3,097.04 feet long. There are 5 ways to experience it. You can choose to walk, run or bike it. You can also go fishing off the bridge (where it’s allowed).

However, our personal favorite is driving at night from St. Armands Circle. The scenic views of the Sarasota skyline are absolutely beautiful. The bridge is well lit and adds to the romantic drive home.

Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy

Marietta Museum has an indoor art gallery with contemporary paintings. This is one of the most creative spaces in Sarasota! And it’s free!

You’ll find 1,200 pound pink flamingo’s, metal sculptures, seashell art, pink flying pigs, seahorses, giraffes, etc! There are also metal wire horses, metal wire moose, blue wired rhino, a silver space ship, a silver submarine and more!

Cost: Free. Donations are welcome.

Collect Sand Dollars

The best place to collect sand dollars is on the northern end of Longboat Key. It’s sea shell and sand dollar paradise.

Collect Shark Teeth

Shark Teeth from Blind Pass Beach

Here are the best beaches to find shark teeth in Florida. The best place to collect shark teeth is on Caspersen Beach. It’s one the best shelling beaches and the best things to do in Sarasota for free!

Point of Rocks

Point of Rocks is a hidden gem that most locals don’t know exists. It’s the best place to find sea creatures that hang out around tidal pools. It’s very difficult to find, but well worth it.

The ideal time to come is when the tide is low, so the rocks are exposed. If you’re into snorkeling, this is among the best places to snorkel in Sarasota!

Parking: There is a small parking lot North. About 20 parking spots.
Bring: Water shoes

Tube Dude

Tube Dude is one of the most unique fun things to do. No matter where you go, you can’t miss these artistic hand crafted metal tube dudes. You’ll see them randomly in the street, outside of restaurants, playgrounds and even mailboxes. It’s something fun to do when you get bored and it’s free!

Legacy Trail

Legacy Trail is an 18.5 mile long trail that runs from downtown Sarasota to Venice. You can walk, run or bike it. It’s safe, clean and very organized. There are even dedicated stoplights when you need to cross a road.

Starting Point: Next to Five-O Donuts or Payne Park

Night Volleyball at Waterside Place

Waterside Place is one of the newest areas in Sarasota. The community and area was built from scratch with fun in mind. You’ll find many volleyball courts that are well lit at night. It’s very safe and there’s usually a game going on. Get together with friends and go play! There’s lots of free parking and it’s very easy to get to.

Nathan Benderson Park Finish Tower

Nathan Benderson Park Finish Tower is a six story building overlooking a beautiful lake. It’s one of the tallest buildings in the area that faces West. So, it’s a great place to watch the sunset. The rooftop has a 360-degree view deck and is accessible by stairs.

Gulf Gate Public Library

Find serenity in Gulf Gate Library’s tall glass windows and expansive open tables. Find a nook and catch up on a new read. Our favorite thing to do is bring a snack and wander around each section. Whether you are catching up with an old friend or just spending a quiet afternoon alone, this is the perfect place.

Manatees in Portosueno Park

Portosueno Park is a great place to watch Manatees and pelicans. During the summer months, manatees prefer to mate in this area. However, there’s very little parking, barely any benches and almost no shade. While you will see manatees here, you have to be patient.

Selby Public Library

Selby Public Library was the first library in Sarasota. Originally built in 1907. It’s also the largest public library in Sarasota county. It has a small aquarium, games and creative stations for kids.

They have free clubs like chess club, coding club, video gaming, etc. They also run free events like free movies, video games, art, cat parties and more! While it is a great place, it is a bit smelly and has strong odors.

Map of Free Things to Do in Sarasota

We created a convenient way for you to find free things to do in Sarasota near your location. Here’s a link to Google Maps for fun things to do near your location.