Nestled near downtown Sarasota and across Sarasota Bay from sought-after Longboat Key luxury homes, the Harbor Acres neighborhood is the perfect location to explore the best Sarasota offers. With its distinct charm and proximity to beaches, gardens, and trails, there are plenty of rewarding activities suited to the exacting tastes common to Harbor Acres residents. Read on to discover the best sightseeing destinations, outdoor activities, and fun things to do with your family in and around Harbor Acres.
Best activities near Harbor Acres
With a beautiful bay view, Harbor Acres lets residents spend their time soaking up the sun and taking strolls. If you feel adventurous, you can also explore the nearby waters by kayaking, paddle boarding, and sailing.
Sarasota's downtown also has a lot to offer when it comes to shopping and dining, so make sure to take a walk and explore. A visit to the local galleries and museums is a must for art enthusiasts, and the area's community events and festivals provide entertainment all year round.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
opened to the public in 1975 on the grounds of the former home of Marie and William Selby. With over 20,000 plants, including ferns, bamboo, banyan trees, and orchids, the gardens span seven acres and offer tranquil views of Sarasota Bay. They also feature a butterfly garden, a children's rainforest, a fern garden, and a bamboo garden, making it an excellent destination for visitors of all ages.
Beyond the beautiful gardens, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens also offers educational programs and events, providing a unique opportunity for visitors to learn more about the wonders of nature. The gardens offer a peaceful and informative experience for visitors looking to enjoy a day surrounded by lush foliage and stunning views.
The Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
One of the best activities near Harbor Acres is a visit to the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium
. With a variety of marine species to explore, visitors can get up close and personal with jellyfish, manatees, rays, seahorses, and sea turtles. The aquarium also offers touch pools and interactive exhibits to help visitors better understand the secrets of the sea.
The aquarium has various popular attractions, including narrated shark feedings and a 135,000-gallon outdoor shark tank. Visitors can also take advantage of the educational experiences offered by the aquarium, such as interpretive bay walks, full moon kayak trips, and eco-boat tours with Sarasota Bay Explorers
For those interested in hands-on activities, there are interactive educational programs and opportunities to participate in activities such as the annual footrace at the aquarium, which helps support its inhabitants, including survivors of traumatic encounters with boats. Overall, the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is a must-see destination for anyone considering living in Harbor Acres.
Myakka River State Park
Spanning 58 square miles of wetlands, hammocks, pinelands, and prairies, Myakka River State Park
is one of Florida's oldest and largest state parks. Visitors can enjoy water activities such as canoeing, kayaking, and fishing on the park's lakes or take a tour of the area via one of the world's largest airboats.
During the dry season, visitors can also take advantage of the park's hiking trails to explore the varied ecosystems. The park also features a boardwalk for viewing wildlife and a canopy walkway above the treetops. Overall, visiting Myakka River State Park is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the Sarasota area.
Golfing at The Resort at Longboat Key Club
If you are interested in Longboat Key golf, a round at The Resort at Longboat Key Club
is a must-try experience. The 18-hole championship golf course is open to the public and features a practice range, chipping green, and putting green. Regardless of your skill level, the Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed course can be challenging and enjoyable for any golfer.
At the same time, Longboat Key golf adds the unique experience of golfing while enjoying an expansive view of the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay. The resort also offers lessons for those looking to learn to golf, both for groups and individuals.
Family activities and outings
Harbor Acres is an ideal location for families who want to spend time learning and growing with their children. You can spend a day at Bayfront Park, with family-friendly facilities such as a playground, picnic tables, and basketball courts. The beautiful white sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico are also nearby, and it is a great place to build sand castles, surf, or fish.
If you want to venture further, take a morning drive to St. Armands Circle for breakfast, and enjoy the shopping experience. Plenty of fun things to do in and around the Harbor Acres neighborhood make it a great place to spend quality time together.
Kayaking or Paddleboarding on Sarasota Bay
For families looking for fun activities in the Harbor Acres area, kayaking or paddleboarding on Sarasota Bay is a popular option. Tour operators offer rentals and charters for kayaks, paddleboards, and stand-up paddleboards. These rentals allow families to embark on leisurely voyages around local beauty spots and beaches. For those new to paddleboarding, Sarasota Paddleboard Company
offers rentals and instruction to help novice paddlers get started.
Fishing at the Bayfront Park
offers a scenic spot to enjoy fishing with loved ones. Some waterfront properties in the nearby Harbor Acres neighborhood also offer private dockage for those who prefer to fish from their own boats.
Bayfront Park is also an excellent spot for family-friendly activities, with a well-maintained waterfront park perfect for picnics and outdoor fun. Guests can also rent boats at the nearby marina to take out on Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
And while you are out with family, do not miss the opportunity to stop by the Dry Dock Waterfront Grill
for a bite to eat while enjoying the stunning view overlooking Sarasota Bay. Whatever your family's interests, Harbor Acres and its surrounding areas offer plenty of activities to keep everyone entertained.
Visiting the Ringling Museum of Art
One of the most exciting things to do with the family near Harbor Acres is a visit to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
. Located on the Ringling Brothers Museum campus, this museum offers an incredible art collection, including works by Rubens, Van Dyck, and Titian. Visitors can explore the galleries independently or join educational programs led by well-informed curators and docents.
You can also explore the Renaissance-inspired courtyard and admire the bronze and stone casts of iconic sculptures, such as Michelangelo's David. There are also regular tours of Ca' d'Zan Mansion, the 56-room Venetian Gothic palace that was once the Ringlings' winter home.
Finding the best Harbor Acres homes
Known for its desirable location and proximity to Longboat Key luxury homes, Harbor Acres attracts everyone from wealthy retirees to working professionals with families. However, finding the appropriate Harbor Acres home for you starts with finding the right real estate agent.
The right agent will be familiar with the types of homes you are interested in and knowledgeable about the local market. They will also be someone you feel you can trust from the start and whom you will only trust more with every interaction. That is why you want to work with an experienced agent like Kim Ogilvie Group
, who knows Harbor Acres and understands the local markets.