Florida’s best beach is only a short drive from my hometown. This year, in 2017, it was named the number one beach in the United States by Dr. Beach. Since then, Siesta Key Beach has been featured in major publications such as Time Magazine and U.S. News & World Reports. All the attention and increased tourism spurred the county into investing $21.5 million into improving what was already a spectacular beach. Needless to say, my latest experience at Siesta Key Beach was better than ever!
I began frequenting Siesta Key Beach during my hometown visits over 7 years ago when a cousin first turned me onto to it. It was a little further than our usual spot, but its clear turquoise waters and white sand were an instant draw. Its greatest appeal however, is the flour-like texture of the sand. It’s like what I imagine walking through powered sugar would feel like. Today, the county has added amenities including additional parking, shaded picnic areas complete with outdoor grills, a playground, plenty of restroom facilities, a restaurant, and assorted vendors offering anything from hair wraps to beach rentals.
As for the beach itself the salt water is less harsh than at other beaches along the coast (I have experienced temporary blindness for just getting a drop of water in my eyes at other beaches nearby). This time around, I also spotted a sandbar not too far off shore that beach goers were taking advantage of thanks to the low tide. As for me, I’m a weak swimmer at best, so no thanks. My husband and kids gave it a whirl however and had a blast. The breaking waves at this location were particularly awesome according to my son. For those of you who are in the same boat as me, there is plenty of nice wave action closer to shore that would do nicely for boogie boarding fun.
So, what’s not to like about Florida’s best beach? The walk from the picnic area to the beach is significant (approximately 400 ft). So, while the pinic areas are a great idea, they are not conveniently placed for maximum beach enjoyment. Unsuprisingly, we had no problem securing a spot for a large family get together. We arrived to setup at 11 am on a Saturday in June (summer in full fledge) and the picnic area was empty. Fortunately this works for us because we have a lot of family that are all too happy to chill in this area and watch our goodies while the rest of us swim. Most of the crowds setup closer to the beach. If you prefer to be near the beach as I do, plan on bringing a wagon to carry your stuff, pack light, or enlist plenty of helping hands.
With nationwide recognition comes increased tourism which can be a double-edged sword. Over Memorial Day weekend, I was sad to read the beach had been trashed by tourists. My suspicion is that the lack of trash cans closer to the beach (which there is plenty of near the picnic area) was a factor. Fortunately, the great community of Sarasota County turned out in droves to partake in an emergency cleanup and by the time I visited the following week the beach was restored to its natural beauty.
Only time will tell how this beautiful area my family and I have enjoyed for many years will fare with the added attention. For now, its a gorgeous place to relax when I’m in town. If you happen to be in the area, stop by for a visit, be kind, and don’t forget to clean up after yourself!