The readers of USA TODAY have chosen the Best Florida Attractions in this order:
1. Clearwater Marine Aquarium
2. The Ringling, Sarasota
3. Everglades Holiday Park, Fort Lauderdale
4. Discovery Cove, Orlando
5. Magic Kingdom, Orlando
6. St. Augustine Historic District
7. Seashells of Sanibel Island
8. Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg
9. Castillo de San Marcos, St. Augustine
10. Beaches of Daytona Beach
So, once again, Sarasota not only has one of the top attractions but is also just a short driving distance to Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Sanibel Island and Orlando, making it the perfect place to visit. And, while you are here, the Ringling cannot be missed. It is not just a museum of art although that is one of its most cherished aspects. It also offers tours of John Ringling's mansion, Ca d'Zan, the Circus Museum, Mabel's amazing rose garden, a beautiful restaurant set among the Banyan Trees and the incredible Asolos Theater that brings first rate entertainment to our beautiful town. The gardens of the Ringling offer sitting areas in which to relax and unwind while the social events are exciting and range from Black Tie to casual get-togethers.
Today there was a huge food event held on the grounds called "Forks and Corks" which showcased the area's fine restaurants and wines from the greatest vintners. Sarasota is fortunate to have a group of restaurants called "The Originals" that are locally owned and not affiliated with any chains. These are staffed in many cases by Chef-Owners and when they bring their tantalizing menus to this event, tickets become one of the hottest commodities in town. The offerings are paired with selected wines and you move from station to station inside the grassy courtyard of the museum, surrounded by its pink walls and a huge sense of history. If you have not visted Sarasota yet, you need to! You will not be disappointed.