There is no shortage of fun in Sarasota! Here is a few of my family’s favorite things to do for fun in Sarasota.
Sarasota Jungle Garden
I have always dreamed of getting up close and personal with flamingos but no matter where we traveled throughout the tropics could never find them. I was so excited to learn that there is a flock right here in Sarasota. There is a pond where they hang out but they are free to roam. Once you pay your entrance fee, buy a bag or two of food. You will get food for the flamingos, croc and gators. They have lots of other exhibits as well.
Hunt for Shark Teeth in Venice
Venice is known for being the shark tooth capital. There is another beach just South of Venice, called Caspersan, where we have found the majority of our teeth. Caspersan has public parking and bathrooms. You can use a kitchen strainer or if you visit Shark Frenzy in Venice you can buy a scoop and floating sifter. We go knee deep into the water and simply scoop sand from where the waves break, then sift in the floating sifter and repeat. The folks at Shark Frenzy will help you identify your teeth and even turn your favorite tooth into a cool necklace. If you are into diving, you could find a megalodon tooth. Follow Shark Frenzy on Facebook to see all the cool finds.
One of my personal favorite things to do is kayaking. As much as I love it though, I don’t yet own my own kayak so we rent them. We launch at Ted Sperling Park on Lido Key. There are several companies that you can rent from right at the park. They generally have singles for $40, tandems for $50-60 and also offer tours. I recommend doing the tour on your first trip out so they can show you paddling technique and how to enter and exit the mangroves. I was really terrified on my first trip about tipping. As many times as I have been out, I have never tipped and to put your mind at ease, the water is only 4 feet deep. Aside from gorgeous homes, you can also see dolphin and manatee. There is a small island you can stop and picnic on as well. There are also Stand up paddle boards SUP for rent as well.
Sarasota is known for being home to the #1 Beach in the US, Siesta Key! There are dozens of other fantastic white sandy beaches in Sarasota. My personal favorite is Lido. You can read about all the beaches here. Each beach has is strengths. Siesta Key has amazing sunsets and Sunday evening drum circle. Lido beach is my #1 spot to find sand dollars. You can read my technique on finding sand dollars here. You can even explore off the beaten path beach areas like Beer Can Island.
We love spending a day on the water but we don’t have a boat! You have a few options! First is to take a day tour. We have sailed on several occasions with Kathleen D. When we have visitors in town, our favorite thing to do is take them on a sunset sail. You can sail from Sarasota Marina or Longboat Key. My favorite tour is the Sarasota Bay tour to see all the gorgeous homes. We often see dolphin playing in the Bay. Your other options are to rent a boat. If you are going to rent frequently, you should consider joining a boat club like Freedom Boat Club. If you just want a one and done rental then an option like Boatsetter might be for you. Either way, you can never go wrong with spending a day on the water.
Myakka Elephant Ranch
It’s unexpected to find an elephant ranch in Florida but it’s the real deal. They have a variety of options for all budgets. The most expensive option gets you up close and personal. It is a totally unique way to spend your day. https://www.myakkaelephantranch.org
The Dali Art Museum
Located in St. Pete, just a short drive from Sarasota. The Dali has an unparalleled collection of Dali works. I have never had more fun at an art museum than at The Dali. Right now, you can also experience Frida Kahlo and the truly mezmerizing Van Gogh Alive experience. https://thedali.org
This experience is a little more expensive but was a huge hit with my kiddo! We met our pilot at SRQ where private planes depart. As we walked to the helicopter, we noticed the doors were off. We were a bit nervous at first but once we got in the air, we had a blast. My daughter is still asking when we can go again. We flew from SRQ, around Sarasota to see all the barrier islands then down the coat to Anna Marie Island and back. In total, our tour was just over and hour and cost around $500 for 3 people. www.flyVENTURE.com
This is just a few of our favorites but there are so many more things to do in Sarasota! I hope you have a chance to check a few places out and that you love Sarasota as much as I do.