Where To Boat in Sarasota: A Guide to the Beaches & Beyond

Florida’s Gulf Coast is a boater’s paradise where 770 miles of shoreline embrace the warm subtropical waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Point your bow toward the Southwest coast and discover Florida’s coastal city of Sarasota, known for its pristine beaches and the illustrious florida boating lifestyle. You don’t need to go far to find out where to boat in Sarasota, we’re covering the best right here.

Beer Can Island (Pine Key)

The hook-shaped Beer Can Island stretches off the northern tip of Longboat Key and features an undeveloped stretch of white sandy beach. The curve of the island allows boats to anchor in calmer waters, protected from wind and oncoming gulf waves. This makes it one of the most popular places to boat in Sarasota. Hang a hammock on one of the many downed trees or relax on a float in the aquamarine waters.

Lido Key Beach

Lido Key Beach is a great place to slide your boat onto the sand. Those who know where to boat in Sarasota will agree that not all beaches are boat-friendly. Lido Key Beach forms a point at the south end of the island then continues along the island’s back side, creating a safe haven from the rougher waters. It’s less populated than the world-famous Siesta Key beach, but just as picturesque.

City Island

Located at the northern tip of Lido Key, City Island is a small island known for its crown jewel attraction, the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium. Dock at one of the two waterfront restaurants and walk to the aquarium or the nearby marine bird sanctuary. Get up close and personal with marine species or stroll through the mangroves at the Ken Thompson Park boardwalk. No sandy beaches here, but the family will love learning about nature and the local marine species.

Explore The Intracoastal Waterway

The barrier islands that dot the coast are separated from mainland Florida by a channel of water called the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). The ICW is an intricate water body that offers exciting opportunities to observe native wildlife, explore inland waterways, fish mangrove estuaries, snorkel the grass flats, picnic on a sandbar, collect shells on the islands or tour multimillion dollar mansions.

Dockside Dining

When deciding where to boat in Sarasota, consider the endless boat-access dining options to enhance your boating experience. Escape the sun and recharge for a few hours with a cold refreshment, fresh Florida cuisine and the sparkling waterfront views of Sarasota Bay.

The many beautiful places to boat in Sarasota will offer you world-class options for your next boating destination. When planning your trip, check out our Florida boating page and use our interactive map to find boat ramps and marinas.


Alycia Page

Alycia Page

Alycia Page is a writer, avid sportsman, and Southwest Florida native where her roots were planted four generations ago. Alycia works as a contributing blogger to numerous organizations promoting tourism, conservation, fishing and outdoor involvement. When not casting lines along the Gulf Coast, she can be found hunting, camping or chasing new adventures. For more outdoor inspiration, visit her personal blog at tideandtale.com or on Instagram @tideandtale.