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Beach holiday without the need to drive?

Yorkshire
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Beach holiday without the need to drive?

Next year hubby and I want a special "Silver Wedding" anniversary trip.

We are from UK and don't want to have to worry about driving on the "wrong side"

We would like to be close to or have a beach view with a full kitchen.

We are happy walking ( walked around NYC for many hours/miles!) we don't want to rent a car.

How possible and practical is it to get from beach to downtown etc?

We don't mind buses and the occasional taxi ( are they expensive in Sarasota?)

We are happy with regular American shopping in that if they have a large supermarket, Wholefoods a large drug store and a department store or two with a bookshop thrown in, we would be very, happy!!

Being middle aged and liking a quiet life, a veggie meal and a cocktail would suit us fine for our actual anniversary day.

My biggest worry ( if all of the above is achievable) is that our anniversary falls on 11 March 2014 and I understand that "Spring Break" can be a bit of a noise problem for those of us who like to be in bed by 11 pm!!

Are there places to buy groceries near the beach hotels/suites?

Is "downtown" walkable from any of the beaches or are there buses and if so how frequent?

Thank you so much in advance for any help/suggestions, all input gratefully received!

UK
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for Florida
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1. Re: Beach holiday without the need to drive?

A beach holiday w/o a car spells Anna Maria Island to me, along with St Pete Beach.

AMI is low rise low key, some things will be walkable (depending on the place you choose) and for the rest, there is a free trolley to get around.

But in all honesty, driving in the USA is a doddle, and much easier than driving in the UK no matter what side of the road you are on. you'll certainly get more from your holiday if you take the plunge.

Other areas of FL where you can get away w/o a car are Ft Myers Beach, Key West, Clearwater Beach, Ft Lauderdale and Miami Beach

Sarasota, Florida
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2. Re: Beach holiday without the need to drive?

Answering your questions in random order...

Off of Sarasota are 4 barrier islands; from south to north they are Siesta Key, Lido Key, Longboat Key and Anna Maria. Of the four, Lido Key is the closest beach to downtown, about 2 miles distant. There are no groceries there, but an adjacent area -- St. Armands Circle -- has many upscale shops and restaurants. Of the four islands, Siesta Key tends to draw the youngest/most active crowd, Anna Maria is very much Old Florida and a family kind of place, Lido is convenient for people who want to get to the city, and Longboat is most upscale and quietest (you would be right at home there going to bed at 11pm).

Taxis in Sarasota are expensive and do not cruise the streets (unlike New York) but must be telephoned in advance for a ride. Bus service between Sarasota and the four islands is on a frequency of perhaps once an hour. Anna Maria has it's own free trolley system for that island which runs much more frequently.

There is a large new supermarket (Publix) and a large new drugstore (CVS) on Longboat Key; Anna Maria also has a Publix, and there are smaller places on both Anna Maria and Longboat where you could buy some food necessities. There are no grocery stores on Lido Key, only small stores on Siesta Key. There is a Whole Foods in downtown Sarasota.

I would echo Amanx's comment about having a car. Sarasota has a lot to offer other than its beaches (museums, theaters, gardens, etc.), but a car would be a necessity for that. I personally am most familiar with, and prefer, Longboat. It is a narrow island, about 10 miles long. It has a single road that runs the length of the island so driving there would be easy for you. Most places to stay are directly on the beach or across the road from the beach. To give you a sense of what it might be like, look at Veranda Beach Club; it is within easy walking distance of the Publix and the CVS.

Toronto,Canada
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3. Re: Beach holiday without the need to drive?

The Sarasota area is wonderful.

we enjoyed it so much we bought a vacation home there.

that being said it is much more easily enjoyed with a vehicle.

sarasota, FL
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for Sarasota, Venice, Siesta Key
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4. Re: Beach holiday without the need to drive?

I totally understand your predicament. We had a hard tim edriving in England..especially navigating the narrow roundabouts on the wrong side.

Having said that, how much do you want to spend ($) on your hotel?

Siesta Key wil be very crowded in March and would not be for you.

An option you might consider is stayng at the Ritz Carlton in downtown Sarasota. It's a special occasion and you should splurge.They have a free shuttle to their private Beach Club on Lido Key (really nice) and they also make stops at St. Armands Circle. The Ritz is in walking distance to Whole Foods and many shops and restaurants. You won't have Spring Breakers hanging aorund and you have the beach without the drive.

Longboat is upscale and won't have Spring Breakers, but it is more remote and further from the things you want to do. JMHO.

~SRQgirl

St. Pete Beach...
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5. Re: Beach holiday without the need to drive?

If you want all the items you mentioned and a great quieter beach during the busiest season of our year, I would head to St. Pete Beach. St. Pete Beach gets the least amount of spring breakers vs. any of the others mentioned in the replies you've received. It's a contained white soft sand beach with any thing you'd want and very walkable. If you'd like to wander a bit futher, there is the beach trolley, Free Beach Rides ( a service that transports visitors for tips), and taxis available.

I live in St. Pete Beach and am always glad I picked this spot during season and break. We get busier, but nothing like the mad house other beaches become during that same time.

Hope you join us!

Christina Spencer

Les Clefs d'Or, U.S.A.

UK
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6. Re: Beach holiday without the need to drive?

Sorry, but don't think St pete beach (which I recommended) gets less spring breakers than AMI or DT sarasota.

But it is a good choice, which is why i recommended it. But things can be a long stretch in between so you might have to use the trolley system (which isn't free unlike AMI) to get to certain places/restaurants.

Berkshire, England
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7. Re: Beach holiday without the need to drive?

Hi, can I ask how you are going to get to Sarasota from the airport you fly into? Both Orlando and Tampa airports are quite a long drive away. Do rethink hiring a car if at all possible as it would be so much easier for you IMHO.

Longboat Key is probably the quietest place to be during Spring Break but I think you would need a car to get anywhere.

Bradenton, Florida
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8. Re: Beach holiday without the need to drive?

Just to clarify: there are two spring break types. First is the college crowd, and honestly we don't get many if any of those around the Bradenton/Sarasota area. The second type is families with school age kids. We get a lot of those here. Although things do get crowded, particularly around Easter, it is a controlled crowd, and mostly pleasant folks. We simply do not see the hang from the balcony, drunk all night, etc. crowds here.

Yorkshire
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9. Re: Beach holiday without the need to drive?

Thank you all for your input it is much appreciated:)

It is a bit more complicated than just not wanting to drive. Hubby is diabetic and in the UK if you are diabetic and a driver you have to check your blood sugar every 2 hours to make sure it is above a certain level to make you "legally fit to drive" ( I think they worry you would slump into a coma and have/cause an accident!)

We manage quite well doing that at home, but on holiday with different time zone food etc. it would be an added stress.

We just want a bit of relaxation and a "special destination" to mark our 25th Wedding Anniversary, but I am starting to think, what we want doesn't exist!

However, we are always open to suggestions!

Thank you for the explanation regarding the different "Spring Breakers", we just want to avoid drunken young people, not families. ( We have enough "all-season" drunken young people in the UK, don't want to encounter any more LOL)

UK
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10. Re: Beach holiday without the need to drive?

It does, in the places I said in post one ;-)