Siesta Key is a great place for any beach bum seeking a relaxing getaway on what most consider one of Tampa Bay’s most pleasant barrier islands. At Siesta Key, you won’t find the typical beach crowd that always leads to noise and confusion. Forget about parking woes, watching for glass in the sand and dodging cigarette butts; Siesta Key is pure beach vacation bliss.
Depending on where you live in Tampa Bay, Siesta Key is on average an hour or so southbound on I-75. For those of you who live on the east side of Tampa, I-75 south is ideal. Pinellas county residents will use 275 for a direct shot to Siesta Key. Taking 275 will allow you to experience one of Tampa Bay’s greatest driving experiences: navigating the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Constructed of steel and concrete, this bridge is famous for its great span of 4.1 miles reaching a maximum height of 431 feet above the main channel into Tampa Bay.
Sunshine Skyway Bridge
I-275 South and North
After you get past the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, it is just a short trip southbound on I-75 to exit 205/CR-72 west. Driving through the town, you’ll quickly notice the tropical atmosphere greeting you as you approach the causeway leading to the barrier island. Don’t stop yet, you’ll want to go all the way to the island because every second not spent enjoying the relaxing vibes of Siesta Key is a moment wasted.
What To Do
Siesta Key, FL
You can’t come to Siesta Key without spending a few hours laying in the sand or splashing around in the surf of Siesta Beach. With cool white sands and shallow waters, this is the perfect beach for anyone, families included. If you get tired of just laying around on the shore, it offers picnic tables, soccer fields, tennis courts, volleyball courts and trails. This is the biggest public beach in Siesta key, and if you want somewhere more quiet away from the crowds, walk over to nearby Turtle Beach or Palmer Point Beach.
Double Nickel Charter Fishing
Siesta Key, Fl
Get out on the water and try to catch your own dinner with Double Nickel Charter Fishing. Run by captains and brothers Will and Nicholas Froelich, this 35-foot fishing boat is the only charter fishing boat running out of Siesta Key. This fishing boat is a good fit for both families looking for a relaxing day fishing and serious sportsmen after a great catch. The captains and their guests have been known to catch a variety of fish on trips, including illusive swordfish and sharks.
Crowley Museum and Nature Center
16405 Myakka Road
Sarasota, FL 34240
Take a break from the beach and head into the forest at Crowley Museum and Nature Center. It offers more than three miles of nature trails for you to explore, making it the perfect place to take your kids and let them run around and enjoy the outdoors. With picnic tables and pavilions on site, this nature center is also a great place for lunch. Take a guided tour, check out the old pioneer buildings or spend a few hours learning about Florida’s past at the pioneer museum.
Sandpiper Beach Club Resort
6414 Midnight Pass Road
Sarasota, FL 34242
The Sandpiper is where all of the locals send their families and friends. While it may not be loaded with the frills some travelers enjoy, it is a great place for the budget savvy who want ready access to the beach. The rooms are fairly large and are always super clean, making it the best bang for your buck in the area.
Tropical Breeze Resort
140 Columbus Blvd.
Siesta Key, FL 34242
Click HERE for rates and reservations
The Tropical Breeze Resort is another place for budget-minded guests but with a little more pizazz than your typical beach dive. The rooms might not be as big, and the amenities not as nice; but the location is what makes the Tropical Breeze Resort an ideal place for your weekend getaway. Skip the pool and head straight for the nearby beach when you stay here.
Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster
1200 Old Stickney Point Road
Sarasota, FL 34242
Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster is rated quite highly amongst the locals and friendly seafood connoisseurs. Tasty and delightful, seafood is always fresh at this local fisherman’s wharf. If you are allergic to shellfish, this is not the place for you. The rich smell of fresh seafood surrounds you immediately upon entry. The decor is up to par as well, and the service is top-notch. Expect a great meal and dining experience from Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster.
Blue Smoke Island Grill
149 Avenida Messina
Sarasota, FL 34242
Blue Smoke Island Grill is a great place for those seeking a high-class meal. Like your typical expensive eatery, Blue Smoke offers a wine and dine experience that is unmatched by the rest of the island’s eateries. Offering a great selection of expensive and imported wines combined with fresh seafood and savory steaks, if you want to have a fancy night out on the town be sure to put Blue Smoke Island Grill on your to-do list.
Big Olaf Creamery of Siesta Key
5208 Ocean Blvd.
Sarasota, FL 34242
After your evening meal or midway through your day at the beach, there is nothing better than fresh ice cream from Big Olaf Creamery of Siesta Key. Always ready and fresh for you, be sure to stop in for a look at the classic way of making ice cream. Using a cold stone and only fresh ingredients, you may actually watch your dessert being prepared right before your eyes. For ice cream lovers and dessert fiends alike, no trip to Siesta Key is complete without a stop to see Big Olaf.
Currently residing in Tampa Bay, Michael Berenis is an experienced veteran from the world of automotive journalism and viral video production with notable content appearances on all major media venues. His work can be found at Examiner.com.