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February 01, 2021
Sarasota is located on the Gulf Coast of Florida at the southernmost tip of the Tampa Bay area and about a 2-hour drive to Orlando, the home of Disney World; a place we have been visiting as a family for years, so we decided to put together a list of 6 of our favourite fun things to do in Sarasota with kids. Although there are hundreds of things to do for both young and the not-so-young, we definitely have our go-to places that the whole bunch enjoys. Whether you’re looking for relaxed beaches or some fun and adventurous cultural activities, we’ve got you covered with kid-friendly options for the whole family.
It is no wonder this beach has won so many “best of” awards throughout the years. The sand is 99% quartz crushed into a pure white fine powder that stays cool, even throughout the hottest summer days. This sand is perfect for making sandcastles and there are many sand sculpture competitions in November, so do not miss this beach if you are in Sarasota around that time of the year. Also, there are sundown drum circles during the winter months that attract a really fun crowd, so keep an eye out for those. Food concessions/showers/toilets are all readily available.
Our kids’ favourite by far! Dubbed “doggie beach”, it is located near Venice, south of Sarasota. Whether you are travelling with your dog or not, the doggie beach is a fun experience and the beach is a gorgeous place to watch dozens of 4-legged friends having the ultimate playdate. And if you go after a storm, it’s relatively easy to find shark teeth along the shore. Shower/toilets are available, but no food concessions – and definitely bring your own shade.
The beauty about Turtle Beach is its accessibility and how calm it is compared to its neighbor (Siesta Key) during high season. The beach gets its name because it is a sea turtle nesting habitat during mating season.
Bonus: Right next to turtle beach you will find Siesta Sports Rentals and for an active day, take a family kayak trip through the mangroves, where you can end up at a remote beach with boat-only access. Make sure to take your time to enjoy all the beautiful birds on the way. Call or email Siesta Sports Rentals to book your little adventure.
The zoo is a must for our family every time we visit. There are some beautiful birds (our favourite being the Barred Owl) and you can even feed the flamingos! A plus is that the zoo puts on 3 shows a day focusing on Reptiles, Jungle Birds and Wildlife Wonders.
Bonus: The zoo can get a little busy on a rainy day so try to go when it is a nice beach day. The experience will only take you about 1-2 hours and you will still be able to make it to the beach with plenty of time.
Marie Shelby Gardens are in Sarasota proper. The gardens are part of Marie Shelby’s old 7 acres of grounds (now 15 acres), and you can even visit the house she and her husband built in the 1920s.
Bonus: The Children’s Rainforest Garden features interactive stations that allow children and families to explore rainforest plants and habitats.
The Ringling Museum and grounds is a great place to go and let the kids run around while the parents enjoy a stroll through the magnificent grounds full of Banyan and all types of Palm Trees. Mr. Ringling, founder of the Ringling Circus built his house there in the early 20th century. The museum is also a must-see, and depending on the season there are a lot of concerts and shows.
Bonus: There is a great playground with a massive slide.
So if you want to have a well-rounded holiday that includes cultural activities as well as beautiful walks through lush and native fauna & flora, a visit to the zoo and full days of fun at the beach, then Sarasota with kids is the perfect place for you.
June 10, 2021