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One of the nicest places to just sit and see the boats go by while enjoying some oysters or a fried hot dog is the restaurant by the Mote Marine on City Island called the Old Salty Dog - http://www.theoldsaltydog.com/. Its great to come with family or friends. We love it....
When visiting, don't forget to stop by the Mote Marine Acquarium on the way to St. Armonds circle. It features manatees, turtles, sharks and our favorite little sea horse babies. For opening times and more information, please visit their website: http://mote.org/
If you are in for a walk, or short drive from the townhome, then head to Mar Vista Restaurant on the north end of Longboat Key. It's my fav area, and the restaurant allows you to sit under old trees watching boats come in and out of the bay. I love the place and I hope you will do:
While visiting the key, you should rent a jetski and explore Florida's beautiful waters and wildlife. We usually head down to the jetski place over the Cortez bridge towards Bradenton. They are very nice, and rent jet skis for 100$ for 90 minutes.
Every time, I am coming here with my kids - we do some attractions. We never miss to go to Jungle Gardens -http://www.sarasotajunglegardens.com/ where it seems that time has somehow stood still. We enjoy holding parrots and feeding the flamingos. For opening times and more information, please visit their website - see above.
First came to the area in 1990. Love at first sight. Been living, visiting, enjoying it since then.