VIBE: Relaxed, Family Friendly
400 Ben Franklin Drive, Sarasota, FL 34236
What's the next best thing to Siesta Key Beach? Sometimes referred to as Lido Key Beach, this Florida beach destination is just north of famous Siesta Key. With white sand, shelling opportunities and great amenities, we think this Sarasota beach can compete with Siesta Key for an enjoyable Florida vacation or day trip.
Siesta Key vs. Lido Key Beach: which will you choose?
We love this beach for families because there is also a community swimming pool. If conditions aren't perfect in the Gulf of Mexico, the pool is a good alternative. Lido Key Beach is only a half mile walk to St. Armands Circle, the shopping and dining heartbeat of these popular Gulf coast beaches.
Lido Beach Sand
The sand on Lido beach is a beautiful white color, similar to Siesta Key. It is soft and powdery too but the difference is there are more shells in the sand. They are small shells, and some of them are crushed so occasionally you have to watch your step closer to the water. The sand is a little more coarse in Lido Key than Siesta Key Beach. But with easy parking and amenities, we find nothing to complain about here!
Lido Beach Water
We don't even need to write anything here! The Gulf of Mexico water is stunning at both Lido Key Beach and Siesta Key. The only difference is the water is a touch deeper at Lido Beach and there is a small slope into the water. The beaches in Sarasota have been compared to the Caribbean and once you visit you will see why. Warm, calm and you can see right down to your feet. Lots of birds along the shore as well as pelicans swooping overhead. Count us in!
Lido Beach Parking and Amenities
Free parking is available in beachside parking lots, as well as metered street parking (with the ParkMobile app). Lido beach doesn't require as much effort to get from your vehicle to the beachfront because the walk isn't as far as Siesta Key Beach. With many spaces close to the beach, Lido is a great choice for anyone with little kids or who needs the shorter walk. It is supposed to be less crowded than Siesta Key Beach, but you will still have to come early and possibly drive around the lot to find a space. An alternative is Ted Sperling Park at 2201 Benjamin Franklin Drive. It also has free parking, bathrooms and shower stations. There are also free two-hour spots around the beach access but who wants to stay for only two hours - come and spend the day!
Lido Beach Activities
There are lots of lifeguards at this beach. In fact, the Gulf beaches around Sarasota and Anna Maria Island have award-winning lifeguard teams! There is a concession stand with shade, and restrooms. You can rent an umbrella and chairs if necessary (not cheap). No dogs are allowed on this beach. There is a swimming pool also located at Lido Beach which you or you kids can enjoy for a small fee from 10am to 4:45pm (not on Mondays or holidays). A kayak launch is a short walk away in the nature preserve. The Lido Island Grill in the pavilion is famous for its Lobster Rolls. There are salads, burgers, seafood, sandwiches and a kids menu. Alcoholic drinks too. We have to say that the Florida beach destinations we've visited have really knocked it out of the park with food in 2022. Enjoy!
Look Out! This Could Happen...
Most of the time we mention traffic or Red Tide at Gulf Beaches. However, one of things that needs mentioning is the strong, Florida sun. Many visitors don't realize how much sunburn they have until they leave the beach and hit the shower! That's why we always recommend a rash guard shirt for sun protection. We also have large sun hats. Heck, Susan even has sun gloves! It just can't be mentioned enough how strong the Florida sun is, even in the winter. And kids need it even more. Don't become one of the victims of extreme sunburn. Wear your SPF 50 (or more), limit the sun exposure and you will get the tan you desire.
What We Really Think About Lido Beach
The biggest bonus with Lido Beach is that you can walk a half mile (less than 10 minutes) to St. Armands Circle for dining and shopping. There you will find a variety of restaurants, bars and cafes. There is even an urgent care center. Often there are street entertainers and buskers so you never know what you will see. It can get very busy: we do not suggest you attempt to park there (try 73 N Adams Drive). Sarasota is upscale so be prepared for shops to be pricey. You may also need reservations to dine in some restaurants. After you eat, return to Lido Beach for the best show of all: the Florida sunset.
Lido Beach Hotels
Lido Beach Restaurants
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