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11 Best Things to Do in Siesta Key, Florida While on Vacation

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March 25, 2020

Are you looking for a list of the best things to do in Siesta Key, Florida?

In this article, we’ll highlight the best family activities in Siesta Key, as well as show you the many reasons that this United States vacation destination is the ultimate beach-lovers paradise!

Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, go boating, fishing, snorkeling, or paddleboarding, there are literally so many fun things to do in Siesta Key!

Regardless if you’re dining and drinking in Siesta Key Village or dipping your toes into the aqua-blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a Siesta Key vacation will have you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and refreshed!

Look no farther for the 11 Best Things to do in Siesta Key with, or without kids!

Things to do in Siesta Key – Ocean Activities

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Siesta Key Beach

1. Relax on the Beach

Siesta Key is a barrier island located on the southwest coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico.

With a reputation of having some of the best beaches in the United States, Siesta Key, Florida is a tropical paradise for beach-loving families.

Siesta Key’s 8-mile long coastline features three main beaches, Siesta Key Beach, Crescent Beach, and Turtle Beach.

Though each beach in Siesta Key is unique in its own way, they all offer the same picturesque aqua-colored water, as well as 99% pure quartz sand that is magnificently white and always cool to the touch.  

Planning tip: Though parking at the 3 Siesta Key beaches is free, it can be hard to get a spot, especially on the weekends or holidays.

Plan to arrive at the beaches early in the morning, or later in the afternoon (after 3:00 PM) when people are beginning to leave.

Don’t forget to bring along important beach essentials that will maximize your fun and safety while on the beach!

Things to do in Siesta Key from Top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!
Entrance to Siesta Key Beach

Siesta Key Beach

Siesta Key Beach, also known as Siesta Beach, is the most popular beach in Siesta Key. Likewise, it was rated the #1 beach in America by TripAdvisor users in 2015, 2017 and 2020.

The sugary-white sand found here is literally out-of-this-world amazing and is what draws families and vacation-goers here year-after-year.

The full line-up of amenities offered at Siesta Key Public Beach include:

  • First aid center with lifeguards on duty year-round
  • Public restrooms and showers
  • 800 car public parking lot
  • Full-service snack bar and gift shop
  • Picnic areas with and without cover
  • Gazebos and shelters that can accommodate 60-120 people.

Families can also enjoy all the following sporting activities at Siesta Key Beach:

  • Playground equipment
  • A tennis court complex
  • Volleyball courts
  • A 20 station fitness trail
Top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan, details the best things to do in Siesta Key, Florida!
Crescent Beach

Crescent Beach at Siesta Key

If you’re looking for something a little quieter and more secluded, head south on Siesta Key to Crescent Beach.

Planning Tip: Crescent Beach is the most private, non-private beach in Siesta Key.

This part of the Siesta Key is an enclave where the beach is densely lined with condos, villas, and vacation rentals that provide direct access to the waterfront.

Midnight Pass Road provides the only (easy to miss) public access to enter Crescent Beach. From there, there’s a 25-space parking lot and walking pathway that leads out onto the beach.

Though it doesn’t have the same amenities as Siesta Beach, you can still go shelling, build sandcastles, and enjoy the ocean with a bit more privacy.

In addition, Siesta Key’s diving and snorkeling hotspot called Point of Rocks is located at the southern tip of Crescent Beach (more on that coming up!).

Turtle Beach; Top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan, details the best things to do in Siesta Key, Florida!
The coarser sand on Turtle Beach

Turtle Beach at Siesta Key

Turtle Beach is located on the narrow, southern end of Siesta Key.

The water is just as clean and clear as a few miles north, while the sand tends to be a bit coarser than the white quartz powdery sand in Crescent Beach and Siesta Key Beach.

With that comes the opportunity to find great shells and shark teeth!

Turtle Beach, like Crescent Beach, has limited amenities, however, does provide:

  • Public restrooms
  • Volleyball courts and horseshoe pits
  • Playground equipment
  • 300 car public parking lot
  • Picnic areas
  • A boat ramp (perfect for small boats and kayaks) on the east side of the beach that feeds out to Little Sarasota Bay
  • Camping at Turtle Beach Campground (one of only a few campgrounds in Florida with direct beach access)

Planning tip: Turtle Beach has a steeper incline which drops from ankle-to-waist-deep water. Also, note that there are no lifeguards on duty at Turtle Beach.

Point of Rocks
Point of Rocks

2. Snorkel at the Point of Rocks

Though a bit difficult to get to, the Point of Rocks is known as the best place to snorkel in Siesta Key. It is also one of the best family activities in Siesta Key.

The easiest way to find Point of Rocks is to walk to the southern-most end of Crescent Beach until you reach a gigantic sea wall. You must then climb along the sea wall, turn a corner, and walk down 3 steps into the water.

By now you will see the amazing tide pools and snorkeling area complete with an array of gigantic moss-covered rocks that protrude from the ocean.

The water is no more than 5 feet deep here, and there is a vast amount of and marine life that includes fish, crabs, and red sponge.

There are also large distributions of seashells, making this a perfect spot for shell picking.

Additional planning tips: Wear water shoes when visiting Point of Rocks as the terrain is made up of crushed shells and coral. Also, the rocks can get quite slippery.

There are only 10 – 12 parking spots at the alley access for Point of Rocks which is why it is best to park at Crescent Beach and walk from there.

Parasailing in Siesta Key, Florida
Photo Courtesy of Siesta Key Watersports

3. Participate in Watersports

One of the most fun things to do in Siesta Key is to take part in watersports via watersport rentals!

Popular watersport activities in Siesta Key include kayaking, parasailing, jet-skiing, and boating.

No need to look too far, because Siesta Key is home to several watersport outfitters that have ample equipment and guides to make for the perfect ocean outing!

Local Siesta Key watersport outfitters include, but is not limited to:

3. Take a Dolphin Cruise

By far one of the best things to do in Siesta Key is to watch dolphins jump and play in their natural environment on a guided dolphin cruise!

Siesta Key waters are home to one of the largest populations of wild bottlenose dolphins. Seeing dolphins in their natural habitat is both thrilling and serene, as well as something that you will never forget.

The beauty of taking a guided dolphin cruise is that the captain of the boat knows where to find them and will provide you with a relaxing experience to get a first-hand view.

Siesta Key dolphin cruises vary in length, time of day, and overall experience.

Here are a few that are recommended:

4. Go Fishing!

Due to its shallow waters and multiple species of fish found in the area, fishing is another one of the best things to do in Siesta Key, Florida!

Whether you choose a guided fishing charter or prefer to find a good fishing area on your own, there are plenty of options when it comes to fishing in Siesta Key.

Options include deep-sea fishing, bridge fishing, and surfcasting for species such as mackerel, flounder, bluefish, snapper, and grouper.

Non-residents ages 16 and up require a license when fishing from public spots onshore. Licenses can be picked up at local bait shops and sporting goods stores, as well as online.

Read all about the best public fishing spots on Siesta Key here!

Top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan, details the best things to do in Siesta Key, Florida!
Dancers at the Siesta Key Drum Circle

5. Attend the Siesta Key Drum Circle

The Siesta Key Drum Circle is a popular tradition that gathers large crowds of artists, dancers, locals, tourists, children, and adults for an evening of dancing and music as an act of judgment-free unity and peace.

This free family fun event takes place each Sunday year-round about 1-hour before sunset on Siesta Key Public Beach.

Depending on the time of year, the timing of the sunset changes. Regardless, listen for a siren and loud drumming sounds signaling its start.

There is not mandatory involvement, but hula hoops, costumes, and instruments are handed out to onlookers and you can both participate, as well as come and go at your leisure.

Additional planning tip: The Siesta Key Drum Circle can be found south of the main Siesta Beach pavilion between lifeguard stands three and four.

Things to do in Siesta Key – Land Activities

One of the best things about Siesta Key is that there are plenty of dry-land activities to take part in to diversity a family vacation here.

In fact, other than venturing to the surrounding beach communities, all of the Siesta Key land activities are conveniently located within walking distance (or free local transportation!) to one another.

Here are our favorite fun things to do in Siesta Key that don’t involve the beach.

Siesta Key Village
Nightlife in Siesta Key Village

7. Explore Siesta Key Village

Siesta Key Village is a hub of approximately 100 different boutiques, cafes, restaurants, bars, and shops located in the central part of Siesta Key.

Because it is not overly large, Siesta Key Village can be explored by walking around on foot. It is my preference to do so because of its fun and relaxed ‘homey’ atmosphere!

There are a lot of fun shops with knick-knacks and souvenirs, tennis, surf, and snorkeling gear, as well as swimsuits, sunscreen, or a hat or t-shirt that says Siesta Key on it!

Restaurant favorites in Siesta Key Village include Another Broken Egg Cafe, Bonjour French Cafe, and Meany’s Mini Donuts for breakfast, and the Siesta Key Oyster Bar (+live music), Baja Hub Grill, and The Old Salty Dog for lunch or dinner.

Be sure to hit up Big Olaf Creamery for ice cream, and the Daiquiri Deck for drinks and live music on the patio!

Top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan, details the best things to do in Siesta Key, Florida!

8. Take Advantage of Free Rides

In order to lighten the traffic on Siesta Key and to save you the hassle of having to find a parking spot, Siesta Key offers several free transportation and rideshare options.

The Siesta Breeze Trolley (pictured above) offers free round trip service from Siesta Key Village to Turtle Beach, with many stops along the way.

Likewise, Jonny’s Original Free Beach Rides operates a fleet of electric vehicles that seat six and can transport your gear like beach chairs, coolers, and shopping items. They’ve become a tourist attraction in their own right and are frequently featured in photos of the island.

Other free, convenient, and eco-friendly transportation options include Siesta Key Free Ride and Siesta Key Frog Hop!

Additional planning tip: Some of these options require you to call and reserve a pickup time.

Also, though they are free to ride, these companies are all greatly appreciative and reliant on tips.

9. Rent a Bike or Other Land Rental

It is no secret that cruising around the island on a bike, scooter, golf cart, segway, or scooter coupe car, is one of the best things to do in Siesta Key!

The gorgeous weather, friendly streets, and laid back feel of Siesta Key makes getting out and exploring the island in this way a fun and memorable event.

For longer rides and additional exercise, some of the best bike trails in the state are located right outside of Siesta Key. These lengthy and scenic trails are well worth a visit for cycling enthusiasts.

The following businesses offer dry land rentals for cruising the streets and sidewalks of Siesta Key.

Along with the mentioned amenities, many of them also offer other rentals such as strollers, beach wheelchairs, and other beach gear such as chairs and umbrellas.

They also offer pick-up and delivery from where you are staying.

Sunset Point in Siesta Key

10. Don’t Miss Sunset Point

Since the island of Siesta Key faces West out into the Gulf of Mexico, you’re guaranteed a front-row seat to watch the sun sink below the horizon.

Though there are many places to catch a sunset on Siesta Key, the most popular lookout point is at Sunset Point.

Located at the north end of Siesta Key Public Beach, this jut of land offers one of the best views of the magnificently lit evening skies.

Though you can see gorgeous sunsets anywhere along Crescent and Siesta Key Beach, Sunset Point is a fun gathering spot where many other tourists come together each evening.

Additional planning tip: Keep a close eye out, for there’s a possibility that you’ll catch a rare sight known as a “green flash”. The green flash is a quick spot of green seen at the top of the sinking sun.

Also, don’t forget to bring along a beach chair as this is a common practice.

Top U.S. family travel blog, Travel With A Plan, details the best things to do in Siesta Key, Florida!
The Unconditional Surrender – Sarasota, FL

11. Visit Local Beach Communities

When talking about fun things to do in Siesta Key, it is necessary to mention its close proximity to so many other amazing coastal communities!

Siesta Key is only a short drive from places like Sarasota, Bradenton, Longboat Key, and Venice. It is less than 2 hours away from Tampa Bay, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg Florida. And finally, travel 2 hours and 15 minutes North and you’ll find plenty of things to do in Orlando.

Take advantage of the opportunity for a day trip to see The Unconditional Surrender statue and the Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota, Florida. In addition, take a guided kayak tour in the Sarasota mangroves.

If heading towards Tampa Bay, be sure to visit Busch Gardens, Lowry Zoo, and Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

In short, you will definitely not be at a loss of things to do when visiting Siesta Key and the surrounding area!

*All photos courtesy of VisitSarasota.com unless otherwise noted.

What activity or attraction do most look forward to in Siesta Key, Florida?

Jen

If you like our article on the best things to do in Siesta Key, Florida, click here to check out our related posts:

*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

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Click here for an ultra detailed article on the 11 Best Things to do in Siesta Key, Florida!  Find out all of the fun things to do in Siesta Key for both families and adults.  These ocean and land activities will ensure that you have a perfect Siesta Key vacation!  #thingstodoinsiestakeyflorida #thingstodoinsiestakey #thingstodoinsiestakeyfloridakids #siestakeyfloridathingstodokids
#siestakeyfloridathingstodo
#siestakeyfloridathingstodoonthebeach
Click here for an ultra detailed article on the 11 Best Things to do in Siesta Key, Florida!  Find out all of the fun things to do in Siesta Key for both families and adults.  These ocean and land activities will ensure that you have a perfect Siesta Key vacation!  #thingstodoinsiestakeyflorida #thingstodoinsiestakey #thingstodoinsiestakeyfloridakids #siestakeyfloridathingstodokids
#siestakeyfloridathingstodo
#siestakeyfloridathingstodoonthebeach
Click here for an ultra detailed article on the 11 Best Things to do in Siesta Key, Florida!  Find out all of the fun things to do in Siesta Key for both families and adults.  These ocean and land activities will ensure that you have a perfect Siesta Key vacation!  #thingstodoinsiestakeyflorida #thingstodoinsiestakey #thingstodoinsiestakeyfloridakids #siestakeyfloridathingstodokids
#siestakeyfloridathingstodo
#siestakeyfloridathingstodoonthebeach
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4 Comments
  1. Reply

    Tiffany

    April 1, 2020

    Those beaches look amazing! The drum circle reminds me of the one from the town I grew up in…so fun and entertaining!

    • Reply

      Jen

      April 2, 2020

      The beaches in this part of Florida make it feel like you’re not in the U.S! The Gulf of Mexico is stunning!

  2. Reply

    Julie

    March 30, 2020

    We love Siesta Key but haven’t been in ages…and I really want to do a trip with kids! Great tips on visiting – Florida is always a great vacation destination!

    • Reply

      Jen

      March 31, 2020

      Thanks Julie! I would love to buy a permanent vacation home in this area! There is so much to do!

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Hi, I’m Jen!  Welcome to Travel With A Plan!

I’m an avid adventurer who is always planning the next family vacation for my husband and I, and our three boys!

As an advocate for family travel with kids of all ages, I am a firm believer that traveling together helps keep families healthy and happy at home!

Here is where I share our best family vacation itineraries, resort reviews, and family travel tips (incuding Disney!).

Let’s go on an adventure! -Jen

TMOM Travel Writer
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