Smells Like Teen Spirit

A Huge List of Fun Things to Do and See With Teenagers

The holidays are upon us, and so are the family get-togethers. It's easy to entertain little ones—and usually older loved ones, too—but what about teens?

By Kim Doleatto November 9, 2022

A teenager pouting along with background images of teens doing fun activities like skateboarding and kayaking.

Teens can be a tough crowd. We're here to help.

The holidays are upon us, and so are the family get-togethers. It's easy to entertain little ones—and usually older loved ones, too—but what about teens?

We’re here to help with a handy list of places to go and things to do so you can compete with TikTok and YouTube, Oculus and Play Station 5, and bring the whole family together.

Rent a Bike or Scooter

Whizz around town and over the Ringling Bridge on a rented Veo bike or scooter. Download the app and grab a helmet, or read about what it's like first by clicking here.

Mini Golf 

Popstroke, the Tiger Woods-designed destination, has an outdoor gaming area, two mini-golf courses and a restaurant on-site. Signature milkshakes and homemade ice cream sweeten the deal. For something owned by a local family, try Evie's. At Smuggler's Cove, where you can feed real alligators between putting.

Cinébistro

Movies never cease to entertain. At Cinébistro, you add sink-back-and-relax reclining chairs and gourmet menu items for a meal and a movie that puts poor old popcorn to shame.

The Mall at University Town Center

Because for some reason, teens still like walking around malls, right? With 70 shops spanning two floors, there's something for everyone.

The Legacy Trail

Scooters, bikes, walkers and joggers are welcome to enjoy the scenic route along this 18.5-mile trail that spans downtown Sarasota all the way to South Venice and North Port. 

Tennis and Basketball

With more than 60 public tennis courts and dozens of basketball courts throughout both Sarasota and Manatee counties, all you need is your gear—you'll probably even meet other teammates on the court.

Beaches

With miles of shore, do we even have to state this obvious destination? Siesta Key, Venice, Anna Maria Island, Lido Key and more await. Click here for our ultimate guide.

Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary

Although the arresting sight of ligers, tigers and lions would suffice, visitors can also hang out with goats, check out marmosets, laugh with lemurs and more.

Escape Rooms

Build a team and crack a mystery at multiple local escape rooms including Escape Room Sarasota, Lokey's Escape Rooms, Escape Reality Sarasota, Escape Rooms UnlockedPremier Escape Adventures and Intense Escape.

Arcades

From air hockey to video games and go-karts, game centers like Livingston's Amusements, Arcade Monsters on Lido Beach and Mysterium Escape Rooms and VR abound.

Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex

Who says you can't hit the ice in our tropical paradise? Take a free class for beginners or join the public skate schedule. 

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Explore touch pools, hands-on exhibits and windows into the science and conservation of marine ecosystems, plus the animals that depend on them like manatees, sharks, sea turtles and otters.

Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddleboard Rentals

We put together five great kayak trips here, but when you're surrounded by water, there's no end in terms of options. Just be sure to call and reserve first. 

Skate Parks

Payne Park in downtown Sarasota has a skate park, bike paths, a café with live music and food, a duck-filled pond (bring feed and make friends with them) and wide open grassy spaces—and it's free. 

In Manatee County, Bradenton Riverwalk has plenty of ramps and bowls just steps from the Manatee River. There's also a fishing pier, walk paths, a splash pad, a volleyball court and more.

Dance at Drum Circles

Live like a hippie at a drum circle on the beach. These free celebrations happen every Sunday at sunset on Siesta, Englewood and Nokomis beaches. Dance, make music of your own, or bring a hula hoop and ribbon to cut loose. 

Get High at Trampoline Parks

Flex parkour skills, play extreme dodgeball or free jump at Sky Zone in Sarasota or Altitude and Defy in Bradenton. Glow nights on the weekend make it a black light party.

Climb Through the Tree Tops

Located out east away from the city, TreeUmph! Adventure Course offers more than 10 football field lengths of challenging terrain and hundreds of aerial adventure games. Clip in and off you go. 

Alligators, Hiking and Sky High Views

At Myakka River State Park, you can do it all thanks to a 100-foot-long suspended canopy walk 25 feet above the ground, bridges over alligator-flush waters and walking paths galore. Check out our ultimate guide here.

Stroll Through an Outdoor Mall

With more than 140 shops and restaurants, St. Armands Circle on Lido Key is great for window shopping, people-watching and strolling, ice cream in hand. Dine outdoors or take in fresh fudge-making at Kilwins, and enjoy the salty breezes–it's just hop, skip and a jump away from Lido Beach.

Pad Your Insta With Amazing Photo Opps

The 66-acre Ringling Museum location is as impressive outside as it is inside. The grounds feature gorgeous displays of gardens and exotic trees, plus the unique architectural delight of the Ca' d' Zan on the waterfront, where you'll look amazing in any pose. Not sure where to start? Click here for our guide to spend a day there.

Skate it Off 

Astro Skate Family Fun Center in Bradenton is the classic throwback you want from a skating rink—cheesy wall art, groovy tunes and all. Check out weekend teen nights and rent skates or bring your own. 

Strike Again

Get your bowling shoes on and hit the lanes at Bowlero in Gulf Gate or Sarasota Lanes.

Special Sips

Funky Fresh Boba Tea Co. in Venice and The Elixir Tea House offer a world of flavors and creativity via dozens of teas and interesting concoctions.

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

Take in a world of discovery at the planetarium, the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat, the Mosaic Backyard Universe and a constantly changing lineup of temporary exhibitions.

Level Up at the Library

Our libraries have dedicated year-round programming targeted at teens ,including coding, soap making, gaming and art. With locations all over both Sarasota and Manatee counties, they're always within reach.

Take a Dip 

Check out outdoor public pools at Arlington Park and Aquatic Center, Sun Outdoors (formerly known as Sun-N-Fun RV Resort—don't worry, it still has that mega-slide!), and the Lido Beach Resort. These area hotels also offer pool day passes. 

Hunt Vintage Finds

Love thrifting and finding that one-of-a-kind purse or timeless scarf? Check out our list of favorite local vintage shops here.

Go Natural at Robinson Preserve

Hike, kayak and paddleboard in this 682-acre preserve along the south shore of the Manatee River. 

Custom Doughnuts

Teens can get creative at The Donut Experiment on Anna Maria Island, where they can choose how to dress their freshly made donuts.

Devour Gourmet Cookies

Clarabell Cookies in Gulf Gate is owned by a brother-sister team who know how to make the sweetest dough thanks to all-natural ingredients like flour, sugar, chocolate chips and a lot of butter.

Painting With a Twist

Put your talents to the canvas at one of many do-it-yourself guided painting classes where the whole family can bring home a unique work of art.

Play With Glass

Teens can sign up for a glass-fusing class at 2Di4Glass, regardless of skill level, and take home a colorful piece of jewelry or a keepsake bowl made with their very own hands.

Make Wood Decor 

Sign up for a DIY wood decor class at Nailed It DIY Studio in Sarasota or Brush and Board in Lakewood Ranch, and take home personalized home decor to cherish.

Take a Pottery or Art Class

The Artful Giraffe is both a local shop and art instruction hub where teens can sign up for pottery, painting, sun catcher-making classes and more.

Join the Circus

Check out a performance at The Circus Arts Conservatory or be the star and enroll in a circus arts training class.

Check out The Rosemary District's Murals 

Colorful and contemporary, these larger-than-life murals in the hippest neighborhood in town, just north of downtown Sarasota make for great photo opps and strolling.

Rent Jet Skis 

With so many waterways and bays, there are lots of places to choose from in the way of jet ski rentals. Make sure to make a reservation first, they fill up fast. Check out Sarasota Jet Ski Rentals, Jammin' Jetskis or Siesta Key Jet Ski to name a few.

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