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You don’t have to go in the water during your beach vacation in Sarasota, but if you don’t you will miss out on a great number of adventures that would enhance your vacation experience. Offering a carefree vibe and all the serenity of the sea, we at Rent the Keys have created this guide to some of our favorite on the water activities in Sarasota FL, ensuring that your daylight hours will be filled with fun and fancy. And your nighttime hours? Those will be filled with all the comforts found in our Rent the Keys Florida sanctuaries ensuring that every minute of your getaway will be ones you wish could go on forever.


We try not to oversimplify things but in this case, we will throw caution to the wind and invite our guests to enjoy the pleasures of a morning swim or afternoon frolic. The salty waters will be warm, the sun shining down on you will be cheerful, and your soul will be at peace as you swim, float, or simply stand in the water, bobbing with the waves. Just remember, however, that sunscreen will need to be reapplied often during this and any other of the water activities listed here or risk looking like a lobster throughout your stay!


Once you’re in the water, snorkeling is the next logical step, requiring only a mask, snorkel, flippers, and possibly an underwater camera to capture the sights you will want to remember for the rest of your life. Most dive shops, including Florida Underwater Sports, 6920 S. Tamiami Trail, will sell the equipment you need, ensuring a day of fun in the water will be at hand.

Stand Up Paddleboard

Once an ancient form of doing battle, today stand-up paddleboarding has become the latest Zen activity that changes the lives of all who participate and Sarasota Paddleboard Company, located on Lido Key, offers tours, equipment, and tours of mangrove tunnels that will fascinate and amaze. If you are just interested in playing by yourself, the paddleboard company will deliver the equipment to your door, giving you more time to participate in your newest obsession.

Deep Sea Fishing

Pitting wits against the denizens of the sea is an obsession for many Florida visitors, making deep sea fishing a popular sport. You could rent a boat on your own and try to find the spots where the fish are biting the hardest, or you could check out the charters we have listed below.


The natural beauty of the waters that edge against our Florida hometown deserve to be explored in depth and the many ecotours in the area will help you do just that, including the Sea Life Encounter Cruise offered by Sarasota Bay Explorers. Taking guests on a watery voyage that begins and ends at Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway and includes wildlife encounters, nature walks, bird watching, and hands on experiences as their wildlife specialists pull sea creatures from the waters of Sarasota Bay, tossing them back home safe and sound after your introductions.

Jet Skis

There is something wonderful about zipping around the waters of Sarasota with the power of a jet ski roaring beneath your thighs and Sunworld Watersports, Sarasota Jet Ski Rentals located at 1059 N. Tamiami Trail, offers the equipment you need for the adventure of your lifetime. Rent a jet ski for as little as 1.5 hours or as long as 4 hours and they even include a cooler filled with waters and sunscreen for no additional charge as well as providing the perfect areas to enjoy your watery experience in.

Come Home to Comfort

When the Sarasota heat gets to be too much and the sun has fallen into the sea, coming home to the comforts found in our Rent the Keys vacation escapes will be the highlight of your Florida vacation. Contact us and reserve your favorite today and discover all the ways our properties will be an integral part of your vacation experience.

As much as we admire those travelers who always seem to have it all together, planning their vacations to the tiniest detail, choosing their vacation rentals months before the trip begins, even packing an entire week before their plane is about to take off, it is the procrastinators in life that we at RentTheKeys identify with. We too know the pain of putting things off to the last minutes, leaving the house just an hour before we are supposed to be boarding and discovering that our ride share won’t be at the house for another 14 minutes. These last-minute adventures can be off putting to the planners in our lives, but when your last-minute journey takes you to the Florida Keys, we celebrate you and offer a plethora of benefits that may surprise you on your Florida Keys vacation, many of which can be found below.

Same Space, Lower Cost

Our goal is to get all our homes rented every night of the year, but there may be circumstances that keep this from happening and our open beds can be your prime opportunity as last-minute deals may be the way we cover our bases. Call it bribe to get our way, but do you really want to complain when your last minute getaway offers up the opportunity to live in the lap of luxury at a price that may seem more suited to a smaller home? Whether you forgot to plan or you simply decided on the spur of the moment that a journey to Florida was what your soul needs, you may notice that the closer available dates are the cheaper dates and although the jump in price may not be that noticeable, every little bit counts when it comes to saving money.

Siesta Key luxury rentals

No Sacrifices for Our Florida Keys Vacation

If you have ever had an unplanned or last-minute stay in a hotel, you already know that all hotel rooms are not created equal and the availability of the best rooms, the ones that look out to the sea, that offer two queen beds, and a balcony, may be slim to none. Chances are the last-minute room booked is the one that is closest to the elevators, where loud guests and the dinging of the bell that announces more are coming can keep you awake late into the night. With RentTheKeys, however, that will never be an issue as ALL of our properties are designed to be an integral part of your vacation experience. Offering a complex blend of comfort and modern amenities, the spaces, even the one that are available at the 11th hour of your vacation planning session, are the best of what we can offer, ensuring that this vacation will be one that will bring you pleasure from the first moment you step inside the door.

Want to Save More? Skip the Generic Vacation Rental Websites!

Here’s a little known secret in the travel world, one that we don’t mind sharing with our guests. Those vacation rental websites don’t just charge you for the privilege of using them, they charge the homeowners when you rent one of their properties! We don’t want to pay those fees anymore than you do, so if we can pass on the savings, encouraging you to choose Rent the Keys for a journey in comfort that you have to experience to believe, we don’t think anyone will have anything negative to say about that. So go ahead, browse our page and get the best costs for every property we offer, and this deal isn’t limited to those who wait till the last minute to book, it’s available to everyone!

What Can You Do With Little Notice? (Outdoor Edition)

Now that you have an idea of the benefits of booking at the last minute, why don’t we put some of the savings you have just incurred to good use? The activities listed below can add fun and wonder to your Florida vacation and do not require any advance notice or reservations!

Bird Watching at Myakka River State Park in Sarasota

Home to over 100 species of birds (more during winter migration) the beauty of Myakka River State Park is something that will be best enjoyed with your smart phone taking pictures and marking off all the different species you catch sight of on a variety of bird watching apps. Even if you aren’t an avid bird watcher, the trails that run through this park provides clear views of the river, the landscape, and some of the most stunning sunsets in town and is open every day of the year from 8 AM until sunset.

A Day at Siesta Beach on Siesta Key

You guessed it. There’s no need for any pre-planning to enjoy a day at Siesta Beach and many of our summer sanctuaries will offer a selection of beach gear so you won’t even need to worry about purchasing chairs, umbrellas, or coolers. Pack some sandwiches, snacks, and your favorite beverage, slip into that new swimsuit you bought as you rolled into town, and prepare for a day of carefree sun worshipping and serene adventures.

Visit Iguanaland in Punta Gorda

Located just a few miles away from your Port Charlotte home sweet vacation home, Iguanaland is open every day of the year from 10 AM until 6 PM and offers a wild selection of reptiles for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy personal encounters with the reptiles that make Iguanaland their home when you sign up for their animal encounter which could include snuggling a safe but slithery snake for those who like to live life on the wild side. Home to over 230 types of reptiles, you may never forget your first sighting of a rhinoceros iguana, which is quite honestly one of the largest we have ever seen, and although not particularly handsome, will be the star of your photo show when you arrive back home.

Last-Minute Adventures in the Keys (Indoor Edition)

There are a few things you can expect from your last-minute Florida journey, including the realization that winter is just an abstract concept that we don’t really understand, that white sand beaches are softer than normal sand beaches and cast quite a glare making sunglasses a requirement, and that rain will fall at least once (if not once a day!) during your vacation in paradise. Most often it blows out as fast as it blew in, but if you are wanting to avoid the damp, these indoor adventures require no advance planning!

Sip & Savor at the Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery in Cape Coral

Open every day except Sunday, the wonderful staff at the Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery don’t care if you have planned this getaway for months or if you hopped on a plane yesterday and when the rain started, thought, wouldn’t some delicious rum be a good choice right now? Offering tours of the distillery, something you will need to reserve in advance, the rum made at this wonderful spot is made in small batches, using Florida sugar, local ingredients, in an American copper pot that is actually the largest one in South Florida.

Step into the Past at the Anna Maria Island Historical Museum

Located at 402 Pine Avenue on Anna Maria Island, the AMI Historical Museum is open year-round but closed on Sundays and Mondays, and not only do you not have to worry about making advanced reservations, but you also won’t spend any of your last-minute savings because admission is free. (Donations are always accepted though) Pine Avenue is a historic street on the island, reflecting the history of Florida’s architecture with cottages that were built in the 1900s, recently restored, and currently holding local businesses, including this museum. Offering exhibits regarding our island home’s history, the gift shop is perfect for picking up some last-minute gifts for friends and family back home.

Search for Treasures at the Red Barn Flea Market in Bradenton

Closed on Mondays and located at 1707 1st Street in Bradenton, every visit to the Red Barn Flea Market promises to bring something new to your life. More than a flea market as it offers retail shops selling new merchandise, food courts, and an open-air farmers market that does not fit into this indoor category, there are over 600 shops and booths in this air-conditioned establishment. Popular year round, the air conditioning makes it a cool spot during the hottest days of summer!

A Taste of the Keys

The best vacations revolve around the meals we enjoy during our journeys and even as your Rent the Keys last minute escape offers a fully equipped kitchen, you really shouldn’t miss these local favorite restaurants. Don’t you think mom (or whoever is the chef in your family) deserves a break on vacation?

Breakfast at the Blue Dolphin Café in Longboat Key

Open every day of the week at 8 AM, there is no need to rise early to enjoy the delicious breakfast dishes served at this local hot spot. Serving traditional breakfast foods, including egg dishes, pancakes, and waffles, every bite will be your favorite; we just suggest that you arrive before 10 on weekends as that is when it is busiest. The rest of the week we only advise our guests to make sure they get there before closing time at 2 PM.

Enjoy an International Flair for Lunch at the Cuban Taste Restaurant in Port Charlotte

The Cuban Taste Restaurant not only doesn’t care if you made the decision to join them for lunch 5 minutes ago, but they also don’t accept reservations, so no pre-planning is involved. Closed on Sundays and open at 7 AM every other day of the week, this taste of Cuba is destined to be your newest obsession.

Devour a Taste of the Sea for Dinner at Shark’s Fish House Restaurant in North Port

Closed on Sundays and Mondays, Shark’s Fish House Restaurant is the only seafood restaurant on our list (ANY seafood restaurant is destined to be ideal!) offering the freshest seafood in the area for your Florida Keys Vacation. Family owned and operated and serving meals made from locally sourced ingredients, it is inexpensive, not fancy, and will make you fall in love with the fruits of the sea. For those unsure of seafood, they do offer chicken and burger options, but we encourage you to step outside your box of normal and try their specialties, discovering a passion for seafood that will stay with you forevermore.

Comfort Happens with RentTheKeys

Our homes are designed to make guests feel instantly at home, even as they are thousands of miles away from their own residences, and the difference between RentTheKeys and other vacation homes will immediately be apparent upon your first steps inside.

Plush sofas, chairs, and cloud soft beds ensure that everywhere you sit and lounge will be your favorite. Take a nap on a lazy Tuesday afternoon, sleep in late every day of your stay, and relax in all the ways you never seem to be able to do during real life. Our bedrooms will be your favorite retreat, our living rooms will be your favorite hangouts, and our dining rooms will be the center of all your favorite activities.

Offering state-of-the-art televisions, high-speed internet, and appliances that will make amateur chefs shed a tear of delight. Whether you use every modern convenience we offer or pick and choose the ones that fit your idea of vacation life best, if we have made your life easier by the end of your stay, we can consider that we have done our jobs well.

Crystal-clear pools, community hot tubs, and grilling areas (community in our condos, private in our standalone homes) will ensure that your minutes spent at home will be as fun and fulfilling as your explorations of our Florida towns, islands, and Keys. Reserve your favorite escape today!

July 4th is just around the corner, and although the celebrations we engage in today look far different than the ones that have taken place over the centuries, the underlying feeling of excitement, happiness, and pride in our country has never changed. And as summer taps on our doors, the hallways of schools are quiet and dark, many families take this all-American holiday to engage in a worldwide tradition, their annual family vacation, and if your journey brings you to Sarasota for Independence Day, all the better! This guide to the events, activities, and fun you can have during your Florida getaway also gets better when you choose RentTheKeys for your summer sanctuary!

Summer Circus Spectacular, July 3rd, Asolo Theater, 5401 Bay Shore Road

Although the Summer Circus Spectacular is a summer-long event that takes place from June 14 through August 17, their July 3rd performances will make a fantastic way to start your holiday celebrations. Every night offers something different, including contortion artists, acrobats, hair hang, and slack wire, and ticket prices are low enough $20 for adults, $15 for children 12 & under) ensures that this exciting show will easily fit into most vacation budgets. Additionally, for $5 more per ticket, guests will get admission to the Circus Galleries and the Tibbals Learning Center, so why not take this holiday to run away to the circus?

Stars, Stripes, and Rooftop Delights, July 4 at 7:00 PM, Westin Sarasota

For the best views, you always want to go up, and that includes for the best views of firework shows as well, making participation in Stars, Stripes, and Rooftop Delights an excellent choice for your July 4th celebration. Dance the night away to the beats played by one of our favorite local DJs, fall in love with the beauty of Sarasota at night, and devour an all-American BBQ buffet, while sipping refreshing cocktails and when the fire in the sky begins you will have the best seat in the house to enjoy the show! General Admission Tickets cost $130 per person and include the meal and one Welcome Drink ($50 for those under 12. If you really want to party the night away the right way, VIP Tickets include reserved seating, another round of drinks, and a Welcome Swag Bag filled with goodies; this package starts at $1500, though, so it is a bit pricey!

Rhinestone Cowgirls: Legendary Ladies of Country Music, July 4 at 7:00 PM, Florida Studio Theater

Country music is a beautifully unique American genre, and the women of country music are equally beautiful and unique, making this celebration of female country stars a perfect way to honor our country. This 90-minute show features three talented women performing covers of some of the most popular country classics, the ones sung by your favorite stars, including Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn. And because this is an American holiday, you might expect (and would be absolutely correct in doing so) that Independence Day, Martina McBride’s popular hit, will be played! Ticket prices start at $37 and can be reserved online at the Florida Studio Theatre website.

July 4th Bayfront Fireworks Spectacular, July 4, Sarasota Bayfront Park

To you it might seem that we took a long time to get to the heart of the matter, but to us, well, we just call it building the anticipation of a night filled with big booms and all the colors of the rainbow! The July 4th Bayfront Fireworks Spectacular is a community event that has been a local obsession for just over 10 years and is a part of the fireworks you will see at the Stars, Stripes, and Rooftop Delight event we mentioned earlier. Beginning at dusk, sometime around 9 PM, and ending approximately 30 minutes later, this show is mirrored in the waters of the Bay, doubling your fun!

July 4th with RentTheKeys

Barbecues, pool parties, and all the Bomb Drop cocktails you can drink can be the best part of your celebration when you choose to stay in and check out the amenities of your summer sanctuary. And although we can’t guarantee they will happen, nor can we guarantee that they will be sanctioned, chances are some community-based fireworks will be in your future! We love any chance to celebrate, and in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, fireworks are permitted in the neighborhoods on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and of course, the 4th of July, which makes us wonder why anyone would consider leaving the house to fight traffic and crowds when everything they need for a beautiful holiday can be found right here with us. Contact us and reserve your favorite RentTheKeys holiday hideaway and discover all the ways you can celebrate our nation’s birthday while enjoying all the comforts of home!

When you live in where summer reigns eternal, you might think it would get old after a while, but on Siesta Key, the opposite true. We love everything about the summer months, spending our days hanging out the beaches, eating all the fresh seafood we can handle, and participating in the seasonal events that take place every year, including all the fun stuff that accompanies our celebration of our nation’s birthday. If your summer journey brings you to Siesta Key for a stay in our Rent Siesta Key retreats and an exploration of everything 4th of July related, this guide to what the holiday will entail will help you fill every minute of the day with fun and fancy!

Suncoast’s Largest Food Truck Festival, July 1-3, University Town Center in Sarasota

The celebrating starts early in this part of the coast, and although Suncoast’s Largest Food Truck Festival takes place in Sarasota, it will take you just minutes to get there to participate in all the yum! Featuring over 70 food trucks—yes, you read that right, over 70—there is no way you will be able to avoid overeating, but it is a holiday, and everyone knows there are no calories in holiday food, right? The festival also offers live music to dance to and a fireworks display to ooh and ahh over, ensuring that your kickoff to the big party will be as exciting and fun as the celebrations that follow. Additionally, the stores will be open during the festival, so guests can get in a little extra shopping while they are there.

Independence Day Golf Cart Parade, Riviera Bay Community Playground in St. Petersburg

This next fun event involves a road trip, but once you see it, we think you will agree that it was more than worth the extra time! Held in the evening of July 3rd, starting at 7 PM, this parade is unlike any you have ever witnessed before, featuring a convoy of golf carts decorated in patriotic colors. There will be no marching bands and there may be some candy thrown to the viewers, we don’t know, but we do know that this free parade will tickle your funny bone and make you wish you could live here forever!

Picnic on the Beach, any Siesta Key Beach

If your kids are like ours, they awaken at dawn’s first light, eager to get to the fireworks segment of the celebration, and keeping them entertained and patient until the big event finally does arrive can be a full-time job. We have learned, however, that promising a picnic on the beach usually quiets the queries of, “Is it time yet?” If you really want to make a splash, fill your cooler with red, white, and blue foods (strawberries, mini marshmallows, and blueberries are a great start!) and deck your family out in equally patriotic-looking suits.

The Fireworks Go Boom!

There is nothing we love more than a fireworks show on 4th of July, and there will be a variety of displays going on in the area, including right here on Siesta Key. We know that our guests love choices, so we have listed a few of our favorite shows below.

Fireworks on the Lake, Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, July 3

We’ve looked at this from all the angles and we simply can’t see anything wrong with being able to enjoy two nights of fireworks! Fireworks on the Lake, held on July 3, is a memorable celebration of our nation’s birthday, offering not just fireworks, but music, food, beverage, and an almost overwhelming show of community friendship and support. Also offering a variety of kid-friendly activities, you won’t be disappointed when this night ends because you have another day of celebrating to do and another night of fireworks to watch on the actual holiday. 

Siesta Key Community Fireworks, July 4th, Siesta Beach at Dusk

Grab the beach chairs you probably found in the closet, fill the cooler with your favorite beverages, and head over to Siesta Beach for a night of fun and explosions. The Siesta Key Community Fireworks show is a very popular event, so be sure to arrive early, something that will be easy to do if you are staying in one of our Rent Siesta Key beachfront properties. You can just open the door and be on the white sands in minutes! The show is also visible from Crescent Beach.

Happy 4th of July from Rent Siesta Key

Finally, there will be the moments you choose not to leave your Rent Siesta Key holiday haven, hanging out by the pool, lazing on balconies that offer prime viewing of the fireworks display or of the amateur displays provided by neighbors (fireworks are legal on Independence Day in Sarasota and Manatee Counties). Proving that vacation dreams can come true and can be more magical than realized, our properties will be your favorite part of your Siesta Key getaway. Contact us and reserve your favorite today!

Summer springs eternal in Sarasota, and even as it may still be tiptoeing into your hometown in June, in Sarasota it is in full bloom, offering long lazy days best spent at the beach, the chill of air conditioning, and the salty scent of the sea. Storms begin rolling in every afternoon, only to roll back out soon after, and when your journey brings you here in June, our RentTheKeys summer sanctuaries reflect the glory of a summer day spent doing whatever you like. And in case you need more ways to fill those long and wonderful minutes of your Sarasota June vacation, this guide to the top events will help you do so in a fun and exciting way.

Summer Movie Nights, Most Sundays in June and July at CoolToday Park

The most popular events aren’t always the biggest events, and Summer Movie Nights at CoolToday Park are the perfect example! Family friendly movies are shown on the park’s scoreboard, starting at 5 PM, and as you hang out at the ballpark with your favorite traveling partner munching and sipping traditional stadium foods available for sale, you may wonder why anyone would want to watch a movie any other way!

Bradenton Boat Show, June 5-7, Bradenton Area Convention Center

Even if you live in the deserts of Arizona in real life and have absolutely no reason to buy a boat, the Bradenton Boat Show is worth a visit, offering a glimpse into a world you will want to be a part of. Offering boats, boating accessories, fishing gear, and so much more, it just may end up being your favorite part of your summer getaway—especially if you decide to take part in the Captain Joe Fishing School, where expert anglers share tips, hints, and a peek into the serenity of a good day fishing.

4th Annual Downtown Sarasota Spring Craft Fair, June 8 & 9

The most beautiful areas in the world attract the most talented artists and artisans, and with those talented folks, some of the best arts and craft shows come into existence, with the 4th Annual Downtown Sarasota Spring Craft Fair serving as the perfect example. Offering masterpieces from a huge variety of artistic genres, including pottery, photography, clothing, and more, this event provides a fun and colorful way to pick up some souvenirs to bring back home with you when your summer Florida journey comes to an end.

Summer Circus Spectacular, June 14- August 17, Historic Asolo Theater

The circus has been in town since John Ringling of circus fame bought 20 acres of land on Sarasota Bay back in 1911, and although the golden years of circus have mostly disappeared from the landscape, (there has been a resurgence lately, though!) the Summer Circus Spectacular keeps the magic alive. Opening night offers the first of the circus artist performances and a gala reception with the performers, with complimentary hors d’oeuvre’s, beer and wine being served (cocktails are available for purchase). After opening night, the performances just keep getting better and better, and if you can come back more than once during your visit to Sarasota, we highly recommend it. 

Repticon Sarasota 2024, June 15, Sahib Shrine Center, 600 N Beneva Road

If you are hot for cold blooded creatures, Repticon Sarasota 2024 offers an up close and personal look at a variety of reptiles from all over the world. Many of the cool creatures are for sale as are the supplies needed for a pet lizard or snake, but even if you don’t purchase anything seeing the reptiles on display is sure to be an exciting adventure that you and your kiddos will love.

8th Annual Bob Rizi Memorial Golf Tournament, June 21, The Meadows Country Club

With an average of 255 days of sunshine every year and an average air temperature running about 72 degrees, you might imagine that golf would be a popular activity, and you would be 100% correct. We love golf and we love our golf enthusiasts, including Bob Rizi, and this Memorial Golf Tournament pays homage to him in a way in which we are sure he would approve. Foursome registration includes breakfast, lunch, and a goodie bag for each player and proceeds benefit Suncoast Charities for Children, ensuring participants can have a great time while doing a good deed!

Come Home to RentTheKeys

Offering a soft place to land and many wonderful ways to continue your summer adventures in the most comfortable of ways, our seasonal sanctuaries will be the perfect place to chill out on the hottest days in June. And because having fun can be cool as well, many if not most of our properties also offer crystal clear private or community pools! Contact us and reserve your favorite escape today.

Planning the perfect vacation doesn’t just involve visiting major landmarks and hanging out pristine beaches and although both will be a beautiful part of your Sarasota vacation, we want you to take a few moments and think about the simpler activities you can participate in during your visit. Our Rent the Keys vacation sanctuaries come with kitchens that are equipped with everything but food and drinks, making a trip to the store your first must, but what if, instead of a grocery store, you chose to visit our Farmers Markets? And when it comes time to bring a gift back for the lovely lady walking your dog, instead of a souvenir shop, why not check out this list of local Farmers Markets and Craft Fairs to enhance the quality of your Florida getaway?

Sarasota Farmers Market, N Lemon Avenue, Saturdays from 7 AM-1 PM

The best thing about Sarasota Farmers Market is that they are open year round, it’s never too cold to find fresh produce, a spicy salsa, or even a handmade candle that your best friend will love. Buy a bouquet of flowers to brighten up the dining table in your home sweet vacation home, test out the allergy alleviating properties of locally sourced honey, or simply sit at a table, feeling the sun smile down on you as you sample some kettle corn from one of the local vendors. The produce sold here will make every mom feel like a great one and the gifts will ensure that you retain the title of gift giver extraordinaire. And because you can never get enough Farmers Market produce, this one is open on Thursday evenings as well.

4th Annual Downtown Sarasota Spring Art Fair, 1 Central Avenue, June 8 and 9th

Although you will more than likely spend a few wonderful hours exploring the souvenir shops that can be found in every beach town, the best souvenirs are often the art masterpieces you can find in the galleries, or in this case, in the middle of downtown Sarasota! The Downtown Sarasota Spring Art Fair is returning for a 4th year, offering a peek and the chance to purchase pieces from the best artists in our state. The selection at this show in particular never fails to excite travelers and can include ceramics, fabric, jewelry as well as handmade soaps and lotions, beautiful flowers, and so much more. Admission is free.

Newtown Farmers Market, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park

Perhaps the best opportunity to stock your refrigerator with fresh produce, however, is with a visit to the Newtown Farmers Market. Not because you get better produce but because this Farmers Market is open nearly every day of the week, Tuesday through Friday from noon to 6 PM and on Saturday from 10 AM until 4 PM. The Newtown Nation is a group that helps those with less still have access to the foods that, although healthy, are often priced out of their comfort zones.

Art Walk, Downtown Sarasota Every Friday Night, 6 PM-9 PM

If you have ever wondered why art walks only seem to be one night out of the month, especially since they are so much fun, you will be happy to know that Sarasota has often wondered that as well and our Art Walk takes place every Friday night. Offering live music and a peek at all the talent our town has to offer, the gifts you find here will give your home that Florida vibe that we promise you will fall in love with. Start out your evening with an al fresco meal at many of our downtown restaurants and then, when you are pleasantly full and in need of a walk to help digestion, you will have lots and lots to look at during your stroll!

Grumpy’s Farm Market and Grumpy’s Green Thumb Nursery, 6804 Cortez Road W in Bradenton

We are going to venture outside of Sarasota into our sister town of Bradenton for this next Farmers Market, open every day except Sundays from 9 AM until 3 PM. Grumpy’s Farm Market and Green Thumb Nursery is just one of those places that truly represents the heart and soul of the area. Bringing visitors back to the times of roadside produce stands, the goods sold here are fresh, locally sourced, and destined to make mom feel like the world’s best mom! (Not that there was ever any doubt about that)

Come Home to Rent the Keys

Our fully equipped kitchens will encourage you to eat home more and visits to these Farmers Markets will encourage healthy eating, something that isn’t always easy to do in real life. Rent the Keys offers comfort, style, and the carefree lifestyle that is what beach living is all about; reserve your favorite today! Contact us and book today!

When Mother’s Day rolls around every May, we tend to pull out all the stops, anxious to make her understand how important she is, how much we love her, and how we would do everything for her happiness, but when the calendar page flips to June and it is time to show dad our feelings, everything changes. Maybe we feel dad would be embarrassed by an over the top show of emotion, or quite possibly we have grown used to his ability to stay in the background of our lives while still managing to take care of the things we just don’t have the ability to do ourselves—changing our flat tires, creating itineraries for our vacations, even fixing all the little things that go wrong in our homes. This year, however, we at RentTheKeys think you should do something a little different for your dad; we think you should go all out, planning a Father’s Day trip to Sarasota and a stay in our comfortable holiday hideaways, reminding him that yes, you do recognize everything he is and does!

Feeding Father

Oh, how our dads love to eat, and although mom might be more impressed with a gourmet meal from a fancy restaurant, we know that dad feels more comfortable and at home in a cheerful diner that serves regular food to regular folks. At home he may even have his own place that he visits on a daily basis, hanging out with other grizzled veterans at the counter, sipping coffee and devouring plates of eggs and meat, and although his friends won’t be at the counter of The Serving Spoon, the vibe, the people, the food, will make him feel right at home. Located at 1825 S Osprey Avenue and open everyday for breakfast and lunch, dad will definitely appreciate the long counter that runs down the center of the diner, the hearty portions of all-American breakfast and lunch dishes, and the most reasonable prices. And although we sincerely hope he allows you to pick up the tab, don’t be surprised if he slips away to “use the facilities” and slyly pays the bill instead; that is so dad, don’t you think?

Freedom to Fish

There is nothing he loves more than sitting out on a boat, dock, or in lawn chairs at pond’s edge, pole in hand, cooler filled with beers at his side, watching the sun rise over the day as the fish nip at his line, and because you chose Sarasota, a town surrounded by bodies of water of all types, you can give him the freedom to fish all he wants. Send him off to Phillippi Estate Park, 5500 S Tamiami Trail, for a morning of low-key line wetting at Phillippi Creek; let him explore where the Sarasota Bay meets up with the Gulf of Mexico at the Mote Marine Pier at 1700 Ken Thompson Parkway; or make his fishing dreams come true with a deep sea fishing charter. The captains that run the local fishing expeditions are all knowledgeable, professional, and fun, so even though we are recommending Outrigger Charter Fishing, almost any charter company will be a great substitute.

Good to Golf

Dad may have trouble choosing between a day of fishing and a day of golf, but if you extend your Father’s Day escape to Sarasota to at least a week in length, he can alternate on a daily basis, coming home each evening tanned, tired, and truly the happiest you have ever seen him on vacation. Village Green Golf Club, located at 3500 Pembroke Square, will be close enough to your Sarasota sanctuary that he will easily be able to make an early tee time without having to get up too early. Offering 18 holes of tropical beauty (and perhaps frustration!) this course is challenging without being intimidating and is ideal for golfers of all skill levels. It’s 19th Hole (if you know, you know) offers typical American golf grub, beer, wine, and a full bar, ensuring that at the end of the game, dad will find yet another happy place to while away some time.

At Home with Your Hero

If your dad loves Saturday barbecues, Sunday afternoon naps, and large televisions that provide pictures so clear it will feel as if he is sitting behind the backstop of his favorite baseball team’s home field, any of our RentTheKeys holiday havens will be his favorite, especially as he won’t need to mow the grass or fix any appliances! Our Sarasota sanctuaries are built to be your home away from home, and as dad relaxes, naps, and sips his new favorite beers, (honorable mention for dad fun goes to Big Top Brewing Company, 975 Cattlemen Road) he will finally reach the realization that he is your hero. Contact us and rserve your favorite escape today!

Once upon a time not so far ago, two men, one apartment, and a bunch of air mattresses changed the way we travel forever. Airbnb sprung from humble beginnings, and today, it is often the first place people look when planning a vacation anywhere in the world, but for many, the company has lost its magic, and leaving travelers to look for other ways to find their vacation accommodations. We at RentTheKeys understand your dilemma, and although we can’t help you with your overseas journeys, we can offer this guide to the top reasons you should move away from Airbnb and begin booking directly, especially when your Florida vacation brings you to our beautiful coastlines and the many wonderful properties that we offer along the keys for Florida Keys Direct Booking.

Are Those Fees Really Necessary?

As if the cost of travel is not high enough, the popular vacation websites, Airbnb included, are starting to charge additional fees for all manner of things. They charge for the cleaning company that swoops in after you leave while also charging for guests who don’t pick up after themselves. There can be fees for parking and the expected fees for pets, but the ones that we seriously can’t understand come from the Airbnb website itself, their Airbnb Service Fees. Adding hundreds of dollar to your vacation costs, they never really describe what these service fees are, making it a smart idea to book directly from RentTheKeys and skip unnecessary fees. With RentTheKeys what you see is what you get, and other than pet fees, which are meant to protect owners from any damages sweet fur babies can cause, travelers can use the money they save by ordering dessert at the restaurant, buying more souvenirs on their shopping trips, and maybe even adding an extra day to their vacation timetable.

Same Home, Lower Rental Costs

Airbnb doesn’t just charge service fees to renters; they also charge owners fees every time they rent out their homes, so it just makes more sense to offer a lower per day cost if you rent direct. At the end of the day, our goal is to keep our owners from having any empty beds, so of course we are going to take advantage of the visibility of an Airbnb listing, but if we can rent you the same property from our own website, we will charge you less, making everyone happy—well, everyone except Airbnb, of course! When you add in the savings you can enjoy by not paying unnecessary fees and however much you save by cooking a few meals in our fully equipped kitchens, the math is clear. Rent direct from RentTheKeys and pay less.

More Ways to Save

The savings keep adding up when you book direct, and for once in your life it may make more sense to procrastinate. When it comes time to reserve your vacation home, it can be difficult to narrow your choice to just one home, and if you put it off, you may get a discount. As we have said before, our goal is to keep those beds full, and if there is an open week, we may just charge a lower fee for anyone who steps up at the last minute. Some money is better than none at all, and even though we are doing this for our owners, we can’t lie; it makes us happy to do a little something extra for our favorite people of all, the guests who have been so loyal to RentTheKeys over the years. Airbnb has its good points, but we can pretty much guarantee they are not going to reward you with discounts, making this yet another wonderful reason to visit the RentTheKeys website when it is time to rent your Florida vacation escape.

The Choices Are Better With Florida Keys Direct Booking

When you are discerning about your home sweet vacation home choices, your best bet is to go directly to our site, especially as we don’t release all our homes on Airbnb. We like to keep the best spaces for the ones who make the extra effort to seek us out, and sharing the secrets of vacation dream homes come true is definitely something we love more than anything. Your Florida getaway deserves the best properties, and the homes and condos found on our website will outshine those found anywhere else, especially the ones you may see on Airbnb. If you are reading this after you have already rented a RentTheKeys retreat off the Airbnb website, however, never fear. Every property we offer provides luxury, comfort, and style, we just save the best ones for our website.

Personally Yours

In its early days, Airbnb was all about that personal touch, but today, they have gone corporate, and personal is a word they seemed to have forgotten. Fortunately, you are reading about all the reasons booking direct is better, and yes, when you book off our site directly, you can be sure that a real live human will be on the other end of the phone call, the email, or even the text you may have sent. Need a pack and play for your tiniest traveler? Have a question about the amenities in your sanctuary? Wondering if it would be possible to substitute a king bed for the two twin beds in the second bedroom? Just shoot us a text, email, or phone call and we can answer all your questions, make the substitutions, and even let you know about the highchairs we offer for the babies, allowing you to pack even less for your cross-country trip to the Sunshine State.

RentTheKeys Is Here for You

We work really hard to ensure that every minute of your Florida Keys vacation goes smoothly, but even we can’t control weather or weird things that sometimes arise. Storms may end with a branch in a window, leaving the door open at the wrong time could entice a bird to fly inside, or maybe you just have a question about rush hour traffic; whatever your issue, booking directly through RentTheKeys ensures that you will also have direct contact with our ever so helpful staff, even if that storm and branch takes place in the wee hours of the morning. Airbnb can’t always say that, especially as their offices are on the opposite end of the coast, and normal business hours run from 8 to 5 Pacific Time, either two or three hours ahead of Florida.

Our Favorite Part of the Job

Because we live, love, and work right here in the Florida Keys, we know this area better than someone who hails from San Francisco would. We know that the sunsets are worth celebrating and that every Sunday on Siesta Key a weekly Drum Circle does just that. We know that the Crab Cake Benedict at Sage Biscuit Café in downtown Bradenton will haunt your dreams in the best of ways. And we love the fact that the vibe on Anna Maria Island is vintage Florida, taking visitors back to a time when families would spend summers on its beaches, letting the white sand beaches be their playground while learning the tricks to keeping the sandwiches they placed in coolers stay dry. (Thank you, Ziplock bags!) Our favorite part of our job is introducing all that is wonderful about the areas in which we offer properties to travelers from all over the world and providing concierge services in the hopes that our guests will fall as deeply in love with the Florida Keys as we are. Can you get that kind of service from a distant corporation?

Small Businesses Need Your Help

After the recent worldwide pandemic, it was the everyday people and the small businesses that ended up suffering the most and much of America made a vow to support small businesses, something that we have done as well. We hire locals for housekeeping, maintenance, and we even direct our customers to small businesses that offer products they will love. Additionally, RentTheKeys is a small business, homegrown on the beaches of the Florida Keys and spreading the love for Florida one traveler at a time. When you book direct, you are helping Arts programs to stay in the schools, you are helping mom & pop businesses to succeed, and you are helping prop our country back up, while also saving money and enjoying the best vacation in recent memory. Does it get any better than that? We don’t think so.

You Knew It When You Saw It

Finding vacation accommodations that fit your family perfectly is a very personal thing and the needs of travelers vary from person to person and family to family. So, when you were scrolling through hundreds of listings and found that perfect space, the one that jumped from the computer screen into your heart, it was a moment of celebration and joy upon discovering that yes, you could afford it, and yes, it was available during the week you were planning on spending in the Keys. You never before clicked ‘Book Now’ so fast, and the days, weeks, and months leading up to your getaway seemed to drag by as the anticipation built.

Can you imagine how it would feel after all that build-up to pull up in front of a home that looked similar but different? And to go inside to find that some of the amenities you read about didn’t exist and the views you were promised turned out to not be the ones you fell in love with in the listing? Booking direct from RentTheKeys assures you that nightmare will not come true, but we can’t promise that will be the same if you book from the major vacation rental websites, so why take the chance?

Flexibility Is Important

One thing today’s travelers have learned is that although punctuality is vital in real life, the airlines have yet to realize its importance, and as companies are experiencing staff shortages, aging computer systems are failing, and overbooking is becoming more common, the times of flights arriving and departing are mere suggestions, not rules. In the bad old days of travel, hotels would often give your rooms away if you didn’t arrive at the agreed upon time, but fortunately, we are mostly past that habit, especially when booking directly with RentTheKeys. If you are going to be late, you don’t even have to give us a call, because our self-check-in (and self-check-out) allows guests to come and go as they please. And if you are arriving earlier than you thought? Go ahead and give us that call and discover that in some cases your accommodations will be ready for an early check in, enabling you to begin your Florida adventures that much earlier than planned.

Southern Hospitality Is a Thing

We were born taking care of others, raised by mothers who treated all the neighbor kids like her own, and any guest that stepped over her doorstep was instantly considered a family member that needed feeding. Food, laughter, and people are our earliest memories, and we work hard to ensure that our work family, the guests who depend on us for shelter during their time away from reality, feel treasured, loved, and welcomed. It isn’t a job to us, it’s a calling, and although Airbnb may have started out that way, today it is all business.

Book Direct and Come Home to RentTheKeys

Isn’t it nice knowing that of all the things you may need to worry about during your upcoming Florida vacation, your accommodations are not on that list? Booking directly with RentTheKeys ensures that the comfortable part of your escape to the Keys will go smoothly. Reserve your favorite today!

Summer vacations are the event we look forward to all year and a Florida summer vacation at the beach is even more anticipated, but there are a few things you will need to realize before you arrive. For one, Sarasota will make you fall in love, offering a complex blend of big city sophistication and laid-back Florida charm, it is the town you have always dreamed of. Secondly, our RentTheKeys seasonal sanctuaries will make you feel so comfortable you may find it difficult to leave, even if you are excited about a day at the beach, and finally, it’s going to be hot and humid, but that’s ok, we have compiled this guide to the best ways of beating the heat during your Sarasota summer vacation, helping you stay chill no matter what the thermometer reads.

Discover the Theory of Less

Your first lesson in dealing with the Florida heat will begin before you leave the air-conditioned confines of your RentTheKeys escape; less is perfect when it comes to getting dressed. No, long pants, no jackets, even a pair of flip flops (Skechers makes some fantastic walking flip flops, so your feet and back will get the support they need) and if you have long hair, all the years you have put into perfecting the messy bun will be worth all the effort. Sunglasses, a cool hat, and sunscreen are the finishing touches you will need for a perfect summer’s day wardrobe, but if you are going to the beach, you can scrap the shorts and tees and substitute one cute swimsuit and maybe one cover-up. 

Save Your Outdoor Adventures for Morning

It will still be warm enough to swim and sunny enough to work on your tan, so making your beach adventures morning ones will actually free up your afternoons for the important stuff, like naps and shopping in air-conditioned stores. Most of our summer havens will provide the basic essentials for a morning at the beach, including chairs, towels, and a beach umbrella, but if not, most of these supplies can be purchased at very little cost in local shops. Whatever you do, don’t skip the umbrella, however, because the shade it will bring can help provide another way to keep cool. In any case, drink plenty of water, slather on the sunscreen, and enjoy these morning moments spent with your toes buried in our white sand beaches and if traveling with young children, building a sandcastle at shore’s edge can help you stay chill as well.

Explore Sarasota Via Air-Conditioned Trolley

The best way to get to know the area you are visiting is by starting out with a tour. Let the tour guide do the hard work, showing you all the sights that you may or may not want to see and then go back later and explore the ones you were interested in more depth. Discover Sarasota Tours, located at 1826 4th Street, offers a variety of tours, all enjoyed from the air-conditioned comfort of their colorful trolleys. Stay cool as you participate in Psychic Sundays, exploring the mystical side of our beautiful town, chill out learning why Sarasota is known as Circus City with their Circus Secrets of Sarasota Tour, or simply take their City Sightseeing Tour and fall in love with our home sweet hometown, all while staying cool.

Life’s a Gamble

Sometimes when life hands you a deck of cards you have to take those cards to the nearest poker house and discover if you still have your poker face, especially during your Sarasota vacation. One-Eyed Jacks Poker Room, located just around the bend at 4404 Bee Ridge Road in Bee Ridge, has a long history of being a favorite gambling spot, especially as this was where the greyhounds once raced. (Before the world became more responsible in their treatment of those sweet pups) Offering poker tournaments and daily games, you may end up forgetting the heat, the sun, or the world exists altogether; this fun poker room stays open until 2 or 3 AM most days.

Moonlight Swims in Our Private Pools

If you have never owned a private pool, you may not know one of our favorite secrets for keeping cool in the summer, swimming in your pool under the light of the moon. We don’t quite understand the magic, but even as the nighttime temps stay in the 80s, a serene and leisurely dip in the warm waters will soon lower your core body temperature and don’t be surprised if your teeth start chattering as well! Either way, once you have finally cooled down for the night, falling asleep under the soft whir of a ceiling fan in our RentTheKeys seasonal sanctuaries will bring you joy, happy dreams, and a sleep so deep you will awaken the next day, feeling rested and ready for more summer excitement in Sarasota. Contact us and reserve your favorite today!

You’ve been waiting your entire life for a summer vacation in Sarasota (or at least it feels that way) and as time creeps by ever so slowly, it is time to start nailing down the details. Perhaps you have made a vacation bucket list, writing things down as they occur to you, eager to cross off every item during your trip of a lifetime or maybe, you just keep a mental list in your brain, knowing that even as the list grows longer, you will continue to add to it, even as the wheels are touching down on the landing strip at Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. And quite possibly, you will save the link for this guide to planning your summer getaway, knowing that no one knows the area as well as Rent the Keys and that your stay with us is destined to be filled with adventures both thrilling and comfortable!

Lido Key Mangrove Kayak Tours, 190 Taft Drive in Sarasota, (941) 650-2241

Summers in Sarasota can get more than a little hot and sultry and we often look for ways to keep cool, including this serene and peaceful activity. A kayak tour of the mangroves, tropical plants that can survive loose sandy soil and the salty waves that accompany big storms, will allow you to be outside marveling at the beauty of Florida’s watery miles, while staying cool under the canopies created by the mangroves. Sarasota Paddleboard Company sponsors fantastic tours of these fascinating “tunnels” lasting just two hours, or, you can take a self-guided tour that will last about 3 hours. Either way it’s a wonderful summertime experience you won’t soon forget.

Shopping at St. Armand’s Circle, 300 Madison Drive

Shopping adventures are great ones to have at any time of the year, but when the day is warm and the deals are hot we are sure you will appreciate the chill of air conditioning as you partake in the thrill of the hunt for something fabulous. Offering unique boutiques that sell everything from clothing and shoes to jewelry to fun and wonderful gifts, St. Armand’s Circle also offers a selection of restaurants (the Blue Dolphin Café is a local favorite) and salons, spas, and medical centers, including wellness centers, plastic surgeons, and an Urgent Care that we hope you never need.

Watch a Play at Urbanite Theater, 1487 2nd Street

From May 31 to June 30 this local performance arts theater is presenting a rather frightening play, Oak, written by award winning Chicago playwright Terry Guest, providing an entertaining way to explore the cultural side of Sarasota. Airing Wednesday through Sunday from 8 to 10 PM, the play taps into the fears of every parent, perhaps inspired by the PSAs that were once aired in the USA, asking families if they knew where there children are. Well written and excellently executed, we can’t wait to enjoy a weekend night being frightened by this awesome play.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens, 3701 Bayshore Road, Open Daily 10AM until 4 PM

Best enjoyed in the morning hours in the summer months, it may be time to take a walk on the wild side with a visit to the Sarasota Jungle Gardens. Offering over 10 acres of gardens and 200 species of native and exotic animals, this family friendly attraction has been a local favorite for over 70 years. Enjoy an up close and personal peek into the world of jungle birds, wildlife, and reptiles with shows that take place on a daily basis, get your picture taken with a parrot or an alligator (don’t worry, no limbs or lives have ever been lost!) or simply enjoy a summer stroll along the jungle trails that lead visitors past amazing animal exhibits and through serene garden spaces.

Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy, 2121 N Tamiami Trail, Open Thursday through Saturday 1-4

Museums can be fun and art can be whimsical, both of which can be discovered with a visit to the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy. You will know you are in the right place when you come across the giant Flamingoes posing on the Lookout and when you step inside, we dare you to try not to giggle. This museum provides a collection of over 1700 pieces guaranteed to make you smile and although it is free to explore, donations are greatly appreciated.

Staying Chill with Rent the Keys

Your favorite adventures, however, may be the comfortable and cool ones you enjoy inside the air conditioned coolness of your Sarasota sanctuaries, napping under the breeze of softly whirring ceiling fans, putting together complex puzzles at large tables with the family, or slipping into the cool depths of your private pool. All the comforts of home and all the modern conveniences travelers need and deserve can be found in our luxurious and stylish summer sanctuaries. Contact us and reserve your favorite today!