ONE OF THE BEST BEACHES IN AMERICA
The sand stretches as far as you can see, white and glittering in the sun, and it looks like sugar. Some of the locals will tell you that an Indian princess blessed Siesta Beach long ago. Others believe the sand itself has magical healing powers. Only 2 years ago, Dr. Stephen Leatherman (also known as “Dr. Beach”) named Siesta Beach on Siesta Key the “Number One Beach in America.” Dr. Leatherman should know; he’s the co-director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research, and he’s been ranking America’s beaches for more than 20 years. Leatherman’s judgement was reaffirmed early in 2013, when TripAdvisor.com ranked Siesta Beach as the top beach in the continental United States, the second best beach in the nation, and number 16 in the entire world.
For starters, the sand on Siesta Beach is 99% quartz. Millennia ago, it washed south, free of coral and shell pieces, from the Appalachians. It’s pure and white, and it won’t burn your feet in the summer. The sand doesn’t slope, either. For more than 200 yards, it fans out flat to the sparkling Gulf of Mexico. No seaweed indicates where the tide line is, and no shells wash up with the waves. It’s nothing but smooth white sand packed so hard, you can ride a bicycle along the shoreline; yet the sand’s also so soft, you’ll feel like you’re walking on flour.
Siesta Beach is smoke-free, too. Pets and glass containers are prohibited. No overnight camping is allowed either, although campsites are offered at nearby Turtle Beach, on Siesta Key’s southern tip.
Siesta Beach Park’s splendid amenities include 13 beach accesses, 800 parking spots, beach volleyball, a fitness trail, 4 lighted tennis courts, concessions, restrooms, and an ADA-compatible playground. Siesta Beach Park is also handicapped-accessible, and admission is free. There is also year-round lifegaurds on duty. No dogs are allowed, but they’re welcome on leashes at nearby Phillippi Estate Park. Sand-sculpting, volleyball tournaments, arts and crafts exhibitions, and charity runs are conducted at Siesta Beach Park throughout the year.
To complete this dreamy landscape, Siesta Key’s annual average temperature is 73 degrees. Gentle breezes from the Gulf of Mexico cool off even the warmest late-summer afternoons, and in most years, you can stroll Siesta Beach in shorts on Christmas Day. In fact, a large percentage of Siesta Key residents first came here just to visit Siesta Beach. Prospective homebuyers will find stylish luxury homes and waterfront condos on Siesta Beach, the beach that’s consistently ranked at the top.