Unlock the Door to Hidden Treasures in Siesta Key Island, Florida

Caroline de Braganza

Aerial view of Siesta Key Island looking westSandra LaFlamme/Pixabay

Consistently ranked one of the best vacation destinations in the country, Siesta Key is a barrier island on the southwest coast, just a short drive from downtown Sarasota.

Sitting on the glittering Gulf of Mexico, this island paradise caters for lovers, families and sports enthusiasts. There’s something for everyone on this unique 8-mile-long island—shopping, resorts, dining and nightlife—or a beach wedding!

Siesta Key is not crowded in the June/July period so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding lodging for your summer getaway.

Let’s unlock the hidden treasures of the island with a tour of Siesta Key’s three beaches. (The quartz beaches of the island stay cool under your feet no matter the sun’s heat!)

Then we’ll visit the Village, the Market and the Drum Circle!

Red Lifeguard Stand at Siesta Key Public BeachMickey Luigi Logitmark/wikimedia commons

(Image licence)

Siesta Key Public Beach

Sometimes referred to as Siesta Beach, it has been voted best beach twice. It continues to sit in the top rankings and is the most popular on the island. Newspapers and magazines across the globe have called Siesta Key Beach the most beautiful beach in the world!

The turquoise shallow waters of Siesta Beach are perfect for the kids to splash and play, and the soft sand reminds you of confectioner’s sugar.

These waters extend far from shore, making this a popular beach for families. Here you’ll find playgrounds, covered picnic areas, tennis and volleyball courts, year-round lifeguards, and two concession stands. These facilities make it easy to stay the entire day.

Crescent Beach

Crescent Beach lies south of Siesta Key beach. This is a part public, part private beach with two public access points to make it easy to reach. This enclave is lined with condos and other rental units for those who want to stay right at the beach.

If you’re into walking, it’s only two miles from Siesta Key Beach, along the shoreline.

Here you’ll find jet skiing, parasailing, canoeing, kayaking and boogie boards out on the water.

Because Crescent Beach caters mainly for those renting or living at the beach, you won’t find any public facilities, lifeguards or amenities, but it’s still worth a visit.

Point of Rocks

At the very south end of Crescent Beach, you’ll find its best feature—Point of Rocks. The coral rock formations, active marine life and shallow waters with incredible visibility make it one of the most popular snorkeling spots in the Sarasota region.

It’s a perfect place for beginners as the waters are calm and only 20 feet at their deepest point.

Take your mask, snorkel, fins and a diver down flag (to alert other divers you’re there) and marvel at the schools of small fish, crustaceans, crabs, snooks (a popular fish species in Florida), red sponges, and algae.

Turtle Beach

If you want to escape the crowds, this secluded beach in the south of Siesta Key Island is the place for you. The sands aren’t as soft and the beach drops off quicker than Siesta or Crescent Beach, but it’s ideal for snorkeling and shelling.

Maybe you’ll catch sight of a dolphin breaching the waves! Or you can hop in a kayak and explore.

They have a small campground too, which costs $54 a night - you need to book a year in advance, or get lucky!

Siesta Key Village

Tucked away on the north end of the island, Siesta Village oozes with Old Florida charm. Home to delightful beach boutiques and find dining restaurants, you’ll find over 70 points of interest within walking distance, including:

  • Siesta Key Outfitters - tourist-oriented clothing and gifts at affordable prices.
  • CaliFlorida Surf and Skate - top-of-the-line skate products.
  • Siesta Key Tropical Wines and Gifts - an array of rare wines and gift baskets featuring mixes, spices, wine samples, and other items.
  • The Village Café - delectable breakfasts.
  • Hub Baja-Grill - Latin fare and tropical theme.
  • Siesta Key Oyster Bar (SKOB) - fresh seafood and raw bar, live music and drink specials.
  • The Donut Experiment is a block away offering customized donuts made-to-order.

Siesta Farmers Market

Locals and visitors rate this the best Farmers Market in Sarasota County!

A Sunday morning tradition since 2008, open from 8am though 12 noon, you’ll find this bustling market of 25 to 30 friendly local vendors at Siesta Key Village.

The market offers a vast assortment of local organic produce, fresh fruits and vegetables, home-baked pastries, Italian olive oil and breads, roasted nuts, breakfast sandwiches, jellies, cheese, salsa, and much more, such as beach jewelry and original artwork.

Many of the vendors can offer vital information to create awareness of health and the natural environment.

Siesta Key Drum Circle

On Sunday evenings, head out to Siesta Beach an hour before sunset, where everyone is welcome to watch, dance or join the Siesta Key Drum Circle. A tradition since 1996, it’s an experience you shouldn’t miss.

“For me, it’s a great way to end the week. I have a stressful job, so it’s nice to cut loose. I love dancing and the rhythms are great, as you can hear. And I can’t think of anything else that’s free for all ages in such a beautiful setting. This is a very unique thing.” — Dr. Marguerite Barnett, 61, who dances in colorful costumes each Sunday.

The drums vary in size, shape, and sound, creating a pulsating rhythm you can’t resist—a great way to release stress.

Sunset at Siesta BeachRoger W/flickr

(Image licence)

Other interesting facts

If you don’t want to rent a car or bike, you can get around the island on the free Siesta Key Breeze Trolley. It runs every 10 to 30 minutes. The route spans from Siesta Key Village to Siesta Beach Park then travels south on Midnight Pass Road—you can hop off anywhere you please until its last stop at Turtle Beach.

Sunset Point is a Siesta Key favorite for viewing unbeatable sunsets. You’ll find this jut of land at the north end of Siesta Beach.

Yoga on Siesta Beach offers yoga Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 9 to 10:30 a.m. year-round between the red and green lifeguard stands. Bring a towel or mat, water and a cash donation or donate on their website.

You can get info on tours, rentals and more from Siesta Key Watersports or the Siesta Key Marina.


Enjoy your stay on this Treasure Island!

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Published essayist. Follow me for local news that impacts our lives, plus stories on public and mental health. Through writing, I also share my passion for music, politics, our environment and social justice, and hope you find value in my words.


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