Even its very name conjures images of relaxation. Sunny Siesta Key is part of the Bradenton-Sarasota-Venice Metropolitan area. In the past, it’s been known as Sarasota Key, but regardless of its name, it’s always been a stunning location characterized by white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and lush tropical scenery. Today, Siesta Key brims with outstanding hotels, restaurants, and a myriad of exciting things to see and do.
With a reputation as one of the best beaches in the U.S., Siesta Beach is a must whether you want to lounge on its white sands or jet ski out on the tranquil Gulf of Mexico waters. Not surprisingly, there are many great hotels located near the beach, which is also rimmed with cafes, restaurants, and shops. The beach features on-duty lifeguards year-round and watercraft rentals. It’s not uncommon for beachgoers to spot dolphins and manatees just off its coast.
Like Siesta Beach, Turtle Beach features sugary white sand and crystal blue water, but it tends to be much less crowded than Siesta Beach. As a more languid setting, beachgoers come here to lounge, swim, fish from the shoreline, and kayak. If you’re drawn to more serene settings where you can enjoy a long quiet walk on the beach, this is the attraction for you. There’s also a nearby campground if you prefer a more rustic holiday at the beach.
Brimming with cheerful small-town ambiance, Siesta Key Village is a charming locale to explore with its numerous shops, cafes, and eateries. Because the village isn’t too large, it’s easy to navigate by foot or bike and is the main shopping destination of the island. During the day, it’s the ideal place to shop for souvenirs or enjoy an iced treat. During the evening, the village is an island hot spot for nightlife.
Many vacationers head to Florida to get out on the water. The enchantingly blue gulf waters that surround Siesta Key are idyllic and perfect for water sports like water skiing, jet skiing, kayaking, boating, and more. On most sunny days, beachgoers are out on the water, floating on large rafts or zipping along the coast by boat. There are many water-sport rental services in the area to accommodate the needs of beachgoers.
Siesta Key is an exciting destination for fishing. While some coastal areas are great spots for shore fishing, the gulf waters beckon sport fishing enthusiasts from all over the country. Visitors can charter a boat for fishing and rely on many operators to provide fishing gear as well. If you’re making an inshore fishing excursion, you can hope to reel in sea trout, redfish, and snook. If you sail for offshore destinations, you may be able to hook a snapper, grouper, or Spanish mackerel. Although, if you're not into fishing, you might want to charter a boat simply to enjoy a serene sunset on the water.
If you want to hang your hat near the waterfront on Siesta Key, consider staying at Crescent Beach. The beach is lined with condominiums, hotels, and apartment rentals. Named for its crescent shape, the beach is renowned for its soft powdery sands and shallow water that’s ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Its coral formation provides snorkelers with plenty of exciting visuals. Crescent Beach is lively and invariably filled with people strolling on the beach, playing in the ways, or enjoying a game of beach volleyball.
If you need a break from the sand and surf, head up for an exciting parasailing adventure. There are numerous operators that specialize in parasailing experiences--many of which are located at the key’s famous beaches like Siesta Beach. Parasailing gives participants a bird’s eye view of the key’s coast, beaches, and the surrounding gulf waters. It’s a fun way to spend a few hours on the coast.
Looking for a fun kid-friendly destination on Siesta Key? Families flock to South Lido Beach Park to enjoy picnics, nature trails, and playground equipment. Adults enjoy getting out on the water in kayaks to catch close-up views of migratory birds and sea life. The park also features shady stands of swaying Australian pines and bathroom facilities. Although swimming is not recommended here, the park is located within easy distance from Siesta Beach, where swimming is popular.
Located on the eastern shore of Siesta Key and facing the mainland, Palmer Point Park is well known for its population of gopher tortoises. The park and its beach are noted for its natural vegetation and relative seclusion. There aren’t any facilities at the beach, so it’s far more rustic than other coastal attractions, but it does showcase the inherent beauty of the undeveloped places on the key.
If you’re eager for an eco-adventure, plan a visit to the Jim Neville Marine Preserve that is known for its shallow bay and picturesque tidal flats. The preserve is especially well known for its eco-kayaking tours. You can paddle at a relaxed pace to enjoy sightings of local birds like great blue herons and pelicans and lush tropical foliage. During the warm season, dolphin and manatee sightings are especially numerous.
Tucked away on the southern tip of Siesta Key beach is a gorgeous spot called Point of Rocks. It’s aptly named for the stunning collection of rock formations that meet at a point at the shoreline, making it a perfect gathering place for groups to snorkel, paddleboard, fish, and more! The rocks are made up of a variety of elements, including quartz sand and limestone. They make a beautiful sight after being weathered by the waves for the last 4,000 years! The waters are calm, and the path to the point is hidden from view, so you don't have to contend with huge crowds here.
The Siesta Key Drum Circle is an old local tradition that draws in a crowd of both participants and onlookers for drumming, dancing, and general revelry outdoors on the beach. It’s been going on since 1996, and you can find folks gathered here every Sunday night, from about an hour before the sun sets until into the wee hours of the night. You can find it on Siesta Public Beach, a bit south of the main pavilion between lifeguard stands 3 and 4. The event isn't commercially sponsored — it began organically and took on a life of its own over time. It's free for all and offers a great chance to see drum circle regulars perform with swords and fire! You might even see a belly dancer or two.
Sunset Point is a tranquil, gorgeous area of Siesta Key Beach that’s a local favorite for - you guessed it - watching the sunset! Located toward the northern tip of Siesta Key Public Beach, it offers one of the best views of the beautiful, dusky magenta skies. Come on the early side of dusk and stake out a spot in the sand for an evening picnic.
Started in 1949, Circus Sarasota began as a part of the Sarasota High School physical education department curriculum. Now, it remains one of the most reputable circus training programs in the country! Students practice in the outdoor circus tents for up to 20 hours per week, and audiences can watch them perform feats like tightrope walking and trapeze swinging!
The St. Boniface Labyrinth is a sight to behold in Siesta Key! It is a near-replica of the 11-circuit labyrinth of the famed Chartres Cathedral in France. You can find it tucked away in an inner courtyard outside the Saint Boniface Episcopal Church. Come check it out - adults can appreciate the meditative aspect while kids can have fun winding their way in and out of the maze.