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Sarasota/Manatee Water Sports Guide 2018

Water Sports Sarasota Manatee

Living in a place known for sunshine gives us the opportunity to enjoy the weather year-round while doing water sports. Whether it’s at the beach or an inland lake, pond or river there are tons of ways to get out on the water. Kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddle boarding (SUP), snorkeling and even horseback riding can all be found locally. Water sports are an awesome way to get outside and spend time as a family or recharge out in nature. 

Several local business offer equipment rental to try different water sports. Once you’ve tried a few spots, you can buy your own kayak or paddle board to explore Sarasota and the surrounding area! 

family SUP


Kayaking, canoe, and paddle boarding are great ways to get out and be active with your family. These water sports can be enjoyed with little-to-no experience, but many vendors offer lessons and tours along with rentals for beginners. Reservations for rentals and tours can be made online or over the phone.  

Paradise Adventures Sarasota 

190 Taft Dr #10
Sarasota, FL 34236
(941) 275-2971

Paradise Adventures is one of the top-rated local companies for kayak and paddle board rental and guided kayak tours. Guided tours are available through the Sarasota Bay and Lido Key Mangrove Tunnels in the morning, afternoon and evening. To head out and explore on your own, kayak rentals run $35 for single kayaks, $50 for double kayaks. SUP rental is $45 for four hours. 


Delivering your rental equipment from Bradenton to Venice
(941) 952-8245

Surfit also offers SUP and kayak rentals and tours, in addition to SUP yoga, lessons and camps for kids. They’ll deliver the equipment to you anywhere from Longboat Key to Venice Beach. Rental rates vary by duration and are available for 2-hours, 4-hours, 8-hours or at a weekly rate. SUP yoga classes are held on Wednesdays at 10:00 am at Lido Mangrove Tunnels and on Saturdays at 2:00 pm at Lido Mangrove Tunnels.

Canoe Outpost-Little Manatee River

18001 US Hwy 301
Wimauma FL, 33598
Email: [email protected]

If you’re looking for some inland water sports, you can find plenty of fun on the Little Manatee River. Located just north of Parrish, off of US 301, it’s a quick trip from the Sarasota area. Canoe Outpost has canoe and kayak rentals for self-guided or guided trips on the Little Manatee River, Cockroach Bay, and the Braden River. They also offer tubing on the Little Manatee River, when conditions allow. Transportation between the outpost and the river is provided. Cabins are also available to rent if you’re looking for a fully immersive stay-cation! 

Robinson Preserve

1704 99th Street NW
Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 742-5923

Robinson Preserve is located in northwest Bradenton, off Manatee Avenue and on the way to the beach. The preserve is known for its trails and great views of the waterways that lead out to the bay. There are kayak and canoe launches and Surfbus provides rentals just outside the entrance.

Nathan Benderson Park

5851 Nathan Benderson Circle
Sarasota, Florida 34235
(941) 358-7275

Situated just west of Interstate 75 off of University, Nathan Benderson Park is a unique, 600-acre community park providing the public access to a picturesque 400-acre lake and an exciting world of rowing. There’s a public boat launch on the south end of the lake and paddle boards, canoes and sculls are available for rent. Weekday rentals can be arranged by dropping in, but weekend equipment should be arranged by calling or emailing [email protected]. If you’re new to rowing, classes are available select dates throughout the year.  



YOLO Adventures

4110 127th St W
Cortez, FL 34215


135 Bridge St
Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
(941) 792-6000

YOLO Adventures has locations on Anna Maria Island and Cortez offering parasailing trips, boat tours and fishing charters. Parasailing is an awesome way to see Sarasota from the air, and will give you a new appreciation of the beautiful area we call home. A parasail trip usually lasts about an hour on the boat, and you’ll get around 15 minutes soaring 400ft up in the air. Parasail trips with YOLO are $79 per person and can be booked in advance online or over the phone. 

C Ponies Beach Horses

8410 Manatee Ave. W
Bradenton, Fl. 34209
(941) 773-5196

C Ponies is a unique way to experience the water – on horseback! They’re a family owned and operated company offering swim-capable horses for horseback riding on St. Petersburg and Bradenton beaches. St. Pete rides are just south of the Skyway Bridge and book quickly, but Bradenton rides are readily available. Rates start at $140 for an hour and rides should be booked in advance online or by calling.

Kiss the Sky Kiteboarding

Multiple locations off the Skyway Bridge
(941) 447-8863

If you’ve got older kids and are looking for an extreme adventure, try a kiteboarding lesson. Kiss the Sky offers lessons, along with their equipment rental, so you can learn about kiteboarding from a certified instructor. A one-hour option is available on land for $100 to learn the basics, techniques and terminology and can help you decide if kiteboarding is for you. A 3-hour lesson for $270 includes the entire experience. If you decide to move forward after the land lesson, the initial $100 will be applied to your second lesson. Lessons can be booked online or by phone. 

Top Gun Fly Boards

9715 Manatee Avenue West
Bradenton, FL 34209
(941) 565-1727

Another cool way to get some air is a fly board ride. Kids over 13, and adults, can experience fly boarding with 30-minute, 60-minute, or all-day experiences. Located off Manatee Avenue in Bradenton, Top Gun offers a truly unique way to enjoy the water. Rides start at $75 and are available Wednesdays-Sundays. Reservations can be made online or by phone.  

Siesta Key Watersports

1536 Stickney Point Rd.
Sarasota, FL 34231
(941) 921-3030

With tons of water sports all in one location, your family is sure to find a fun way to enjoy the water with Siesta Key Watersports. They’re known for their parasail trips and jet ski rentals, but also offer dolphin tours, sunset cruises, fishing charters, and boat rentals. Having been in business 28 years with some of the best local ratings on Trip Advisor, this company is great for locals and vacationers. Make reservations by phone or online. Pricing details are available on their website. 



So grab your calendar, pick a weekend, and plan some family time trying out local water sports. Be sure to bring your sunscreen and be ready to make some great memories!


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