Last year we took our family of six to Siesta Key for a long vacation.  We had so much fun exploring Siesta Key and the Family Fun in Siesta Key Sarasotasurrounding area, that I wanted to share my ideas for family fun in Siesta Key with you.  Our focus was mostly on beach lounging, so we weren’t able to do everything there is to do around Siesta Key & Sarasota, but I listed the things I want to do when we go back as well.

If I’ve missed anything please leave a comment!

Family Fun in Siesta Key & Sarasota ::

Myakka River State Park

We met Michael’s Aunt and Uncle at the Myakka River State Park for a day of fun.  Myakka River State Park is not too far from Siesta Key, in Sarasota, and it’s definitely worth sacrificing beach time for a visit to this park.  We took an airboat ride and saw a BUNCH of alligators, and beautiful birds everywhere!  They also have a very cool canopy walk, where you climb a tower and cross a bridge to another, taller tower to climb.  When you reach the top you are gazing out over the treetops.  It’s just gorgeous (and good exercise too).  It was such a great day…visiting with family and spending the day exploring a park unlike any we have here in Kentucky.  Myakka River State Park Website

Here are some pictures from our visit to Myakka:

Siesta Key Myakka 1

Siesta Key Myakka Alligator

Siesta Key Myakka Kids

Siesta Key Myakka Michael

Siesta Key Myakka Picnic

Ca’ D’Zan

John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art and Ca’ d’Zan ~ The estate of circus mogul John Ringling and his wife Mable is located just 20-30 minutes away from Siesta Key, on the Sarasota Bay.  Ca’ d’Zan means “house of John” and was built in the 1920’s as a winter residence for the Ringlings.  They designed their home to resemble a Venetian palace, and they also built an Art Museum to display all of the works of art they collected while traveling in Europe.  We spent a few hours there exploring the grounds, wandering around the Art Museum and the Circus Museum and touring the home of John and Mable Ringling.  My regret is that we did not plan to spend more than just a couple hours there.  I feel like this could have been a day-long field trip because there was just so much to see.  I only took Ella and Max on this excursion, I’m not sure if Henry would have had the patience for visiting a fine art museum and touring the house without wanting to touch EVERYTHING.  Our visit to the Ca’ d’Zan was one of my favorite parts of this trip, it was a beautiful experience and the children really enjoyed it too.  We learned a lot about the circus, and saw many great works of art.  We even saw preparations being made for two different weddings on the grounds, this would certainly be a gorgeous wedding venue.  Ca’ d’Zan Website

Pictures from the Ca’ d’Zan:

Siesta Key Ca d'Zan 2

Siesta Key Ca d'Zan 1

Siesta Key Ca d'Zan 3

Siesta Key Ca d'Zan 4

Siesta Key Ca d'Zan 5

Where we Dined 

Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar

Siesta Key Captain Curt's

Turtle Beach Pub

Snook Haven – try the fish tacos…and watch out for gators!

Siesta Key Snook Haven Patio

Siesta Key Snook Haven 1

Siesta Key Snook Haven Sam

City Pizza

City Pizza

Lunch at the concession area of Siesta Beach (where I had the most AMAZING fish taco topped with a strawberry relish.  OH MY.  And I paired it with the perfect beverage of course)

Siesta Beach Fish Taco

And ice cream at the Orange Octopus

Where we Swam

We explored Turtle Beach, Crescent Beach & Siesta Beach.  Our favorite was Siesta Beach…it was absolutely beautiful.  The sand is amazing, soft & silky and it never gets hot!  And the water stays shallow for a very long way out, so the kids can swim and frolic in the waves without worrying about drop-offs.  And the concession area is awesome…it’s like a party all the time up there and the food isn’t your typical concessions food…it was actually delicious.  And they sell beer too 😉  The downside is that Siesta Beach gets CROWDED!  But when we got there earlier in the morning (10 or 11) we were able to get a parking spot and good spots to sit near the water.

Siesta Key Beach

Siesta Key Beach 3

Siesta Key Beach 2

Farmer’s Market in the Siesta Key Village

Sunday morning we went to a small farmer’s market where we got some tasty pineapple, homemade soap, fresh bread and such.  There’s also a Farmer’s Market in Sarasota on Saturday mornings, but we didn’t make it to that one….next time!

I should also note that Orlando is just a few hours away, so part of our vacation to Florida was to drive to Disney World for a few days.  You can read more about tips for a Fun Trip to Disney World with Kids in this post.

Adventures we want to have next time we visit Siesta Key ::

Mote Aquarium

Spanish Point

Drum Circle (Every Sunday at Sundown) Watch this video and you’ll see why I don’t want to miss this one next time.

Jungle Gardens

Lido Key

St. Armand’s Circle

Dolphin Watching at Venice Pier

Big Cat Habitat

Big Olaf Ice Cream

Sharky’s (we’ve heard this is a great place to dig in the sand and find shark teeth!)

Lazy Lobster Restaurant

While you are on vacation consider having your children make Vacation Journals.  This way they can document the trip from their perspective!  Did I miss anything on this list?  What’s your favorite thing about Siesta Key or Sarasota?