Located on Siesta Key in Sarasota County on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Siesta Beach has achieved the prestigious reputation as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. The Travel Channel consistently rates it as the second best Florida beach, and over one million tourists visit this beach annually. The latest news is that Dr.Beach named Siesta Key as the #2 beach in the United States for 2010. Stephen P. Leatherman, director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, also known as Dr. Beach, compiles this annual list using 50 criteria including facilities, water quality, sand and safety.
Its white powdery sand is made of 99% quartz, unlike the sands of most beaches, which are made predominantly from coral. Siesta Beach was recognized in 1987 at the Great International White Sand Beach Challenge as having the “whitest and finest sand in the world.” Actually, it was a visitor from NY, who sent a sample of the sand to the Geology Department of Harvard University for analysis. Harvard confirmed that the sand he tested was 99% quartz and contained no coral, as most other beaches do.
Due to its shallow water near the shore, and year round lifeguard protection, Siesta Beach is one of the safest beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast, making it an ideal vacation spot for families with children. This beach is very popular with Florida’s year-round residents as well as its tourists, especially in the summer months and winter snowbird season. Although there are 800 free public parking spaces, if you do not arrive early, you will likely not find a spot.
Siesta Beach provides beach wheelchairs for visitors with disabilities. Available beach activities and amenities include volleyball courts, para sailing, jet ski rentals, restrooms, picnic tables, a fitness trail, playground equipment, and concession stands. If you visit during the month of May you can enjoy the Siesta Key Sand Sculpture Contest, which draws crowds from all over, and the sculptures are like nothing you have ever seen. Anyone can enter, and there are prizes in several categories, both for adult and children.
Although it is legal to drink alcoholic beverages on Siesta Key Beach, smoking on the beach is prohibited. All Sarasota County beaches prohibit smoking. As part of the Florida Healthy Beaches program, water samples are tested every two weeks and reported in the local news media as well as on line. Siesta Beach consistently rates high in clean water samples, a fact that beach goers enjoy.