One of the most incredible bonuses living in Sarasota, Florida are the beaches. Siesta Key Beach was the first beach I visited and fell in love with right from the start. I enjoy spending my weekends at the beach with my family. Sightseeing is priceless. Splashing in clear blue ocean or just taking a walk down the shore, watching people doing whatever please them. Some of them are swimming, some are playing, some are building sand castles, some are exercising and some just sitting in their beach chairs enjoying the view, reading a book or just enjoying company of their friends and family. I spend most of my time in the water swimming with my oldest daughter Angelika. While my husband is relaxing sitting down on the beach chair, watching Annabella play in the sand. Life is good!
Siesta Beach (sometimes known as Siesta Key Beach) is a beach located on Beach Road on Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida. With limited parking, along Beach Road, expansive Crescent Beach has been rated as one of the “Top 10 Beaches in the World”. Smack-dab- in the center of Crescent Beach is…the “public beach” known as Siesta Beach where Dr. Steve Leatherman, a.k.a. “Dr. Beach” awarded it… The #1 Ranking…above all other beaches in the U.S….including Hawaii! Even Florida Trend Magazine has named Siesta Beach “The Best Beach” in the State of Florida! Siesta Key is an eight mile barrier island graced with two more beaches, Crescent Beach and Turtle Beach…as well as exotic flowers, magnificent banyan trees and preserved mangrove shores where ibis, snowy egrets and herons claim refuge for their young. It is known as one of the most beautiful beaches anywhere in the world.
In 2004, the Travel Channel’s Best Beaches in America featured Siesta Key as the Best Sand Beach…on the planet! The sand is 99% pure quartz, soft and cool on the feet. Even on the hottest days, the sand is so reflective that it feels cool underfoot. It’s estimated that the sand on Siesta Beach is millions of years old, having its origin in the Appalachians and flowing down the rivers from the mountains until it eventually was deposited on the shores of Siesta Key. As I step my foot in the sand, I feel like I stepped into a powdery, warm and soft flour. Except it’s all around me and it’s a lot of it. You feel it between your toes and feet. By far, the best sand you will ever see or touch.
Shallow water depth in the near shore area together with year round lifeguard protection, makes this one of the safest beaches in the county and great for small children.
Two bridges link the island to the mainland, allowing it to remain an uncomplicated natural paradise without sacrificing the amenities of contemporary life. The north bridge, Siesta Drive, is within the City of Sarasota and provides convenient access to the city, its business and arts districts, and to the Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport via US Highway 41. The south bridge, Stickney Point Road, provides access to south Sarasota County and a direct route to Interstate 75.
On Siesta Key you can do as much or as little as you want. You can enjoy fishing, boating, parasailing, kayaking, snorkeling and swimming. Approximately 1000 species of fish can be found in the Gulf, bays, lakes, rivers and streams. You can go deep-sea trolling, drift fishing, surf casting, bridge fishing or wading the grass flats. Non-residents need a fishing license unless you’re younger than 16 or on a boat charter. There are minimum lengths, limits and closed season restrictions. Licenses are available at the Sarasota County Courthouse or at local bait shops and sporting goods stores. You can also just dip your toes in the powdery sand, which I like to do and enjoy a good book or the amazing view, but don’t forget to keep an eye out for those playful dolphins.
Siesta Key beach offers tennis and volleyball courts, shaded playground and picnic area, and convenient concession stands for a quick bite or a refreshing drink. Playground is definitely an added bonus for girls to play, while us adults are enjoying time to ourselves in the picnic area, cooking, socializing and sipping on refreshing beverages.
You can even borrow beach wheelchairs if you have visitor that needs help across the sand.
If you looking for live music, exciting night life, shopping, restaurants that range from fine dining to the very casual eateries where flip flops and cover ups are all you will need, look no further than Siesta Key Village. For sure, one of the my favorite places to come for some fun and good food with my friends, my husband or my kids. And it’s in the walking distance from the beach. And if you’re lucky enough to be in the area during one of the festivals there’s no better place to attend an outdoor event. Most of the action going on after dark, where there is a handful of bars and pubs, all in keeping with the island’s tropical flavor.
One of the most popular venues of Siesta Key and one of my favorite places to come seems to be the Daiquiri Deck, which is in ‘The Village’, as it’s locally known! Daiquiri Deck is popular to any age group, from retirees to those on a student break, and families alike. As the name suggests, the venue is home to many Daiquiri recipes, just to keep up with the tropical paradise theme. My favorite snacketizers are Calamari, lightly seasoned and deep fried, served with spicy marinara or Blackened Mahi Bites, bite-sized mahi-mahi blackened and served with Caribbean dipping sauce. There is variety of sandwiches, soups, salads and entrees to choose from. And don’t forget to order a daiquiri, my favorite is Pina Colada or Blue Hawaiian Specialty drink. “The Deck” is open long hours, providing a place to have lunch or dinner. It hosts a variety of entertainment, especially during Spring Break, when volleyball tournaments, bikini contests and parties will be found on the beach, and spilling into the Village.
Another in ‘The Village’ of Siesta Key is The Beach Club, which is a trendy bar offering a fun retreat. Live bands are often featured, as well as cocktails and outdoor seating that keep locals and tourists coming back night after night. The bar also has many televisions to keep sports fans up-to-date on the latest scores! It is a popular spot for dancing the night away, to a wide array of different music styles. That’s where I like to get my groove on and dance the night away.
Just a short walk from the beautiful beaches of Sarasota, Café Gabbiano brings Italy to Siesta Key. Café Gabbiano’s serene, casual ambiance imitates that of the paradise surrounding it. Café Gabbiano offers intimate, private dining in our wine rooms as well as comfortable outdoor seating on our climate controlled patio. Established in 2003. Café Gabbiano has called Siesta Key home for over nine years serving fresh, authentic Italian cuisine and an extensive collection of wine from around the world. My favorite is Parmigiana di Melanzane, which is eggplant baked with mozzarella, parmigiana, ricotta, fresh herbs and spices. Yummy!
One of the most popular events to take place on Siesta Key is the Siesta Key Drum Circle. An event where I can get loose like nobody is watching. My girls also participate, while my husband enjoys the view and listens to the beat of the drums. This is a tradition that happens every Sunday night. It brings together people from all walks of life – die-hard hippies, stock market businessmen and soccer moms all join together to lay down funky music with maraca, bongos and other types of percussion instruments. BYOD – Bring Your Own Drum!
If vacationing on Siesta Key in early November, you could see some pretty unusual sand formations. Not your typical sand castles but, World-Class… sand sculptures. You’ll see the best of the best…as Sand Sculpture Artists the world over, gather on Siesta Beach to work their magic at the Siesta Key Sand Sculpture Contest. Viewing the beauty and cleanliness sculptures look almost as if they were “carved in marble.” The Siesta Key Crystal Classic connects the arts and the beach in ways never before seen in Sarasota. Founded in 2010, the Crystal Classic has quickly become a local tradition and a draw for visitors from outside Sarasota County, which account for over 50% of the 35,000+ attendees. Master sculptors spend three days creating sand masterpieces, some over ten feet tall, and transform the always beautiful Siesta Beach into an outdoor art gallery. Visitors enter the Sand Sculpture Gallery and immediately notice the Sponsor Logo Sculpture and are fascinated by it size and the number of community organizations and local businesses that support the event.
Since, we live here, we never had an opportunity to experience accommodations here, but Siesta Key accommodations range from the simplicity of a hotel to the convenience of a week-long (or more) rental. From cozy, beach-side cottages outfitted with the basics to posh condominium complexes complete with every amenity imaginable, there’s an option for all visitors and budgets. Of course, no matter where you choose to stay, Siesta Beach, Crescent Beach or Turtle Beach are just a short walk away.
Siesta Key is not only a tourist destination, it is also a prime residential area. With miles of canals, lush tropical foliage and spectacular beach and bay views, Siesta Key is the perfect place for a permanent or seasonal home. Yes, I can say, we are the lucky ones to be residents.
There’s always something to do on Siesta Beach and it is all within walking distance, so with that said come and visit, enjoy your stay and I assure you that you will experience the best of what Siesta Key has to offer. For us, who live here, we are blessed to call this place our home. It’s truly, a paradise!
Have you visited Siesta Key Beach? What is your favorite part about it? Share in the comments section below!