Sarasota Attractions - Beaches
The locals in Sarasota like to say, "Welcome to Paradise", and one of the most obvious reasons is the area's incredibly beautiful beaches edging luxuriant blue-green Gulf Waters under azure blue skies. As if those heavenly aspects weren't enough, most evenings present a memorable sunset-watching experience, too! Each beach has its distinguishing features, so you can visit one each day and compare notes.
Connected to the Sarasota mainland via two bridges--Siesta Bridge to the north, and Stickney Point Bridge to the south-- Siesta Key is an island laced with inland waterways, thus many houses there are "waterfront", even within the confines of the key.
You can access Siesta Key Beach on Beach Road, where the main entrance leads to a very large parking lot, with full rest room, food and souvenir concessions, and picnic areas. Or you can access it from several entry points along Beach Road north of the main entrance.
The sand on Siesta Key makes it one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Composed of 99% crystal, it's more akin to powdered sugar than to the crunchy stuff most of us know from beaches in the Northeast. Because of its unique composition, it stays cool to the touch, even on the hottest days. The Gulf waters here are shallow quite far out, so it's not unusual to see bathers walking or simply standing in the water, enjoying its gentle flow.
Siesta Key Beach swimmers are protected by lifeguards at three colorful stands during regular swimming hours. Signs and flags update visitors on safety conditions, including cautions about riptides. Every Sunday evening, the popular Drum Circle assembles on the beach near the main entrance, and while a varied group of drummers pound out an hypnotic beat, visitors watch, dance, and relax from early dusk into the evening.
Just south of Siesta Beach, it extends to Point of Rocks.
On Siesta Key, south of the Stickney Bridge, at the southern end of Midnight Pass Road. Features tall dunes.
Over the John Ringling Bridge from downtown Sarasota, second left off St Armands Circle, with beach parking and entry right there, or continue left onto Ben Franklin Drive to the main beach entrance and facilities. Crunchier sand than Siesta, more like the kind you find up north.
South Lido Beach
This is an interesting spot, with picnic areas, a playground and 100 acres of beach and pine forest. Located on the southwest end of Lido Key.
Longboat Key Beaches
Most beach access on Longboat Key is private, but there are some public access points. They include Mayfield Street, Westfield Street, Neptune Avenue, and Longview Drive. Soft sand and wide, less-populated expanses characterize these beaches.