Visit Beautiful Sarasota! Sun, sand and water are three things Sarasota has an abundance of, but not all Sarasota beaches are the same. Six islands line Sarasota’s extensive coastline, each revealing its own personality, recreational options and natural beauty. They are Siesta Key, Longboat Key, Manasota Key, Casey Key, Osprey Key and Nokomis Key, all worth visiting while in Sarasota. Sarasota Beaches are among the most beautiful in all of Florida and the United States, and that’s not just my opinion. Siesta Key Beach has been rated #1 n a national poll of the Top beaches of the USA. Breathtaking views of the sparkling Gulf of Mexico combined with balmy gulf breezes make most beach-going days of the year here in paradise about as enjoyable as they can be; bright sunshine, warm air and water temperatures, soft sand, blue water. With six keys, or barrier islands, a Sarasota beach vacation will give you plenty of options for beaches, and there is 35 miles of beaches! Our Sarasota Florida Travel Guide will give you all the information you need to plan your next vacation to Sarasota Florida.
Sarasota Weather – When to Visit
The best times to visit Sarasota are from March to May and between September and November when crowds, temperatures and prices are manageable. Keep in mind that you may encounter a hurricane should you visit between June and November, Florida’s hurricane season. The city’s most comfortable temperatures come in December, January and February, but its population swells with Northern residents (or “snowbirds”) in the winter, meaning Sarasota’s streets will be packed with cars and its attractions filled with people. Prices are also at their highest during these months. For partially thinned crowds and cheaper hotel and airfare rates, travelers can visit between June and August. However, visitors should expect lots of rain and humidity, as well as average summertime highs in the low 90’s.
Best Sarasota Area Beaches
This beach is located near Venice. Caspersen Beach is one of the top spots to visit in Sarasota. It stretches out for over a mile and is a lovely spot to do some shelling, with a lot of pretty shells washing up on the shore. You’ll also have a great chance of spotting many species of seabirds at this Sarasota beach, as well as the possibility of spying some sea turtles too.
If you’re looking for one of the purest, cleanest, most untouched stretches of beaches in Florida, Longboat Key is the place to visit. This is the northernmost key in Sarasota and offers a huge stretch of warm, sandy coastline, with a little over ten miles of beach in total. Lots of wildlife can be spotted here including dolphins and turtles.
Turtle Beach is a very popular spot with sea turtles. Many of them can be seen nesting on the shore, making for a truly incredible site, and it’s not uncommon to see dolphins in this area too. This Sarasota beach is situated on the southern part of Siesta Key and features a lot of useful amenities like a playing area for the kids, picnic areas, boat ramps, a boardwalk, and restrooms.
Venice Beach in Sarasota is an extra special location and new visitors are blown away when they see what makes this beach so special. The nickname of Venice Beach is ‘Shark Tooth Capital of the World’ and this is because you simply can’t walk along this beach without spotting some shark teeth that have been washed up onto the shore.
Lido Key Beach
Though visitors have access to several beaches in Sarasota County, one of the easiest to reach from downtown is Lido Key Beach. Situated less than 5 miles southwest of the city center, Lido Key Beach offers more than 3,000 feet of white sand. Several recreation areas, with amenities like picnic tables and a pool (which can be enjoyed for a fee), are also available. If you like hunting for seashells, you’ll love Lido Key Beach.
Best Sarasota Restaurants
Lido Beach Restaurant Under $10
Home of the lido lobster roll. Welcome to the Lido Beach Restaurant where they pride themselves on serving restaurant quality food, in a simple beach concession. You can come to Lido Key Public Beach and not have to bother packing food to eat sitting on your blanket. Just stop by their window and grab great food for yourself or your whole family and not worry about busting your budget. They also offer beer and wine, so wash down that lobster roll or burger with a cold one. Telephone: 941-388-0400 Web: Lido Beach Restaurant.
Café Gabbiano $11 – 30
Just a short walk from the beautiful beaches of Sarasota, Café Gabbiano brings Italy to Siesta Key. Café Gabbiano’s serene, casual ambiance imitates that of the paradise surrounding it. Café Gabbiano offers intimate, private dining in their wine rooms as well as comfortable outdoor seating on their climate controlled patio. They offer authentic Italian cuisine and an extensive collection of wine from around the world. They feature $5 happy hour specials, from 4-6, and $10 wine tasting samplers offered daily. Telephone: 941-349-1423 Web: Café Gabbiano.
Shore Diner $11 – 30
Shore Diner is their expression of an open air, mid-century Florida beach café. They crafted a menu that utilizes many local farms, to create a fabulous abundance of fresh choices. Creative recipes are their specialty, combined with local coastal favorites, all served in an open air dining space. From your first sip of our signature cocktail, to your last bite of Key West Shrimp and Scallop Risotto, the entire Shore experience is nothing short of a beach day makeover, with laughter, a cool vibe and delicious eats. Telephone: 941-296-0301 Web: Shore Diner.
Ophelia’s On The Bay $31 – 60
When you visit Ophelia’s, one of the first things you’ll notice is their view. Their two glass walled dining rooms and outside open air patio give you an unfettered, eye-level view of Little Sarasota Bay. As you peruse their menu and enjoy one of our carefully chosen wines, you’ll watch tropical birds fly among preserved mangrove islands, watch the water gently sway, and see dolphins, blue herons, and other sea life pass by. Telephone: 941-349-2212 Web: Ophelia’s On The Bay.
Surf Shack $11 – 30
Their menu features only the freshest ingredients served in a clean, fun and casual environment. Although they are already famous for their Gourmet Tacos, they are “Soon to be Famous” for things like their handmade Buffalo Chicken Eggrolls, Ahi Tuna and Udon Noodle Salad, Pat LaFreida Burger and the Steak and Onion S’mac and Cheese. They didn’t just stop at the food either. They take pride in offering draft beers from local breweries such Big Top, Darwins and JDubs as well as make the BEST margaritas in all of Sarasota! Telephone: 941-960-1122 Web: Surf Shack.
Best Sarasota Bars & Nightlife
Siesta Key Oyster Bar
Siesta Key Oyster Bar (or as the locals call it “SKOB”) is the hangout with the laidback, beachy atmosphere that will get you right into the Island Spirit. When you’re at SKOB you feel right at home, like you’re hanging out with good friends on your back patio. From Raw Oysters and Crawfish to Crab Legs and Crab Cakes – there is something for everyone on the menu. And with over 21 beers on tap along with Domestic, Imports, and specialty bottled beer – you will not go away thirsty! Telephone: 941-346-5443 Web: Siesta Key Oyster Bar.
The Daiquiri Deck is the perfect place to share a meal with the whole family or kick back and relax with friends while you enjoy Live Music, Tasty Treats, and the best Frozen Daiquiris anywhere! Their casual atmosphere and unparalleled selection of taste-tempting Frozen Daiquiris will bring you in, but our Raw Bar and full menu, which includes mouthwatering selections for seafood lovers and land lovers alike, served by the friendliest wait staff around, will keep you coming back for more. Telephone: 941-349-8697 Web: Daiquiri Deck.
The Blasé Café & Martini Bar
They have been offering Siesta Key a casual and unique dining experience since 1997. Their menu includes a variety of appetizers and entrées, which include seafood, pasta, beef, and poultry. They also offer a full bar, which is a great place to stop and have a drink to meet up with friends or to make new ones. Telephone: 941-349-9822 Web: The Blasé Café & Martini Bar.
The Old Salty Dog
Always a friendly place, great food. Pleasant, relaxing, an overall great experience. Peel & eat shrimp, ice cold beer, wonderful salads and of course the “Salty Dogs!” Casual dining, Seafood, Burgers, Their World Famous “Salty Dog”, A 1/4 lb. Hot Dog deep fried in their Beer Batter. Try if fully loaded as seen on TV’s “Man-Vs.-Food Telephone: 941-349-0158 Web: The Old Salty Dog.
Beach Club Siesta Key
Sarasota’s Premiere Live Music Venue. The Beach Club is located in Sarasota on Siesta Key Island and has South Florida’s premiere live local and national bands including some of the hottest DJ’s playing 7 nights week. Join them any night of the week for the best entertainment around and great customer service. The Beach Club offers a huge dance floor, amazing lighting and great drink specials daily. Telephone: 941-349-6311 Web: Beach Club Siesta Key.