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?
Rent a Bike or Scooter
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.
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.
Because for some reason, teens still like walking around malls, right? With 70 shops spanning two floors, there's something for everyone.
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
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.
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 Unlocked, Premier Escape Adventures and Intense Escape.
Who says you can't hit the ice in our tropical paradise? Take a free class for beginners or join the public skate schedule.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Teens can get creative at The Donut Experiment on Anna Maria Island, where they can choose how to dress their freshly made donuts.
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.
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
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.
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.