Tourists come to Florida for its many attractions. However, no one attraction can compete with the 663 miles of beaches in the sunshine state. People from the U.S. and the rest of the world flock to Florida every year just to soak up rays on our pristine beaches. Luckily, some of the best beaches in the world can be found on Siesta Key, a barrier island between the city of Sarasota and the Gulf of Mexico. All three public beaches have turquoise water, beautiful white sand and feature amazing sunsets on most evenings.
Siesta Beach resides on the northern end of Siesta Key and is the most popular public beach on the island due to its 99% pure quartz sand that stays cool under your feet. Siesta Beach was named the #1 beach in the United States in 2011 by “Dr. Beach.” In 2015, it was awarded the #1 US Beach award by TripAdvisor and it has received numerous other awards as well.
The shallow waters near the shoreline and year-round lifeguard protection make Siesta Beach a great choice for families. It has a large, shaded playground, picnic areas, concession stands, and several volleyball courts, along with a café overlooking the beach. There is even a drum circle at sunset on Sunday evenings. Siesta Beach is also within walking distance of Siesta Key Village, which hosts a variety of shops and restaurants.
Be advised, because Siesta Beach is the most popular beach on Siesta Key; it is also the most crowded. It has around 950 parking spaces, but they do fill up fast, so it is recommended to get there early, especially on the weekends, if you drive.
Many people believe that Crescent Beach is just as beautiful as Siesta Beach and without the crowds. In 1987, Crescent Beach was named the “World’s Finest, Whitest Sand” at the Great International Sand Challenge. Located just south of Siesta Beach, Crescent Beach, it has been described as the most private non-private beach in all of Sarasota. Although parking can be limited, it is an easy walk from most places on the island.
At the southern tip of Crescent Beach is the popular Point of Rocks. Here, you will find the best snorkeling spot on Siesta Key and probably all of Sarasota. This area has vibrant coral formations and a kaleidoscope of colorful marine life.
Please be aware that Crescent Beach does not have any public facilities, lifeguards, or amenities that Siesta Beach has. However, if you are looking for a more secluded setting, you’ll love this beach.
At the southern tip of Siesta Key lies Turtle Beach, an area that is popular with the more active, sporty crowd. Along with traditional playgrounds and picnic areas, Turtle Beach has volleyball courts, a horseshoe pit, and even a boat launch area. Fishing is permitted here with a valid fishing license. This is also a great area to look for shells and shark’s teeth.
Turtle Beach is also famous for its namesake. During turtle nesting season, lots of turtles head to this beach to find a mate and look for appropriate nesting places.
Although there are only about 200 parking spaces located at Turtle Beach, it’s often easier to find a spot here than Siesta Beach because the tourists and crowds usually gather on the northern side.
All three beaches on Siesta Key are perfect for making memories with friends and family. Pick the one that appeals to you, pack a cooler and some towels, and you are ready for a day at Florida’s most popular natural attraction. Also, please read Useful Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Day at the Beach.