Sarasota County is home the multiple top-rated beaches on its barrier islands of Siesta Key, Lido Key and Longboat Key as well as Venice Beach on the mainland. Siesta Key Public Beach, which has recently undergone a large renovation of its parking and facilities in 2015, is best known for its accolades by Dr. Beach, Trip Advisor, The Travel Channel and USA Today for being the Number 1 Beach in America or a "Top 10" Beach in Florida. The lesser known beaches on the Key are Crescent Beach and Turtle Beach. Crescent Beach, which is mostly private for the vacationers of the beachfront resorts, does not offer a public parking lot nor does it have lifeguards on duty. Turtle Beach, located at the southern end of the Key, is mostly visited by locals and additionally offers an adjacent lagoon which is perfect for paddleboarding, kayaking or launching small watercraft.
Siesta Key Public Beach, unlike any other beach in the state of Florida, is composed mainly of pure quartz which gives it a snow-like appearance and keeps beachgoers cool even on the hottest of summer days. This powder like white sand has enabled Siesta Key Beach to receive many accolades and awards as mentioned on this page. Most notably, it was named as the # 1 Beach in America in 2015 and again in 2017 by Trip Advisor as the Traveler's Choice Award for Best Beach in the US. Besides its unique sand, the beach is hundreds of yards wide allowing easy access to tourists and locals alike to enjoy the warm Gulf waters. This public beach also has many amenities including sand volleyball courts, lighted tennis courts, covered picnic shelters, outdoor grills, plenty of public parking and close proximity to the popular Siesta Key Village.
The long-awaited $21.5 million-dollar renovation of the Siesta Key Beach facilities and parking is now complete. Beachgoers now see new expanded parking lots and tennis courts, as well as an updated pavilion and elevated concession area providing panoramic beach views. Access points now comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, along with upgraded picnic tables, playground equipment and updated restrooms. The area has also been beautifully landscaped with native vegetation.
Just a short 5-10 minute stroll west of St. Armand's Circle is Lido Key public beach. This beach offers beachgoers over a half-mile of breathtaking gulf views and scenic beach to relax on. This public beach offers a large municipal parking lot, street parking, life gaurds on duty year-round as well as a concession and gift shop, restroom facilities, picnic tables and a large swimming pool. After enjoying a relaxing dinner in the Circle, many tourists and locals alike commonly walk over to the beach to watch its breathtaking sunsets view.
To view all 12 Beach Access Locations, click here.
Unlike the neighboring Siesta Key and Lido Key, Longboat Key does not offer a large public beach. Rather, Longboat Key has a dozen beach access points open to the public located in between the private residences and beachside resorts. These beach access points, with some of the most beautiful views of the Gulf, are designated by small street signs as shown below. Parking is limited so it's always best to arrive earlier in the day to secure a parking space. Also, please note that the beach access points do not have lifeguards on duty nor are animals allowed on the beach.
Longboat Key - Beach Access Point Signage
Longboat Key - Beach Access Point Parking
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