Tamiami Trail Windows to the Gulf Coast Waters: Beauty and Brawn
Length: 70 miles.
How to get around: Car.
Best time to visit: February to April for Major League Baseball’s spring training. The Baltimore Orioles practice in Sarasota, while the Pittsburgh Pirates train in Bradenton.
Tamiami Trail isn’t just sitting pretty.
“Our highway is a functional highway,” said spokesman Volker Reiss. “The road was historically designed to move people and vehicles.”
That it does. Once the only paved highway between Tampa and Miami, today this portion of the 275-mile trail known as Windows to the Gulf Coast Waters provides a practical way to maneuver among some of the most desirable cities on Florida’s so-called Cultural Coast.
The Ringling Museum of Art
Tommy Bahama Restaurant in St. Armand's Circle
“But we still have a lot of nature left,” Reiss notes. Take a dip in the legendary Warm Mineral Springs of North Port. Jog along the Bradenton Riverwalk, which runs parallel to the Manatee River. Or canoe through Oscar Scherer State Park.
“You’re basically in Old Florida there. You don’t even know you’re in Sarasota anymore,” said Reiss.
Myakka State Forest
With Tamiami Trail’s mix of practical amenities and access to nature, Reiss said, “I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else, even if I had a lot of money.”
Photos by Luis Santana for VISIT FLORIDA