Located just off the coast of the Florida mainland, Siesta Key is separated from the city of Sarasota by a narrow stretch of mild water. Book a vacation rental on Siesta Key to enjoy the peaceful, artistic local culture. Introduce adventurous kids to music and art festivals, or for the more outdoor-inclined, go biking or snorkeling in this warm, picturesque landscape.

1. Spend a Day on the Water

The coastal location of Siesta Key means big business for local purveyors of surfing and watersports equipment. Stop in at one of the numerous businesses on the island to rent a surfboard, jet ski, or kayak. Feeling a little less adventurous? Grab an inflatable tube, and float peacefully in the calm waters.

2. Relax on the Beach

Siesta Key and the mainland city of Sarasota boast 35 miles of non-stop beach, meaning there’s room enough for everyone to spread out a towel and soak up some rays. The clean, sandy beaches here are great for building sand castles. Book a vacation rental nearly anywhere on Siesta Key to enjoy quick and easy access to a sandy shore.

3. Dance to the Beat of the Siesta Key Drum Circle

What began as a spontaneous event between a small group of locals has grown to become a weekly pseudo-festival for the whole family. On Sunday evenings, head to the stretch of beach between lifeguard stands three and four on the Siesta Key public beach to find this gathering, where locals and visitors alike can drum, dance, sing, and celebrate life on the beach. Kids are always welcome to join in the festivities.

4. Take a Tour Through Ca’d’Zan Mansion

Cross the water into Sarasota to visit Ca’d’Zan, a massive Mediterranean-style mansion that was originally built as the winter home of the Ringlings of European circus-performing fame, who settled in Sarasota Bay in the 1920’s. The Ringlings were one of America’s wealthiest couples and spared no expense in constructing the mansion. Year-round guided tours offer visitors a step back in time to the opulent days of the roaring 20’s.

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5. Catch a Summer Concert or Festival

Free concerts in public parks happen on a regular basis all summer long throughout Sarasota County, including on Siesta Key. Lay out a picnic blanket, and make an afternoon of it. If concerts aren’t your thing, book a spring or summer vacation rental to check out the Siesta Fiesta Art Festival or the annual Fourth of July fireworks display.

6. Go Fishing on a Public Pier

With numerous public piers dotted throughout Siesta Key and Sarasota, you can find the perfect spot to cast your line. Let your kids practice casting and reeling on one of these piers, which are large and sturdy enough to handle even the wildest fishing techniques. Update your fishing license and determine the local take-home laws before you head out.

7. Explore at the Crowley Museum Nature Center

Located on a 190-acre stretch of land adjacent to the Myakka River in Sarasota, this museum includes a historic nature preserve and a museum dedicated to the area’s pioneer days. Traverse the boardwalk through the nature preserve, then stop in at one of the authentic pioneer buildings to get a feel for life in the frontier days of Florida’s history.

8. Get Creative With an Art Walk

First Friday Art Walks take place along Palm Avenue in Sarasota on the first Friday of each month. These evening events include art galleries, open studios, dining specials, music, and performance. Let your kids get inspired by the local art scene while you take in the sights and sounds of this picturesque street known for its shopping and dining.

9. Go Snorkelling at Point of Rocks

At the midpoint of Siesta Key’s west coast, Point of Rocks is an outcropping that creates a small bay where calm waters facilitate safe snorkeling and a haven for fish and coral. Vacation rentals on Siesta Key provide quick access to this hotspot, and families with kids old enough to swim can enjoy a truly magical underwater adventure.

10. Bike Around Town

The flat grade and scenic landscape of Siesta Key and Sarasota make it ideal for cycling. Rent a basic city bike for an easy and affordable way to get around town. Wilderness trails in varying difficulty are a great way to experience the local wildlife as well as the peace and quiet of the area. Biking along the beach is fun for the whole family, not to mention a great leg workout.

11. Fly a Kite

Take advantage of the warm climate and coastal winds of Siesta Key. The island’s beach is a perfect spot for flying kites. Bring your own if you have one, or pick up a souvenir kite from one of the many local independent shops. Kids can have a ball watching colorful kites flutter in the wind far above the sand. Kiting also makes a great activity on blustery days, when the water is a little too chilly.

12. Make a New Friend at the Mote Aquarium

Head to the southern end of Sarasota to visit the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. Introduce kids to the local wildlife with exhibits that include jellyfish, sea turtles, and even manatees. Pet starfish in the kid-friendly touch tank, and grab a bite at the deep sea diner.

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