Is Sarasota A Family-friendly Destination?

Is Sarasota a family-friendly destination? If you’re looking for a place that caters to all members of your family, young and old, then Sarasota might just be the perfect fit. With its beautiful beaches, vibrant arts scene, and a multitude of outdoor activities, this Florida gem offers something for everyone. From the thrill of visiting the Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium to exploring the lush landscapes of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota provides endless opportunities for family fun and adventure. So pack your bags and get ready to create lasting memories in this friendly and welcoming city.

Is Sarasota A Family-friendly Destination?

Sarasota’s Attractions


Sarasota is renowned for its stunning, picturesque beaches that offer something for everyone in the family. Whether you’re looking for a bustling beach with plenty of activities, or a more tranquil and laid-back spot to relax, Sarasota has it all. Siesta Key Beach, consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the United States, boasts powdery white sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Lido Key Beach is another popular choice, with its wide sandy shore and calm Gulf of Mexico waves. Families can enjoy building sandcastles, playing beach volleyball, or simply soaking up the sun together.


For families who enjoy exploring art, history, and culture, Sarasota offers an impressive array of museums. The Ringling, a world-class museum complex, features an eclectic mix of art galleries, historic mansion tours, and even a circus museum. Children will be delighted by the interactive exhibits and hands-on activities at The Children’s Garden and Art Center. The Sarasota Jungle Gardens provides a unique experience, where families can wander through lush tropical gardens and see an array of exotic animals up close. With so many museums to choose from, there’s always a new adventure awaiting your family in Sarasota.

Zoos and Aquariums

Animal lovers of all ages will be captivated by the zoos and aquariums in Sarasota. The Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium offers a fascinating look into the world of marine life. From colorful fish and playful otters to majestic sharks and sea turtles, there’s no shortage of marine creatures to marvel at. For a more immersive experience, families can visit the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, where they can get up close and personal with lions, tigers, and other exotic animals. Sarasota’s zoos and aquariums are both entertaining and educational, providing enriching experiences for the whole family.

Amusement Parks

When it comes to thrilling fun and excitement, Sarasota doesn’t disappoint. The popular Sarasota Jungle Gardens not only showcases exotic animals, but also features exciting amusement park rides that guarantee a day filled with laughter and thrills. Adventure Island is another family-friendly destination, offering water slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers that are perfect for beating the Florida heat. With a wide range of rides, games, and attractions, these amusement parks provide endless entertainment for the entire family.

Quality of Life

Safe Environment

Sarasota takes pride in providing a safe and welcoming environment for families. The city consistently ranks among the safest communities in Florida, offering peace of mind to residents and visitors alike. Whether you’re strolling along the beach, exploring a park, or enjoying a family-friendly event, you can feel confident that your well-being is a top priority in Sarasota.


Education is a top priority in Sarasota, with excellent schools and educational opportunities for children of all ages. The Sarasota County School District is known for its high-quality education and dedicated teachers. The district offers a variety of programs and extracurricular activities to engage students and help them reach their full potential. In addition to traditional public schools, Sarasota also boasts a number of private schools that provide a range of educational options for families.


Sarasota is home to world-class healthcare facilities, ensuring that families have access to top-notch medical care. The city is served by several well-respected hospitals and medical centers, with a wide range of services and specialties. Whether you need routine check-ups, emergency care, or specialized treatments, you can rest assured that Sarasota’s healthcare providers are dedicated to your family’s well-being.

Parks and Recreation

Sarasota is blessed with an abundance of parks and recreational areas, providing families with endless opportunities for outdoor fun and relaxation. From neighborhood playgrounds to expansive nature preserves, there’s always a park waiting to be explored. Families can enjoy picnicking, hiking, biking, and even kayaking in the numerous parks and nature trails that dot the city. With its commitment to preserving green spaces and promoting an active lifestyle, Sarasota truly offers a high quality of life for families.

Is Sarasota A Family-friendly Destination?

Accommodation Options

Hotels and Resorts

Sarasota offers a wide range of family-friendly hotels and resorts to suit every budget and preference. Luxury resorts provide a full range of amenities, from pools and spas to on-site restaurants and kids’ clubs. Many hotels and resorts in Sarasota are located close to the beach, allowing families to enjoy quick and easy access to the sun, sand, and surf. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing stay or an action-packed getaway, Sarasota has the perfect accommodation option for your family.

Vacation Rentals

For families seeking a home away from home in Sarasota, vacation rentals are an ideal choice. From cozy beachfront cottages to spacious condominiums, there’s a vacation rental to suit every family’s needs. These rentals often come fully furnished with kitchens, making it easy for families to prepare their own meals and enjoy quality time together. The added privacy and flexibility of a vacation rental allow families to create their own personalized experience in Sarasota.


For the adventurous family, Sarasota offers a variety of campgrounds and RV parks that provide an immersive outdoor experience. Whether you prefer tent camping or traveling in an RV, there are campgrounds with amenities like swimming pools, playgrounds, and even organized activities for children. Sleeping under the stars and waking up to the sounds of nature is a truly unforgettable experience that the whole family can enjoy in Sarasota.

Dining for the Whole Family

Kid-Friendly Menus

Sarasota is home to numerous restaurants that cater to the needs and tastes of young diners. Many establishments offer special kids’ menus with a variety of options that are sure to please even the pickiest eaters. From classic favorites like pizza and burgers to more adventurous dishes like sushi or tacos, there’s something for every child’s palate in Sarasota. With friendly staff and vibrant atmospheres, dining out becomes a fun and stress-free experience for the whole family.

Casual and Upscale Dining

Sarasota boasts a vibrant culinary scene, offering a wide variety of dining options for families. From casual beachfront cafes to upscale eateries, there’s a restaurant to suit every occasion and preference. Families can indulge in mouthwatering seafood, savor authentic international cuisines, or enjoy hearty comfort foods. Sarasota’s dining establishments pride themselves on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, ensuring that every meal is a culinary delight.

Outdoor Dining Options

One of the highlights of dining in Sarasota is the abundance of outdoor seating options. With its delightful year-round weather, families can enjoy their meals al fresco while soaking up the sunshine and taking in the beautiful surroundings. Many restaurants offer outdoor patios or waterfront dining, allowing families to enjoy breathtaking views while savoring their meals. From casual picnics on the beach to elegant dinners under the stars, outdoor dining in Sarasota adds a touch of magic to any family outing.

Is Sarasota A Family-friendly Destination?

Entertainment and Events

Family-Friendly Events

Sarasota is a hub of family-friendly events all year round. The city hosts a variety of festivals, fairs, and parades that are perfect for family outings. From the Sarasota Medieval Fair, where families can step back in time and experience life in the Middle Ages, to the Sarasota Chalk Festival, where masterpieces are created right on the city streets, there’s always something exciting happening in Sarasota. These events provide a unique opportunity for families to come together, create lasting memories, and immerse themselves in the vibrant culture of the city.

Performing Arts

As a thriving cultural destination, Sarasota is home to a world-class performing arts scene. Families can enjoy Broadway shows, ballet performances, musical concerts, and much more at renowned venues such as the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and the Historic Asolo Theater. Additionally, the Sarasota Opera and the Sarasota Ballet offer captivating performances that are sure to inspire and entertain both children and adults. Exposing children to the arts at an early age can spark their creativity and foster a lifelong appreciation for the performing arts.

Sports Activities

For families who enjoy sports and outdoor activities, Sarasota has plenty to offer. The city has a rich sports culture, with opportunities to watch and participate in a wide range of sports. Families can catch a baseball game at the Ed Smith Stadium, the spring training home of the Baltimore Orioles. Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round of golf at one of Sarasota’s many championship golf courses. For those who prefer more active pursuits, there are numerous parks and recreational facilities that offer sports such as tennis, basketball, soccer, and more. Sarasota truly has something for every sports-loving family.

Outdoor Activities

Beach Activities

Sarasota’s pristine beaches are not only perfect for sunbathing and swimming, but also offer a plethora of exciting beach activities for the whole family. From building sandcastles and flying kites to playing beach volleyball and frisbee, there’s no shortage of fun in the sun. Families can also try their hand at water sports such as paddleboarding, jet skiing, and even parasailing. The clear and calm waters of Sarasota’s beaches make them ideal for family-friendly water activities, creating lasting memories of fun and adventure.

Boating and Fishing

With its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and numerous rivers and lakes, Sarasota is a paradise for boating and fishing enthusiasts. Families can rent a boat or join a guided tour to explore the stunning waterways and observe the abundant marine life. Fishing charters are available for those who want to try their luck at catching a variety of fish species, from snapper and grouper to tarpon and redfish. Whether you prefer a leisurely boat ride or an adrenaline-pumping fishing expedition, Sarasota’s water activities are sure to keep the whole family entertained.

Nature Trails and Parks

For families who appreciate the beauty of nature, Sarasota offers a wealth of nature trails and parks to explore. The Legacy Trail is a popular choice, offering a scenic 11-mile paved trail that winds through lush landscapes and connects various parks along the way. Families can hike, bike, or even rollerblade through this picturesque trail, immersing themselves in the tranquility of the surrounding nature. Additionally, several parks in Sarasota provide opportunities for wildlife spotting, birdwatching, and picnicking, allowing families to connect with nature and appreciate the outdoors.

Family-Friendly Neighborhoods

School Districts

Sarasota is known for its excellent school districts, making it an attractive destination for families with school-aged children. The Sarasota County School District consistently ranks highly in terms of academic achievement, offering a variety of programs and resources to support students. Families can feel confident that their children will receive a quality education in a safe and nurturing environment in Sarasota.

Community Centers

Sarasota is home to numerous community centers that offer a wide range of family-oriented activities and resources. These centers provide spaces for families to come together, participate in recreational programs, and build strong connections with their neighbors. From fitness classes and sports leagues to art workshops and summer camps, there’s always something happening at Sarasota’s community centers that cater to the interests and needs of families.

Family-Oriented Activities

Sarasota is a city that values family and offers a plethora of activities and events designed specifically with families in mind. From outdoor movie nights and farmers’ markets to neighborhood block parties and holiday celebrations, there’s always something happening in Sarasota that brings families closer together. These family-oriented activities create a strong sense of community and provide opportunities for families to bond and create lasting memories.

Transportation and Accessibility


Sarasota is easily accessible by air, with the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport conveniently located just a short drive from the city center. The airport offers a range of domestic and international flights, making it convenient for families travelling from near and far. With its well-connected airport, Sarasota ensures that families can easily reach their destination and start their family-friendly adventure without any hassle.

Public Transportation

Sarasota’s public transportation system provides a convenient and affordable way for families to navigate the city. The Sarasota County Area Transit (SCAT) operates a comprehensive network of buses that serve various neighborhoods and attractions. Families can rely on this reliable and efficient public transportation system to explore Sarasota without the need for a car. Additionally, many attractions and popular areas in Sarasota are easily walkable or bikeable, allowing families to enjoy the city at their own pace.

Walkability and Bikeability

Sarasota is a city that encourages walking and biking as means of transportation and recreation. The city has invested in creating pedestrian-friendly sidewalks and bike lanes, making it easy and safe for families to explore the city on foot or by bike. Families can take leisurely walks along the scenic waterfront, bike through the charming neighborhoods, or even embark on a family bike ride on the Legacy Trail. The walkability and bikeability of Sarasota make it a family-friendly destination that promotes an active and healthy lifestyle.

Safety Measures

Family-Friendly Facilities

Sarasota takes the safety and well-being of families seriously and has implemented numerous safety measures in its public facilities. Parks have designated play areas with age-appropriate equipment and safety features to ensure children can play safely. Many beaches have lifeguards on duty to maintain a safe environment for swimming. Additionally, public buildings, such as museums and entertainment venues, adhere to strict safety protocols to protect the well-being of families. With its family-friendly facilities and comprehensive safety measures, Sarasota prioritizes the safety of families.

Emergency Services

Sarasota is equipped with reliable emergency services to ensure the safety and well-being of its residents and visitors. The city has a responsive and well-trained police force that maintains a strong presence throughout the community. In case of a medical emergency, families can rely on the prompt and professional services provided by Sarasota’s hospitals and emergency medical services. The availability of these emergency services offers peace of mind to families, knowing that help is always just a phone call away.

Nearby Family Excursions

Day Trips

While Sarasota offers an abundance of family-friendly attractions and activities within its borders, there are also several exciting day trip options nearby. Families can take a short drive to explore the charming town of Venice, known for its beautiful beaches and historic downtown area. The nearby Myakka River State Park offers a unique opportunity to experience Florida’s wilderness, with its expansive wetlands and diverse wildlife. For a fascinating educational experience, families can visit the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in nearby Sarasota, where they can explore stunning displays of tropical plants and learn about the importance of environmental conservation. These nearby excursions provide families with even more opportunities to create lasting memories and discover the wonders of the region.

Theme Parks

With its proximity to Orlando, Sarasota serves as a convenient base for families looking to explore the world-famous theme parks in the area. Just a short drive away, families can visit the magical Walt Disney World Resort, where they can meet their favorite Disney characters, enjoy thrilling rides, and experience enchanting shows. Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld Orlando are also within reach, offering a wide range of attractions and entertainment for the whole family. Sarasota’s location makes it an ideal destination for families who want to combine a relaxing beach vacation with the excitement of world-class theme parks.

Wildlife Reserves

Nature lovers will be delighted to discover the abundance of wildlife reserves near Sarasota. The Myakka River State Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, with its vast wilderness, towering canopy trails, and thrilling airboat tours. Families can spot alligators, deer, and a variety of bird species while exploring the park’s extensive network of trails and waterways. The Crowley Museum and Nature Center offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and experience Florida’s pioneer heritage while observing native wildlife in their natural habitat. Exploring these nearby wildlife reserves allows families to connect with nature and gain a deeper appreciation for Florida’s natural wonders.

In conclusion, Sarasota is undeniably a family-friendly destination with an abundance of attractions, quality of life amenities, accommodation options, dining establishments, and outdoor activities designed to cater to the needs and preferences of families. Whether you’re exploring the stunning beaches, immersing yourself in the cultural and educational offerings, or enjoying the various outdoor adventures, Sarasota offers a comprehensive range of experiences that guarantee a fun and memorable family vacation. With its commitment to safety, education, and community engagement, Sarasota embraces families and provides an environment where both residents and visitors can thrive. So pack your bags, gather your loved ones, and embark on an unforgettable family adventure in Sarasota, where fun and excitement await around every corner.