VIBE: Romantic, Family Friendly
948 Beach Rd, Siesta Key, FL 34242
Updated February 24, 2023: Siesta Key Beach is a haven of natural beauty that offers the perfect escape from city life. With crystal clear waters and pristine sand, it's the ideal destination for those seeking a serene beach experience. Our blog provides you with valuable information on Siesta Key Beach, including details on the quality of its water and sand, as well as a guide on things to do during your visit.
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The Unique Charm of Siesta Key: Exploring What Sets It Apart
Siesta Key is a small island located in Sarasota County, Florida, similar to Anna Maria Island. The Gulf of Mexico and white sand beaches are its most notable features and loved by the locals. This Sarasota island is only 8 miles long and 2 miles wide. With an idyllic setting including pristine beaches, lush vegetation and beautiful sunsets, some say it is the perfect escape.
Restaurants, hotels, upscale shopping and beach activities are plentiful, though it can be more expensive than other Florida beach destinations. There is also a Siesta beach campground the locals don't want you to know about!
Traveling to Siesta Key
One of the best things about Siesta Key Beach is how close it is to airports. You can choose Tampa International Airport or Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. Find the lowest airfare prices by booking your Florida trip online at Lowest Flight Fares. Book a rental car from Tampa for your Sarasota vacation. Make sure you read all the terms and conditions from all companies involved in the car rental process. That way you get the car and price you want.
Siesta Key Beach Sand
Is the sand at Siesta Key Beach real?
Yes! The sugary, white quartz sand and the turquoise Gulf Coast waters that stretch all along Siesta Key are real. The county does not bring sand in. It is the prime reason people visit the Siesta Key public beaches when vacationing in Sarasota, Florida. This incredible sand is not mixed with coral or shells like many other beaches in Florida which makes it very white and powdery. It stays cool to the touch even on the hottest days. You would never guess this Siesta Key sand came from quartz originating in the Appalachian Mountains...but it does!
Siesta Key's flat sand: perfect for a relaxing beach stroll
Siesta Key Beach is flatter and more firm than other nearby beaches. Just like Daytona Beach, you can walk a long way in either direction. This beautiful, white sand is also perfect for biking. If you are looking for seashells, you probably won't find a lot here. Nearby Lido Key Beach has more shells in the sand. It is south of St. Armands Circle (Siesta Key village shops and dining nearby) and also a wonderful beach for a day trip.
Siesta Key Beach Water
Emerald water is the color you will see when you visit the Gulf of Mexico in Siesta Key. It is so clear that you can see fish and other sea life up to 20 feet deep. It is shallow close to the shore. This makes it a great place for people who like to go deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, or snorkeling. Siesta Key water is some of the cleanest in the world. It has been ranked as one of the best beaches in America by TripAdvisor for five years in a row. The water is so crystal clear that you can see all the way to the bottom, which makes it perfect for aquatic activities. You will be amazed at the variety of sea life you will encounter including manatee, dolphins and large fish swimming close by. Don't be nervous...just enjoy this natural wonder passing by your feet.
Siesta Key Beach Parking and Amenities
Parking at Siesta Key Beach is free! However, get there before 10am or you will have trouble finding a spot (by noon all parking spots were gone when we visited). It is quite a long walk from the parking lot to the beachfront. If you are prepared ahead of time with your beach gear well packed, then it won't be so bad. Siesta Key is a big beach with lots of area to cover, just like Sand Key Park in Clearwater. So make sure you don't have to return to your vehicle by including everything you need the first time: water, snacks, sunscreen, hats, umbrella and towels.
You can rent chairs and umbrellas if necessary, but it can be pricey (up to $50 a day, similar to Key West). This parking lot even has RV parking but spaces are limited and are taken quickly. There is no overnight parking. Siesta Key Beach is accessible. It has added is a 400 ft. woven mat (Mobi-Mat) along the beach so that people in wheelchairs or families with strollers can be close to the shore. Having an accessible vacation day is important to Sarasota County beaches, and you can reserve a free beach wheelchair for Siesta Beach. Get more information here.
Speaking of snacks...Siesta Key Beach has an awesome concession offering on the upper deck of their pavilion. They even have wine, beer and frozen cocktails! Of course you can buy hamburgers or a hotdog, but why not try a panini or wings? We knew Siesta Key Beach was special but this takes it to another level of island time! If you're feeling in need of some Italian food, take a walk over to St. Armands Circle and try Rico's Pizzeri. They have award winning Sicilian food. For more Sarasota food options check out foodielifesarasota on instagram.
Siesta Key Beach Activities
Parasailing and jet-skis are popular at Siesta Beach. If you're feeling active, you can play some beach volleyball. Stand-up paddleboards are wonderful at this calm water beach. Waves are rarely seen. For the kids there is a newly remodeled beachside playground with rubber cushioned flooring and shaded areas. Most of them prefer the warm, Gulf water to splash in.
Siesta Key Camping
Want to camp? Try the Sarasota Turtle Beach Campground with trolley access to Siesta Village. It has only 39 sites but they have direct beach access. There may be a waiting list so book in advance.
Siesta Key Beach is a big, wide beach and very popular. If you find it too crowded near the pavilion, then walk a bit in either direction and you will find a quieter spot. The water gets very warm in the summer (90's) and it can be hard to cool off, so make sure you have a sunshade or umbrella handy. Most people just enjoy relaxing on the beach or floating in the crystal clear water.
Take a walk if you need to stretch your legs or find a less busy stretch of the beach. If you want to use your phone, the internet signal is good on the beachfront. Children can throw a ball, frisbee or play in the calm water. We saw a couple of kids with their Barbie dolls having a great time. Showers and restaurants are available.
Look Out! This Could Happen...
Red tide, blue-green algae, and other bacteria-related conditions appear on Florida beaches from time to time. Sargassum seaweed can be a problem at Miami Beach. Red tide can affect Sarasota beaches. Reading online reports before you visit is a must: links below. If the reports say "poor" don't go! It's that easy to save yourself wasted time and fuel. The next day the water can be fine but check again. We wish we'd known. We drove out to our favorite Gulf beach only to end up disappointed. Don't let this happen to you.
More Resources for Red Tide and Water Quality
For other contaminants:
The State of Florida monitors the water and publishes results online at Florida Healthy Beaches Program. Just click on the county and city of your desired Florida beach destination. Then the beaches button will show any advisory.
If your Florida trip destination is reporting a red tide, keep these helpful tips in mind:
What We Really Think about Siesta Key Beach
Siesta Beach is a world-class beach and it's gorgeous! Although we love it, we still rate Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island as our favorite Gulf Coast beach destination. Why? Less crowds plus less time spent looking for parking and walking to the shore. However, Siesta Key is really a famous and stunning Florida beach location not to be missed on any Florida vacation. It is worth the drive and patience for a parking spot. The sunsets here are vibrant and romantic so have your camera ready. If you stay at a beachfront hotel in the area it will make dealing with crowds and parking so much easier. Before you go check out how busy it is with this beach cam link.
Visit Sarasota But Don't Miss This
While in Sarasota, we visited the Ringling Circus Museum and Ca' d'Zan, the Venetian Gothic style home built by John Ringling. You don't have to be a kid to enjoy the 3800-square foot model of the circus, the train or the Ringling house with a Sarasota bayfront terrace. You can also visit Lido Key Beach nearby: it is close to Sarasota shops and restaurants.
Disclaimer: Our blog website is for general information only and not to be used for any official information. Reference official news and sources for your travel making decisions. Though we aim to provide you with up-to-date information, we make no representations or warranties of any kind (expressed or implied) about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability of any information, products, services or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Full Disclaimer here.
Siesta Key Beach Hotels
Hyatt Residence Club Sarasota, Siesta Key Beach
Siesta Key Palms Resort
Tropical Beach Resorts
Tropical Breeze Resort
Siesta Key Beach Restaurants
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Susan and Bruno are travel bloggers. We write about Florida beaches on every coast. Our opinions only.