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Finding Comfort at Sarasota’s Parks

The parks of Sarasota County were the only public spaces that remained open during the recent stay-at-home order of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The good news too is that the city of Sarasota is looking into the reopening its dog parks, as an easing of the state-wide quarantine is being phased in.

These parks are certainly among the elements enhancing the quality of life in the county. Here, we’ll take a look at four of these park oases bringing some comfort to many local residents amidst the current strenuous circumstances due to Covid-19.

Bayfront Park

This park is accessible via Marina Plaza off Bayfront Drive and is less than a mile southeast of the Ritz-Carlton Residences where our Judy Kepecz-Hays team has a sales listing. Another Sarasota landmark, the Ringling Causeway Bridge, is next to Bayfront Park.

The park spreads over 32 acres in a peninsula providing marvelous views of Sarasota Bay and the Ringling Bridge. Bayfront Park is family-friendly, and dogs on leash are allowed on its paved perimeter and grassy area. The park also features a marina and a popular waterfront restaurant, O’Leary’s Tiki Bar. As part of a phased-in easing of the Covid-19 lockdown, restaurants are now being allowed to have outdoor seating and indoor seating of 25 percent of original capacity.

Celery Fields

Celery Fields off Palmer Boulevard and east of Interstate 75 performs a dual function beneficial for Sarasota residents. It occupies 360 acres and was established primarily as a stormwater facility to help mitigate flooding in the Sarasota region. Eventually, it also became the home of the Sarasota Audubon Nature Center, a prime spot for bird-watchers.

Celery Fields features boardwalks and unpaved trails suited not only for bird-watchers. These facilities are also ideal for jogging and hiking. There are picnic areas and restrooms in Celery Fields too, and leashed dogs are allowed as well.

Phillippi Estate Park

This park south of downtown Sarasota is easily accessible via Hollywood Boulevard just off west of the South Tamiami Trail. It covers an area of 60 acres nestled on the shoreline of Philippi Creek, with a narrow stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway and Siesta Key immediately to the park’s west.

The Philippi Estate Park is dog-friendly, featuring scenic, wooded trails. It also has a dock for boaters out to explore the Philippi Creek upstream or down the reaches of ICW and Sarasota Bay. The park is also popular for its Edson Keith Mansion, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Centennial Park

This park is located at the block of 1059 North Tamiami Trail and provides three docks for motorized boats and a small sandy beach fit for as a take-off point for canoes and kayaks. It allows leashed dogs on its premises.

Visitors here can easily shift to Pioneer Park just across the Tamiami Trail. This neighboring park offers a tennis court, which counts among the facilities reopened as Sarasota takes measured steps to return to normalcy.