Siesta Key Webcam
A Resident's Description
Having lived on Siesta Key for over 10 years, I wanted to write a bit about the beach. In 2012 Siesta Key's beaches were rated #1 in the US by Dr. Leatherman aka Dr. Beach. The following text outlines some features of Siesta Key's beaches.
Siesta Key's sunsets look like the sky is on fire. Most days the skies over Siesta are clear: Summer thunderstorms stay well east of Siesta Key, keeping the sky clear while the sun sets. A quick google image search will give you a good idea of what Siesta's sunsets look like on a typical day. Sometimes (if you're lucky), thunderstorms will move far enough to the west and begin to dissipate leaving a haze in the sky. The evening sun lights up the haze and turns the whole sky a golden-yellow color; often with a back drop of rainbows. It's simply the best time for taking pictures. My wonderful and talented wife took the following pictures near Siesta Key Public Beach:
Beach access is pretty straight forward. There are a number of small public access points on Beach Rd starting from the south bridge, beach access 12 (Crescent Beach) and counting down until you reach the village. The main public lot has a little over 800 spaces and several boardwalks. The pavilion offers beach wheelchairs for those who need a ride. My sister-in-law is disabled, so we’ve needed a beach chair on many occasions and I've always been impressed by how rugged they are and how easy they roll. The beach chairs are made of PVC so you can bring them into the Gulf and the inflatable wheels keep the whole chair afloat. Bathrooms, showers and food are provided at the main pavilion.
Parking can be difficult depending on the time of year, mainly in the spring. On the weekends and in season, you won’t have much of a chance unless you get to the beach early (by 10:00am). If you can’t find parking, I recommend hanging out near the boardwalks as long as you can until you can flag down someone that is leaving.
The sand is truly sensational. It's the number one thing people notice when arriving to Siesta Beach. Even on the hottest Florida days the sand doesn't burn your feet. The sand is white and made of 99% quartz so the sunlight is reflected rather than absorbed. It’s sugary and soft so you can run barefoot confidently (free in the wind) without stepping on something sharp. And if you fall on your face, chances are it won't hurt too bad; perfect for volleyball and other sports. In fact, college volleyball and other sponsored tournaments are often held near the main pavilion.
Sand castle competitions are held with professional sand sculpturists visiting the beach to make masterpieces of epic proportions. On these days, from Crescent to Siesta, the beach is littered with sand makings.
Locals say the sand has magical properties and healing characteristics and judging by the number of die-hard old-time beach-goers who are 90 plus years of age, it must be true!!!
Keeping Siesta Beautiful
Sarasota County has always had a knack for keeping the trash off the ground and Siesta Key is no exception. However, due to the size of the beach and the number of visitors Siesta receives daily, keeping the beach clean has become increasingly more difficult. If it weren't for volunteers, our beach wouldn't be as clean. In Spring, we have spring breakers; the river tubing type - party until you drop, who generally speaking don't have much consideration for our environment. They don't understand the massive ongoing efforts made to keep the beach clean; keeping birds and other wildlife unentangled from garbage. It gets worse: after a chat with one of our local volunteers, I was surprised to hear that the spring break trash problem is short lived and much of the problem lies in everyday families who just forget pick up after themselves. She says, "I don't know what people are thinking! It's not even the young adults - those I can understand, it's dads and moms (with children) that are forgetting their trash like they expect someone to clean after them." This is a shame. Come on moms and dads, set an example!
Most of the year the water is warm or wetsuit optional. When peak summer rolls around, the water is warm like a bath. The water is also pretty safe: Shark attacks are uncommon. In my 10 years of water activities, the scariest thing I've seen are dolphins jumping waves next to me. And if, by chance, there is some crazy creature in the water, you'll be quick to find out because the lifeguards blow their whistle and stick a blue flag on top of their towers for warning. Warning flags are usually a result of passing jellyfish or stingrays; once a year.
Seaweed sometimes filters in after storms. There are times it clumps into massively thick clusters, but it’s rare and is usually cleaned up shortly thereafter. The remaining seaweed is pushed out to sea by the tradewinds. Consistent wind from the east keeps the water calm and clear.
Fishing is prohibited in or near the swim zones, but the rest of the beach is fishable...Whether or not the fishing is good is arguable and completely circumstantial. Personally I haven't caught much; just small fish. During the day, Spanish Mackerel and Jacks, and at night, itty bitty tiny weenie baby sharks, catfish and whiting.
Sailing, Kiteboarding, Windsurfing
Enter my life: I love to kiteboard and surf - it's what I do for fun. But I want to explain the DOs and DON’Ts of kiting Siesta Key because kitesurfing has almost gotten banned. First of all, kiting with a landboard or buggy is prohibited. It’s against the law. There are simply too many people and too much risk. Wildlife preservations are also on the beach where endangered species such as the Snowy Plover come to breed. They are young, fearless and can easily be trampled over. A traction kite will cast a large shadow and can be mistaken as predator to the birds so all kiteboarders must keep their kite over the water when near a preservation.
Siesta Key has 3 main spots to launch a kite/wind board and depending on the wind direction, you must choose wisely. Crescent Beach (access 12) is best on a WNW,NW or North wind. Just be careful near the rocks, the current can work against you and rob your wind.
Siesta Public Beach works well out of the South. Be careful near shore, strong current can rob your wind. Launch just north of the swim zone near Beach Rd. and Avenida Del Mare, but be aware of the preservation to the north (no shadows).
The last beach access also works for a WNW,NW wind. Sailing is popular here due to the proximity of Big Pass channel.
And finally be cautious of the parasail boats and lines. The boats are supposed to be 500ft offshore but they often drive closer to compete for advertising ground near shore. In my experience, the captains can sometimes be void of caution, so keep tabs on the sky.
The Siesta Fiesta is a marvelous event. Ocean Blvd. and part of Beach Rd. usually get blocked off so tents can setup and people can wander. There’s always something new at Siesta Fiesta. In general, it’s a place where people can sell their homemade food and goods. Some of the main attractions include kettle corn, paintings, metal and glass arts, jewelry, tie dye clothing, wildlife installations, live music. A scaled down version of the Fiesta is hosted sometimes on the beach, at the main lot, near the tennis courts. Check out the events page for updates.
The farmers market is hosted in the village on Sunday Mornings. It’s not as large as the one downtown or near Phillippi Creek, but it’s perfect for locals that need their fix on quality organic food and Waltz Fish Market has some of the best seafood around.
The Village is a great place to unwind from the beach. You can get food and drinks, ice-cream and gifts. If you wind up at the Big Olaf, I recommend you try their toasted coconut ice-cream. At night, the clubs come alive with music and if that’s your thing, I recommend visiting on Wednesday (ladies' night) or Friday/Saturday.
4th of July
If you're looking for awesome fireworks, hit up Siesta on the fourth. Period.
Siesta Key Improvements
A 12 million dollar upgrade is in order to improve Siesta Key. Basically, all the existing beachside facility buildings are going to be torn down and replaced with more parking. New (unobtrusive) buildings will be added on the sidelines to keep from blocking the view. Improvements started in 2013. Stay posted on our events page for more Siesta Key news.
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