Craft beer, farm-fresh cuisine and gourmet dishes developed by star chefs are just a few highlights of a trip to Southwest Florida.
When traveling through the region that includes Charlotte and Sarasota, Florida, visitors can enjoy an authentic taste of the USA with a trip to area breweries and popular seafood destinations. While here, take in a variety of tourist attractions and natural landmarks, or head out on a charter fishing expedition.
Get Started by Becoming a Very Important Visitor
Picking up the Sarasota VIV (Very Important Visitor) Card makes it easy to tour several popular attractions and sites over the course of a day or weekend. At Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the tropical oasis on the Sarasota bayfront offers daily guided "walk and talk" tours. Visitors can also dine in the gardens at the historic Selby House Cafe near the banyan grove. Special events year-round at the gardens include live music nights and outdoor barbecues.
An array of fresh produce at the Sarasota Farmers Market
Catch a Fish
Arrange a boat trip on the Gulf of Mexico with CB's Fishing Charter and explore the shallow back-country waters around Sarasota Bay as you take in a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico. These fishing trips are suitable for all ages and depart from several destinations around the Southwest Florida coastline, making it easy to schedule and enjoy a day on the water.
Visit River City Grill for a Farm-to-Table Meal
Named the "Best All-Around Restaurant" in the Charlotte Reader's Choice Award for seven consecutive years, River City Grill in Punta Gorda is a fine-dining destination serving American cuisine. The restaurant sources organic produce from Worden Farm, a locally owned and operated farm that the executive chef visits every Wednesday to round up fresh vegetables for the week's menu. Mouthwatering and flavorful dishes at this eclectic restaurant include seafood specialties like Southern seafood chowder, smoked salmon and artichoke fondue, and Cajun fried oysters.
Fine dining at River City Grill on Punta Gorda's waterfront
Don't Forget Dessert
For an unparalleled fine dining experience, try The Bijou Cafe in Sarasota, which pairs modern Continental cuisine with an extensive wine list. One of Sarasota's most popular local restaurants, it has been serving patrons in the heart of downtown's theater and arts district since 1986. Regular diners know to leave room for its delectable desserts, such as a key lime panna cotta or a banana-croissant bread pudding.
Sample Local Beers
Fat Point Brewery in historic Punta Gorda gives visitors a chance to learn about local brews and sample craft beer fresh from the source. The brewery, located in the historic center of of Punta Gorda, is famous for its handcrafted beer, including the Putsin Pale, Big Boca Ale and Chorange Stout. The venue also offers tours and hosts a number of events, including three-course beer pairings and beer release parties.
Tasting locally crafted beers at Fat Point Brewery in Punta Gorda