Siesta Beach is located on Beach Road on Siesta Key. Siesta Beach is known as one of the most beautiful beaches anywhere in the world. At the "Great International White Sand Beach Challenge" held in 1987, it was recognized as having the "whitest and finest sand in the world." As you can see in the photo below, the sand appears to be snow.
Since then, Siesta Key Beach has been chosen as the #1 beach in both the US and the entire world by numerous groups and publications.
Unlike beaches elsewhere that are made up mostly of coral, Siesta Beach's sand is 99% quartz. Even on the hottest days, the sand is so reflective that it feels cool underfoot. It's estimated that the sand on Siesta Beach and Crescent Beach on Siesta Key is millions of years old, and started in the Appalachians and flowed down the rivers and was eventually deposited on the shores of Siesta Key.
Shallow water depth in the near shore area together with year round lifeguard protection, makes this one of the safest beaches in the County and great for small children.
Although there are more than 950 parking spaces, you better get there early if you want one. If you're staying on Siesta Key, there are plenty of public access points to the beach so it's a short walk from most of the north end of the key. Unfortunately, beyond the fire station near the intersection of Midnight Pass and Beach Road, the next public beach access south is near Stickney Point Rd. When looking for accommodations, be sure to ask about beach access as many of the properties on the east side, (odd number addresses), of Midnight Pass Rd. do not have beach access.
The beach's amenities include:
A number of public events are held on the beach throughout the year. Among the most popular are the Siesta Key Crystal Classic Sand Sculpting Competition. There is also the 4th of July fireworks as well as several volleyball competitions throughout the year.
Sarasota is also popular with the bird population. Every year, various species return to the beach to nest. The bird nesting areas are protected. Look for signs designating areas for bird nesting. Visit the Florida Shorebird Alliance for more information.
Lifeguards are on duty year round. The lifeguard stands have been painted in primary colors to make it easier to keep track of where you and your children are. The stands are yellow, blue, green and red. It is designed to cut down on the problem of lost children. Make sure your children know which stand you are near.
Many of the lifeguards are Sarasota natives and are a great source of information when you're making your plans at the beach.
Siesta Key Beach also offers special needs visitors help via these free beach
"wheelchairs." Be sure to look for one near the main pavilion walkover.
(Please use them to transport disabled people and return it so someone else can use it. They are not to be used as beach chairs for the duration of your visit to the beach. See the beach chair rental to borrow one at no charge.)
Feel free to bring your cooler and food to the beach. There are lots of picnic tables and some picnic shelters available. Some of the shelters can accommodate large groups and can be reserved in advance.
It is legal to drink alcoholic beverages on Sarasota County beaches, but please, no glass containers. When you're planning your trip to beach, buy plastic or aluminum only.
Grills are available in the picnic area. No grills may be used on Sarasota County beaches.
For information on renting picnic shelters call 941-861-5000.
Concession stands are available at the beach for food and souvenirs. If "beach grub" like
burgers, dogs, etc. isn't for you, it's about 2 miles to Siesta Village to
the north where there is a wide variety of restaurants and bars to choose
from. Everything from lobster
to subs and sandwiches to Japanese food. There's
also a small supermarket in the village with an excellent deli counter
offering both hot and cold foods.
If you're at the south end of Siesta Beach, known as Crescent Beach, there are several places nearby for lunch and dinner in the Stickney Point Road area and south along Midnight Pass Road. (More on Siesta Key dining and restaurants ».)
Turtle Beach is located on
Midnight Pass Road near the south end of Siesta Key. It features a large
picnic shelter and is very popular for family outings.
In the center of the park is Blind Pass Lagoon which connects to Little Sarasota Bay. Free boat ramps allow easy access to and from the Bay.
Although the sand at Turtle Beach isn't as fine as it is farther up the key, it makes up the difference in privacy. Here you'll be able to walk for miles down the beach. Since the closing of Midnight Pass, you can walk all the way down Casey Key.
Look carefully in the sand, and you'll find prehistoric petrified sharks teeth that are millions of years old. Although the petrified sharks teeth you'll find on Turtle Beach won't be as nice as what you can find on Caspersen Beach in Venice just a little way south, as the example here shows, a little searching can turn up a nice souvenir.
Turtle Beach's amenities include:
There are no lifeguards on duty. For shelter rental information call 941-861-7275.
Palmer Point Beach
begins at the southern tip of Siesta Key and continues onto the north
end of Casey Key. The northern part of the beach was the former home of
Mote Marine Laboratory. Since the closing of Midnight Pass in 1984, the
beach allows uninterrupted walking all the way down Casey Key. The beach
is a popular spot for boaters and kayakers who beach their boats in the
area of the former pass as well as for people who walk there from Turtle
Beach seeking some privacy.
There are no lifeguards and no facilities.
At beaches where lifeguards are on duty you'll find information on water conditions and temperatures. Be sure to pay attention to the flags flying and their color:
Green: All clear or good swimming conditions.
Yellow: Use caution for potentially high surf or dangerous currents and undertows.
One red flag means that the surf is high or there are dangerous currents, or both. Two red flags or a red flag with a swimmer symbol and white line through it indicate the water is closed to swimming, as conditions are too dangerous for even the strongest swimmers.
Purple: Hazardous Marine Life.