Seeing the growth of the Tampa and Sarasota areas first hand over the past five years has been mindblowing. While I could do without the increased traffic, I know that we are blessed to live in paradise and a short drive from Siesta Key, one of America’s best beaches. This guide will help you plan your trip to Siesta Key Florida and includes where to eat in Siesta Key, where to stay in Siesta Key, and what to do in Siesta Key!
Siesta Key is a small barrier island off the coasts of Florida near the beautiful city of Sarasota. The easiest way to visit Siesta Key is by flying into Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ), but Tampa International Airport (TPA) is also less than an hour’s drive north.
When you visit Siesta Key I think you’ll find that it still carries some of the old Florida Charm that is now often missing in Florida’s most popular tourist destinations. A lot of Siesta Key is residential properties, so if you prefer staying in Airbnbs or vacation rentals in Siesta Key over hotels, then you won’t have a hard time finding some lovely rentals. If you prefer hotels, check out these three hotels in Siesta Key.
Tucked away at the south end of Siesta Key is Turtle Beach Resort. This adults-only resort isn’t beachfront but has views of Little Sarasota Bay and Blind Pass. It is within walking distance of Turtle Beach and the resort offers a shuttle to Siesta Key public beach. One of the nicest amenities is that some of the rooms have full-size private hot tubs! Check prices for the Turtle Beach Resort.
The closest Siesta Key hotel to Siesta Key Village and Siesta Key public beach, the Tropical Breeze Resort has all of the amenities you’d want at a beach resort. There are two outdoor pools, a free shuttle to the beach, free bicycles to ride around town, and each room has a small but modern kitchenette. Check prices for the Tropical Breeze Resort.
The Capri at Siesta lies between Turtle Beach and Siesta Key Village near Point of Rocks, which is the best place for snorkeling in Sarasota. The rooms at the Capri are updated and all have nice kitchenettes. Check prices for The Capri at Siesta.
If you don’t mind a bit of a drive, downtown Sarasota has some very nice luxury hotels. One of our favorite restaurants, Jack Dusty, is in The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota also has a private beach club on Lido Key. Other options in downtown Sarasota include the Hyatt Regency, The Westin Sarasota, and Art Ovation Hotel.
Siesta Key Village is a lovely stretch of about 1 mile that has all of the shopping and dining in Siesta Key that you could want. These Siesta Key restaurants are some of my favorites.
If you’re hungry on the beach stop by one of the concession stands. While we were there this weekend we also saw pizza being served from a food truck. Our favorite part about the concession stands on the beach is that you can get a bucket full of Strawberry Daiquiri, Pina Colada, or margarita!
Siesta Key Oyster Bar affectionately known as SKOB is famous for its walls covered in dollar bills. It may look quite a bit different now because after Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas SKOB cleaned off its walls and donated more than $13,000 to the relief efforts. SKOB has a great menu for seafood lovers.
If you’re looking for an elevated dining experience, The cottage markets itself as “Foodies serving foodies with a passion for craft”. This little Siesta Key restaurant is in the heart of Siesta Key Village and uses local ingredients and sustainable meats and seafood.
Summer House Steak and Seafood is the only Siesta Key restaurant on this list we haven’t tried yet, but we hope to make it there soon! Summer House has a modern beachy feel inside with a large tropical fish tank as a centerpiece.
A trip to Siesta Key wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Big Olaf Creamery. With 37 different flavors of ice cream, there is definitely something for everyone. All of the ice creams are hand-mixed by local Amish craftsmen. Believe me it is 200% worth the wait if there happens to be a line.
If you aren’t the type of person to throw a towel down and just relax on the beach, that is completely fine in Siesta Key. There are so many different activities nearby that you could spend a week in Siesta Key and still not do everything.
Of course, the number one attraction for people visiting Siesta Key is Siesta Key Beach. In 2015 TripAdvisor‘s traveler’s choice awarded Siesta Key with the top spot on their best beaches in the US list. It is also consistently rated as one of the top beaches by Dr. Beach. It’s easy to see why when you get there. The beach is huge! If you want to escape the crowds of the main area of the public beach, set up your towels and umbrellas away from the crystal clear water. We have always found the beach to be very clean and the water is perfect just about year-round. If you’re visiting during the peak season January-April finding parking can be a challenge, so I suggest coming early in the day or later in the afternoon.
The beach is located less than 10 miles from I-75 near Sarasota. This beach is one of Mallory and my favorites because it is easy to get to, less than an hour from our house, and even when its busy doesn’t really feel overcrowded.
Those crystal clear waters are perfect for all kinds of water-sports. Rent a Hobie cat and sail up and down the shore. Bring your mask and snorkel and see if you and find some shark’s teeth in the sand. If you’re feeling extra adventurous take in the beautiful views from above the Gulf while parasailing. You are sure to have a good time with any of these water-based activities.
Once you’re done on the beach make your way over to Ocean Blvd. On Ocean Blvd, you will find a ton of cute shops where you can find souvenirs, as well as beachy home goods. Mallory’s favorite shop on Siesta key is Gidget’s Coastal Provisions. At Gidget’s, we found some great art, clothes, and jewelry.
Right next to all of the shops and restaurants on Ocean Blvd you will find some bars with great happy hour deals. At the Daiquiri Deck, they have 35 different options for frozen drinks along with live music. Just up the road, you will find another local favorite The Old Salty Dog.
Why wouldn’t you want to visit Siesta Key Beach?! One of the most pristine beaches in America, and certainly one of the best beaches on the East Coast. Besides the beautiful beach you are within about an hour of some of the best restaurants, breweries, and theme parks in the country. Siesta Key is about an hour south of Tampa, two hours southwest of Disney World, and just 15 minutes from downtown Sarasota. If you are planning a trip to the Gulf Coast of Florida, you must add Siesta Key to your itinerary!