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.

01Siesta Beach

A view of Siesta Key's sugar-white sands. csfotoimages / Getty Images

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.

02Turtle Beach

The dazzling beauty of Turtle Beach. KarolinaBorkowski / Getty Images

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.

03Siesta Key Village

Cafe culture shines in Siesta Key Village. Gards / Getty Images

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.

04Water Sports Adventures

stunning sunset on the ocean with sailboats and jet skis Jaimie Tuchman / Getty Images

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.

05Fishing Charters

Siesta Key is famous for sport fishing. LindaMarieB / Getty Images

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.

06Crescent Beach

"Early before sunrise after a storm on Crescent Beach, Florida" Razbal / Getty Images

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.

07Parasail

Parasailing is a popular Siesta Key beach activity. HT-Pix / Getty Images

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.

08South Lido Beach Park

Visitors enjoy collecting seashells near the water's edge at South Lido Beach Park. csfotoimages / Getty Images

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 lif. 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.

09Palmer Point Park

A resident tortoise of Palmer Point Park. Jaimie Tuchman / Getty Images

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.

10Jim Neville Marine Preserve

A Great Blue Heron Walking Down a Beautiful White Sand Florida Beach sdbower / Getty Images

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.