7 Siesta Key Things to Do Off the Beaten Path

Siesta Key is more than stunning beaches, beautiful views of the ocean and great food. There’s culture, history and activities for all the members of your family. On your next trip to Siesta Key, dive deeper into the offerings of southern Florida. With the below items on your list, you’re destined for a trip everyone will remember.

Fossil Hunting

Location: 2816 NW County Rd. 661, Arcadia, FL 34266 (1 Hour from Siesta Key)
Best time to visit: March through May

Canoe Outpost on the Peace River is located about an hour from Siesta Key and offers visitors to Southwest Florida the rare opportunity for fossil hunting during the low water season, which usually runs from March through May.

During this time of year, you’ll find fossil hunters scouring the river in canoes and kayaks or along the shore in search of shark, mammoth, dolphin, camel and even mastodon tooth and bone fossils.

Permits are $5 and are only necessary if hunting for anything other than shark teeth, and they take about two weeks to obtain. The outpost does not offer tours but provides a full education on how to fossil hunt and provides equipment such as sifter kits, shovels, sifters and a fossil ID service.

Try your hand at this fun and unique outdoor activity, who knows, you might get lucky and snag a prized and legendary Megalodon (Great White) tooth fossil!

Check the Canoe Outpost website for details on water levels and their guidelines and recommendations to increase your chances of success.

fossil hunting florida

Warm Mineral Springs

Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Sunday
Location: 12200 San Servando Ave North Port, FL 34287 (40 minutes from Siesta Key)
Best time to visit: Anytime of year (closed December 25th)

North Port, Florida is home to the Warm Mineral Springs Park, offering a natural spring that stays at 85 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the entire year and has 51 different minerals dissolved in it. The waters in the spring flow from depths exceeding 7000 feet, one of the state’s deepest aquifers.

Many say that the Warm Mineral Springs has healing properties; it draws visitors from all across the country as they bathe in the waters in the hope of receiving wellness and good health. In alignment with this expectation, there are a variety of spa services that can be booked ahead of time including facials, waxing, skin care, and massage.

Strict guidelines are in place to keep the springs clean and ensure the safety of every visitor, and they can be reviewed on the City of North Port website prior to your visit. Whether you are looking for some healing or just a bit of relaxation while seeing one of the area’s most unique geological wonders, the Warm Mineral Springs is worth the trip.

Tamiami Trail

Location: 2 hours and 15 minutes southeast of Siesta Key (U.S. Highway 41)
Best time to visit: Year-round

The Tamiami Trail is the southern portion of U.S. Highway 41 which crosses the Everglades. Driving across it to get to Miami is a truly authentic Florida experience. Roll down your car windows and breathe in the fresh air of the everglades. Have your camera ready to snap photos of the wildlife that may make an appearance, such as alligators, wading birds, river otters and panthers.

There are tons of things to do and continuous opportunities to stop and take in the unique experience of the Florida Everglades on the Tamiami Trail. The top priority for your drive? Sit back and take in stunning southern Florida. Tamiami Trail is full of family activities along the way that will entertain family members age eight or 80.

florida railroad museum

The Florida Railroad Museum

Hours: Ticket office and gift shop – Wednesday – Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Diesel train excursions operate most Saturdays and Sundays, departing at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Location: 12210 83rd St E, Parrish, FL (About 40 minutes from Siesta Key)
Best time to visit: Enjoy year-round

Take a ride back in time at the Florida Railroad Museum where you don’t just look at the exhibits – you ride them. Guests will experience the sights and sounds of the 1940s and 1950s railroad and learn about the history of railway development in Florida.

Trains depart rain or shine, year-round, but don’t forget to check for special events. You may be able to catch a specialty ride, such as a trip to the North Pole, a World War II or train robbery re-enactment for a very unique family memory.

Mixon Farms

Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Location: 2525 27th St E, Bradenton, FL (30 minutes from Siesta Key)
Best time to visit: Enjoy in all seasons

A trip to Florida isn’t complete without enjoying some fresh, local citrus. You can learn about the history and cultural heritage of the state, see historic and modern farming equipment, and learn about refuge wildlife up close all in one spot at Mixon Farms. Book a number of different tours, or enjoy the wildlife, gardens, water slide, gift shop and play park at your own pace.

You can take part of “Florida’s Sweetest Attraction” back home, or gift it to friends and family. Shop their store in person, and if you fall in love with their marmalade, orange blossom perfume, honey, fudge or any other of their best-selling items, you can order them online to tide you over before your next trip back to Siesta Key.

Lipizzan Stallions florida

Herrmanns Royal Lipizzan Stallions in Myakka City

Hours: Check online for the upcoming show times.
Location: 32755 Singletary Rd, Myakka City, FL (40 minutes from Siesta Key)

Once considered to be “more precious than jewels,” these stallions were nearly extinct, and were smuggled out from behind enemy lines during World War II. Originally bred to be used in battle, now they perform and spread awareness of the history and evolution of this rare horse breed. Their story of survival is so remarkable these horses are the subjects on the Walt Disney film Miracle of the White Stallions. It’s a truly unique Siesta Key family activity to enjoy.

Red Barn Flea Market

Hours: Closed Mondays, Tuesday – Thursday open 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., Friday – Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location: 1707 1st St, Bradenton, FL (35 minutes from Siesta Key)

Take a piece of your Siesta Key vacation home with you from the Red Barn Flea Market. You can get lost for hours in more than 600 traditional flea market booths, permanent storefronts showcasing home decor, jewelry, apparel and sporting goods, an open-air market and garage sale booths.

More than just a local gem, the Red Barn Flea Market is a Bradenton landmark and attracts up to 10,000 guests a weekend. It won’t feel that crowded on a 20 acre, wheelchair accessible property.

Siesta Key is the perfect location a family vacation to enjoy these things to do off the beaten path and many other family activities. You’ll get to enjoy the serenity of an island getaway while staying within a quick drive of some of Florida’s best local attractions.


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