For those of us with school-age children, March to June seems like such a long haul with very minimal days off. Summer is such a welcome time for both parents and kids to get away from the routine. What’s on the agenda for your summer this year? Will you plan a getaway or stay close to home? If you don’t want to travel too far, the Sarasota and Siesta Key area on the west coast of Florida is a great choice. It is only about a 2.5 – 3 hour drive up I-75 North. My daughter-in-law has family on that side of the state. Over the past few years, she has been our tour guide and taken us to some hidden gems that probably only the locals know about. But now the secret is out!
Here are some of our families’ top sights to take a summer siesta in Sarasota:
Fun Places to Visit
Sarasota Jungle Gardens is one of the oldest attractions in Florida and has remained relevant with today’s families. The 10 acres include trees and flowers, along with many animal and bird shows. If you have young children, they have a playground, an area to feed koi fish, pink flamingos, and a train ride. My granddaughter loved the animal encounter with an alligator.
Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is the place to go if you love exploring sea life. They have manatees, sea turtles, and a shark habitat to visit. There is the cutest exhibit called Oh Baby! Life Cycles of Seas where children can learn about ocean animal moms, dads, and their babies.
Siesta Key Beach (also called Siesta Beach) has been ranked one of the #1 beaches in the U.S. This beach has won awards for its white pristine sand. If you love that beach sand feeling between your toes this is the place to go. And they have concessions, restrooms, and a fun playground for the kiddos.
North Port Aquatic Center is also located in Sarasota County. This park has a reasonable admission fee for adults and children. The cost includes use of the lazy river, children’s splashground, two water slides, a drop slide, and a swimming pool. Our family loves to ride down the lazy river together and the grandchildren love the splash area.
Favorite Food Stops
Meaney’s Mini Donuts and Coffee House is a cute little beach coffee house with a walk-up window located in Siesta Key. My granddaughter loves their mini donuts and they come in flavors such as key lime, French toast, strawberry cheesecake, and Bavarian cream. Definitely a sugar-craving fix for the donut and ice cream lover!
Old Salty Dog is a family-favorite restaurant in the Sarasota area. We love to head over after a day at the beach, the dress is casual and the seafood is great. They serve a famous beer-battered dipped and deep-fried hot dog they make called the Salty Dog. It’s worth a try.
Detwiler’s Market is a fresh food market that also offers the best in their deli, bakery, and ice cream & cafe. Our entire family loves the energy acai bowl. It is always at the top of our list when we head to the west coast.
So pull out the flip-flops and sunscreen! It’s time to take a summer siesta in Sarasota, Florida.
Let us know if you go or have been to Sarasota!!! Happy & Safe Summer Travels!!
Updated July 2023