What are you looking for in a beach? Variety? Well, Lido Key Beach is actually made up of 3 popular beaches. How's that for a nice variety?
There's the North Beach, the Public Beach, mid-Key and the South Beach and Park. So, take off your flip flops and put on your sunglasses as we go and explore the Lido beaches.
These three beaches are generally less crowded than others like Siesta Key Beach, but also have gorgeous white sand and lots of room to roam. More than variety, they offer the sheer beauty of nature.
I actually like the south beach and park the best on Lido Key. And I especially like walking out on the sand to the edge of South Lido Beach and looking out over "Big Pass," the waterway channel that is between north Siesta Key and South Lido Key leading out to the Gulf of Mexico and its open water. There can be quite a breeze or wind here some times of the year.
It's a beautiful waterway to behold as the white sand of the shore gently slopes and dissolves into the blue of the water...and off into the end of the earth.
There are signs posted here to alert visitors that the current is fast and very strong here, so take caution.
North Lido Key Beach Park has undergone a refurbishment with improved walking trails and has been replanted with oak trees and cedar pond trees.
The park’s west border is the Gulf of Mexico, with some of the best sand dunes in the Sarasota, Florida area.
By the way, the nature park is also home to migratory and shore birds; a great horned owl as well as an occasional bald eagle have been spotted in the park.
The park was originally purchased in 1977 by the city of Sarasota to be preserved as a natural wildlife habitat.
There’s a wide expanse of sandy beach on North Lido Key Beach so you’ll have more than enough room to find your own private piece of beach or do some sea shell collecting or just kicking back with a good "read."
And the gulf waters off Lido Key are crystal clear multi-hued aquamarine blue. Simply beautiful.
All of Lido Key’s Beaches are great for walking, sunbathing, lying in the sun trying to get that gorgeous Florida tan of golden brown, or just staring out on the gorgeous, sun lit and sparkling Gulf of Mexico.
You'll find Lido Key Public Beach at about the mid point of Lido Key and from there and southward there are some wonderful hotels along the beach including the Lido Key Resort.
It has a poolside dining patio and an outdoor Tiki Hut Bar. I've had lunch on the patio here and Lido Key Beach provides a wonderful backdrop. It's a great place to kick back with a tropical drink.
There are nice amenities at Lido Key Public Beach: Year round lifeguards, a concession stand, shaded picnic tables in a pavilion setting, a playground for the kids and a public swimming pool you can enjoy for a nominal fee of $4 Adult (13 & up), $2 Seniors (55 & up), Youth $2 (12 & under), 3 years and under free.
You can also find special beach wheel chairs here along with restrooms and a 400 space parking lot. Parking and beach entry are free, unlike many other Florida beaches and parks outside of Sarasota County.
At South Lido Key Beach Park, you’ll find picnic tables along with grills in a gorgeous wooded setting along the bay, a volleyball sand court, nature paths, restrooms and a playground for the kids.
Also nearby is a wonderfully picturesque waterway on which to go canoeing or kayaking. You'll find this area on the bay side where you can paddle through mangroves and mangrove tunnels and on a protected lagoon that is as calm as a Mill Pond.
To find this tucked away spot on South Lido Key just follow Ben Franklin Drive south and turn left on Taft where you'll find a kayak launch and also tour operators and outfitters on hand with kayak rentals. You may also bring and launch your own kayak for free.
As I mentioned above, from South Lido Beach Park you can walk out to the very southern tip of Lido Key and gaze out at “Big Pass,” the channel that runs between south Lido Key and north Siesta Key.
Reminder: “Big Pass” flows out into the Gulf of Mexico and it is posted “No Swimming” because of the waterway's extremely strong currents.
For the "romantic" in you, you might take a long, hand in hand walk all along the south side of Lido Key starting in South Lido Park, on the bay side on the east side of the Key, to “Big Pass” on the south side of the Key, then to the Gulf of Mexico on the west side of the Key.
Interesting History: From 1940 - 1969 The Lido Key Casino sat on a 1,300 foot piece of Lido Beach and was "the" place to be during its hey day.
In conclusion: With gorgeous white sandy beaches and aquamarine water, along with both more secluded beach areas and popular public areas, Lido Key's three Beaches are places where you can have a fabulously enjoyable day in paradise anywhere along its shores on the Gulf of Mexico.
Lido Key Beach: It's the perfect escape in sunny Sarasota, Florida!
Lido Key Beach, Sarasota, Florida is also home to the annual Sarasota Offshore Powerboat Races every late June through the Fourth of July, a spectacle well worth seeing.
Lido Key Public Beach is also just a short walk to St Armand’s Circle and there are hotels with cafes and restaurants nearby, just off the beaches, on Ben Franklin Drive.
Directions: From Rt. 41 in downtown Sarasota, cross the Ringling Bridge and follow St. Armand’s Circle to the left about half way around and then turn west (right) toward the Gulf of Mexico and then left on to Ben Franklin Drive. There’s free public parking on the street of Ben Franklin Drive and also further south on Ben Franklin Drive at Lido Public Beaches' parking lot near the concession stand and pavilion area.