Most people know by now that among the popular beaches along the Florida’s Gulf Coast, Siesta Key is King. It boasts miles upon miles of powdery white beaches and turquoise water that amazes locals and visitors on a daily basis. The Key is also home to a colorful village that churns out local food, premium shopping, and diverse entertainment for all types. The village demands an attention all its own, but this is an introduction devoted to getting the most out of the legendary beaches along the eight mile barrier island that is Siesta Key, Sarasota’s most prized possession.
Your first visit to the Key should lead you to Siesta Beach, the “main beach”, just south of the village along Beach Road. There’s a large parking area for patrons at this beach, and making your way through the wood-planked concession area or the tree-covered picnic tables and barbecue grills, you’ll emerge onto a sprawling mass of white sand that has been voted in various competitions as America’s finest sand (Travel Channel, 2004, and Dr. Beach, 2009-10). The soft, powder-like sand is actually made up of 99% pure quartz, and the water here is typically a tropical turquoise, with slow-moving waves lapping up onto the shore.
There are several recommendations that any local would suggest to make the best of a day on Siesta. First, come prepared. Bring chairs, towels, and an umbrella. Stock up on sandwiches and snacks (Anna’s Deli in the village is a prime location for this). A heartier option, if cooking is your thing, is to bring charcoal and supplies to grill your own lunch at one of the barbecues in the shady picnic area. Unlike many rival Florida beaches, Siesta is blessed with an extensive beach, reaching more than a hundred yards from the water to the parking lot at some points, and so there’s plenty of space even on the most crowded days to enjoy football, soccer, or frisbee. There are also numerous high-quality volleyball nets near the picnic area for pickup games. For tennis lovers, there are courts next to the parking area that are always open for a quick match before hitting the water. When you need a break from the sun, the concession area offers affordable snacks and beverages, including beer, and there’s an ice cream parlor for a cone that will cool you down on the hottest of days.
Another popular activity is taking long beach walks to take in the sights. To the north, you’ll pass along the smaller public accesses as you make your way toward the village. These are bordered by dunes, sailboats stored in the sand, and areas of tall vegetation that add an even more natural quality to Siesta’s beauty. To the south, you’ll pass by condo and resort beaches until you reach the end of the line at Point of Rocks, which is a great place to snorkel out and see exotic fish on clear days.
Also essential to the Siesta experience is being there for the cultural events that frequent the beach. First, there’s the Drum Circle that starts up a little before sundown every Sunday near the concession area. Local drummers and musicians form a circle and drum out improvised grooves as the sun goes down. Enjoying a cocktail at the edge of the circle to the beating drums and the sun going down is a popular pastime for Sarasota residents. Also popular is the Farmer’s Market that comes to the picnic area just off of the beach every Sunday. Visit the market for local eats, produce, and crafts. And for those who like to start the day with a clean spiritual slate, there’s free yoga on the main beach nearly every day of the week at 9a.m. (near the yellow lifeguard stand). A good website for keeping up on Siesta’s events is . Don’t miss events like the sand sculpting contest that comes up every spring, (this year on May 7th), bringing professional sculptors from all over the country to compete.
If you want a quieter, more isolated beach experience, head just north of the main beach down Beach Road to any of the “Beach Accesses”, which are identified by small signs (Beach Access 7, for example) and parking areas. Most of the accesses can park about 20 or 30 cars, and they’re at the foot of a narrow trail that leads through the vegetation and out to the beach. Many locals prefer these accesses for their natural beauty and desolate atmosphere. Another option, if the accesses are full, is to drive several miles south from the main beach to Turtle Beach, which is a spot often overlooked by locals and visitors alike. The beach there is a little narrower, but many consider the views and tranquility to be even greater than on the main beach, and there’s a good selection of shells washed up in the sand that make great souvenirs.
Wherever the day takes you on Siesta, everyone’s encore is the sunset, and when the weather is warm, beach and village-goers flock to the water to see the sun go down. Any section of the beach affords good views, and a blanket and a glass of wine can make it a memorable event. One popular way to catch the sunset is to walk down Columbus Boulevard from the village to the old pier (Columbus starts at the Beach Club). It’s a two minute walk from the village, and you can be back in no time for dinner.
So, these are some of the keys to the heart of Siesta Key. It’s a big heart, and it’s really got something for everyone. There are so many beautiful days on Siesta that it becomes a common occurrence to feel as though you’ve been teleported to some special, special destination. And the truth is, you have. Welcome to Siesta Key.
Sarasota Beach Homes
Siesta Key is not the only pretty beach in the Sarasota area. Longboat Key, Lido Key, Anna Maria Island and Casey Key are gorgeous as well. Sarasota & Bradenton has some of the finest beach homes in the state of Florida. Not only will you find some amazing real estate on Siesta Key but you will have also find some lovely beach homes on nearby Longboat Key, Lido Key, Anna Maria Island and Casey Key. All of the them offer fabulous beachfront living. Your largest selection of homes will be found on Casey Key as there are really no condos to speak of. If you would love to live the waterfront lifestyle then you should explore the variety of Sarasota beach homes available.