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4 days in LBK

ca
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4 days in LBK

We'll be there next week!!! Yay! Have read through the forums and have some ideas of to do's but had some other questions. We're a group of my parents, husband and I, and 3 kids (5 and under). We're staying at Cabana Beach Club.

To-do's-

- Siesta Key beach and area - walk around village?

- St. Armands - walk around?

- Mote Aquarium - we've been to a few aquariums, is this one worth it. thought about just doing the boat ride.

- Might drive to Busch for a day

- Visit Sarasota area - any specifics?

- Visit Anna Marie Island - any specifics besides taking the trolley around?

- Ringling Museum - heard it's free on Mondays?

For these activities, what can we combine and do in one day or requires a whole day. Any specifics for the areas we want to visit?

We heard it would be fun to rent a bike. Also, thought about doing a fishing and/or snorkeling trip but we will be going to the Keys after this. Should we save these activities for the Keys?

We'll mostly be eating at home so looking for fresh seafood. Heard about Cortez and Capt Brians. But will want to go to some lunch places and maybe a special dinner place on the water that is affordable?

And lastly, I will have to go to Tampa for a day and the others will be without a car for a whole day. What can/should they do?

Thanks.

Sarasota, Florida
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1. Re: 4 days in LBK

Lots of questions! And all of them good ones. I'll try to answer most of them, so here goes:

Siesta Key -- With such a short time, and with three little ones, they may be just as happy hanging out on the beach on Longboat rather than driving 20-25 minutes to a different beach (plus the hassle of finding a parking spot). Yep, the sand on Siesta is superb, powdery, and it's a large, wide beach. But as for sand castles and little shells, I suspect your kids would vote to stay at Cabana Beach Club.

For beachtime either place, get out there in the AMs. We're in our tropical summer season, clear in the morning then cloudy around mid-day/early afternoon, then a rain shower, then clearing.

St. Armands -- Yes, worth a visit. Kids will like ice cream, pizza, fudge; your folks (and you) would like to shop and maybe stop by Starbucks or some nice stores.

Mote -- Definitely do the boat; great for all ages. If you've been to other aquariums it might not mpress you; it's nice, but not the world's greatest ... though the kids might enjoy the tank where they can pet a stingray.

Ringling -- Yes, it's free on Mondays, but only the Art Museum itself. For the Mansion and the Circus Museum you'd still have to pay money. For adults, the Ringling complex is fabulous and worth a trip; for kids (and very definitely for adults also) the Circus Museum is a real treat.

Other activities -- The GWiz hands-on science museum on the mainland is a great activity with kids. Also maybe go to Jungle Gardens. Possibly a walk through Selby Botanical Gardens -- the kids might (I hope) enjoy seeing some of the plants and trees (some of which look like giraffes), while the adults will love it. On Longboat, do go to the nearby Durante Park; there's a wonderful children's playground there.

Biking? Yes, of course. You're close to Backyard Bike Shop that rents bikes (cash and check only, no credit cards). They have some bikes with little trailer things for young ones.

Eating: buy some pre-cooked great meals from Harry's Deli which is close to you. For basic groceries, stop in a Publix before you get over to Longboat (the Publix on Longboat is currently being renovated). Lunch would be fun, and casual, at Salty Dog, on the water next to the Mote. Dinner maybe at Mar Vista at the top end of Longboat or Beachhouse at the south end of Anna Maria (kids can wander on the sand while you're waiting for your meal; not the greatest food or service in my opinion, but it's a good choice with kids). How about a night out for you or your parents, while the others stay home to babysit? I'd go to either Harry's or to Pattigeorge's.

And for that car-less day while you're in Tampa. Either let the others hang out at the beach or take them all up to Tampa, drop them off at Busch while you do your thing, and then pick them up in the evening.

A last thought. Think of Sarasota as your beachtime and the Keys as your snorkel time. We have the beaches and they have the coral reefs.

You've picked a good place at Cabana Beach Club. I think you'll enjoy it immensely!

Ohio
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2. Re: 4 days in LBK

As always, cbchrc has the best advice for LBK. My one suggestion is that since you're only going to be there for 4 days, I wouldn't try to pack your schedule full of activities. I'd much prefer to have a leisurely, laid back "island life" 4 day vacation rather than trying to run from activity to activity with your parents and 3 young kids.

Definitely hang out at the beach and pool early in the day, and then there is always a decent chance for storms later in the day. If you have a view of the water from your place, I've always enjoyed seeing storms roll in from the Gulf in the summertime! That would also be a good time to head to Mote Aquarium or some other indoor activity if you want.

As far as restaurants, I'd also recommend Mar Vista--great ambiance on the water (bay). If the weather isn't cooperating, then sitting inside or on the covered patio at Dry Dock would be another good option.

Have fun!

ca
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3. Re: 4 days in LBK

Thanks everyone. About the weather...so the storms usually hit in the afternoon, huh? Hmmm...that means I need to find some inside things to do. Any suggestions besides Mote?

So, should I plan outside activities in the morning and inside activities in the afternoon?

Bradenton, Florida
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4. Re: 4 days in LBK

It may or may not rain in the afternoon. Today threatened a lot, and did rain in some areas, but not everywhere. Often, what threatens out east never reaches the beach. If it says 30% or less, do whatever you want. If it reads 60% or more, it will rain.

I personally love Mote. So much to do. There is the usual aqujarium, the interactive theater, and the sea turtle, dolphin and manatee area. Also, do not miss the Old Salty Dog restaurant across the street.

sarasota, FL
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for Sarasota, Venice, Siesta Key
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5. Re: 4 days in LBK

if it does rain you can always go to the movies..There is a large movie theater on Main Street in downtown Sarasota.

Where are you staying in the Keys?

~SRQgirl

sarasota, FL
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6. Re: 4 days in LBK

Also, the South Florida Museum

www.southfloridamuseum.org/TheMuseum.aspx

~SRQgirl

ca
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7. Re: 4 days in LBK

thanks everyone. i'm staying in Marathon in the Keys.

sarasota, FL
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8. Re: 4 days in LBK

Make sure you stop at John Pennekamp State Park on Key Largo.

http://www.pennekamppark.com/snorkeling.html

~SRQgirl

Edited: 27 July 2012, 16:54
Sarasota, Florida
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9. Re: 4 days in LBK

You're coming here for the outdoors/beach atmosphere so anticipate doing just that. If rain does come along, I don't mind finishing whatever I'm doing outside even if I get wet (as long as there's no lightning); heck it's 85 degrees and the rain feels good. But for an extended period, I'd head to the Mote or to GWiz or to the movies or to a mall, or use it as an excuse to do some shops and a Starbucks on St. Armands. As the song goes in Annie, the sun will be out tomorrow,...

10. Re: 4 days in LBK

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