There are a number of public courses in and around Sarasota , but the best by far is the Bobby Jones Golf Club (1000 Circus Blvd., 941/955-8041), a highly rated municipal club with two 18-hole courses and one nine-hole course. The nine-hole “Executive” course is a tremendous bargain, with greens fees a paltry $5–12; the short-run course was apparently designed for overscheduled businesspeople and can be played in about two hours.
Two other solid options are the 18-hole “Red” course at Gulf Gate Golf Club (2550 Bispham Rd., 941/921-5515, from $18) and out near Venice Beach the course at Calusa Lakes Golf Club (1995 Calusa Lakes Blvd., Nokomis, 941/484-8995, from $13).
Siesta Key Parasailing (1265 Stickney Point Rd., Siesta Key , 941/586-1972, $75 per person) and Siesta Key Water Sports (1536 Stickney Point Rd., Siesta Key , 941/921-3030, $75 per person) both offer parasailing experiences over the beautiful gulf waters. The latter also has Jet Skis and kayaks available for rent.
For full-service boat rentals, head for Cannons Marina (6040 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key , 941/383-1311, half-day rentals from $160), which has half-day, full-day, and multiday rentals of a wide variety of fishing boats as well as sport and ski boats.
There are also half a dozen boats available for rent at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters (1249 Stickney Point Rd., Siesta Key , 941/349-4400, half-day fishing charters from $350, half-day boat rentals from $95), but if you don’t want to bother piloting the boat yourself, you should definitely avail yourself of CB’s many fishing charters; they offer four-, six-, and eight-hour trips both into Sarasota Bay as well as inshore, near-shore, and reef trips. Full-day trips into Charlotte Harbor (about 40 miles southeast) to hunt for snook, redfish, and more are also available.