Siesta Key - Always in the 'Top Ten'
The Drumming Circle at Siesta Key's Sunday Sundowner Ceremony
Siesta Key is a barrier island eight miles long, north to south. Sarasota Bay lies on the east side of the key and the Gulf of Mexico on the west. On the Gulf side there is one main thoroughfare. It begins at Siesta Village as Beach Road. Running south, it becomes Midnight Pass Road and continues to the end of the key. Two drawbridges, one at the north end, the second at mid-key, are constant reminders that Siesta Key is indeed an island. The bridges provide ready made excuse for being late to anything. Say "The bridge was up" and no further explanation is necessary.
Siesta Key's Crescent Beach is perennially ranked among America's ten best by Dr. Stephen Leatherman - better known to beach connoisseurs as "Dr. Beach." With what must surely be the world's finest sun-bleached sand, Crescent Beach could scarcely offer a more spectacular calling card for the island. From its northern end at Siesta Public Beach, the powdery-white beach stretches two miles south to the outcropping of flat, smooth limestone and coral rock formations known as "Point of Rocks", a popular gathering spot for snorkelers and fishermen. Siesta Key's Crescent Beach ranks second in Leatherman's 2009 ranking.
There are three hubs of activity on the island. Two, Siesta Village (just north of Crescent Beach) and the South Village (near Point of Rocks at mid-key), are filled with restaurants, nightclubs, specialty ("gift") shops and boutiques. Both boast the colorful street life you expect in a bustling resort town. The third (and quieter) hub can be found at Turtle Beach, located near the island's extreme southern tip. Siesta Key insiders often prefer Turtle Beach for its laid-back atmosphere and lesser-used recreational amenities. In addition to the beach, amenities include picnic benches, a covered pavilion; a play area designed for young children, restrooms and showers. Two eateries – Turtle Beach Pub and Turtles Restaurant – are located immediately across the road from the Beach's parking lot. One of the best restaurants in Sarasota, Ophelia's, is within walking distance south of Turtle Beach.
Some say the Siesta Key experience evokes the legendary lifestyle of Key West. While this is arguably true, we think Siesta Key is better….. Key West doesn't have Sarasota just off the island.