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John and Mable Ringling’s mansion, Ca d’Zan, is just one of the attractions that makes Sarasota the top spring-break family destination, according to Photo by Carolyn Bistline.
Sarasota Thursday, Mar. 1, 2012 9 years ago

Sarasota named No. 1

by: Rachel Brown Hackney Managing Editor

Sgt. Scott Osborne of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has been saying for weeks that families have been making up the majority of visitors to Siesta Key Public Beach. In mid-February, he pointed out, “We don’t have the spring-break partiers, yet.”

Even though Osborne and his fellow officers have their traditional spring break logistical plan in place, the officers may continue to see a multitude of families, thanks to Sarasota earning the No. 1 ranking among the top 10 spring-break destinations for families.

That honor was announced this week by the website, which says it “has spent more than 20 years finding the good stuff in small to mid-sized communities all across America.”

In a Feb. 27 press release issued, says its editors “asked members of the Society of American Travel Writers for their expert opinions on what makes a city a fantastic place for a spring-break vacation.”

Annette Thompson, SATW board member and freelance travel writer and photographer, said in the release, “An ideal destination provides a wide range of activities for families with children of different ages and interests.” She added, “There should be things to do both indoors and outdoors, because the weather is not something even the best itinerary can predict.”

The news release notes, “Sarasota mixes white-sand beaches and calm blue waters with dozens of entertainment options to create one of the best spring-break destinations.”

As he read through the press release Feb. 27, Kevin Cooper, executive director of the Siesta Key Chamber of Commerce, pointed to the part about the beaches and said, “That’s gotta be us.”

Cooper added, “Most people are supposed to know we really are family-focused (on Siesta) … It’s good to see that somebody else sees that.”

Nonetheless, Cooper said, people often think of rowdy college students when they think of spring break. Still, with its beach homes and wide range of condominiums, he added, Siesta is a strong draw for families.

Virginia Haley, president of the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau, said in an email, “This latest honor confirms what we have always said about our spring break, that it has always been multi-generational — mom, dad, the kids and oftentimes the grandparents.”

Top 10
Henderson, Nev.
Charleston, S.C.
Lafayette, La.
Harbor Springs, Mich.
Hot Springs, Ark.
Gainesville, Ga.
Las Cruces, N.M.
Ogden, Utah
Del Rio, Texas

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