Things To Do in Siesta Key Florida
Southeast,  Travel

27 Best Things To Do In Siesta Key, FL | A Complete Vacation Guide

This guide will help you find the best things to do in Siesta Key, Florida, during your vacation.

Escape to one of the best beaches in the United States with a visit to Siesta Key, Florida. We are spilling our list highlighting some of the best things to do during your visit to Siesta Key Beach, Florida, whether you are a beach bum seeking white sandy beaches or a foodie wanting to sample the best local cuisine we have you covered.

Siesta Key Beach is perfect for a family beach vacation, romantic getaway, or friend’s retreat! With endless attractions, beautiful vacation rentals, along with delicious restaurants, this barrier island sees many visitors return year after year.

Top beaches in the usa at Siesta Key

Before diving into the best things to do during your visit to Siesta Key, we need to cover a few essential things before you pack your suitcase. This page contains affiliate links.

A Guide To Siesta Key, Florida

Siesta Key is a barrier island right outside Sarasota, Florida, and it hugs the Gulf of Mexico, offering dazzling turquoise water alongside pristine beaches. Summer is the peak time for tourists as many families flock to the area to enjoy a well-deserved beach vacation, and I found that the summer months get too hot outside with lots of humidity.

When to Visit Siesta Key, Florida

The ideal time to visit Siesta Key is in April or May after the spring break crowds have left and before peak summer tourism season arrives. The weather is warm, prices are more affordable, and attractions are less crowded.

The winter months also tend to be a great time to visit, especially those seeking respite from a harsh northern winter. If planning a visit during the late summer/ early, keep in mind it is peak hurricane season. I would recommend purchasing travel insurance or checking your rental agreement to see what the procedures are in the event of a hurricane.

Siesta Beach Florida

How To Get To Siesta Key, Florida

Depending on where you are coming from, many visitors opt to fly. The nearest airport is Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ). From the airport, the drive time is roughly 45 minutes, depending on traffic. Rental cars are available through a variety of different companies.

Tip: Book your rental car in advance. When I say in advance, I mean when you buy your plane ticket or sooner, rental cars are a hot commodity these days, and you can get caught without one if you don’t plan.

Bringing your vehicle has many perks, especially when you don’t have to pay for airfare or rentals. Not to mention to can pack way more things without the fear of going overweight on your luggage. For those driving, the closest major highway is I-75 which will take you into Sarasota, and there is a gas station in Siesta Key Village.

Getting Around Siesta Key

Siesta Breeze Trolley

The Siesta Key Area Trolley is regulated through the Sarasota County Area Transportation known as the “SKAT.” It is free for all riders. The Trolley operates seven days a week, including major holidays, between 10 am and 10 pm.

The Siesta Key Trolley transports passengers between Turtle Beach and Siesta Key Village in 30-minute intervals. There are three trolley stops at Siesta Key Village, Siesta Key Beach, and Turtle Beach.

Taxis are also available in the area.

Parking In Siesta Key

The best area for parking is at the Siesta Key Public Beach Parking Lot. With nearly 200 parking spots, it is easier to find an available spot since people are always coming and going. However, I advise arriving early to ensure a parking spot and snag a good place at the beach.

There are also 12 public beach access lots with a variety of parking spots available. Most of them are tiny, with only 25-30 spots.

There are metered lots throughout Siesta Key, so ensure to pay the meter if you park in one of these lots.

Where To Stay In Siesta Key, FL

Vacation Rentals

Many guests to Siesta Key often are on the hunt for a condo or vacation rental. There are tons of beautiful properties, houses, and condos available on Airbnb and Siesta Key Beachside Villas and Tropical Breeze Resort are popular rentals.

Budget Tip: When booking on Airbnb or VRBO, check if a resort or property management company owns the unit you are looking for. Often it is cheaper to book directly through a company than on Airbnb. We have saved upwards of $500 by doing this.

Great Places To Visit In Siesta Beach Florida


Up and down the coast, Siesta Key has a variety of hotels ranging from full resorts to budget-friendly accommodations. Those not looking to stay on the beach but drive-in may find better options in Sarasota. A popular hotel is the Hyatt Residence Club Sarasota.


Camping along the beach is a perfect way to spend a vacation and one of the most affordable. Turtle Beach Campground offers 39 campsites with full hookups. It is a lovely campground within steps to the beach, laundry facilities, picnic area, and WIFI.

Best Things To Do In Siesta Key, Florida

Visit The Top Florida Beaches

Grab the beach chairs, pack a cooler for a day of fun for the entire family. The main attractions at Siesta Key are the white sand beaches, shallow waters, and beach activities. These beautiful beaches are are a great spot to spend your next vacation.

Top beaches in Siesta Key Florida

Siesta Beach/Siesta Key Beach

Awarded #1 beach in the United States in 2020 by TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Awards, visitors find it difficult to leave the sugary sand, turquoise waters, and the soft waves coming in from the Gulf of Mexico. Siesta Beach is also known as Siesta Key Beach.

The Siesta Key Public Beach is has a public parking lot, picnic areas, a beach-themed playground, bathrooms, and concessions. The Siesta Trolley makes a stop at the beach, making it easy to get to from anywhere on the island. The beach is also close to Siesta Key Village, which has plenty of restaurants and shops.

sandy white beaches at Crescent Beach

Crescent Beach

Roughly one mile south of Siesta Key Beach in beautiful Crescent Beach. The beaches are practically identical except that there is very little parking at Crescent Beach. Look for beach access #12. Crescent Beach seems to be more low-key, making it the ideal place for relaxation and families.

Turtle Beach

In the southern portion of the island is Turtle Beach. Known as a sea turtle nesting habitat, it is not uncommon to encounter loggerhead sea turtle nests. Nesting season runs from May to October, so all guests must remove any beach gear, umbrellas, chairs, etc., from the beach area. In addition, lights from nearby resorts and rentals must be dim enough that they can’t be seen from the beach.

Turtle Beach

The sand at Turtle Beach is slightly coarser than the other beaches found at Siesta Key. Paddleboarders and kayaks are frequent here, as the ocean is relatively calm and the wildlife in the area is abundant.

Turtle Beach is located off Midnight Pass Road at the south end of Siesta Key at 9000 Blind Pass Road. Turtle Beach Pier is also here!

Lido Beach

Venture to the neighboring barrier island to catch the stunning sunset Lido Key Beach. A quick walk from St. Armond Circle will have you on the beach with your toes in the silky sand. The beach itself is large, offering plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the picturesque sunset.

Lido Beach

If you are visiting during the day, there is a hiking trail and foot showers at the public access points for Lido Key Beach. The beach does have public parking available.

Conservation Activity: Clean Up The Beach

During your next evening stroll along the beach, make a point to take a bag to pick up trash you stumble across. It was appalling the amount of garbage left behind.

We implemented this with our daughter during our nightly walks, discussing the importance of conservation. She took her new clean-up job seriously to protect the sea turtles and other wildlife in the area.

Fun Things To Do In Siesta Key

Siesta Key Drum Circles

Are you looking for the best live music experience? Every Sunday evening, roughly an hour before sunset, drum circles gather on three local beaches. It is an event that brings together people from all walks of life, as a diverse group forms a circle around the beating drums as if by magic.

Where To Catch The Drum Circles

  • The Siesta Key Drum Circle gathers on the public beach, to the left of the concession stand. 948 Beach Rd, Siesta Key, FL 34242
  • The Englewood Drum Circle can be found at 2100 North Beach Rd, Englewood, FL 34223.
  • Nokomis Drum Circle is located at 207 Casey Key Rd, Nokomis, FL 34275. This group gathers on Saturday and Wednesday evenings.

Best Things To Do In Siesta Key On The Water

Rent Jet Skis

Hop aboard your very own jet ski for a thrilling adventure. Jet skis can be rented in 1-4 hour time increments or all-day options depending on who you rent through. Most rentals come with gas, lifejackets, and wet suits.

Jet Ski rental in Siesta Key Florida

Additional Water Sports

Siesta Key Watersports and other water sports places offer additional attractions such as Dolphin Tours, Sunset Cruises, Fishing Charters, Sunset Tour, and Parasail rides. It’s always worth asking if they have a special or discount if you book more than one activity with them.

Parasail Siesta

Siesta Key Beach may be gorgeous from the beach level, but wait till you see it from up high! Kids as young as five years old can enjoy this adventure! Often the boat ride to and from the parasailing is just as enjoyable as the flight itself.

Parasailing in Siesta Key

Go Kayaking In Siesta Key

One of the most popular tours in Sarasota is the Guided Kayak Mangrove Tunnel Tour. The tour takes place off Lido Key, with guides taking you through Sarasota’s exotic mangrove tunnels and into Sarasota Bay. Frequently, guests will see manatees, dolphins, and other wildlife.

Go Snorkeling at Point of Rocks

One of the best snorkeling spots in Siesta Key is Point of Rocks at the southern end of Crescent Beach. It is a collection of limestone rocks formation that attracts a variety of sea life. To get there, you have to walk to the very end of Crescent Beach. You will have to walk alongside a barrier wall, which means you will have to get in the water (think waist high), walk along the wall a good minute until it ends at a small secluded beach.

In all honestly, it looks like a private beach, but I didn’t see a sign. However, there are plenty of tourists visiting. It is a great place to collect shells, sea life, and schools of fish.

Find The Best Place To Get Ice Cream

While I am happy to give two excellent recommendations of excellent ice cream stops in Siesta Key, a personal mission is to try as many a possible. Depending on the length of your stay, have a hunt for the unique flavor, best vanilla, or sundae!

Grab Ice Cream At The Orange Octopus

Get a scoop of handmade slow-churned on-site ice cream at the Orange Octopus. They offer a wide variety of unique flavors such as Kentucky Honey Bourbon, Ooey Gooey Brownie, and More! Milkshakes, sorbet, and coffees are also available. 

Orange Octopus Ice Cream in Siesta Key

Big Olaf Creamery

The locals guided us to Big Olaf Creamery for the best ice cream in Sarasota. Located in St. Armands Circle, we found ourselves indulging in delicious creamy cones that were the envy of those passing by. Keep in mind that Big Olaf’s is a cash-only establishment.

Big Olaf Creamery in Sarasota FL

Spend Time At Siesta Village

A short walk from Siesta Key Beach is the Siesta Village. Stroll through the village to find plenty of great things to do, from restaurants to boutiques. The local post office, a supermarket, gas station, and beauty salons can be found at Siesta Village. 

The Best Restaurants At Siesta Key Village

Travel Planning Tip: Some of the restaurants do take reservations. I highly recommend making them weeks in advance to ensure you get a table when you want. 

The Cottage

Whether you are looking for fresh seafood or a juicy hamburger, The Cottage at Siesta Key Village is one of our favorite hangouts. A lush patio makes the ideal spot for sipping on their signature sangrias while the sound of live music floats through the air.

The Cottage Lobster Rolls

While everything on the menu is extraordinary, we highly recommend the New England Lobster Roll, The Grouper Sandwich, and the Billionaire Burger. They also offer a kids menu; my daughter says to get the burger! It’s the best she has ever had!

Best places to eat in Siesta Key: The Cottage

The Hub Baja Grill

The scene at the Hub is a lively one with a patio full of colorful umbrellas, margaritas alongside delicious Baja cuisine. Munch on chips and salsa while the live music entertains. Then choose an entree from endless tasty options. Finish off your meal with an order of delectable churros.

Siesta Key Oyster Bar

Loving known as the “SKOB” by locals, this Oyster Bar serves up upscale pub favorites such as wings and burgers alongside fresh oysters. Handcrafted cocktails and an incredible Sunday Brunch paired with an island vibe make the SKOB a must during your visit to Siesta Key.

Siesta Key Oyster Bar

Daiquiri Deck

If you are on the hunt for a fun spot to grab a drink, the Daiquiri Deck is the place. We opted not to eat here; however, many people had good things to say, and the food we saw coming out looked good. They have lots of seafood options along with oysters.

There are two Daiquiri Deck locations in Siesta Key. One in the Siesta Key village and the other in the South Village. You will find additional locations in St. Armands, Venice, and Anna Maria.

Venture Into Downtown Sarasota

Downtown Sarasota is beautifully situated on Sarasota Bay, offering a colorful, upbeat scene of eateries, theaters, shopping boutiques, and artist enclaves. Catch a performance at the Sarasota Opera, stroll through one of the many art galleries or take the kids to play at a circus-themed playground.

Payne Park In Sarasota

Come one, come all to the incredible circus-themed playground in Sarasota, Florida. Payne Park is home to various amenities, but the star of the show is the playground that lets kids’ imagination take soar as they become the ringmaster of their circus.

Check out our Tips on Visiting Payne Park.

Payne Circus Park in Sarasota

Owen’s Fish Camp

For some of the freshest seafood on the west coast of Florida, pay a visit to Owen’s Fish Camp. The vibe is hard to beat. Feeling as you have been transported into the bayou, bluegrass music fills the air, while the smell of roasting oysters makes your mouth water. The old tire swing, fishing gear, and ambiance feel like you have entered an old fishing shanty.

Owens Fish Camp

The food was incredible and fresh. Once again, I don’t think you can go wrong with anything on the menu. We ordered the catch of the day, which was superb.

TIP: Owen’s Fish Camp does not take reservations. Be prepared to wait or arrive when they first open. We came at 4:30 pm on a Thursday, and the wait was already at 20-30 minutes.

Siam Gulf Sarasota

Sushi is king at Siam Gulf in Sarsota. Tucked away in a strip mall this trendy restaurant has all the Japanese and Thai vibes. Indulge in a scrumbcious Pad Thai or enjoy rolls of fresh sushi made to order.

Siam Gulf in Sarasota

Mote Marine and Laboratory

Marvel at sharks, sea turtles, manatees, and endless undersea curiosities. One remarkable thing about Mote is it is more than an Aquarium; and it is a real laboratory where actual scientific research happens. There is an abundance of hands-on exhibits, educational displays, and special presentations with a focus on learning.

Mote Marine: Sea turtles in Sarasota

Keep in mind Mote has multiple buildings that you get admission into with your ticket to see all types of marine life. Follow the paths or ask an employee who is always willing to help get you to where you want to go.

Check out our guide of things to do in Sarasota With Kids for more great ideas.

St. Armond’s Circle

About a five-minute drive from Mote Aquarium is St. Armands Circle. This plaza is full of shops, restaurants, and spas. We recommend parking closer to nearby Lido Key beach so that you can easily walk between the two.

St. Armands Circle is known for its unique luxury shopping experiences, but they also have plenty of shops to grab that perfect Sarasota souvenir. Family-friendly restaurants and places to grab a sweet treat can also be found throughout St. Armands Circle. We grabbed a box of macarons from Le Macaron French Pastries.

St. Armand's Circle

The Columbia

Dine at the oldest restaurant in Sarasota that the same family has owned since they opened in 1959. While the original restaurant can be found in Tampa, which opened in 1905, this Florida staple serves up traditional Spanish dishes. Start your dinner out with the Original “1905” Martini or one of their famous sangrias. Sample a variety of their tapas or select one of their many delectable entrees.

The Columbia restaurant

More Fun Things To Do In Siesta Key, FL

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Families will enjoy visiting this fun Sarasota staple that is known for its great animal shows. Come feed flamingos, hold a parrot, and get your picture with an alligator. Be sure to stay for their Jungle Bird Show.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

The Children’s Rainforest Garden is a must while visiting Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. With a 100-year-old Banyan Tree as the centerpiece, the garden is full of caves, swinging bridges, waterfalls, and more. The best part is that this was designed with kids in mind to play and explore freely. 

Siesta Key Bike Rentals

See the island in a whole new way by touring it on a bike. Bike rentals can be found throughout the island. Take your bike from one side of the island to the next, while discovering all the fun places in between.

Things To Do In Siesta Key Florida

Day Trip To St. Petersburg

Hop in your car for a fun adventure to St. Pete’s Beach. At only an hour away, plan to spend the whole day admiring the Old Florida Charm that St. Pete’s is known for. Get our complete list of things to do in St. Petersburg and start planning your itinerary!

Things To Do In St. Petersburg FL

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