17 Fun Things To Do In Sarasota – Your Kids Will Love!

Are you looking for fun things to do in Sarasota, Florida with kids?

Whether you’re planning a Sarasota vacation or you’re a local needing new family-friendly activities, there’s so many options in this coastal town! Our list includes many free things to do in Sarasota, outdoor activities, places to see animals and even many things to do on a rainy day.

fun things to do in sarasota with kids feeding flamingos

What is Sarasota best known for? Sarasota, Florida, is a located on the Gulf Coast just south of Tampa, known for its sun-kissed white sand beaches, cultural treasures, and unforgettable family adventures await. Sarasota’s top attractions include award-winning Siesta Key Beach, Mote Marine Aquarium, and it’s also where the Ringling Brother’s Circus got started.

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This round-up of the best things to do in Sarasota contains affiliate links, where I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

17 Best Things to Do in Sarasota, Florida

1. Sarasota Guided Kayak Tour

sarasota kayaking dolphins

Get out on the water and kayak along Sarasota Bay to the world-famous Lido Key mangrove tunnels. Look for manatees, dolphins, stingrays, eagles, and other animals before kayaking through clear water under the protective canopy of mangrove forests.

2. Private Boat Charter: Tour with Wildlife Watching

Sarasota boat charter

A boat day for the whole family – Get out on the water and escape the mainland for half a day! You can spot manatee and dolphins in Heron Lagoon and Casey Key, see a historic swing bridge, stop at a tropical beach for shelling, pause at a tiki for drinks and snacks!

3. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium

mote marine sarasota

Sarasota’s Moat Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is a great day trip to see manatees, sharks, sea turtles and otters. Lots of touch pools, including sting rays and small sharks. My kids love animals so this is always at the top of our list on things to do in Sarasota and Siesta Key!

4. Big Cat Habitat and Sanctuary

Big Cat Sanctuary Sarasota Tiger

Lions, and tigers, and….Ligers & Tigons OH MY! A liger is a hybrid, it is the offspring of a male lion and a female tiger. The opposite, a male tiger and a female lion is called a tigon. At the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary you can also see bears, monkeys, tropical birds, and also a petting zoo.

5. Sarasota Jungle Island

sarasota jungle gardens girl feeding flamingos

Sarasota Jungle Gardens allows visitors to experience things you won’t find anywhere else. Feed free-roaming flamingos, see lemurs at play, have your picture taken with an alligator and walkthrough the beautiful gardens.

6. Night & Sunset Tour on Glass Bottom Kayaks

sarasota night kayak with light illuminated glass bottom kayaks

Book Sharkey’s sunset and illuminated night tour to discover Sarasota’s waterways in a new light. Your glass bottom kayak is outfitted with LED lights where you’ll see marine life beneath you like crabs, stingrays, shrimp and more.

7. Siesta Key Beach

siesta key beach boy skimboarding

There’s a reason Siesta Key beach was ranked #1 beach in the U.S. by TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice™ awards. Snorkeling, skim boarding,  paddling boarding, even sand-castling! Our kids could spend hours digging with a shovel and net finding shells and sand crabs. Bring the beach gear, its worth it!

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8. TreeUmph! Adventure Course

treeumph! adventure course sarasota florida

Just 30 minutes northeast of Sarasota, you’ll find an elevated outdoor adventure park with climbing, ziplines and suspension bridges for ages 5 and up! Tree Umph! prices and courses vary based on age and course levels, there’s 5 courses in total.

9. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

boys climbing banyan tree at Marie Selby Botanical Garden

South of Bayfront Park, you’ll find a 15-acre Marie Selby Botanical Garden on the bay filled with beautiful flowers, tropical plants, and koi ponds. There’s also a fun children’s play area; even adults don’t want to miss out on the rope bridges in the children’s rainforest.

10. Myakka River State Park

Myakka State Park eBike Safari tour

Explore one of Florida’s oldest & biggest state parks only 30 minutes from downtown Sarasota. Myakka River flows through 58 square miles of unspoiled wetlands, prairies, hammocks, and pinelands that make up Myakka River State Park. The best way to explore this expansive park is a 2 hour guided E-bike Safari! Expect to see alligators, native birds and learn lots about plants and the Myakka River.

11. South Lido Beach & Park

South Lido Park beach a

If you’re looking for a less crowded alternative to Siesta Key Beach, South Lido Park Beach is it. On the south end of Lido Key, you’ll find a large white sugary sand beach with amazing views, a playground for the kids and its a great place to fish and explore. This beach is known for its great shelling!

12. Bayfront Park + Marina

sarasota bayfront park unconditional surrender statue

Located in the heart of Sarasota, Bayfront Park is one of the best things to do in Sarasota that’s free. There’s open green space for kids, a playground, swings and a splash pad to cool off. Adults love the water views, walking trails and nearby is a restaurant and bar – Marina Jacks. While parking you can’t miss the famous Unconditional Surrender statue.

13. Payne Park

payne park circus playground

Payne Park is another great Sarasota park that the kids will enjoy! It offers a splash pad, musical instruments, circus themed play areas separated for toddler and bigger kids with soft grounds. There’s plenty of walking/biking trails, a disc golf course, skate park and opportunity to spot lots of birds and the large pond.

14. Livingston’s Amusements

livingstons amusements arcade sarasota

A great way to spend a rainy day is at Sarasota’s largest arcade with over 50,000 square feet of indoor fun and entertainment. Family activities include go-kart race track, bumper cars, pool tables, Bazooka Ball and a massive arcade and prize center.

15. Sky Zone Trampoline Park

skyzone sarasota foam pit

Take a break from the sun – Sky Zone will keep you kids active and busy! The massive trampoline park offers 18 attractions including freestyle jumping, a Ninja Warrior Course, Ultimate Dodgeball, Wipe Out, Zip Line and more.

16. The Ringling & Ca d’Zan

The ringling little girl looking at a circus

If you and. your little one’s love museums and art, make sure to checkout the Historic Ringling Museum. Kids will love the hands-on activities, such as the tightrope, the cannon, and the sounds of the circus. There’s 31 art galleries filled with works of antiquities, old masters and modern visionaries, the Ringling Museum is a jewel set on Sarasota’s beautiful Bayfront.

17. St. Armands Circle

st armands circle sarasota

Spend the day (or a few hours) shopping the 130 stores at the iconic St. Armands Circle. This outdoor mall is on an island just adjacent to Lido Key which has coastal views! We love to eat at Columbia, get the famous “1905” salad and finish with ice cream at Big Olaf.


Our Beach Essentials 2023

Our list of favorite beach day essentials when hitting the beach especially with kids.

Shop Now

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About Me

Hi, I'm Carly! While working full time, we travel and explore as much as we can. Especially on the weekends. I want to inspire you on new places to see and fun things to do as a family while juggling it all.

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