Sarasota is a beautiful coastal city on the Gulf of Mexico, known for its stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage, and thriving arts scene. It’s small and big at the same time and has so much to offer for any type of traveler.

It’s an especially popular destination for couples seeking a romantic getaway. Whether you're looking for a relaxing day on the beach or an adventurous night out, Sarasota has plenty of romantic activities to offer. 

As someone who lives just a few minutes away from downtown Sarasota, here are some of the most romantic things to do in Sarasota for couples.

Watch the Sunset at Siesta Key Beach

Siesta Key Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world (often rated the best in the US), and it's the perfect place to watch the sunset with your loved one. Siesta Key Beach boasts crystal-clear waters, soft, white sand, and plenty of amenities, including picnic areas, showers, and restrooms. 

Pack a picnic basket with your favorite foods and enjoy a romantic dinner on the beach while watching the sun dip below the horizon.

Plan a Romantic Photoshoot

Sarasota is beautiful. The beaches of Siesta Key and Lido Key are beautiful. And you’re beautiful.

It’s the perfect combination for a photoshoot. Whether you are dating, engaged, or have been married for 15 years, there’s never a bad time to take professional, intimate photos to capture your love story and preserve these moments forever.

These are the photos you’ll share with the generations to come. And there’s hardly a better backdrop than the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. 

As a local Sarasota photographer, I live just a few miles from downtown and would love to capture photos of you two. Send me a message here so we can plan your dream Sarasota photoshoot.

(that page talks mostly about engagement sessions. But you don’t have to be engaged to plan a couples photoshoot. Dating and married couples are absolutely welcome, too!)

Take a Stroll at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a beautiful botanical garden in Sarasota, Florida, and it's the perfect place to take a romantic stroll with your partner. 

The garden is home to over 20,000 plants, including rare and exotic species from around the world. The garden also hosts a variety of events, including live music, art exhibits, and plant sales, so be sure to check the calendar before you go.

Have a Romantic Dinner at Michael's On East

Michael's On East is an award-winning restaurant in Sarasota, Florida, known for its upscale cuisine, impeccable service, and romantic ambiance. The restaurant offers a variety of dishes, including seafood, steak, and pasta, all made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. 

The wine list is also extensive, with over 1,000 bottles to choose from. Be sure to make a reservation in advance, as this restaurant is very popular among locals and tourists alike.

Other restaurants that are perfect for couples looking to make memories include:

  • Baker & Wife
  • Beach Bistro
  • Bijou Garden Café
  • Blu Kouzina
  • Café Gabbiano
  • The Capital Grille
  • Château 13 Restaurant & Wine Bar
  • Crab & Fin
  • Indigenous
  • Maison Blanche
  • Ophelia’s on the Bay (Yes, from the MTV Show “Siesta Key”)

Enjoy a Couples Massage at The Ritz-Carlton Spa

The Ritz-Carlton Spa in Sarasota is the perfect place to unwind and relax with your partner. The spa offers a variety of treatments, including couples massages, facials, and body wraps. 

The spa also features a sauna, steam room, and relaxation lounge, so you can spend the entire day pampering yourself and your loved one.

And this goes without saying, but one of the most romantic things to do in Sarasota Florida is to simply book a stay at the Ritz. You won’t be mad that you did.

Visit the Ringling Museum of Art

The Ringling Museum of Art is a world-class museum in Sarasota, Florida, dedicated to the life and legacy of John Ringling, the founder of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. 

The museum features a collection of over 21,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. The museum also hosts a variety of events, including concerts, lectures, and art workshops, so be sure to check the calendar before you go.

One of the most popular things to do in Sarasota Florida for couples is to actually stroll the Ringling Property. The museum grounds are massive, so you can spend a few hours roaming around here. 

There’s lots of green space and fantastic architecture to admire. There’s also an ice cream stand near the bay, so grab yourself a treat and take a seat on one of the many benches overlooking the water. 

(ps, the art museum and the majority of the grounds are free to the public on Mondays)

Go on a Sunset Sail

Sarasota is known for its beautiful sunsets, and one of the best ways to experience them is on a sunset sail. This is easily one of the most romantic things to do in Sarasota FL, or anywhere along the coastline in the sunshine state.

Many local companies offer sunset sailboat tours, where you can watch the sun go down while sipping on champagne and enjoying the company of your loved one. It's the perfect way to end a romantic day in Sarasota.

Chartering a private sailboat for 2 hours can actually be quite affordable. 

Visit the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

The Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is a nonprofit organization dedicated to marine research and conservation. There’s so much to see here, so it’s no surprise that this is one of the most popular attractions in the city.

From manatees to sharks, and everything in between, this is a world-class experience that also supports the marine ecosystems scattered across Florida. 

Enjoy a Relaxing Paddle Through the Mangrove Tunnels

Looking for the more adventurous date ideas Sarasota has to offer? How about getting in the water and exploring one of the most important ecosystems in Florida?

Kayaking or paddleboarding are extremely popular around here thanks to the abundance of coastal mangrove forests. There are countless tunnels that you can paddle through that create a unique, one-of-a-kind nature experience that is perfect for two.

In Sarasota, you can find one such paddling experience on the South end of Lido Key (there’s a park, beach, and inshore mangrove forest where you can rent gear).

Make the Most of Your Vacation

Sarasota is rapidly growing in popularity as a travel destination for couples young and old. There’s so much to do year-round in this warm, coastal, and beautiful city that I’m lucky enough to live next to.

Sure, I might be a little biased. But I’m confident that the most romantic things to do in Sarasota for couples involve a sunset photoshoot on the beach (or at a few of my favorite urban locations downtown) followed by dinner before retiring to your hotel room overlooking the water.

If you want to book a photoshoot in Sarasota or on the beaches of Siesta Key, you can fill out the contact form on this page.

Ps - yes, this page says engagement photos. If you’re dating or married, we can still take romantic photos. Just pretend it says dating or married couple photos ;) Combine a photoshoot with any of the other Sarasota date ideas above and you’ve got yourself a day to remember.