by Barbara Ann Weibel of Hole In The Donut
If your idea of a perfect beach is a wide swath of powdery, brilliant white sand, then Siesta Key in Sarasota, Florida is the answer to your dreams. Experts the world over have long raved about this sand and the beach has the awards to prove it. At the “Great International White Sand Beach Challenge” held in 1987, Siesta Key was recognized as having the “whitest and finest sand in the world” and in 2004, the Travel Channel named Siesta Key “The Best Sand Beach in America.”
Unlike most other beaches where the sand is made up mostly of coral, Siesta’s sand is 99% quartz. Not only is it excellent for building sand castles or burying a friend under a mound of the sugar-fine stuff, Siesta Key’s sand reflects the sunlight rather than absorbing it, so it feels cool underfoot no matter how high the temperature soars.
Sand isn’t the only thing to rave about on Siesta Key beach. The water is shallow and the beach is manned by lifeguards year-round, making it one of the safest and most popular beaches in the area for families with small children. Lifeguards stands have been painted in bright, primary colors that visitors can use as landmarks, simplifying the task of finding cars at the end of the day or friends and family after strolling a mile or two down the beach.
Any time of the day, Siesta’s public beach is a popular place for a variety of activities. Whenever there are waves, surfers and body boarders flock to the water. Skimboarders, joggers, and bicyclers frequent the narrow strip of hard-pack sand at the water’s edge, while other beach-goers take advantage of the ten tennis courts, four volleyball courts, picnic areas, and shady playground amenities.
At day’s end, Siesta Village’s shops, restaurants, and active night life are just a couple of miles away, but stick around long enough to watch the sun go down, since Siesta Key is famous for its jaw-droppingly gorgeous sunsets.
Siesta Key is a barrier island located in Sarasota County, just off the mainland. It is accessed by bridges on the northern and southern ends of the island. Beach-going and outdoor activities are enjoyable nearly year-round in this part of Florida due to the area’s tropical climate.
Photos courtesy of Barbara Ann Weibel