At the beginning of October we were supposed to go to Hawaii and enjoy the warmth and beauty of the islands. Due to the states reopening for tourism constantly shifting we had to find an alternative to keep our endless summer going. That is how we ended up spending five weeks in Siesta Key, FL.
Siesta Key, Florida
The gulf coast weather was a great substitute for Maui, where our plans would have originally taken us and we were happy to be there. Michelle had already been to Siesta Key with her friends on a girls trip a couple of times and loved every minute of it. So it was a pretty easy decision for us to stay there a little over a month and work remotely.
Siesta Key Beach
Siesta Key beach is consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the United States. The quartz sand is powdery soft and dazzling white. Joel calls it powdered sugar for his toes! It’s a great place to bring kids as well, the water is usually warm, calm and very shallow. Perfect for just splashing about with little ones. The sunsets are spectacular along the Sun Coast and we spent nearly every evening watching sunset from the beach. It was the perfect way to end the day!
The Island of Siesta Key
Siesta Key is just 8 miles long so it’s super easy to get around. The island has two bridges that connect it to the mainland. Siesta Drive on the North side and Stickney Point Road about midway down the island. On the North and South parts of Siesta Key you will find the bulk of the residential areas. Condos, resorts and hotels pretty much line the entirety of the gulf side of the island.
The island has Four Beach parks along the gulf side. Sarasota Beach, Siesta Key Beach, Crescent Beach and Turtle Beach. If you’re looking for convenience, our vote is to stay in or near Siesta Key Village. It will put you super close to Sarasota Beach on the North of the island as well as Siesta Key Beach.
Siesta Key Village
Staying near the Village you will be able to walk to the beach, restaurants and get groceries all within 5-10 minutes. There are multiple dining options in Siesta Key Village from fine dining to small cafes. They even have mini donuts, Michelle’s favorite, although not necessarily a food group. There is something for everyone and you will not be disappointed.
Cute boutique shops line the streets along with plenty of beachwear and t-shirt stores. One of the two grocery stores on the island is in the village as well. For the adult beverages you can find a liquor store next door. Be prepared to pay extra as prices are a bit higher on the island. If you’re on a tighter budget we would suggest to go off island to Publix, Walmart or drive about 20 minutes south to an Aldi and stock up for however long you plan on staying.
Stickney Point Road and Midnight Pass Area
On the Middle part of the island you will find the bulk of the boat and watersport rentals. This area is not as quaint as the Village but offers plenty of more reasonable priced dining and nightlife options as well. There is a grocery store on the corner and several places to get beer and liquor within walking distance.
You can also access Crescent Beach at Siesta Key Beach access point 12. The only public access point on this part of the island. The condos and resorts can be quite vigilant against people trespassing on their properties so unless you’re staying there use the public access. This part of the island does not have as many stops for the Siesta Key Breeze past Stickney Point Road and Midnight Pass road intersection. To travel South down to Turtle Beach via the trolley you just need to wave it down if you see it on its way.
What to Do on Siesta Key
How about relax! Most of our time was spent at the beach, watching the boats on the intercoastal waterway and enjoying the pool at our condo. If you can’t sit still for too long then even though it’s a small island there’s so much to do.
You can rent kayaks, paddle boards, boats, Jet Skis, Scooter-cars (a 2 seater car, 50cc engine), golf carts and more. For the more adventurous you can even go parasailing which a couple of Michelle’s friends have done and loved. There’s also fishing, golfing and so much more.
You can plan your trip at the Visit Florida website, it’s easy to use and really helpful.
Siesta Key is located on the Gulf Coast of Florida about midpoint of the state. It’s about a 25 minute drive from the Sarasota Airport and 15-17 minute drive from downtown Sarasota. Depending on your budget you can rent a car at the airport and drive yourself or use a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft.
How to get to Siesta Key
Traveling by Air
Getting to Siesta Key Florida is quite easy now with two major airlines now servicing Sarasota International Airport (SRQ).
Southwest Airlines added service directly to Sarasota International Airport (SRQ) at the end of 2020. You no longer limited to flying into Tampa International Airport (TPA) if you’re a Southwest Airlines passenger. Yep that means you can use your Southwest points to get to Siesta Key now! A plus for keeping costs down on your next Florida beach vacation. If you dont have a Chase Southwest Visa credit card to earn points towards flights you can use our code to get a ton of points upon signing up.
Delta also flies to SRQ as it has done now for years. Personally Delta is our Favorite international airline and Michelle’s choice to get to Siesta Key up until this year. There are many other airlines that have domestic or international routes in to SQR like Allegiant, American, United, Aer Lingus, KLM, Air France, Air Canada and more.
Alternatively you can Fly into Tampa International Airport (TPA) and drive down.
One way Drive options from Tampa International Airport to Siesta Key, Florida
|Compact Rental Car||One way $80 – 120 (incl Tax)|
|Private Car Service||$143 – $240|
Driving Times From Major Cities
For those adverse to flying or prefer to make it a road trip here are some general drive times to Siesta Key, Florida:
- Tampa: 1 Hour 10 Min.
- Miami: 3 Hours 30 Min.
- Jacksonville: 4 Hours 12 Min.
- Atlanta: 7 Hours 25 Min.
- Nashville: 11 Hours 20 Min.
- Chicago: 18 Hours
Where to Stay and How Much Will it Cost
We would recommend staying near Siesta Key Village if it’s your first time visiting. You will be within a 5-10 minutes walk to the beach, bars, restaurants and shopping. Almost all of the accommodations will be either short term rentals or small resorts/cottages. Prices will range from $150-350 a night depending on what time ofd year you visit. January, February and March are high season so keep that in mind when booking.
If you’re looking for something a little further out of the village and more affordable try the bigger condo/apartment complexes. We stayed at Harbor Towers Yacht and Racquet Club and loved it. The beach was about a 10 minute walk, we could sit on the back bay and watch the boats pass by on the intercoastal waterway. Plus it has a gym, pool and tennis courts! It was perfect for us! If you want to book the same condo we stayed at here is the link.
TIP: The beach closer to Siesta Key Village is a lot quieter than further down where the big access area is and the beach pavilion. Beach Access 2, 3 and 4 if you’re looking for a quieter experience.
Getting Around on Siesta Key
Having a car is great but if you’re on a budget like us it just wasn’t the best use of our money to rent a car for 5 weeks. Luckily there’s a free trolley called the Siesta Key Breeze and it runs up and down the island about every 30 minutes. It’s mostly hop on hop off and just tell the driver where you would like to be dropped off. It has limited hours and can fill up quickly on the weekends or in high season.
There is an app you can find for iOS and Android in their respective stores and it’s supposed to show both trolleys in real time on the island. It stopped working for about 2 weeks during our stay so it is not that reliable.
There’s also several privately run “Free” shuttles that operate on tips only. They operate much later hours than the Siesta Key Breeze trolley and are your best bet for larger groups. Generally they only operate on the island but you can ask each operator if they will be willing to take you across to the mainland. You can also get ride shares on the Island from Uber and Lyft but we found them best for going off island.
Free Shuttles to call
- Siesta Key Frog hop Free Shuttle (844) 376-4467
- Siesta Key Disco Free Shuttle (941) 952-8294
- We used both services and they worked great. Just be sure to leave tip!
Our Top 5 Restaurants on Siesta Key
- The Cottage Seafood Restaurant with Happy Hour
- Star Thai & Sushi Thai, Japanese and Sushi
- Another Broken Egg Breakfast & Lunch
- The Hub Pan-Latin
- Gilligan’s Island Bar & Grill with Happy Hour
Uber Eats is also available to get food from the surrounding area. Use our code eats-gaz05 to get $20 off your first order ($25 min. & no additional cost to you)
If your into cooking your own food you can do what we did and use Instacart to have your groceries as well as your adult beverages delivered! Yay Florida! Or use our code JHARTZ15E198 for $10 free on your first Instacart order.
Whats your Favorite Florida Beach?
Let us know in the comments