SIESTA BEACH: #1 BEACH IN THE USA
Where Beach Dreams Come True
Florida has 663 miles of beaches including the world famous Siesta Beach. Siesta Beach is located on Siesta Key in the coastal resort town of Sarasota in southwest Florida on the Gulf of Mexico. Siesta Beach is blanketed in the finest, whitest sand. The sand on Siesta Key is made up of 99% quartz which is pure white and powdery soft. According to Wikipedia, the sand on Siesta Beach is millions of years old and has its origin in the Appalachian Mountains in which the quartz rock flowed down the rivers from the mountains. Not only is the sand incredibly beautiful and pristine, it remains cool even in the hot Florida sun because the white sand reflects the sunlight. Subsequently, there is no scorching the soles of your feet while walking and playing in the sand.
The fine white sand of Siesta Beach is often compared to sugar. I don't agree. I think the sand is like POWDERED SUGAR.
Most days the water is beautiful shades of turquoise blues and greens. The Gulf water is crystal clear and very calm. However, during non-hurricane storms, there are waves in the range of two to four feet and the color turns a dark green. Another outstanding quality of Siesta Beach is the water is very shallow. You can walk out very far and still be only knee to chest high depending on your height. This aspect of shallow water is perfect for little children and adults that are not swimmers.
Another great quality of Siesta Beach is the beach is flat and the sand is packed at the shoreline making it easy to walk or ride your bike. One note about bike riding, you cannot ride your bike along the beach proper (between the lifeguard stands).
ACTIVITIES ON SIESTA BEACH:
-Body surfing & boogie boarding (on rare days with waves)
-Snorkeling (fyi, there are no coral reefs)
-Kayaking and paddleboarding
-Beach yoga (certain times of the year)
-Say goodnight to the sun (aka watch the sunset)
-Drum Circle (every Sunday about an hour before sunset)
-Drinking (it’s legal to consume alcohol on the beach, just no glass)
-4 tennis courts (not on the beach)
-Personal watercraft: jet ski/wave runner
-Banana boat rides
-Sunset boat tours
-Siesta Key Crystal Classic: International Sand Sculpting Competition. Every November. For more details, visit: https://www.seastheday-florida.com/post/siesta-key-crystal-classic
The Drum Circle is a weekly event. The festive celebration happens every Sunday off to the side of the Mobi-Mat (rubber mat walkway). The party starts about an hour before sunset. Everyone is welcome. Bring a blanket or beach chairs and enjoy the ‘show’. Dancing, juggling, hula hooping (need to bring your own), and drumming are encouraged.
There are no kiosks on the beach for renting watersport toys or booking tours. The providers are located on the bay and you will need to make prior arrangements with the businesses.
-Very deep beach. At the Siesta Key Beach Pavilion, the beach is huge, extremely deep, so there is lots of powdery, pure white sand to find your own piece of real estate for the day.
-The county installed a Mobi-Mat, a 400 ft long rubber mat walkway, over the fluffy, deep sand providing wheelchair access as well as towing wagons and carriages to easily reach the shoreline.
-Restrooms (open 6am to 9pm, located at Pavilion and Sun Deck)
-Outdoor Showers (at various points along the parking lot)
There are 2 concessions: one at the Pavilion, main beach entrance, and another at Siesta Sun Deck located near the playground and volleyball courts. The Sun Deck is on the second floor of the building where the concession stand and restrooms are located. You will have to walk up a flight of stairs or a long ramp (there is NO elevator).
Alcohol is available and you may bring your own adult beverages in plastic or can containers. FYI, Sarasota County is one of the very few counties in Florida that permits alcohol on the beaches.
-Beach chair and umbrella rentals (kiosk located on the beach)
-Sand volleyball courts
-Covered picnic tables
-Large Paved Parking Lot
-Beach wheelchairs. The Beach Wheelchairs (big wheels) are free and available at the Beach Concessionaire from 9am to 4pm.
-Tennis Courts (off the beach located along Beach Road)
-Several Beach Access Points (more info below)
ACCOLADES FOR SIESTA BEACH:
Siesta Beach is awesome and is one of the best beaches in the United States. It rivals beaches from around the world and attracts domestic and international visitor. However, don’t just take my word of it…
Siesta Key Beach became nationally recognized when Dr. Beach, Dr. Stephen Leatherman, director of the Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, awarded the prestigious ranking of the #1 Beach in the USA in 2011 and again in 2017. Dr. Beach lauded Siesta Key for the $21 million in renovations that improved the beach experience including expanded parking and bus service that provides free transportation to the beach. Also, Siesta Beach earned top marks in safety because of its dedicated lifeguard staff. The lifeguard towers are painted bright primary colors which makes it easy to find friends and family and allows children to be aware of their parents’ location.
Siesta Beach gained additional national attention as the site for MTV’s series “Siesta Key,” a reality TV show about wealthy local college students home for the summer.
2022 #2 Beach in U.S. and 14th in the world by TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice AwardsTM
2020 #1 Beach in U.S. and 11th in the world by TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice AwardsTM
2017 #1 Beach in U.S. by Dr. Beach
2017 #1 Beach in U.S. by TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice AwardsTM
2015 #1 Beach in U.S. by TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice AwardsTM
2011 #1 Beach in U.S. by Dr. Beach
PARKING AT SIESTA BEACH PAVILION (MAIN BEACH):
Siesta Beach has a paved parking lot with 976 spaces, which is the largest FREE public parking lot at beaches in Sarasota County. And there are no time restrictions. Even though the parking lot is large, the lot fills up quickly during high season (summer and middle of winter). It is best to arrive early before 10 am or later in the afternoon about 3 or 4 pm.
To avoid parking issues, one option is to take SCAT, the public bus to Siesta Beach. Another option if you live or are staying on Siesta Key is to take the Siesta Key Breeze Free Trolley Service. For a map, visit this site: www.siestakeychamber.com/plan-your-trip/maps/. The free trolley is also useful for getting around the island and to Siesta Key Village, which is packed with bars, restaurants, ice cream, coffee, snacks, retail shops, and a grocery store called Morton’s. South Village offers restaurants, bars, retail, marina, and beach rentals.
OTHER BEACH ACCESSES:
These public beach access points do NOT offer any amenities and a few do not have parking. Look for blue signs denoting the access points.
#2: 41 Beach Blvd (at Avenida Messina). Old pier. No parking except one handicap space.
#3: 100 Beach Rd (at Columbus Blvd). Known as Sunset Beach. No parking.
#3B: 136 Beach Rd. No parking.
#4: 180 Beach Road (at the end of Avenida Navarra). Gravel parking lot with 4 spaces.
#5: 200 Beach Road (at Ocean Blvd & Beach Rd). Gravel parking lot with 25 spaces. At the southern end of Siesta Key Village-within walking distance to bars, restaurants, and shops.
#7: 402 Beach Road (at Calle De La Siesta and Beach Rd). Gravel parking lot with 35 spaces.
#8: 458 Beach Road (north of Plaza De Las Palmas). Gravel parking lot with about 20 spaces.
#9: 514 Beach Road (south of Plaza De Las Palmas). Gravel parking lot with about 12 spaces.
#10: 598 Beach Rd (at Calle Del Invierno). No parking.
#11: 690 Beach Rd (at Avenida Del Mare). No parking.
#12: 6490 Midnight Pass Road (at Old Stickney Point Road). Across from Captain Curt’s Village. Public access point to Crescent Beach. Paved parking lot with 20 spaces. This access has a very narrow ‘road’ and there is a turn-around point at the beach end.
#13: 6900 Point of Rocks. When traveling south/toward Turtle Beach on Midnight Pass Rd, turn right on to Point of Rocks Rd. The beach access is at the end of the street. Public access to Crescent Beach. No parking.
Since I live seven miles from Siesta Beach, I have never rented a place to stay and cannot provide any information or insight. However there are lots of resources including https://www.siestakeychamber.com/where-to-stay/ . Check out (www.siestakeychamber.com) for a 100-page Visitors Guide.
There are a plethora of reasons to visit Siesta Beach but most importantly you will experience paradise and have a very memorable, fantastic, fun filled beach vacation on the #1 Beach in the USA.