Adventure Activities in Sarasota -- Try if You Dare

by Mary Malahy, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Sep 15th 2010 01:25 PM

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Adventure Activity Sarasota

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Sarasota may have a reputation for being a peaceful community, ideal for retirement, but it doesn't have to be. There are plenty of Sarasota travel adventures to be had if you know where to look for them. Check out this list, and spice up your vacation with an adventure activity in Sarasota.

Many exciting outdoor activities in Sarasota involve the water. We dare you to get wet and wild! First, try parasailing at Siesta Key Parasailing. Wooshing through the air as you watch the spectacular beauty of the ocean below is sure to take your breath away. If you're really feeling gutsy, dare your driver to dip you in the water -- he'll be sure to oblige. Visit the website or call to make reservations.

Siesta Key Parasailing
1265 Old Stickney Point Road
(941) 586-1972

If you're seeking a more fast-paced adventure activity in Sarasota, try speeding across the gulf on a jet ski. As you walk down the beach, you'll notice an abundance of stands where you can rent jet skis. Rates vary, but expect to pay around $35 for a half hour. You must be 16 to drive, and make sure to bring a credit card for a deposit.

Looking for free outdoor activities in Sarasota? Get a bit of exercise by jogging or walking to the top of the John Ringling Causeway Bridge. Because the bridge replaced a drawbridge and must accommodate large ships, it is exceptionally high. This affords adventurers a stunning view of the turquoise water, white sand, frenzied marina and enormous celebrity mansions. The bridge features tall guard rails and wide, smooth sidewalks, so you need not fear for your safety.

Those risk takers who are feeling particularly lucky can take a gamble on the canines at the Sarasota Kennel Club. This popular track also features poker nights. Keep in mind-you must be 18 to place bets.

Sarasota Kennel Club
5400 Bradenton Road
(941) 355-7744
Hours: Racing schedule varies; visit the website for details.

Bring home some free souvenirs from your Sarasota travel adventures by diving for sand dollars. Most local beaches have sandbars about 50 feet off shore, and you are likely to find some unique mementos if you strap on some flippers and don your goggles. Dodging the waves and scouring the ocean floor is sure to thrill. You may even see some unusual sea life while you're down there.

On the off chance that you don't see any ocean life while diving for sand dollars, you can get your fill of aquatic creatures at the Mote Marine Laboratory. This aquarium features dolphins, sharks, manatees, sea turtles and much more. Experience the surprisingly silky texture of a stingray in the hands on exhibit – if you dare.

Mote Marine Laboratory
1600 Ken Thompson Parkway
(941) 388-4441
Hours: Daily 10AM-5PM including all holidays
Admission: $17 for those over 12, $16 for seniors (over 65), $12 for children between the ages of 4 and 12 and free for those under 4.

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