How to Do a Weekend Trip to Sarasota, Florida with Kids

Explore My City Guest Blogger Ali Gilbert from Mom Explores South-West Florida

We live in southwest Florida and we absolutely love it! Sarasota has so much to offer families from entertainment to dining to reasonable resort stays. It’s a great place to go away for a whole week or even just a weekend visit.

I personally feel like Sarasota is a hidden gem. A lot of people want to go to Miami or Orlando on their Florida road trip, but Sarasota has so many amazing places that you will definitely want to add to your bucket list.

So, here is how to do a weekend trip to Sarasota, Florida:

This post is part of our Explore My City guest series. You can find all our US City Guides here

Where should I stay in Sarasota?

There are so many beautiful resorts all along the Siesta Key beach in Sarasota. Personally, I love the Lido Beach Resort. It’s right on the gulf so you just walk out to the beach. You don’t have to worry about parking or fighting a crowd. They have a beautiful pool and a lot of other great amenities. Plus it’s close to a lot of restaurants and attractions in Sarasota.

There are loads of Airbnb options in Sarasota too, from complete homes to trendy condos to consider.

Where should I eat in Sarasota?

A lot of people are concerned about what to do and where to go on vacation…I worry about what I am going to eat. I love to eat and I love to try unique and local restaurants when I visit new places.

For breakfast, you can go to Millie’s Restaurant. They serve breakfast and lunch with choices from eggs and bacon to pancakes and more. It’s delicious!

For lunch, I would suggest grabbing Publix subs and eating out on the beach! It’s simple and you can enjoy the outdoors while you are doing it. If you want a sit-down lunch restaurant you could go inland a little way to Yoder’s Restaurant and Amish Village for some good cookin’!

For dinner, you will want to eat by the water (or in their gorgeous dining room) at Marina Jack’s! They offer seafood, which I suggest because it’s oh, so delicious and what we are known for here in southwest Florida, however, if you don’t like seafood they have a filet that will melt in your mouth.

Where should I play in Sarasota?

There are so many things to do in Sarasota. If you visiting with kids or adults or both, there are lots of places to visit and lots of ways to have fun while you are in town. Here are my top 5 favorite things to do in Sarasota:

1. Siesta Key Beach

Dr. Beach ranked Siesta Key Beach as the #1 beach in the US in 2017 and many years past. It is known for its white, soft sand. It’s absolutely gorgeous! You cannot visit Sarasota without stopping by. Plus the Siesta Key Beach Park is really neat for the kids. It looks like a giant sandcastle!

A weekend in Sarasota Florida with Kids | Our Globetrotters Explore My City

Find all of the best family beaches in Florida here, or why not check out the best islands and keys in Florida

2. Sarasota Jungle Gardens

We visited Sarasota Jungle Gardens and absolutely loved it. It’s like a zoo but for more location-based animals like alligators, tropical birds, and farm animals. It was really neat!

3. Cinebistro

Looking for an evening “getaway?” I have the perfect spot for a date night in Sarasota! We visited the Cinebistro at Southgate Mall in Sarasota and had such a great experience. We absolutely loved it! It’s the best way to watch a movie and they have amazing food! You sit in a recliner and can lay back and watch the latest movies

4. Ringling Museum

A weekend in Sarasota Florida with Kids | Our Globetrotters Explore My City

We visited the Ringling Museum in Sarasota and had such fun! It’s huge and there is so much to do there for adults and kids of all ages. There are several exhibits to check out at Ringling and the grounds are just gorgeous to walk through and check out.

A weekend in Sarasota Florida with Kids | Our Globetrotters Explore My City

There are gardens, a really neat playground, and the Ringling mansion you can walk through as well. It is such a unique experience

5. Mote Marine Aquarium

I am a sucker for aquariums! We love seeing fish, shark, jellyfish, and other sea creatures. Plus you learn so much about the ocean. Mote Marine has really great exhibits and it’s fun for the whole family.

A weekend in Sarasota Florida with Kids | Our Globetrotters Explore My City

Plus, they have a new “Teeth Beneath” exhibit all about alligators and it’s awesome! It is across from the actual Mote Marine Aquarium. It’s in the Mote’s Ann and Alfred E. Goldstein Marine Mammal Research and Rehabilitation Center. Definitely a must-see!

What’s nearby?

Sarasota is located on the west coast of Florida, and, in my opinion, it is perfectly located between Orlando and Miami. The drive to Orlando is about 2.5 hours, the drive to Tampa is about 1 hour and the drive to Miami is about 3.5 hours.

It’s really nicely located between other big cities with big attractions and theme parks – a perfect beach to combine with a Disney World trip.

When should I visit Sarasota?

The best time to visit is the winter to early spring months. Sarasota doesn’t get snow, so the winter months of January-March are gorgeous and the humidity is down.

Visiting in the summer is fun too because you definitely will not have to wear a jacket at all, but if you are looking for the nicest weather months January through March are going to be your pick!

Sarasota is a wonderful city with beautiful landscapes and fun things to do for the whole family. I suggest spending a weekend, a week, or even just a day in Sarasota to have fun and unique experiences!

Thanks to Ali for sharing her little corner of the world with us.  We were really taken with this stretch of the Gulf Coast and all its amazing beaches and agree those silky white sands can’t be beaten – it definitely made our Florida highlights from our 2015 US trip!

Check out these awesome RV Parks on the Florida Coast! (Hint Turtle Beach near Sarasota books up to 12 months in advance!)

About the Blogger

Hi! I’m Ali. I am a 30-something mommy to a little girl and a little boy who are full of energy and cuteness. We live in the sunny state of Florida. I am the creator of the Mom Explores blog and the author of Mom Explores Southwest Florida. I am thrilled to be able to network with other moms to talk about life as we know it.

You can follow along with Ali and her family adventures here:


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How to enjoy Sarasota, Florida, with a local | Our Globetrotters Explore My City

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2 thoughts on “How to Do a Weekend Trip to Sarasota, Florida with Kids

  1. Pingback: 5 Things to Do in Missoula with a Toddler in Tow

  2. Melanie says:

    this was really a nice place I love that place so much. a few months ago I came back from here. and Your writing was good. Keep up the great work!

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