Travel: Travel With a Passion: Sarasota, FL

* What to see
Between 1941 and 1966, Sarasota became a mecca for modern architecture, and the resulting body of work was dubbed the Sarasota School. The 66-acre John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art (5401 Bay Shore Road; 941-359-5700) has 21 galleries that house work from Rubens, Van Dyck, Poussin and other baroque masters. Cà d’Zan is the 32-room Venetian-Gothic Ringling mansion beside Sarasota Bay. Built in 1968, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall (777 North Tamiami Trail; 941-953-3368) will play host to both Jose Valentino and his Jazz Band and The Full Monty this fall.

* Where to eat
There’s a thriving downtown restaurant scene here. Try Selva Grill for excellent ceviche and seafood (1345 Main Street, 941-362-4427; dinner for two, about $125 with wine), and the tapas bistro Silver Cricket (1923 Ringling Boulevard, 941-955-9179; dinner for two, about $70 with wine).

* Where to stay
Each of the 266 rooms at the Ritz-Carlton (1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive, 941-309-2000; rooms from $329) has a private balcony and a view of Sarasota Bay, the marina or the city skyline.

* What else to do
Tour Towles Court, a funky artist-in-residence colony in downtown Sarasota. Siesta Key’s beach holds the title for the finest, whitest sand in the world. Known as Florida’s cradle of golf, Sarasota offers more than 1,000 holes at public, semi-­private and private courses—including the Bobby Jones Golf Complex (1000 Circus Boulevard; 941-955-8097), a homage to the only man ever to win the grand slam of golf.