PRACTICAL guide to the 5 best beaches in Siesta Key, Florida
The island is a tropical paradise, ranked number 1 in the United States by Dr. Beach (aka the famous coastal ecologist Stephen Parker Leatherman)
This guide provides everything that you need to know about the 5 best beaches in Siesta Key, including access points, parking spots, the availability of picnic tables and public restrooms, volleyball courts, and outdoor showers.
You get the idea. There will be no surprise when you spend your day on one of the whitest sand beaches in the Gulf of Mexico.
These are beautiful beaches, doesn’t matter the month of your visit.
In saying that, the best time of the year to visit them is probably between March and May, and from September to November. That’s when you have the best combination of price, people, and temperature.
If you are planning to have a quick bite at a restaurant, I have added a few recommendations, including cafes and bars, for each beach.
Even so, the picnic areas are usually so fantastic that you will want to stay there all day.
In this guide, I have also mentioned Lido Key, another barrier island of Sarasota, close to Siesta Key, with another dreamy beach.
A few beaches have parking, but it can be quite busy, especially at weekends and on summer school holidays.
It is also possible to park your car in town and visit the beach with a short walk or by bicycle (rentals are available as well).
Siesta Key can be easily discovered on a bike, which makes life so easy, especially if you are planning a long stay and you want to forget about the car
There is no sorting by beauty context in the list below. To be honest, there are only top beaches in Siesta Key.
The list of the best beaches starts from the most popular place, Siesta Key Beach, walking distance from the Siesta Village.
You will enjoy the best sunset on the northernmost point of Siesta Key Public Beach, at Sarasota Point (part of the beach has been rebranded as Sunset Beach)
If there’s one thing that Siesta Key Beach is known for, is its soft, fine sand (it is said the world’s finest) – like walking in sugar.
The sand keeps your feet cool even in the heat of summer.
This is a popular beach with plenty of events all through the year, definitely one of the best places to enjoy your Siesta Key vacation.
You may be lucky to be there during the “Snowbird” season with the arts and crafts shows near the tennis courts
In November you should attend the great international sand challenge, the Siesta Key Sand Sculpting Festival.
And of course, Siesta Key Beach sees hundreds of couples renewing their vows here every Valentine’s Day.
The shallow waters make this beach the perfect place for swimming too.
The three miles of long, flat beach are great for taking walks, bike riding, and jogging.
You can even easily push a baby stroller here, build sand castles and enjoy the kids’ oriented facilities, making Siesta Key public beach the perfect spot for the entire family
Amenities abound – from the concession stand where you can grab a bite or drinks, showers and restrooms, nets for some beach volleyball, picnic tables, all through to a children’s playground, and other fun things.
Public Beach Access Point: you will find 10 access options mostly from Beach Road, marked on Google Maps from 2 to 10. They are all somehow different. Some have parking areas, others don’t. As a general rule of thumb, expect more people around the beach wherever there is an available parking area.
Parking Lot: The access points 2 to 6 offer very limited or non-existing parking space, however, they are really within walking distance from the Siesta Village where you can eventually leave your car. South of Access Point #11 (signed on Google Map at Siesta Beach Pavillion) offers the most parking spaces, by a big margin, with Access Point # 7 coming second (around 40 parking spots). Access Point #4 has only 5 parking spots and #5 has around 20 of them. The best bet is always to go to the Public Parking area, however, that part of the beach is surely the busiest in Siesta Key.
Eating facilities: you can find picnic areas at the Siesta Beach Pavillon as well as a nice playground, so everyone can have their own time.
Nearby restaurant: the Siesta Key Village is within walking distance to the northern side of the beach (Access points #2 to #5). There are plenty of restaurants and eateries there. Anna’s Deli for breakfast or lunch and Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar for its seafood are both good options. For anywhere else on the beach, bring your own food as there are no bars or restaurants. There is a kiosk at the Siesta Beach Pavillon but it is a hit-and-miss, with limited options.
Cycling accessible: most of the access points have a small bike rack where you can lock your bike
Others: Many volleyball courts and concession stands at the Siesta Beach Pavillon
Clear, turquoise waters, one and a half miles of soft powdery sand that’s mostly shell-free, there aren’t sharp objects to prick your feet, and it also features some of Florida’s Gulf coast most popular snorkeling spots.
In fact, in the southern tip of Crescent Beach, you will find Point of Rocks, probably the best location for snorkelling.
The entire beach only has two public access points – and most of the visitors here are guests of the resorts and condominiums that are located directly on the beach.
Translation: Fewer people around, giving you a semi-private vibe
Public Beach Access: On Google Maps, they are marked as Access Points #12 and #13 from Beach Road. The #12 is closer to a few facilities like the bike rental shop
Parking Lot: There are only 25 parking spots at Access #12, none at Access #13. For Access #12 parking, get to 6490 Midnight Pass Rd., Sarasota, FL. You’ll need to arrive early. While #13 has no parking, there is a bike rack available.
Eating facilities: You can grab a bite at Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar, down some cocktails at Daiquiri Deck, or get fresh seafood at Big Water Fish Market to take back with you to your vacation rental. You cannot have Barbecue Grills here, but you can head up to Siesta Beach where they have pavilions with the grills.
Nearby restaurant: Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar is one of the closest restaurants, famous for its yummy seafood.
Cycling accessible: bike racks exist on both access points
As you can tell from its name, turtles are pretty active on this beach.
It’s a nesting habitat, with environmental conservation involved.
This is one of the cleanest beaches in Florida, which explains the “Blue Wave” Certification.
Visitor numbers here are low, giving you a more exclusive feel. “Low season” visitors can actually be lucky to get the half-mile beach real estate all to themselves
Parking Lot: There are lots of parking spaces right against the dunes, which is a short walk to the shore. Parking at the approximately 200 spots is free. Since the beach isn’t that popular, you can get some parking space at any time of the day, usually.
Eating facilities: There are picnic tables and covered picnic pavilions on the beach for both small and large groups, as well as grills around the lagoon.
Nearby restaurant: Turtles restaurant is the closest – just a short walk from the beach. Other restaurants are a few miles out at the Stickney Point Road area – the likes of Captain Curt’s Crab and Oyster Bar.
Cycling accessible: You can bike to the shore through the main road, though there aren’t bike racks.
Others: The lagoon side of Turtle beach has a boat launch area with two ramps, as well as spots for your kayak.
The park gives you a private feel since there are usually very few people here.
Enjoy the quiet environment and have a stroll around to collect some shells as well.
It’s the perfect spot to go kayaking or even hold a wedding on the beach.
Walking through the mangroves to the Gulf can be relaxing.
Parking Lot: You can only get to Palmer Point Beach Park by walking, cycling, or boat. No car access here.
Eating facilities: No amenities right on the beach.
Nearby restaurant: The closest eatery is Ophelia’s on the Bay, which is on the intra-coastal waterway and comes with great views. A few minutes further is the Turtle Beach Grill where you can dine both inside and outside. Try getting there in time for the happy hour – which happens every day 😉
Cycling accessible: Not directly. Ride to the end of the main road, Blind Pass Road, and push the bike through the beach or the sandy road parallel to the beach (very hard to ride on it)
Others: Lots of space available for kayaks, less for power boat landings.
This low-key spot doesn’t see crowds. You can take some time here to kick back and watch the boats going by, or cast a net out with the kids to grab some fish.
It’s also a nice and quiet snorkeling spot.
The beach is small, but given the limited number of people, there’s still plenty of room to enjoy the space.
Parking Lot: There are about a dozen parking spots alongside the road. Parking is free.
Eating facilities: None
Nearby restaurant: There is not much around. You would have to go back towards the Siesta Key Village at the British-style Old Salty Dog tavern, where you can grab its signature loaded hotdogs and other bar treats, or The Hub Baja Grill, a Mexican-themed restaurant – from the menus and ambiance to the live music.
Cycling accessible: You can bring your bike, but there are no bike racks.
Others: There are no amenities here (bathroom, showers, picnic areas, and the like). No lifeguards as well. It’s a pretty laid-back spot.
Lido Key Beach
This is not a beach in Siesta Key, in fact, it is in Lido Key, however, if staying for a week in the area, I suggest a visit.
Lido Key Beach is around 10 miles from the Siesta Village
You get to spread out and relax in the soft white sand of Lido Key – without the usual Florida crowds.
In fact, you can easily snag a spot that is right at the water’s edge, while still being far from others.
The sand is soft, there are beautiful shells concentrated in some areas, and since the waves are smaller here, it’s easier to swim.
Speaking of shells, since there are so many and they are mixed with the white sand, note that it can be hard to build a sandcastle with the kids.
The water is great – turquoise, warm, and so clear that you can see the bottom.
This is the go-to spot for deep-sea fishing and dolphin watching. You can also get into some sailing.
Try your luck at getting some sand dollars while there.
Sunsets are picturesque, and the reduced numbers of visitors make those moments even more intimate.
The parking lot is large and free, and you can also get street parking (also free).
I want also to briefly mention Longboat Key, north of Lido Key, with another long beach worth a visit
Photos of Siesta Key
These are some of the photos I took on my last trip to Siesta Key
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Siesta Key known for?
Siesta Key is known for its stunning white-sand beaches, clear waters, and vibrant nightlife
Which is the best beach in Siesta Key?
Siesta Beach is often considered the best in the USA and one of the best in the world for its fine sand, clear waters, and amenities
Is Siesta Key Beach good for families?
Yes, Siesta Key Beach is family-friendly with calm waters, playgrounds, and picnic areas
Are there private beaches in Siesta Key?
Most beaches in Siesta Key are public, but some waterfront properties may have private beach access
What activities are available at Siesta Key beaches?
Activities include swimming, sunbathing, volleyball, fishing, boating, and snorkeling
Are Siesta Key beaches crowded?
Siesta Key can get crowded, especially during peak season and weekends.
Is Siesta Key Beach good for swimming?
Yes, the calm and clear waters of Siesta Key Beach are great for swimming
Are there lifeguards at Siesta Key Beach?
Yes, lifeguards are typically on duty at the main beaches in Siesta Key
Can you see dolphins at Siesta Key?
Yes, it’s possible to spot dolphins off the coast of Siesta Key
Are there restaurants near Siesta Key beaches?
Yes, there are numerous restaurants and bars near the beaches in Siesta Key