Exploring a different region of Florida each year is a tradition for Gringa Traveling Mom and her family. This year it was time to check out the small and relaxed Manasota Key, Florida. This vacation allowed her to discover all there is to know about visiting Manasota Key with kids.
Each year for the holidays, my family of four visits my parents, brother and sister-in-law in Florida. It has now become a full-on tradition in our household.
At this point, I can safely say we have visited and experienced most of what Florida has to offer. From Disney and Universal amusement parks to swimming with manatee and checking out the best Florida beaches for families such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Daytona, we’ve tried it all. Or so we thought.
This year, we wanted to do something unique, with plenty of outdoor activities but with a low key, small beach town feel. Something like family-friendly Sarasota, Florida.
After plenty of researching, I stumbled upon Manasota Key. Now I can officially say this visit is the beginning of many more to come.
Where to Stay with the Family on Manasota Key Florida
I am a huge advocate of vacation rentals. I’m at the point in my life that we pretty much only stay this way.
So naturally this was how I started my search. Interestingly enough, Manasota Key doesn’t have any big hotels even if we wanted to go that route.
What I normally do is search for vacation rental sites that are specific to the location (city, state, etc…) we want to visit. That’s how I connected with Florida Rental By Owners. I’m not sure if this is a new company, or they truly have fantastic service, but Nancy the founder wrote me back personally to help me with my search.
And she was the one who recommended the condo at Pelican Landing that we ended up renting.
John, the owner, was a wealth of knowledge. He was the one who helped me figure out what to do, where the best tour operators were, best restaurants, and most importantly, the best beaches.
And the condo is literally on the water, with a heated pool and Jacuzzi for everyone to use. Why would I ever consider a resort when, for a third of the price I would normally pay, I could have a full kitchen, two bedrooms, living room and dining room?
Other Amenities of this Condo Complex
– Self-contained island, you do not have to get into your car.
– Right by beautiful, secluded, uncrowded beaches.
– Near several restaurants on the water with live music.
– Around rentals for boats, fishing, stand up paddle boarding, riding the waves.
– A popular place to bring your boat as 3 of their 4 units are waterfront with free docking.
What To Do on Manasota Key with Kids
There is a saying by the locals on this Key – Manasota Key is full of old people and their parents. But we found it to be an up-and-coming spot for families and it really showed with the above and beyond service we received.
The #1 activity my family and I always look for when we travel is biking. Renting bikes for us is practically non-negotiable.
John recommended Allure Boat Rentals. They obviously rent much more than bikes, but they had exactly what we needed.
I had reserved four bikes, three adult size and one child size. When we arrived, since barely any families rent bikes, they ran out and bought my seven year old a brand new BMX bike to use the entire time we were on the island.
This didn’t cost us a cent more. Their mission is to work more and more with families and they were so excited to have a young kid to rent to.
Also, they offered to bring the bikes to me anywhere I wanted. And whatever I needed, such as a lock for the bikes (my mind is always looking for ways to not be robbed), they offered to bring it to our condo, even though they were super busy.
This was the feel we got from all the places we went to. The restaurants, the parks and beaches – everyone had a focus on customer service.
We always order our bike rentals way in advance; it’s our way to get around and explore. Our original plan was to take a boat tour to see dolphins, but unfortunately the weather didn’t work to our benefit the day we wanted to do it, so we ended up doing everything by bike.
The other popular tours to take are sail boat tours, dolphin tours, fishing and snorkeling. The ocean here is super tranquil and perfect for tons of water sports. Jet skis are another popular choice.
What To See on Manasota Key
Beaches, beaches and more beaches!
The entire island is about 11 miles long and half a mile at its widest part.
One side of the island contains the beaches. The other is the bay area best for fishing.
The most popular beach is actually a national park – Stump Pass State Park. Even though it is a beach, it also has gorgeous, well maintained hiking trails. It is made up of three islands with protected channels between them.
You can’t take the bike on the paths, though.
The other popular spot is Blind Pass Beach.
Gorgeous sunsets and campfires are the way to truly enjoy life on Manasota Key.