If your family loves a spectacular stretch of sand and a laid-back vibe, then put Siesta Key on your go-to list of Florida vacation spots. This gem of an island is just a stone's throw from Sarasota and one of the best beach vacations in the Southeast.
One of TripAdvisor's top picks for the best beaches in America, Siesta Key has become one of the most talked-about destinations of late. Put these kid-friendly attractions on the top of your to-do list.
Behold One of America's Best Beaches
Famous for its pristine stretch of sugary white sand, Siesta Beach is the best beach in America, according to TripAdvisor, and "a place in the sun that warrants returning again and again.” We're also sold on the primary-colored lifeguard stations, which makes it easy for kids to get oriented. (948 Beach Rd.)
Scream for Ice Cream
When the going gets hot on Siesta Key, a mandatory stop is Big Olaf Creamery, where delicious ice cream is served in homemade waffle cones and root beer floats get a generous double scoop. With over three dozen delectable flavors, the hardest part is choosing. (5208 Ocean Blvd.)
Explore on Two Wheels
Whether you're looking for beach bikes, tandems, recumbents, trail-a-bikes, cruisers, or kids' bikes with training wheels, you'll find them at Siesta Key Bike & Kayak. This outfitter offers great service and also rents kayaks and paddleboards. (1224 Old Stickney Point Rd.)
Ride a Wave
A bit further south of Siesta Beach and with only one public access road, Crescent Beach offers the same azure gulf waters and picture-perfect sunsets but with a quieter, less crowded setting. The waves get bigger here so it's a favorite of surfers and bodyboarders.
Spy Dolphins and More
The aptly named Point of Rocks is adjacent to yet another glorious Siesta Key beach, but the real attraction of this limestone outcropping is that it is a great place to view birds and go shallow-water snorkeling; don't be surprised if you spy dolphins and, during the summer, manatees. (South of Crescent Beach and Old Stickney Point Rd.)
Tour the Mangroves With a Paddle
Take a guided or self-guided tour around the island's mangroves in a kayak with Liquid Blue Outfitters. The guided tours are highly recommended, thanks to affable group leaders who are extremely knowledgeable about local wildlife and flora.