Suncoast Beaches, FL - Anna Maria Island, Bradenton, Longboat Key, Sarasota, Lido Key, Siesta Key & Venice - Vacation Travel Guide

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Suncoast Beaches Area Features

Fun in the Water on the Suncoast

The warm, calm waters of the Gulf are constantly inviting wayfarers to set sail upon them or beachgoers to play by the shore. By venturing to a watersports company in Sarasota, you’ll find many options for an exceptional day (or evening) on the water. After all, being in the surf isn’t just relaxing—it’s the perfect thing to do on a beautiful day on the Florida coast.

Easy-Going Family Fun

The easiest (and cheapest) way to access the water is to simply take advantage of the numerous beaches found on the Florida coastline. Stick your toes in the sand, open a good book and relax while listening to the soothing sounds of the lapping water. This is pure relaxation at its best. For additional comfort, businesses such as Siesta Key Bike & i Kayak rent beach chairs, umbrellas and specialty items like beach wheelchairs and strollers to make your stay on the beach more comfortable.

Relaxed Watersports

Non-motorized watersports are a fun way to venture a bit farther out into the water. Pluswith the help of either a kayak or a paddleboard, you can explore lush tropical areas that swimmers can’t access. Rent equipment through Ride & Paddle by Siesta Sports Rentals or I Kayak Sarasota and paddle leisurely around the keys. Nature lovers can take a guided kayak tour around the local waters and through mangroves where they will have the opportunity to see wildlife up close. Or, work on your core strength and maintain your balance by paddleboarding over the gentle waves. You can choose your own adventure. If you just want to have a little bit of playtime on the water, rent a pedal boat or even an aqua cycle for a unique way to find excitement on the waves.

Fast-Moving Jet Skis

Go for a spin and bounce over waves on a 1-, 2- or 3-seater jet ski. Local shops including Siesta Key Jet Ski &Kayak Rentals and Siesta Key Watersports rent the machines for fast fun in the sun! For those who have never tried jet skiing, it’s a thrilling experience!

Boating Adventures

Almost every boating company in the region offers a variety of tours that can cater to whatever interests you. From catching your dinner on a fishing charter to wildlife or scenic tours, there is a boat with a tour for you! Paradise Key Charters can take you out on a private tour for up to 6 people to Sand Dollar Island, or perhaps you would like to do a tiki bar tour! Maybe glimpse dolphins and manatees along the way!

Key Sailing offers a few different boat tours, but one of their guests’ favorites is the sun set tour. Come aboard their sailboat to feel the wind in your hair as you watch the sunset on the horizon. Some lucky sailors may even see the fabled green flash as the day comes to an end. Other companies are well known for their cruises with live music, dancing and maybe even some cocktails in a party atmosphere. If that sounds appealing, reserve a spot with Le Barge Tropical Cruises. Their boat is like a big floating island with a tropical and festive vibe.

Lunch, brunch, and dinner cruises are fun ways to relax while enjoying a fabulous meal. The Marina Jack II yacht offers a wonderful opportunity to get out on the water and enjoy a buffet of great food topped off with fruity cocktails and maybe even some dancing. You’ll find a wide array of food for every palate including fresh fish, prime rib, salads, desserts and more.

Rental boats are also available to aspiring captains and their first mates. Take the entire family out onto the pristine waters for a fishing or snorkeling adventure with a boat rental from Siesta Key Watersports. Boating licenses are required and free and easy to get. Just visit to register for an online safety course.

There’s also a lot of fun to be had behind a boat! Try waterskiing, tubing, or kneeboarding on the back of a rented boat from Bayfront Excursions. Or soar into the sky while parasailing with companies such as Parasail Siesta. The scenery is unbeatable at heights of approximately 600 feet above the waters of the Gulf. You may be able to glimpse some of the wildlife such as dolphins since your view is as far as the eye can see!

Fishing Trips

Sarasota has a few great options for full and half-day fishing trips. Great Escape Fishing Charters will take you into the local waters on excursions designed for anglers of all ages and skill levels. Redfish, snapper, grouper, flounder and mackerel are just a few local fish that you might be able to hook. The best part is, you don’t need any equipment or experience. Great Escape provides bait, tackle, rod, reel and expertise. Larger groups may prefer to book a private charter through CB’s Saltwater Outfitters. Good luck hooking the big one!

Underwater Exploration

The keys surrounding Sarasota are wonderful places to go snorkeling and diving! Few places in the United States are known for remarkable underwater opportunities, but the Florida coast is an exception. No experience is necessary to go snorkeling in the clear waters of the gulf which makes it a great activity. Companies such as the Kathleen D Sailing Catamarans can take you to prime locations. With their half-day packages, families can set sail to go swim with fish and other sea creatures. Born Blue Scuba Diving &amp; Charters will take certified divers deep below the sea for an amazing excursion. They offer charters to some of the best fishing grounds and even spearfishing trips are available.

Whether SCUBA diving or snorkeling, you’ll come across gorgeous coral reefs and colorful schools of fish while under the water. You may also be lucky enough to come across a manatee. Take care not to disturb them, but just watch these gentle creatures go about their business—which is probably just eating!

Rowing Competitions

Nathan Benderson Park is a gorgeous 600-acre park for the world’s elite rowers and local clubs to compete. The park hosted 2,000 rowers from around the world in 2018 during the World Rowing Masters Regatta. In 2017, the park hosted the World Rowing Championships! It was the first time in 25 years that this competition was held in the United States. Approximately 1,700 rowing athletes from more than 60 countries attended. This spring, qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, the Paralympics and the Triathlon World Cup will take place at Nathan Benderson Park. Visitors are welcome to watch the competitions or, you can rent canoes, kayaks, and even dragon boats on-site.The warm sun and gentle breezes beckon those in search of a relaxing vacation to the beaches near Sarasota. Fun in the water is a way of life in southwestern Florida and there are many activities to enjoy in and around the sea.

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