Sarasota with Teens: A Perfect Family Day

by J. Goodrich, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Oct 5th 2010 12:34 PM

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Sarasota with Teens: A Family Vacation

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Planning a family vacation to Sarasota with teens? You will find no shortage of things to do in this great vacation city. Allow me to recommend a few of my favorites to help make your trip to Sarasota the best family vacation possible!


Morning


There is no better way to start a day than with a scrumptious breakfast! It is hard to beat the amazing breakfast options at Station 400. Indulge in any of the European omelets, or delight yourself with amazing cheeses with a French option. If you are more in the mood for sweets, sink your teeth into the almond crusted, apple-stuffed French toast with berry butter and hard cider syrup. For a more vegetarian-friendly menu and the best coffee in town, check out The Venue in the heart of the Rosemary District. This hip little stop will caffeinate you well, and you will have at your fingertips a wide selection of local, organic flowers, great little vintage shops for local art and jewelry, and great salons and spas.

Station 400, 400 N Lemon Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236; 941-906-1400; 8AM-3PM daily

The Venue, 500 Central Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236; 941-312-6782

After your jaunt around historic Rosemary, the next thing on your agenda for your family vacation with teens in Sarasota should be taking that carload to the Sarasota Farmers Market downtown. Stop by the Worden Farm booth and stock up on some of the juicy, local fruit for a great beach snack (I promise, whatever is in season and available will be amazing!). Hit Whole Foods on the way out of downtown for water and sunscreen if you aren't prepared because you will need it for one of the best beaches in America!

Sarasota Farmers Market, Corner of Main St and N Lemon Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236; 941-225-9256; Every Saturday 7AM-12 PM, rain or shine

Oh, Siesta Key, how I love your powdered-sugar beaches and amazingly friendly locals! Swing by the main parking lot and see if you can grab a spot. On a Saturday during peak season, this can be a treacherous battle. There are a few secret beach access lots that are small but can usually save the day. Once you feel sufficiently baked but not yet sunburned, head to LéLu Coffee Lounge, caffeinate the teens and send them flying with the kid-friendly parasail crew. All the while, you can kick back and enjoy a few martinis with the lovely, young owner, Jen, before heading out to explore and shop on the Key. If you are like me, you can only take a few hours in the brutal Florida sun. Besides, the kids will be back soon, and I am sure everyone is hungry.

Sarasota Visitors' Center, 701 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236, 800-800-3906; Mon-Sat 10AM-5PM

LéLu Coffee Lounge, 5251 Ocean Blvd, Siesta Key, FL 34242; 941-346-5358; Mon-Fri 7:30AM-10PM, Sat 8:30AM-10PM, Sun 8:30AM-5PM

Siesta Key Parasailing, 1265 Old Stickney Point Rd, Siesta Key, Sarasota, FL 34242; 941-586-1972; Sunrise to sunset daily, weather permitting; $60 10-minute flight, $70 12-minute flight, or $80 15-minute flight (the 15-minute flight includes 30-40 pictures on an SD card)

Afternoon


For some great lunch options where you can get away with beach apparel, at least classy beach apparel, check out Libby's Cafe. Nothing here is short of fantastic! You'll find a mouth-watering vegetarian menu, and the "Libbstacker" will change your outlook on a meatloaf sandwich, from leftovers to seconds, please! For any veggie lovers in the family, the black bean-quinoa burger is delicious, and the four cheese, pear tortelloni will please even the fussiest teenager.

Libby's Bar & Café, 1917 S Osprey Ave, Sarasota, FL 34239; 941-487-7300; Mon-Sat 11:30AM-close, Sun brunch 10:30AM-3PM

After lunch, you'll be looking to escape the heat of Sarasota with your teens, so head to the Burn's Court area and catch one of the films playing in Burn's Court Cinema. This hidden treasure prides itself on small theaters, great films, and constantly contributing to the amazing film community in town. Many have no idea how involved Sarasota is in the film industry, but our annual Sarasota Film Festival has been going on since 1998 and hosts a variety of national and international films, feature length movies and shorts, documentaries and blockbusters.

Burn's Court Cinema, 506 Burns Ln, Sarasota, FL 34236, 941-955-3456; Check website or call theater for current showings and times

Are you hungry enough for a snack? I thought so. Head back downtown and stop in at Whiteberry for a healthy and refreshing frozen yogurt. The flavors are rotated, but chocolate is a delicious staple that's never wrong. I like mine topped with mango and strawberries, but when I am feeling saucy, I go with fruity cereal and gummy bears. I won't judge you, if you don't judge me. This may be the perfect time to walk down to Bayfront Park. Sit near the water on one of the creaking front-porch-style swings, or check out the art walk for some great sculptures.

Whiteberry, 1473 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236; 941-366-5050; Mon-Thu 10AM-10PM, Fri-Sat 10AM-11PM, Sun 11AM-9 PM

Bayfront Park, 1 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236; 800-800-3906

Evening


Finish the best family vacation in Sarasota with dinner at Ceviche. This tapas joint has small plates for sharing or dinner sized portions that can still feed two easily. The Espinacas is savory and healthy, perfected with a fig and honey glaze that makes it decadent. The Piquillos Rellenos are highly recommended as well. Every time I stop in, I ask for a recommendation and have never had a bad experience. Try the sangria, which comes as a wine or champagne in pitcher, half-pitcher, and glass sizes. Don't forget to save room for a heavenly dessert. If you are a crème brûlée fan, you found the perfect place to indulge in this delectable custard and caramelized shell. After dinner, check out the roof top for the perfect open-air ending to your night.

Ceviche, 1216 1st St, Sarasota, FL 34236; 941-952-1036; Tue-Thu 4PM-12AM, Fri-Sat 4PM-2AM, Sun 11AM-10PM


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