Five Ways to Delight Dad in Sarasota

Celebrate your dear-old-dad in style by planning a fun-for-the-whole-family Sarasota County outing tailored to his tastes and interests. Here’s some suggestions for all types of fathers.

Whether he knows his way around a fishing rod or has always dreamed of landing the big one, dad can spend the day seeing what’s biting in our local waters. Book a fishing charter through companies like CB’s Saltwater Outfitters and Son of a Fish Charters to head out into Sarasota Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, and other area waterways for the chance to hook redfish, snook, cobia, tripletail, and other catches.

If paddling is more dad’s speed, outfitters like Kayaking SRQ and Bay and Gulf Adventures can take the whole family on a kayak tour through Lido Key’s scenic mangrove tunnels, along the peaceful Myakka River, and in other spots throughout the county. You can also rent kayaks and standup paddleboards at places like Dolphin Paddlesports if dad’s more of a DIY type of guy.

Looking for less work but all the scenic views? Book a boat cruise so dad can sit back with a cold one and let someone else do all the driving.

For Dads Who Like the Driver’s Seat

Get dad’s motor revving at the Sarasota Classic Car Museum, the second-oldest continuously operating antique car museum in the United States. Dad can check out more than 75 vintage vehicles at the museum, including antiques, muscle cars, and one-of-a-kind autos from names like Ferrari and Bentley.

Sarasota Bike Tours offers lots of ways to see the area on two wheels. It leads excursions throughout the city on traditional comfort cruisers as well as jaunts around Siesta Key, Lido Key, and the Sarasota Bayfront on fun and funky “e-choppers” available for riders ages 16 and up with a valid driver’s license.

For the Beer Guys

If dad enjoys a good pint, Sarasota is home to several craft breweries that welcome the whole family. Head to spots like Calusa Brewing, JDub’s Brewing Company, and Big Top Brewing Company to sample IPAs, ales, porters, and other locally made brews. Dad can sip his suds at a table in their indoor taprooms or relax in outside spaces where there are often games for the kiddos to play. JDub’s and Calusa also host a rotating schedule of food trucks serving up everything from barbecue and burgers to pizza and schnitzel.

If dad prefers spirits over suds, take him on a kid-free outing to Drum Circle Distilling, where you can tour the facility and then taste the award-winning Siesta Key Rum. If you’re short on time, you can visit the tasting room and try some samples without booking a tour.

For the Animal-Loving Dad

If dad has always wanted to feed a flamingo or have his picture taken with an alligator, take him to Sarasota Jungle Gardens. This longtime Sarasota attraction is home to more than 200 native and exotic animals, many of which were rescued.

Sarasota’s Mote Aquarium is another option perfect for the whole family. The whole family will enjoy petting stingrays, watching Mote’s three otters at play, and saying hello to longtime resident manatees Hugh and Buffett at the aquarium, where more than 100 species of marine life are on view.

For an even wilder time, head to Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary for its afternoon Big Cat Encounter. Lions are just some of the exotic animals that have been rescued by the nonprofit sanctuary, where visitors can also find bears, primates, and a petting zoo home to goats, llamas, and chickens.

For Sporty Dads

If dad feels most at home out on the fairway, book him a tee time at one of Sarasota County’s many golf courses. Options include Scottish-style links course Tatum Ridge Golf Links, 27-hole University Park Country Club, and 45-hole Bobby Jones Golf Club, which dates back to the 1920s.

Or perhaps dad wants to take a peek at CoolToday Park, the new spring training home of the Atlanta Braves. The gift shop and Tomahawk Tiki bar remain open year-round for fans and visitors to grab some new gear and enjoy a casual drink or dinner while gazing across the diamond.