Ahhh! Siesta Key Beach. When you kick off your flip flops and put your toes in its soft white powdery sand you'll immediately become aware of what a special place it is.
It will be a sensory explosion: the uniqueness of its cool white sand, its pure natural beauty, the warmth of the Florida sun, the fresh salty air, a light sea side breeze, the glistening off the gulf water and the sights and sounds of others delighting in their day at this one of a kind beach.
Without a doubt the top beach in the region according to locals and visitors is Siesta Key Beach, just off the Sarasota mainland. Anyone who has been here on the sun coast knows why it's the favorite.
But in 2011, it was named the number 1 beach in the entire USA in the annual ratings by Dr. Beach (aka Dr. Stephen Leatherman, director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University).
He said: "The sand is like sugar. Some people can't believe it. It's super-soft, super-fine. They claim to have the finest, whitest sand in the world, and I can't argue with that."
Well, not to brag or boast, but we locals and frequent visitors just shrugged and said, "Well, Doc, what took you so long?"
In February 2015 Siesta Public Beach was named #1 beach in the U.S. by TripAdvisor's 2015 Travelers' Choice Awards.
And in another "Top 25 World's Best" poll, in 2013, Siesta Public Beach was voted by travelers as the #16 best beach in the world!
Of course, this has been no secret to we who live on the sun coast and the multitudes who visit that Siesta Key Beach is tops.
More than 1 million visitors a year make this beach one of the most popular Florida beach destinations and one of the "hot spots" of Sarasota County.
And of course, they are always working to make your time at Siesta Key beach even more special.
In 2015, for example, the local government spent $21 million on improvements which included upgrades to the playground and multiple picnic areas around the east concession area. And they added 143 new parking spaces as well.
It is a special place. While its gulf beach waters are clear, aquamarine and turquoise blue, the white, soft sand will keep your feet cool even during the hottest and steamiest of our summer months.
Of Sarasota Beaches this is definitely the one to see and be seen at.
Siesta Key Beach is used as the backdrop for many popular events throughout the year.
For example, during "Snowbird" season you'll find frequent arts and crafts shows on the beach near the tennis courts.
Each year on Valentine's Day you can choose to get remarried along with hundreds of others who renew their vows. See February 14 Events.
In May of each year you'll find the Annual Siesta Key Sand Sculpting Contest.
And each November Siesta Key Beach hosts a Master Sand Sculpting Competition for professional and international competitors.
Plus throughout the year you'll find volleyball tournaments of a local, region and even nationally recognized scope where teams from all over the country compete in big name, big sponsor volleyball meets.
As for yourself, you can do a lot or nothing. Why? Because, you see, it's all up to you. And it's all about you. After all, you're on vacation or have flocked here for the winter with other "snowbirds" and there's a beach umbrella waiting just for you!
But there's usually so much happening right in front of you that it's entertaining enough just to people-watch! Or you can jump right in and actively participate.
Walking the beach on Siesta Key's soft white sand is my favorite activity, but there are people jogging too; swimming; kayaking; snorkeling; boogie boarding. You name it.
There's also a beach shop in Siesta Village on Ocean Blvd. that's stocked with swim gear and snorkeling equipment as well.
There are jet skis and parasails...Volleyball, Soccer areas and Tennis Courts...
Picnic areas and barbecue grills...Children's playgrounds...
There are nice amenities and conveniences including lifeguards, group size picnic pavilions that you may rent and reserve in advance from Sarasota County, concession stands, restrooms and beach umbrella rentals, even floating wheelchairs, available in the pavilion area near the concessions and shops.
Beach Rentals of Umbrellas, Lounges and Sand Chairs are also available.
In recent years additional parking areas have been added and updated to accommodate even more sun worshipers.
Even more improvements have been made and conveniences added like "Mobi-Mats," which is a portable and removable pathway for pedestrians and users of wheel chairs, strollers and beach carts.
The Mobi-Mat is located on top of the sand at the West Concession area. It's 450 feet in length and makes it easier of those who may have a difficult time walking in the sand.
These Mobi-Mats are used at over 100 beaches, parks and private establishments throughout Florida.
The concession stand at the pavilion was also expanded as was its
menu of tasty treats and drinks to include entrees, wraps, salads, a
kids menu and adult beverages.
It's all here!
By the way, parking and beach access are free at all Sarasota County Public Beaches; A nice bonus from other Florida public beaches.
In conclusion, Siesta Key Public Beach is a wide strand of white soft sandy beach with lots of room to spread out, great amenities and lots of free parking that usually fills up fast, but does turn over.
Come experience it for yourself and see why it is the number one beach in the USA!
It's the most well known and popular of the Sarasota Beaches and therefore usually brings out the crowds both in and out of season.
So, don't forget to bring your sunscreen and cooler, your trendy shades, sun hats and visors, towels and chairs and leave your troubles behind as you kick back, cool down, chill out, unwind and enjoy our white sandy beach. Be cool!
End of day BONUS: Sunsets at Siesta Key Beach are spectacular.
Interesting History: The white sand at Siesta key Beach is 99% pure quartz and its soft, baby powder like texture is due to the very fine grain size.
Geographically, it is likely that the sand first flowed down the rivers and into the northern Gulf of Mexico millions of years ago, then eased slowly down the coast to its current location.
In the early 1970's, Sarasota County purchased 30 acres to the south, thereby resulting in the 40 acre beach and 2,375 feet of Gulf frontage that it is today.
Directions: From Sarasota take U.S. Rt. 41 to Stickney Point over the Stickney Point Bridge on to Siesta Key. Turn right, just over the bridge, on to Midnight Pass Road and follow it to where Midnight Pass Road turns to the right at the intersection of Midnight Pass Road and Beach Road. Continue straight on Beach Road and follow it directly to the Siesta Key Beach 800 space parking area which will be on the left.