Discover why Siesta Beach is Officially America’s #1 Beach

MustDo.com | Siesta Key Beach lifeguard stands, Sarasota, Florida

Photo credit Debi Pittman Wilkey

Nicknamed the “world’s whitest sand”, Siesta Beach is located off Beach Road on the northwest side of Siesta Key. Made up of 99% ground quartz, compared to other beaches of mere coral or rock particles, Siesta Beach positively sparkles in the sun. As well as looking beautiful, the sand remains cool underfoot even on the hottest Florida day.

MustDo.com | No. 1 Siesta Beach best white sand beach in USA Sarasota, Florida

Photo credit Nita Ettinger

In 2011 and 2017 Siesta Beach was officially named the #1 Beach in the U.S. by Dr. Beach himself, Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman. As the Director of the Florida International University Laboratory for Coastal Research, he is well-qualified to make such a statement. In 2020 Siesta Beach was rated No. 1 Beach in America by TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice™ awards and No. 11 Beach in the world by TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice™ awards.

MustDo.com | Sunset on Siesta Beach on Siesta Key Sarasota, Florida. Photo by Marjie Goldberg Photography.

Photo credit Marjie Goldberg

Siesta Key is an eight-mile-long barrier island just off the coast of Sarasota. On the west side of Siesta Key are three award-winning sandy beaches lapped by the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The northern-most beach is Siesta Beach, followed by Crescent Beach and finally Turtle Beach at the southern tip of the Key.

MustDo.com | Siesta Beach white sand sandcastle Siesta Key - Sarasota, Florida USA.

Photo credit Debi Pittman Wilkey

To the east are the sheltered intracoastal waters of Roberts Bay, a delight for boaters and fishing enthusiasts looking to hook pompano and snook in the tangled mangroves. Anyone looking for a tropical sandy beach to laze on with a book, a place to build sandcastles worthy of the Taj Mahal or to stroll along the watermark in search of seashells will find Siesta Beach ticks all the boxes. The shallow waters are warm and safe for even the youngest family members under the watchful eye of year-round lifeguards.

MustDo.com | USA flag, Gulf of Mexico, Siesta Key Beach Lifeguard stand Sarasota, Florida beaches

Photo credit Debi Pittman Wilkey

Activities include kayaking, snorkeling and swimming with equipment rentals offering beach chairs and umbrellas. There is table tennis, volleyball courts and a shady playground and picnic area.

MustDo.com | Kids play soccer, near beach volleyball on Siesta Beach Sarasota, Florida

Photo credit Debi Pittman Wilkey

National Geographic recognized this family-friendly atmosphere in 2012 when it included Siesta Beach in their list of Top 10 U.S. Family Beaches.

MustDo.com | Mother and son walk to white sand beach Siesta Beach Sarasota, Florida

Photo credit Debi Pittman Wilkey

Drum Circle and Sand Sculpting Activities at Siesta Beach

In November these award-winning sands attract sand sculptors from far and wide to attend the Siesta Key Crystal Classic. Master sand sculptors work on their creations for 2-3 days hoping to win the $5,000 prize money. Amateur sand sculptors can join in later in the week and the results are well worth viewing.

MustDo.com | Drum Circle Siesta Key Beach Sarasota, Florida.

Photo credit Debi Pittman Wilkey

Another great time to visit Siesta Beach is on Sundays, one hour before sunset. The Siesta Key Drum Circle performs on the beach behind the main pavilion. The improvised display of musical expression always draws a large crowd and belly dancers, hoop dancers and street performers add to the fun.

Best Way to Get to Siesta Key, Florida

There are two bridges onto Siesta Key, Florida: Siesta Drive to the north and Stickney Point Road further south. Both of these streets connect with US-41/Tamiami Trail which is the main north/south roadway.

Parking at Siesta Key Beaches

There is 850 parking spaces at the main Siesta Beach public parking lot – but they soon get snapped up and most folks spend the day at the beach. It’s worth arriving early (before 10 a.m.) to get a spot here. Several access points are found north and south of the public lot along Beach Road but parking at these access points is very limited.

Those wanting an escape from the midday sunshine can take a short walk from the north end of Siesta Beach to Siesta Key Village. There are dozens of shops, cafés, and restaurants where you will find everything you need for lunch, an ice cream treat, or casual meal in the open air.

What are you waiting for? Start planning your visit to Sarasota, Florida and Siesta Beach!

Written by:

Nita Ettinger is Co-publisher for Siesta Publications Inc. and the Editor in Chief for Must Do Visitor Guides. Must Do Visitor Guides provides Southwest Florida visitor information through printed magazines and the website MustDo.com. Must Do magazines are published bi-annually and are available at no cost in Sarasota, Lee, and Collier County Chamber of Commerce, visitor information centers, select Southwest Florida hotels, and wherever free publications can be found.

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