Sarasota, located on the stunning Gulf Coast of Florida, has long been a magnet for travelers seeking a slice of paradise. With its miles of shoreline, there’s a beach for every type of beachgoer. Whether you’re looking to unwind, explore, or play, Sarasota beaches offer an array of experiences that go beyond just sun and sand.
Something that we love about Florida’s Gulf Coast is that it is a playground for beach enthusiasts. Sarasota beaches are no exception. With its pristine beaches that offer a blend of natural beauty and the luxuries of this vibrant city, it is a destination you won’t want to miss.
With our expertise, we’ll take you on a journey to discover the best beaches Sarasota has to offer. Each has its own unique charm and attractions. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful escape, thrilling water sports, or a place to soak in the sun’s rays, Sarasota has the perfect beach with powdery white sands for every beachgoers.
So let’s dive into the top Sarasota beach destinations that await you this year.
Top Things to Book in Sarasota Before You Leave Home
Few things are more frustrating on vacation than missing out on that amazing hotel or tour because it is sold out. Here are my top things to book before your vacation.
🎡 Most Popular Things to Do in Sarasota:
1. Kayak through the Mangrove Tunnels – see dolphins and manatees on this small group tour
2. Private Sunset Charter – enjoy the fantastic Florida sunset from your small boat
🛏️Where to Stay in Sarasota
1. Siesta Key Palms Resort – two outdoor pools and top-rated by guests
2. Hotel Indigo Sarasota – stylish charm and all the amenities you could desire
17 Top Sarasota Beaches
Table of Contents
- 17 Top Sarasota Beaches
- 1. Siesta Key Beach
- 2. Lido Key Beach
- 3. Nokomis Beach
- 4. Venice Beach
- 5. Brohard Paw Park
- 6. Caspersen Beach
- 7. Manasota Key Beach
- 8. Blind Pass Beach
- 9. Crescent Beach
- 10. Turtle Beach
- 11. Palmer Point Beach
- 12. Longboat Key Beaches
- 13. Whitney Beach
- 14. North Jetty Beach
- 15. Service Club Park
- 16. Canine Club Beach
- 17. Indian Mound Park
- In Conclusion
1. Siesta Key Beach
Siesta Key Beach has long held its reputation as one of the best beaches in the United States. TripAdvisor even ranked it second on the list of top 10 U.S. beaches. Nestled between Roberts Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Siesta Key has some of the softest, cool-to-the-touch quartz sands we’ve ever experienced. But there’s more to this beach than its powdery sands.
The beach’s expansive shoreline provides a lot of space to spread out. You can find your own secluded spot to relax, even during peak seasons. The beach area is family-friendly and welcomes visitors of all ages. It is the perfect beach for sunbathing, picnics, and sandcastle building.
You can also enjoy boogie boarding, beach volleyball, and the crystal-clear Gulf waters for swimming and snorkeling. And, if you’re looking for a romantic Florida sunset experience, Siesta Key is unbeatable.
If you are more interested in local wildlife, Siesta Key Beach is a nesting ground for sea turtles. During the nesting season, you might have the incredible opportunity to witness baby sea turtles making their journey to the sea. Sarasota County takes conservation seriously and has programs in place to protect these precious creatures and their habitats.
2. Lido Key Beach
Lido Key Beach, situated in Sarasota, is a family’s dream come true. Its tranquil waters and gentle surf make it a popular spot for families and water enthusiasts. Your children will have a blast building sandcastles and collecting seashells while you enjoy a relaxing day on the shore.
The beach’s eco-tourism options and sunset cruises provide unique opportunities to explore the surrounding waters and ecosystems. Lido Beach is also the perfect place for deep-sea fishing, dolphin watching, and sailing.
South Lido Park and Ted Sperling Park, nearby nature reserves, offer hiking, birdwatching, and kayaking, something we have truly enjoyed doing as a family. Lastly, the nearby St. Armands Circle is a charming shopping and dining district where you can explore boutique stores, galleries, and diverse cuisines. It’s the perfect way to end the evening after a long day at the beach.
3. Nokomis Beach
Nokomis Beach, located on Casey Key, is Sarasota County’s oldest public beach. It’s a peaceful and less developed area, making it perfect if you’re looking for a serene spot. The absence of heavy commercialization makes this an unspoiled beauty.
But don’t worry, you can do almost everything here. From sunbathing and swimming to picnicking, canoeing, and kayaking, there’s an activity for everyone to enjoy. As a turtle nesting area, dogs are not allowed at this beach. However, the absence of crowds and the pristine surroundings make Nokomis Beach a true coastal gem to visit.
4. Venice Beach
Venice Beach, in Sarasota County, is famous for its wide expanse of white sand and clear blue waters. This popular destination is a hotspot for swimming, sunbathing, and fishing. The beach is a quarter-mile from a coral reef, which allows you to find seashells and watch dolphins play.
We love a good beach with easy access and amenities, and Venice Beach does not disappoint. The beach has free parking, lifeguards, food concessions, picnic areas, and two sand volleyball courts. Venice Beach is also the proud host of the “Shark’s Tooth Festival,” making it an exciting destination for fossil enthusiasts.
Shark tooth hunting is popular here. This is a unique and thrilling activity that draws visitors from all over the world and it is known as the shark tooth capital of the world. The beach’s unique geological makeup makes it an ideal location for treasure hunting. So don’t forget to bring your sifter and bucket for collecting these ancient relics.
Sarasota is less than one hour from St Petersburg and Tampa. Check out my articles on the best beaches in St Petersburg, things to do in St Petersburg, best beaches in Tampa, things to do for adults in Tampa and things to do in downtown Tampa.
5. Brohard Paw Park
Brohard Paw Park in Venice is a unique destination for dogs and their owners. The park’s dog-friendly beach and facilities are a testament to the pet-loving community in Venice. It’s not just a place for dogs to play and swim; it’s also a hub for pet owners to connect and share their love for their four-legged companions.
Here, dogs can play and swim off-leash while their owners enjoy the beachside setting. The park offers water fountains, dog showers, and waste stations, the epitome of a luxurious dog beach experience. This place sets the highest standard for pet-friendly beaches in the Florida Gulf Coast.
6. Caspersen Beach
Caspersen Beach, located just south of Venice Beach, is a more secluded and unique beach. It’s the longest beach in Sarasota County and is renowned for its prehistoric shark teeth and fossils buried in the sand. We have always loved a good opportunity to go hunting for shark teeth, everyone always has a great time.
This beach also has some great amenities like free parking, restrooms, and outdoor showers. We also love that it has a nice boardwalk to walk through. However, the best part is the trails. These beautiful nature trails go through marshes, mangroves, and tidal flats.
They offer excellent opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. So keep your binoculars handy, as you might spot some unique bird species or even a manatee or dolphin frolicking in the nearby waters.
7. Manasota Key Beach
Manasota Beach is situated on the north end of Manasota Key. It has a serene and spacious beachfront with boat ramps and is a great spot for fishing enthusiasts. Spanning 14 acres, this beach is full of lush tropical foliage, making it a beloved spot among locals. Just a short drive from Englewood, it’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle.
What makes this beach truly special are the hidden treasures awaiting discovery beneath its sands. This beach is known for its countless smaller shark teeth easily found along its shores. It’s like stepping into a prehistoric world as you explore the shoreline. As a bonus, you’ll also find a convenient building with bathrooms, cozy gazebos, and handy showers for rinsing off.
8. Blind Pass Beach
Blind Pass Beach, located on Manasota Key, is a lesser-known gem best known for its natural beauty. It’s a perfect spot for shell collectors and a quieter alternative to the nearby Englewood Beach. The beach features nearly 3,000 feet of beachfront.
This beach has breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico you won’t want to miss. The beach’s untouched landscapes and gorgeous shoreline are a photographer’s dream. You will find some great amenities like free parking, picnic tables, restrooms, and a fishing dock. For those like us, who like exploring, they have a canoe launch and some mangrove trails. This place is a true sanctuary for nature lovers.
9. Crescent Beach
Crescent Beach is situated on Siesta Key and is a quieter and less crowded alternative to Siesta Beach. Its white sands and turquoise waters are a scene to behold. You’ll often find us here just seeking relaxation and the occasional beach game.
Because the sand here is hard-packed, you can arrange for games like frisbee and volleyball. It’s also an excellent spot for beach biking. Whether strolling along the shoreline or enjoying a beachside picnic, this beach encourages you to slow down and savor the moment. However, if you’re up for some beachside adventure, Crescent Beach has also got you covered.
10. Turtle Beach
Turtle Beach in Siesta Key has some unique dark-gray sands. This comes from the shell fragments and black/brown fossils that get mixed in with its white quartz sand. It’s not just the sand that sets it apart; it’s also a critical nesting site for sea turtles.
Witnessing these majestic creatures laying their eggs is a remarkable experience connecting us more with the natural world. If you are lucky enough, you might get to witness their nesting rituals too. The beach is also an excellent spot for shelling. The sand is coarser, and because of fewer visitors, you stand a good chance of bringing home some treasures.
11. Palmer Point Beach
Palmer Point Beach is an island beach connected to Turtle Beach. It became an island beach after Midnight Pass was closed in 1984. Because of this, it offers even more privacy than other locations. It is approximately a 15-minute walk from parking, but this makes it an ideal destination if you are seeking beach solitude.
Exploring this beach feels like stepping into an untouched wilderness, and the effort required to reach it only adds to its allure. This gently sloping beach has a wonderful dune system with native coastal vegetation. You will often find many gopher tortoises at this beach.
While it lacks on-site parking and facilities, it does reward you with unspoiled natural beauty. This beach is perfect for boating, hiking, birdwatching, and wildlife watching.
12. Longboat Key Beaches
Longboat Key Beaches are located on the barrier island of Longboat Key. They offer a serene and secluded coastal getaway amongst a mix of private homes and resorts. However, you will find public access to these beaches and be rewarded with their soft, white sands and clear turquoise waters.
The island’s laid-back atmosphere and beautiful shores invite you to unwind and reconnect with nature. You’ll find that the beaches are less crowded than some of the more popular tourist destinations. This makes them the perfect destination for couples looking for a romantic getaway.
The island’s coastal mangrove trails are excellent for exploring. However, if you’re looking for a calmer retreat, this place is great for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing as well. The mix of upscale resorts, restaurants, and natural beauty is what makes Longboat Key Beaches special.
13. Whitney Beach
Whitney Beach is located in the northern part of Longboat Key. Whitney is a quiet haven that is rarely crowded as it extends behind condominiums. The beach is fairly wide for Gulf Coast standards. You’ll find this to be especially true when the tide goes out. There’s always plenty of room to play and spread.
We recommend bringing a good beach tote along with your necessities since the beach doesn’t provide modern conveniences. However, it makes up for it with its white sands and clear waters. It’s a hidden oasis where you can leave behind the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We love every opportunity to let the waves’ soothing sounds wash away our worries.
14. North Jetty Beach
North Jetty Beach is located on Casey Key. This is more of a thrilling destination known for its surfing & boating. Surfers flock to North Jetty Beach to ride the waves, making it a hub for the local surf community. It’s not just a place for seasoned surfers; it’s also a fantastic spot to watch boats pass through the channel from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Gulf of Mexico.
The beach is also a popular fishing spot, perfect for picnics and boating fun. Its amenities include a canoe and kayak launch area, picnic tables, as well as barbecues and a playground. This is a great place to spend a day at the beach and try to spot some wildlife. This is the haven for water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers.
15. Service Club Park
Service Club Park in Venice, Florida, is a hidden gem on the beachfront. It has a well-kept wide boardwalk that leads to the sandy shores. You will find private covered picnic tables and grills. We love these great additions; they are perfect for taking a beachside lunch or family gatherings. Now and then, we appreciate a destination where we don’t have to prepare everything for it; this park offers these commodities.
You will find a wide range of amenities at this park. It has sand volleyball courts, bike racks, and a playground for kids. These make a great combination for enjoying a game in the sun and having a fun day at the beach. The paid parking lot is within walking distance of the beach, bathrooms, and showers. Service Club Park is a great quiet spot for picnicking, beachfront fun, and sunset gazing in Venice.
16. Canine Club Beach
Canine Club Dog Park in Sarasota is an excellent destination for four-legged friends and their owners. This beach is situated within Gillespie Park and features two fenced areas – one for small and large dogs.
It has comfortable shaded seating areas for pet parents to enjoy while their doggies get to run and play off-leash. You’ll also find doggie drinking fountains, lots of trees, agility training areas, and shade structures. It’s a great place to have some canine fun.
17. Indian Mound Park
Indian Mound Park is located in Englewood, Florida. This park is a key boat launching site in southern Sarasota County. You will notice this is not your typical sandy beach. Nevertheless, the park offers paved boat ramps, docks, and parking. This is a great place to launch a kayak or canoe and go exploring.
You will also find the convenience of picnic tables and public restrooms, and you can bring your dogs to play. What makes this place special is that this park’s landscape bears witness to prehistoric indigenous habitation.
Its mounds are believed to be constructed over 1,500–2,000 years ago, and it’s a site for burials. If you’re looking to enjoy water activities or are curious about its unique history, Indian Mound Park is a great place to visit.
Note: Remember to check local regulations and restrictions before visiting, as some beaches might have specific rules or might be undergoing maintenance.
Sarasota’s beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast have an enticing blend of natural beauty and city luxuries. From the more iconic ones like Siesta Key Beach to the secluded ones like Palmer Point Beach, each offers something unique. We are a family that enjoys exploring, and with that comes the need to seek variety. We love to provide recommendations that will cater to a variety of tastes and interests.
Sarasota’s beaches deliver whether you seek family-friendly shores, secluded retreats, or dog-friendly fun. With their pristine sands, crystal-clear waters, and abundant recreational opportunities, these beaches will make for an unforgettable coastal experience. Sarasota’s beaches are your ticket to a perfect Gulf Coast vacation in 2023.
This guest post was written by Candice from Exploring the Gulf.