One of the reasons why Sarasota is such a popular resort destination is that just half a mile from the upscale shopping center of St Armand’s Circle is beautiful Lido Beach.
Located on Lido Key, this popular beach is very relaxed and relatively uncrowded compared to the better known beaches on nearby Siesta Key. It is easy to reach from Ben Franklin Drive, with beach access and entrances at several points.
Family-Friendly Amenities on Lido Beach
The white sands and gently turning waves on this Gulf Coast beach make it very popular for families. A paved walkway leads from the parking lot to the beach, which was once the site of the historic Lido Casino from 1940 to 1969. You can read about this famous Art Deco structure on the historic marker.
The site now accommodates the heated Lido Beach Pool which is open Tuesdays through Sundays (closed Mondays) from 10 am to 4:45 pm. There is a small admission fee of $4 for adults and $2 for children and seniors, but it is well worth paying to enjoy this excellent amenity, especially if you have children.
The beach has parking for 400 cars along with rest rooms and outdoor showers at most beach access points. There is a shady cabana, children’s playground and a handicapped-accessible observation deck overlooking the beach which is patrolled by lifeguards.
There’s no need to haul heavy equipment to the beach as there are concessions offering umbrellas, beach chairs and other equipment rentals. If you have forgotten sunscreen or other incidentals, the gift shop will have everything you need.
When it comes to food (and children work up quite an appetite on the beach), the Seabreeze Café has plenty of reasonably priced refreshments. As well as the usual burgers, hot dogs and fries the menu includes more unusual items such as fish tacos with guacamole and tangy pico de gallo. Everything is cooked to order and they serve chilled water, sodas, beers and wines too. Best of all you can call in your order (941-388-0400) right from your beach chair. How’s that for service!
Weddings on Lido Beach
The gorgeous setting of Lido Beach, and its proximity to the restaurants and boutiques on St Armand’s Circle, makes it a popular spot for romantic barefoot weddings.
Sections of the beach can be reserved for wedding ceremonies or other private functions. What could be more beautiful than the sound of the Gulf waters, the pristine white sands or perhaps a backdrop of a stunning Florida sunset over the Gulf for taking your vows? And the informal photos at this beach location are sure to be truly sensational. The Lido Beach Resort and The Holiday Inn Lido Beach are two great hotels offering beautiful beachfront weddings, accommodations and catering.
North Lido Beach
If you want somewhere quieter, North Lido Beach Park is a quarter mile north of Lido Beach, accessed via John Ringling Blvd. Parking is limited, keeping this beach more private and secluded. However, it has no amenities or lifeguards and the currents can be very dangerous so swimmers must use caution.
This northern section of beach on Lido Key is home to many nesting shorebirds and is the perfect place for a romantic stroll or the place to pick up a few seashell mementoes. Certainly Lido Key has something for every visitor with its gorgeous beaches.