Never having spent much time on the gulf side of Florida, I was a bit hesitant. But, with family in the area, I decided to put my frequent flyer miles to good use and give it a try. Flying into Sarasota put me just a half hour away from this quaint town, near to beautiful beaches, good seafood and a casual atmosphere. I was happy!
It might not be your favorite place if you have small children in tow, but for me, a senior citizen, I found it ideal. There were quaint shops (along with the regular tourist fair,) beautiful sunsets on one of the many beaches, golf... lots of golf, shark tooth hunting (who knew?) fishing off the Venice Pier and close enough to the major highways to get you wherever you wanted to go. I might suggest you invest some time at the Ringling Museum of Art in nearby Sarasota.
If you don't have friends or family to use as a home base, don't worry, there are many many condos available for rent either by word of mouth or through one of several rental agencies.
Don't hesitate to visit this charming city with its neo- mediterranean architure and friendly atmosphere!