10 Ways to Play in Family-Friendly Sarasota County
Looking for some family fun in the sun? You’ve come to the right place.
There are lots of family-friendly ways to explore and enjoy Sarasota County. Whether you’ve got toddlers, tweens or teens in your traveling party, Sarasota County offers all kinds of options for the young (and young at heart).
Here are 10 kid-approved activities to add to your vacation itinerary:
Siesta Beach has gotten lots of national attention in recent years, and for good reason. It’s got about 100 acres of nearly pure quartz crystal sand that’s fine, white, and powdery, offering lots of room for playing Frisbee, sandcastle building or just running around. And a major improvement project has added more parking and updated the tennis courts, playground, restrooms, and concession areas. Or you can head further south to Venice, Caspersen or Manasota Beach to hunt for fossilized sharks' teeth, a cool souvenir to take home from your trip.
Bring your own gear or rent some to see what’s biting at spots like the Venice Fishing Pier at Venice Jetties and Tony Saprito Pier in Sarasota. Or get out on the water with the help of local fishing guides/operators at CB’s Saltwater Outfitters, Outriggers Charter Fishing, and Siesta Key Fishing Adventures, which offer folks the chance to land everything from snapper and redfish to tarpon and cobia.
Kayaks and paddleboards serve as great ways to explore the local waters. Companies like Bay and Gulf Adventures and Almost Heaven Kayak Adventures lead kayak tours suitable for all ages around spots like the Myakka River and Lido Key and its mangrove tunnels. Or take a family paddleboarding lesson through WhatSUP at Ted Sperling Park. If you’d prefer a DIY approach, you can rent kayaks, canoes and paddleboards from outfitters like Economy Tackle/Dolphin Paddlesports and Enticer Water Sports.
There are lots of places to pedal around Sarasota County. Covering more than 10 miles, the Legacy Trail stretches from Sarasota to Venice and connects with Venetian Waterway Park, which features five more miles of biking and walking trails on either side of the Intracoastal Waterway. Both offer flat, car-free pathways easily maneuvered by bike riders of all levels and ages. (If you don’t have your own bikes, you can rent them at places like Village Bikes and Siesta Key Bike & Kayak.) Kids 10 and up can ride with Sarasota Bike Tours, which supplies all the necessary equipment and takes participants on rides through places like downtown Sarasota and Siesta and Lido Keys.
Got little animal lovers? They can have encounters with all kinds of creatures in Sarasota County. Head to Myakka River State Park to see alligators gliding through the water or sunning on the shore. Visit famous local manatees Hugh and Buffett, rescued sea turtles, and other aquatic animals at Mote Marine Aquarium or feed flamingos and catch a reptile show at Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Bring binoculars to spot birds and even sometimes bats at the Venice Area Audubon Rookery and see the big cats roar at Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sancturary.
A Family-Friendly Destination