A few years back my husband and I decided to start traveling with our kids to Florida for the holidays. This is where my family lives. We kept it up for the past few years to the point that it has now become a full-on tradition.
During those visits, we also take a chance to explore the different areas of Florida as tourists. That’s why at this point, I can safely say, we have visited and experienced most of what Florida has to offer. Anything you name, we have probably experienced, from Disney and Universal amusement parks to swimming with manatee and checking out the famous beaches Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Daytona.
This means that it is getting harder and harder for us to find unique and exciting things for us to do in Florida.
But even like that, we wanted to do something unique. I was looking for a corner in Florida that not only we hadn’t visited but that also offered outdoor activities but with a low key, small beach town feel.
It was a hard research task but in the end, I found Manasota Key and it looked like everything I was looking for. We all liked this place so much that I can officially say that this visit is just the first of many more to come.
Where to Stay with the Family on Manasota Key
Ever since we became a family of four, my husband and I became huge fans of vacation rentals. This type of accommodation is pretty much the only place where we stay at (as long as it is available in the place we are visiting).
So, after deciding that Manasota Key would be the next place we explored I started searching for a vacation rental that was perfect for my family. While doing that I discovered that there aren’t any big hotels in the are also even if we wanted to go that route, it wouldn’t have been possible.
There are many great, global websites for finding vacation rentals out there, however, I prefer going to the smaller ones that specialize in one region. That is because they know the people they work with and have more options for that specific place. Doing that I found Florida Rental By Owners. So I started asking them for recommendations and to my surprise, the reply I got was from the owner, Nancy who provided an amazing service.
After carefully listening to my needs and making some more questions about things we might like she recommended the condo at Pelican Landing that we ended up having.
Nancy put me in contact with the owner who made sure that everything was ready for us. John was also nice enough to help me figure out what to do, where the best tour operators were, best restaurants, and most importantly, the best beaches.
What made me chose this condo was the fact that it is right on the water and even has a heated pool and Jacuzzi. Now think about it, you get a house, the pool, beach access for a third of the price of a resort. Why would I want to consider one over a vacation rental?
What To Do on Manasota Key with Kids
Locals have a saying “Manasota Key is full of old people and their parents”. But I am going to dare to say that it is going to change fast. From what I was able to see Manasota Key is an up and coming spot for families and it really showed with the above and beyond service we received pretty much everywhere e went.
Our experience renting bikes was the perfect example of that. you probably already know that the #1 activity my family and I always look for when we travel is biking. So finding a place where we can rent bikes is a necessity.
For that purpose, John recommended Allure Boat Rentals as the name implies, their main business isn’t renting bikes but they do have them.
I followed John’s advice and reserved four bikes, three for adults and one in a child size. But they had never been asked for a small bike for kids so they ran out and bought my seven-year-old a brand new BMX bike to use the entire time we were on the island. All of this of course without any extra charge for us.
They told me that they are trying to bring in more families and were so excited to have a young kid to rent to.
They also offered to bring the bikes anywhere we wanted and all additional equipment that we might need. ie – a lock for the bikes, even though they were super busy.
This was just one example of the kind of service we had. Pretty much all restaurants, stores, and even parks.
We also wanted to go out on a boat tour to see dolphins but unfortunately, the weather wasn’t right for this kind of tour.
The other popular tours in Manasota Key are to: sailboat tours, dolphin tours, fishing, jet skiing and snorkeling.
What To See on Manasota Key
First, there are beaches, then there are more beaches and finally some more beaches. There is also a great area for fishing in the bay area.
The most popular beach and national park Stump Pass State Park. The park is mostly about the beach but there are also hiking trails to explore. It is made up of three islands with protected channels between them.
However, keep in mind that you can’t take the bikes on the paths.
The other popular spot is – Blind Pass Beach.
Gorgeous sunsets and campfires are the way to truly enjoy life on Manasota Key.