Sarasota, Florida is the perfect destination for engagement photos. There’s such a variety of scenery and magnificent places to take intimate photos.
It’s popular, both for traveling couples as well as Florida locals, with its many beautiful beaches, historic buildings, lush gardens, and nature preserves.
Wondering which Sarasota engagement photo locations are going to produce the most gorgeous, timeless photos? Here are some of my absolute favorite spots in (and around) the Sarasota area, from beachy to woodsy, luxury to rustic, as well as a few super touristy spots just for fun.
Siesta Key Beach
There’s a reason that Siesta Key Beach is ranked one of the best in the US (and the world). It’s gorgeous, and the powdery white sand is oh-so-soft.
But that also means it’s popular. It’s a great spot for engagement photos, but you’ve got to be selective about your specific location, so you don’t end up with tons of random beachgoers in your photos.
Generally, some of the smaller public access points are great. Fewer people use them, and there tends to be a lot of dune grass and greenery to add some contrast to your beach photos and create romantic backdrops.
(Don’t tell on me, but Siesta Beach access 8 is pretty much perfect, if you can find a parking spot)
Siesta Key Beach Yellow Lifeguard Stand
If you need some iconic Sarasota photos, then head to the Yellow Lifeguard Stand on the main beach. This popular landmark is photographed constantly and would make a great backdrop for a few of your engagement pictures.
Shell Road (Siesta Key)
Need a beach that is free from overcrowding? Head down Shell Road to the public access point to find yourself a quiet corner of Siesta Key, for more sand and water in your photos and fewer bystanders.
Beer Can Island (Longboat Key)
No, you don’t need a boat to get to this park of Longboat Key, the very northern tip. There’s actually a parking area and a trail you can take to get to this quiet stretch of coastline.
And the photos are phenomenal here. However, don’t forget to take some snaps on the trail as you walk to/from the beach, as the scenery is gorgeous and unique. This part of the island is much closer to Bradenton than Sarasota, though.
This place is also called Gibby Point, which is what you might see on Google Maps.
South Lido Key Beach
Most people spend their time at the Siesta Key beaches, but I’m a big fan of South Lido Key Beach on Lido Key (right next to Siesta Key). The southern beach provides angles of the Gulf, as well as the city of Sarasota. Not only are there beautiful sandy beaches, but there are also trails through small patches of pine forest.
The Ringling Museum
This place is absolutely stunning. And it’s a very popular and quite famous luxury wedding venue. But you don’t need to save this location for your big day. For a fee, you can host an engagement shoot here.
The banyan trees are massive and a must to capture some photos in front of. The pink courtyard is iconic. And don’t forget the Ca d’Zan, a historical, Mediterranean-style masterpiece on the waterfront built in 1926.
Taking photos here is quite the commitment, as the fee for a photo shoot is $300. Plus, they only allow a certain amount of photoshoots during the day/week, and they can book up weeks in advance.
If you’re thinking about taking photos here, you’ll need to plan ahead and book a slot right away.
(An alternative, if you can’t wait months for a permit, is the nearby College Hall at New College, which offers similar views and architecture, with no permit, reservation, or fee required)
Florida is the flattest state in the country. There just isn’t much elevation here, so finding mountains or even hills, is difficult.
But if you’re set on taking photos in rolling fields, Celery Fields is the perfect (and only) option. This expansive green space offers a variety of different photo opportunities, from sprawling meadows to a big green hill.
It’s VERY green and quite rustic/wild, so plan your wardrobe accordingly. You’ll thank me later.
Mangrove Tunnels (Lido Key)
Feeling a bit more adventurous? If you want to capture some unique engagement photos, consider paddling through the natural mangrove tunnels on Lido Key. These tunnels are such fun to explore, the paddling is easy, and it wouldn’t be hard for your engagement photographer to get out there with you and capture some fun shots.
Myakka River State Park
If you’re willing to get outside the city a bit, Myakka River State Park is a fantastic, all-natural destination. This state park is huge and offers a ton of different scenery, from the canopy walkway (very photogenic) or the attached observation tower to the massive oaks dripping in Spanish moss.
There are fields, trails, rivers, and much more to create stunning, wild photos.
Edson Keith Mansion/Phillipi Park
This is another popular wedding venue, but the mansion is located in a much larger public park. The park is beautiful, as it runs along the banks of Phillipi Creek (more like a river), with scenic views, trails, and lots of mature oaks dripping in Spanish moss.
If there isn’t a wedding happening, you can walk around the outside of the mansion, on the fishing dock, and through the rose garden.
This popular park sits in the center of coastal Sarasota. There’s a bunch to do here, but simply walking around the park on the pathway next to the water will create a ton of photo opportunities. It mixes urban with the ocean in the best way.
They also recently relocated the giant “Unconditional Surrender” statue right by this park, which is another major attraction in Sarasota. This statue was based on a photograph taken during WWII and would make for an incredible engagement photo if you can find the right angle.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
This is another popular wedding venue that also works wonderfully for engagement photos. It’s not quite as expensive as The Ringling (only $100), but you do have to pay admission as well ($21 per person).
But this place has so many beautiful twists and turns, all providing photogenic scenery. The many gardens, small pathways, and historic buildings are perfect for a loving stroll as the two of you explore your way through this magical location.
Anna Maria Island
This island borders Bradenton, just north of Sarasota. And it’s almost as popular as Siesta Key.
At the very northern end is Bean Point Beach, which is arguably the best place for photos in the entire area. Yes, I love it here and you will too.
Choosing the Best Engagement Photo Locations Sarasota FL
How the heck do you choose between all these incredible locations? First, you need to think about the cost. Only a few of these locations require a permit and entrance fee. Not only do they cost $150-$200 just to gain access to, but they require advanced reservations, with The Ringling being notorious for many months-long wait times.
If you can wait that long, it’s an absolutely stunning place. If not, consider the many free options available; beaches, parks, and preserves.
Most spots in the Sarasota area are beach-focused. But if you want a mixture of woodsy and beach, head to South Lido Key Beach. When you enter the parking lot, turn right for the beach, and left for the trails in the woods. On this wooded trail, there are also small little beaches that face the city.
If you want to double dip on Sarasota engagement photo locations, South Lido Key Beach is also right next to the mangrove tunnels that you can kayak through. If your photographer is up for it (like me and my husband would be), you can rent a couple of kayaks and casually paddle through this unique scenery while we capture adorable photos.
If you like the beach, but only need a little bit of greenery, like dune grass and sea grape trees, then head to Siesta Key Beach, access 8. Trust me, you’ll love this spot.
And if you STILL can’t decide, then send me a message and I’d be happy to recommend something specifically suited to you and your goals for the photoshoot.
Or, you can visit this page to learn all about my engagement photography here in Sarasota.
You can contact me directly about engagement photos here.