Last month, I headed to Sarasota, FL, for a much needed vacation.
I’ve been going to Sarasota for years as my mom and most of her side of the family live there now. Sarasota is almost like a second home to me and truly holds a special place in my heart. It’s always been a place where I go when I need a break from the hectic pace of life and a reminder that so much beauty exists when we simply slow down.
Sarasota not only has absolutely stunning beaches but it also has an amazing selection of organic and healthy restaurants as well as an array of wellness offerings.
Some of the places on this list I tried for the first time on my most recent visit and some of my services were complimentary, while other places I have been going to for years on my own. Either way, if I tried a service or restaurant and didn’t like it, I simply did not include it in this guide.
Healthy Travel: Where to Stay
I’m a big fan of staying at Westin Hotels in general as I love the company’s overall focus on wellness and the Westin Sarasota was by far one of my favorite places to stay within this hotel concept.
The location says it all. The hotel is located on the edge of downtown at the gateway to the John Ringling Bridge—one of the most iconic landmarks in Sarasota— and overlooks the Sarasota Bay. It’s easy to access downtown Sarasota’s restaurants and nightlife but it’s also a quick drive or shuttle ride to the areas breathtaking beaches. While there is nothing like a stay right on the beach, if you also enjoy being close to a bit more activity, the Westin Sarasota offers a good middle ground.
The staff at the Westin Sarasota could not be more welcoming or accommodating and the hotel has a wellness concierge to help you with everything from booking local workouts to guided runs.
Healthy Travel: Where to Relax
Sarasota is known for its beaches. The sand is white and powdery and the water is turquoise like the Caribbean. My favorite beach is on Lido Key as it’s a bit more off the beaten path. If you’re looking for more action with bars and restaurants, head to Siesta Key, which is the #1 beach in the country. If you’ve never been to Siesta Key, I recommend going at least once, but it’s not typically somewhere I routinely go when I’m in Sarasota. It can get a bit crowded and depending on the time of year, tends to appeal to a younger crowd.
For a dose of relaxation head to MindSpa Integrative Wellness Center for flotation therapy. MindSpa is about a 15-minute drive from downtown Sarasota so you’ll either need to rent a car for your stay or take an Uber of Lyft. I had a rental car courtesy of Mazda so I didn’t have an issues getting to or from the location.
Flotation therapy is great for stress, burnout and fatigue. This was my first experience in a single pod for flotation therapy and I was a nervous about feeling claustrophobic in the small chamber; however, MindSpa allows you to keep the door to the pod open, which clamed my nerves. I ended up closing the door without any issues as soon as my session started but it was nice to know I had the option of leaving it open.
I started off my stay at the Westin with the “Be Well” signature massage, as I knew I would want to begin my vacation with immediate relaxation. I booked the appointment ahead of time to coincide with my arrival and I highly recommend doing the same. The massage was the perfect combination of deep tissue that worked into the muscles and relaxation with heated stones and a customized essential oil blend.
Healthy Travel: Where to Sweat
I honestly don’t workout much inside a typical studio when I’m in Sarasota as I love walking or running the Ringling Bridge as well as the beaches but I did pop into one class at Mantra Fitness during my last visit. I love megareformer classes and after taking nearly a week off from classes in Boston, the workout at Mantra Fitness was tough to get through. I’ll definitely go back next time I’m in Sarasota. For me, a good megareformer class is always worth the price tag and I choose to save in other areas.
Healthy Travel: Where to Eat
Juice and Smoothie bars are on nearly every block in Sarasota but it’s hard to find one that is organic and offers options that are not loaded with sugar. After reading about CROP online, it was at the top of my list to check out. Founded by an oncology nurse, CROP offers an extensive selection of cold-pressed organic juices and smoothies. If you like a good, hearty green juice, my favorite was the Blast Off. It contains 24 cups of leafy greens in a single serving. If you want something a little less green, try the Camouflage or the Moringa Hemp Latte.
Shore Diner is a must-visit in Sarasota. It’s located right on St. Armands Circle and on a beautiful night you can sit outside. They have an incredible drink menu and you can never go wrong with ordering one of their local seafood dishes.
For a quick healthy lunch, I love theRoof Bar & Eats at the Westin Sarasota. The poolside restaurant is open to the public and offers panoramic views of Sarasota and The Gulf of Mexico. I opted for the Market Lettuces salad with the grilled catch of the day and a side of red lentil hummus.
I went to Lila a few years ago for my birthday and it is still one of my favorite restaurants in Sarasota. Most of the dishes are vegan friendly and made with organic, locally sourced produce. The dishes are small so I highly recommend going with a group and getting a bunch to share.
I hope you find this guide helpful, and I can’t wait to go back to Sarasota! Where are some of your favorite spots in Sarasota? Comment below so we can help each other out