Sarasota may be most well-known for its beautiful beaches, and since they are an integral part of paradise, I thought you might want to know which ones are not to miss and what to expect from each of them.
Having earned a No. 1 rating on Dr. Beach’s annual list of America’s Best Beaches, Siesta Beach is a favorite among visitors and residents alike Having recently received a complete upgrade on its parking, playgrounds, and more, people travel from around the world to feel the 99 percent pure quartz, powder-sugar soft sand between their toes. The amenities are endless, and the upgrade included a 450-foot Mobi-Mat pathway that allows for easy handicap accessibility for pedestrians and users of wheelchairs, strollers, and beach carts. Known for its beach volleyball tournaments and weekly, Sunday evening drum circles, Siesta Beach is also host to a great 4th of July fireworks launch and the Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival in the Fall.
On the southern tip of Siesta Key is Turtle Beach, which is much less crowded than Siesta Beach and will probably never have its own TV show. And that is exactly why the locals love it. Turtle Beach offers a great boat launch for kayakers to enjoy exploring the nearby lagoon and nature reserve. While it hasn't received all of the upgrades that Siesta Beach has, Turtle Beach does have new walkways, restrooms, and a children's playground, as well as volleyball courts, a meeting room, and a good many picnic tables. There is also a campground right next door and two options for dining, including the Turtle Beach Grill and Turtle’s Restaurant on Little Sarasota Bay. If you're going to come to this beach, please don't tell anyone about it. We like it quiet.
While Lido Beach is also a favorite with locals, it is a popular resort destination as well, just a few short blocks from the world renown shopping at St. Armands Circle. Still relatively uncrowded compared to Siesta Beach, Lido has beautiful, white sands and more than one mile of beachfront along the untouched trees of North Lido. It is very popular with families and arguably the place for a beach stroll in the area. The park also offers a heated Lido Beach Pool that includes a 25-meter lap pool with five lanes for lap swimming, and a pavilion that serves food and beverages.
Longboat Key Beaches
Longboat Key offers 10 miles of uninterrupted beachfront, arguably making it the second-best place for a beach stroll in the area. Largely lined with condominiums and resorts, Longboat Key has about ten public access points located along Gulf of Mexico Drive, and while they do not offer much in the way of amenities, they are rarely crowded.
To the north, Coquina Beach is the longest stretch of beach on the southern end of Anna Maria Island and a favored spot for sea turtles to come ashore and lay their eggs. It's a great place for sunbathing and collecting shells along the shoreline, but the southernmost tip near New Pass Inlet is prone to riptides and is not recommended for swimming. However, lifeguards are on duty, and the rest of the beach has great swimming, snorkeling, and soaking in the Sarasota sun. Lined with beautiful Australian Pine Trees, Coquina Beach also offers plenty of free parking, restrooms, picnic tables, grills, and a playground for the kids.
If you don't take part in the Siesta Key Drum Circle on Sunday nights, you should check out the drum circle on Nokomis Beach on either Wednesdays or Saturdays. As Sarasota County’s oldest public beach, Nokomis Beach hosts a very family-friendly event that allows spectators to play maracas or dance and sway to the hypnotic rhythm of the drummers. Throughout the rest of the week, Nokomis Beach offers free parking, picnic tables, restrooms, and a bait shop at the nearby North Jetty Park. Shark Tooth Beach Concessions is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, serving smoked brisket sandwich, pulled pork tacos, Dippin’ Dots ice cream, and National Deli hot dogs, as well as cold beer, wine, sangria, organic juice boxes, coconut water, and bottled water.
Brohard Beach Paw Park
And if you're a pet parent, you're going to have to visit Brohard Beach. Known as one of the most dog-friendly parks in the state of Florida, amenities include doggie fountains, dog showers, a boardwalk to the beach, separate fenced areas for small and large dogs, leash posts, waste disposal bags and trash cans, covered picnic tables, benches, and restrooms for the dog walkers. While all of Sarasota's beaches have their own special appeal, Brohard Beach is the only one where dogs are allowed.
Sarasota Area Real Estate Specialist