The Ted Sperling Park is a Hop, Skip, and a Jump Away

Hidden in the red mangroves, on the southern end of Lido Key, and just a few minutes from St. Armand’s Circle, is another world entirely.

Thick vegetation, quiet isolation, wildlife, and more make up the spectacular Ted Sperling Park in Sarasota Florida. It is only a hop and a skip away from Siesta Key. Hidden within its brush is a world of wonderful activities and magical natural attractions.

What can you do at the Ted Sperling Park? The answer may be a little bit of everything. It’s a top destination for kayaking and paddleboarding, birding and wildlife viewing, and simple relaxation in nature. It’s well worth the quick trip – with memories of the beautiful mangrove tunnels and native Florida scenery that will last a lifetime.

canoeing boat in water

Kayaks and Paddleboards

Nature enthusiasts, paddleboarders and kayakers will love giving this treasured park area a visit. Most likely, their time will be spent on the many calm and mangrove filled water passages.

The north entrance to the park is the most accessible way to enter the water by kayak or paddleboard. It is located at 190 Taft Dr. It is free of charge, so visitors who bring their own kayaks and paddleboards are able to use it as they please.

The interweaving tunnel of passages holds many secrets. Signed postage will guide you through the park. You may not have a leading guide so this adventure is only for confident visitors who are up to navigating tight passages and spotting potentially reclusive wildlife.

Kayakers are known to spot manatees and dolphins, which are friendly and often more than willing to nudge their backs or noses right up to the vessel.

Guided tours are available for taking a day trip in south Lido Beach but only a few can go per month. Small groups will launch from the north entrance at 1 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. almost every day.

Quiet Activities by the Water

Ted Sperling is one of the quietest nature parks in Florida- and this is by design. Visitors are encouraged to remain relatively quiet to keep the wildlife undisturbed as they scour the waters while paddling the mangrove tunnels at Ted Sperling Park.

The park does not have strong oversight. For example, you won’t find rangers stationed at every outlook. You also won’t find lots of crowds clamoring for pictures or popular attractions requiring ticket admission.

You will, however, spot rare wildlife of Ted Sperling Park, such as the West Indian Manatee, with a curiosity unlike their counterparts in more popular waters. You will also find areas almost completely untapped by man. You won’t find big cafes overlooking the waterways or trash building up on the banks.

Respect the waters. Stay quiet. Soak in the ambiance of a true natural escape in Florida.


Despite the quiet demeanor and no-infringing attitude of Ted Sperling, there are a few welcoming amenities. Visitors can utilize a clean picnic area for their lunch breaks. It is located in a prime bird migratory area, so keep an eye out for ospreys, the rare Snowy Plover, and the many bright white shorebirds.

Restroom amenities are available at the north kayak entrance. There is also an outdoor shower area, which is helpful for cleaning off before getting back into the car. The parking lot is free and widely accessible.

Hiking trails weave by the many water passages. Educational signs, with information about local wildlife and plants, will greet you as you make your way along.

Additional Details

Lido Key was largely abandoned as a major point of development after the Florida land bust in the 1920’s. For decades, the area sat unappreciated. In 1977, Sarasota bought the land yet continued to retain its natural charms.

Now, the mangrove tunnels of South Lido Key are highly protected. It was set as South Lido Park, and a small portion of it, encompassing the waterways, was named the Ted Sperling Park. It is owned by the Sarasota County Parks Dept. The park is open all year round, from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Plan Your Visit

Don’t miss out on this fascinating kayaking and outdoor adventure just a short drive from Crystal Sands. Enjoy the subdued ambiance and authentic untapped nature of the region. It’s only a hop away from one of our vacation rentals. It’s like an unmarked paradise sits right outside your house.

Our Location

Crystal Sands Condominiums
6300 Midnight Pass Road
Siesta Key, FL 34242

Toll-Free: 888-419-1446
Local: 941-349-7007

Fax: 941-346-1963

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