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Siesta Key Mini Guide: 5 Things to Know

Headed to Sarasota and the Gulf Side of Florida? Here’s what you need to know about Siesta Key.

Siesta Key Beach is famous for its fine sand.

What makes Siesta Key Beach unique is that its sand is made mostly of quartz, as opposed to coral, like most beaches in Florida. The quartz gives the sand a fine, white, sugar-like consistency that stays cool throughout the day, allowing you to walk barefoot comfortably even during the hottest portion of the afternoon. The quartz is said to originate from the Appalachian Mountains, making its way down to Florida in the rivers where it was eventually deposited into the Gulf.

PHOTO: Siesta Key Beach, Florida. (photo via Flickr/jonathansingel)

The vibe is like Memorial Day weekend, every day of the year.

Siesta Key Beach is not a place to go for solitude; it’s quite an energetic atmosphere. The everyday scene on the sand is very much like Memorial Day weekend of Fourth of July, with families posting up for the day with coolers full of beer, radios to play music, umbrellas for shade and carts full of sand toys any and every day of the week. You’ll want to prepare accordingly with your own provisions.

There is a drum circle on Sundays.

Something that proves this Florida community is not just for retirees is the weekly sunset drum circle. Meeting every Sunday on Siesta Key Beach, the gathering brings dancers, photographers, artists and musicians together for a sun-down celebration. Bring your chair and cooler, but don’t be afraid to participate. Many performers bring extra gear (like hula hoops), and anyone is free to bring their own instrument. The drum circle is not just a modern fad; in fact, it’s been happening for the past twenty years.

There is a wildlife preserve to explore.

For those that want to add a little exploration to their beach vacation, Siesta Key offers the chance to hike, boat or kayak in the Neville Wildlife Preserve on the south end of the island. Full of native plants, birds and, if you’re lucky, dolphins and manatees, the 35-acre preserve is a respite from the developed portion of the island and a great morning or late afternoon activity when temperatures are cooler.

Siesta Key is a full-service beach town, rum included.

If you’re staying in Siesta Key, there will be no need to go off island looking for anything; the island is well-equipped with condos and hotel rooms, shops, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, art galleries, convenience stores and many great restaurants.

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Check out the kick-back vibe at Siesta Key Oyster Bar or enjoy live music any night of the weekend throughout the various venues like the Hub Baja Grill and the Beach Club. Don’t miss out on trying the local rum, Siesta Key Rum, distilled in Sarasota.

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