Renowned for its cultural and picturesque beaches, the city of Sarasota is located on the southwestern coast of the state of Florida. It is one of the most popular areas of the state when it comes to tourists and a growing number of locals who love to explore its remarkably beautiful coastlines. With its warm and humid climate, you are in for a tropical utopia. Sun-worshippers give in to its cool crystal blue waters and warm sand while enjoying the view of golden sunsets. Visiting one of the many beaches in the area is one of the top things to do, an unforgettable escape and a quick taste of paradise that you will never forget.
If you are planning to visit the Sarasota area or live in the area and are looking to venture out to new beaches, here’s a bucket list of Sarasota beaches that you should not miss. Find out about how to get there, the available amenities and why you’ll love them.
1 . Siesta Key – Siesta Beach
Siesta Key offers 3 glorious beaches that you could choose from. One is the main Siesta beach. It is the ultimate destination with its white sand and contrasting turquoise-water. The sand is composed of 99% quartz from the mountains of Appalachian and it sparkles like diamonds under the sun. It is the most popular among the 3 beaches and more crowded. Located at the northern end of Siesta Key where you can sunbathe, stroll , boat and fish all day.
There are a couple of hotels and cabanas ranging from $60 to $50 per night (and go much higher for the nicer resorts) which are walking distance from the beach for overnight stays. You can find playgrounds for kids and the entire beach is lifeguarded for extra safety. Park hours are from 6am to 12 midnight.
2 . Siesta Key – Crescent Beach
A bit further from Siesta Beach is another part of Siesta Key, The Crescent Beach area. It is located on the southern part of Siesta Key with a much quieter, peaceful and serene atmosphere. The sand is hard-packed and it is great for activities such as volleyball, bike rides and frisbee. The waves are excellent for watersports such as surfing and boogie boarding. And of course, let’s not forget about the famous Point of Rocks found at the southern tip of the beach where you can snorkel and enjoy the magical coral formation underwater.
This beautiful beach is a part of a developing community with commercial establishments that offers dine-ins and accommodations to tourists. Here are some of the spots where you can drink and dine: Tony’s Pizza which serves vegetarian-friendly Italian pizza, Island Ice Cream Cafe is less than a mile away from the beach to quench your thirst and indulge you with desserts and The Crescent Beach Bar and Grill if your looking for nightlife drinking and music.
Facilities available on the beach are seasonally staffed lifeguards, pavilions for large family gatherings, picnic tables and showers. They also offer an off-beach parking and horse-back riding but only at designated time and with special permits. Vehicle to access the beach are very limited on Cubbedge Road so access fee for driving on the beach is charged from March to August.
3 Siesta Key – Turtle Beach
This paradise is at the southern end of the Siesta Key. If you want a much quiet and less crowded open space, then this is the best choice for you. the sand is not as soft as the northern part of the beach since it is more dark and coarse but it has a little mix of seashells that beachcombers and shell finders/collectors will enjoy. With its slightly remote location you can find yourself more relax with nature without the bothersome jangle from a crowd and you get to enjoy the sprawling view of crystal clear waters.
It has also been known as one of the best camping grounds for campers and adventure-seekers. The Turtle Beach Campground is one of the county’s camping grounds that has a direct access to the beach. The beach offers bike rentals, picnic areas, a playground for kids and horse-shoe pit for activities. Showers and public restrooms are also available nearby and a lot of spots to park you vehicles.
There are less waves in this area and the water is relatively calm perfect for water activities such as kayaking and paddle boarding. Fishing can also be enjoyed at the boat launch area or the Blind Pass Lagoon nearby.
4 . Lido Beach (On Lido Key – closest to downtown Sarasota)
Lido beach is known for its powdery sugar-white sand and clean waters. It is located in between the Siesta Key and Longboat Keys. It has more of a laid-back kind of vibe and packed with luxurious homes and vacation rentals nearby. The beach is 0.25 miles away from St. Armand’s Circle which is the Island shopping center that provides modish shopping and upscale dinning. It is a public beach with plenty of parking space that could accommodate approximately 400 vehicles per day. Amenities includes concession stands, cabana rentals, gift shops and restrooms.
The beach is well kept and spacious but not suitable for swimming but a walking distance away from restaurants where you can have a banquet of fresh seafoods and refreshing drinks.
5 . Longboat Key Beaches (northwest of Sarasota)
Long Boat Key’s beaches feature a wonderful view of the Gulf of Mexico. Longboat Key is a town located in the counties of Mantinee and Sarasota along the central west coast of the state of Florida. It is on the southern part of Anna Maria Island and somewhere in the middle of Sarasota Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is also know for its 12 mile stretch of white sand and perfect blue waters. Home to more than 6,000 residents and breathtaking beaches. Where you can find delightful choices of fresh seafood, luxury resorts and beach houses rentals that will make your vacation a heaven sent bliss.
Visit the famous Instagram worthy photo spot called the Beer Can Island found on the northern part of town just before the Longboat Key Bridge. The area is underdeveloped but a popular hangout spots for locals. Another must-see location to add to the list is the Whitney Beach at the north end part of the town right across the Whitney Plaza.
A quarter mile long shore of white sand stretching southward passing by high condominiums that will make you fall in love with the place all over again. A public parking area is provided for your convenience along the Broadway Street and West of Gulf of Mexico Drive.
6 . Coquina Beach (even more north)
Enjoy the pearly white sand of Coquina Beach located on the Southern part of Anna Maria Island. A perfect place to ease and cool off with its calm waters and natural beauty. It is lined with a paved path under the shady pine trees for biking and strolling and volleyball courts for sports activities. Some of its amenities includes benches, bike racks, game tables, barbeque grills, picnic tables and playground. You will also find gift shops, water fountains and concessions such as Coquina Beach Cafe to buy your drinks nearby.
The beach also has a boat launch spot across the street from the beach where you can do fishing with a great view of the coastline. Parking areas are provided from sunrise to midnight for free.
7 . Bradenton Beach (north)
A small town on Anna Maria Island with a population of approximately 1, 300 residents known for its bizarre strips of shops, restaurants, finest sand beaches and fishing piers. The locals are eager to show off their products such as handmade clothing, soaps and art galleries. It has the ambience of a cozy coastal town where tourists all over the world visit to experience the beautiful atmosphere and have a taste of its rich heritage of commercial seafoods. Visitors are allowed to board fishing charters and go on swimming excursions.
The beach is clean and family-oriented where you can set up tents and camp until sunset. They have a limited parking spaces but you are allowed to park at the side of the street or one of the beaches’ access point.
8 . Nokomis Beach (south of Sarasota)
Located south of Sarasota, Nokomis is more of a combination of nature and sandy beach. The people are warm and welcoming and the beach is less crowded than Siesta Key’s tourist center. Beach combing and shell collecting in search of these sea treasure has become a popular activity for tourists. It is famous for its beautiful sunset and drum circle that one has to experience. They also have concession stands that sells food and alcohol Like nearby beaches parking can also be a little tricky reason why you have to come early if you wanted to visit.
9. Venice Beach (south of Nokomis)
Another must-see destination found just south of Nokomis and north of Englewood. Venice is popular because it’s known as the “shark tooth capital of the world” — since you can find so many of these shark teeth at the beaches around town. Venice Beach is a popular public beach just west of historic downtown Venice that offers pavilions for picnics and concession stand. It also has a public restroom and showers for all day use. It has a limited free parking space near the beach but gets a little congested when the beach gets crowded.
Just like Nokomis beach it is also a good place to hunt for shark tooth and listen to the drum circle while watching the mesmerizing sunset.
There are many other beaches in the Venice area too, be sure to read our full post about some of the best beaches in Venice!
10. Brohard Dog Beach (south of Venice Beach)
For those of you who want to bring your 4-legged furry friend with you to the beach, you need to know that the only public dog beach in Sarasota county is at South Brohard Dog Beach in Venice, Florida.
At this beach you can let your fur-babies off the leash and let them run wild to their heart’s content. It has a wheelchair board walk that has access to the beach area, benches, litter receptacle, leash posts, dog showers and drinking fountains for human and for your dogs as well.
The beach has a mix of sunny and shady area where pet owners can rest and hangout while watching their dogs swim and run around. It is open daily from 7am to dusk.
Plenty of Sarasota Beaches to Love!
If you are visiting or living in the Sarasota area, there are no shortage of amazing beaches in the area to experience. Perhaps you have visited some of these beaches before and are looking for some new ones to experience. This is our list of some of our personal favorites, whether you want to be right in the heart of Siesta Key, or venture more north up to Longboat Key or Bradenton Beach — or even south down to Venice.
With so many beaches near Sarasota, you’re sure to be living that dream Florida Beach Life!