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.
In 2011 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.
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.
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.
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.
National Geographic recognized this family-friendly atmosphere in 2012 when it included Siesta Beach in their list of Top 10 U.S. Family Beaches.
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.
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.
Getting to Siesta Key
There are two bridges onto Siesta Key: Siesta Drive to the north and Stickney Point Road further south. There is plenty of parking – 800 spaces – but they soon get snapped up and no-one leaves early. It’s worth arriving early to get one of the more convenient parking spaces located at the main public beach parking facility. Several access points are found north of the public lot along Beach Road but parking 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 a pleasant lunch, ice cream sundae or a fine meal in the open air.
What are you waiting for? Start planning your visit to Sarasota, Florida and Siesta Beach!