My husband and I LOVE to visit Florida. It’s our all-time favorite state. We vacation there literally every chance we get, and when we aren’t vacationing there, we sure wish we were! The clear blue waters, white sands, and (almost) year round warm weather are what makes it the perfect vacation spot. I dream about living there every single day, and maybe some day we will!
As a matter of fact, my husband actually DID live there when he was younger. He was born in a city near Tampa and lived there until his teen years. When we were dating, I would go and visit him and his family and we would travel EVERYWHERE. His grandparents took us to Disney World, St. Augustine, Miami, the Keys, Fort Meyers, and one of our most favorites, Sarasota. Sarasota is such a beautiful place. It’s the perfect combination of city and beach life, and there is just so much to do! My husband and I have visited at least 5 times during our trips to Florida, and each time we go we find something new to explore.
If you and your family are planning to take a trip to sunny Sarasota, FL and are looking for fun, family friendly things to do and see, I’ve got you covered! I’m also going to tell you about one of the best restaurants in Sarasota that you CANNOT miss out on!
Here are 4 fun family-friendly things to do in Sarasota FL:
The Ringling Brothers Museum and the Ca’ d’Zan
This is a MUST SEE! There’s a reason why I included this at the top of my list, and you should too! The Ca’ d’Zan is absolutely breathtaking and so worth the extra money to take a tour of the house. Let me explain a little about this museum and the history behind it.
This is the property and home of John and Mable Ringling from the Ringling Brother’s Circus. The grounds are absolutely beautiful, with a huge waterfront mansion you can explore with your family. There are several museums on site that give the history of the Ringling Bros Circus, as well as props and equipment that were used in the shows. There is also a huge art gallery that you can walk through that includes the personal art collection of John and Mable. There are several restaurants on site, and you can also explore the garden that Mable herself worked in.
This is a very affordable attraction and so worth the money to go see. The basic admission gets you access to the museum and museum tour, but not the Ca’ d’Zan. There are several packages available that you can choose from, but here I will just list the one that we got.
Museum admission: $25 per adult (college students with ID get in for $5!). Kids 5 and under are free, Kids 6-17 are $5, Seniors 65+ are $23
Museum admission PLUS the first floor of the Ca’ d’Zan: Museum admission fee + $10
Steven and I just explored the first floor of the Ca’ d’Zan, but some day I’d love to go back and tour the whole house. It was so breathtaking! Like I said, there are several packages you can choose from so make sure you check out their website before taking your trip so you can choose the right package for your family.
This could easily be a two day excursion. Steven and I went on our own the first day, then we invited our family to go with us the next time and we got to explore a lot more which was nice! I highly recommend that you take your time through this museum and enjoy the scenery.
Here are a few photos from our visit:
Part of the museum
The Ca’ d’Zan - so breathtaking, especially during Christmas!
Part of the Arena
I'm not going to spoil it for you anymore with pictures :) But I hope they enticed you to go because it was so wonderful!
Y’all. Please hear me when I say that this is the BEST restaurant I have ever been to in my life, hands down. Seriously, I’m not exaggerating. If you don’t go you are missing out on the best food you’ve ever tasted in your life. This is like Grandma’s cooking (dare I say better?) in buffet style. They have literally everything you can imagine, and it’s all homemade. I wish I would have taken the time to take pictures of my food on my last visit, but I was too busy devouring it 😃
They have breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets. Unfortunately I haven’t been to the breakfast buffet (yet), but I already know that it’s delicious. For now, though, I’m going to tell you about the lunch and dinner buffets.
For starters, they have a huge salad bar, also including homemade pasta, chicken, and egg salads. On the buffet, the meat selections change everyday, but they have meats ranging from ham, turkey, pulled pork, pot roast, fried and baked chicken, beef and noodles, livers (if you’re into that, yuck!), salmon, fried fish, and more. The side selections are usually macaroni and cheese, green beans, buttered noodles, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli, carrots, and other veggies. You’ll also get fresh dinner rolls as soon as you sit down at the table. And don’t forget dessert! They have chocolate and vanilla cake, as well as chocolate or vanilla ice cream. Also, you’ll notice when you sit down that they have peanut butter sauce. Y’all, try the peanut butter sauce! And I know it sounds weird, but put it on your rolls. You will be IN LOVE.
They also have a bakery full of homemade desserts, pastries, cakes, and more for you to purchase and take home with you. They also sell homemade noodles, which are amazing by the way! You’ll definitely have to get some to make back home.
You know what the best part is? All of this is all-you-can-eat and COMPLETELY HOMEMADE. And it’s sooooo delicious. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
The adult buffet for dinner is (I believe) $17. The adult lunch buffet is $14. I’m not sure about the kids price. But all in all, it is VERY reasonable for the amount of food you get.
Siesta Key Beach
This is one of the very first beaches we went to when we visited Sarasota. It’s a beautiful beach and a perfect place to spend the day lounging around in the sun. It’s usually pretty busy during the summer months, but it’s a great place for the kids to run around and ride bikes.
I believe that there is a small admission/parking fee (I can’t remember what it is), but it’s very reasonable and if you’re staying the whole day, well worth it. Trust me, I don’t pay for parking if I don’t have to, but this one was worth it!
This is the beach we just recently discovered on our trip during spring break. I’m so glad we did! This was a beautiful, secluded beach along a strip of hotels and beach homes. It kind of reminded me of Folly Beach, SC, a small and secluded getaway! This would be a great place to spend the day, as well as surf and boogie board if your into that. The water was the bluest I’ve seen in a while. It’s definitely my favorite beach in Sarasota!
Hence the name, you might even see a turtle or two! ;)