Siesta Key is an eight-mile long barrier island, just off the coast of Sarasota, Florida. It feels very tropical, with wild parrots chattering in the trees and plenty of colorful flowers festooning the landscape.
The beaches boast 99% quartz sands, which makes them feel soft as powder, in fact, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute named Siesta Key’s the "World's Finest, Whitest Sand." Once a year, in early May, the Siesta Key Sand Sculpture Contest makes good use of this special sand and treats visitors to astounding sculptures that go far beyond the traditional castle—the human figure, fanciful animals and much more are on display.
There are several public beach accesses on the island with free parking, although the Siesta and Crescent parking lots fill up early. The truly devoted sun worshippers arrive early and stay the whole day, strolling to nearby Siesta Village for lunch. Another option is to visit Turtle Beach, also on Siesta Key, which has no lifeguard but is less crowded and its parking lot rarely fills to capacity.
Siesta Key Weather and Best Time to Visit
One of the southernmost points in the United States, Siesta Key is consistently rather warm. On average, the warmest month is July, when temperatures are typically in the low nineties during the day and down to the low- to mid-70s in the evening. Like most beach locations, even on the hottest days, breezes off the water will often make the beach relatively comfortable compared to farther inland. August is the wettest month, when Siesta Key gets about 9 and a half inches of rain.
On average, the coolest month on Siesta Key is January, when temperatures average about 72 degrees and cool down to the low 50s at night. The best time to visit depends on how much you like heat! Spring and Fall will offer cooler temperatures but fewer crowds. May and October are ideal—temps hit the high 80s so it’s warm enough to swim and, since kids are in school during these months, fewer people are on the beach.
Experience Siesta Key
In Siesta Village, folks hang out at the restaurants and pubs lining Ocean Boulevard. Most of these establishments offer outdoor seating and bars. In the evenings, the Village gets a bit more rambunctious as live music brings out teenagers and college kids.
The island is connected to the mainland by two bridges, Siesta Drive Bridge, which provides easy access to the city of Sarasota and the Stickney Point Road Bridge, which connects travelers with Interstate 75.
Siesta Key is a boater’s paradise and many visitors bring their bass boats, ski boats and sailboats—or rent one. The island is cris-crossed with 50 miles of canals and waterways. Many rental properties have boat docks and restaurants encourage boaters to travel by water to their establishments by offering temporary docking.