Florida is known all over the world as one of the top tourist destinations in the United States. The Sunshine State, as it is commonly known, has so much to offer, from theme parks to unique wildlife and wonderful weather all-year long. With one of the longest stretches of coastline of any American state, Florida is also home to dozens of world class beaches, attracting surfers, sunbathers, and beach-lovers from all four corners of the globe.
The city of Sarasota is one example of a wonderful beach spot in Florida. This city, located in Sarasota County, is situated on the west coast of the state, looking out over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and is well-known for being the home of several Florida Keys like Lido Key and Siesta Key, offering even more beautiful beaches to discover and explore. Whether you're looking to head out on the waves for some surfing and swimming, or simply walk or rest on the beach with a good book and some sunscreen, Sarasota is the perfect place to make some seaside memories.
Best Beaches in Sarasota
There are a lot of great beaches in and around Sarasota, with several dozen miles of coastline to be enjoyed in this area. Every beach is different, with some being better-suited to certain activities. So if you’re planning a trip to Sarasota and want to visit the right beaches for you, read on for some key details and overviews of the area’s best beaches.
- Venice Beach
This beach shares a name with the famous Venice Beach of Los Angeles, but it's not quite the same. Venice Beach in Sarasota is an extra special location and new visitors are blown away when they see what makes this beach so special. The nickname of Venice Beach is 'Shark Tooth Capital of the World' and this is because you simply can't walk along this beach without spotting some shark teeth that have been washed up onto the shore.
Many visitors end up taking a tooth or two home with them as unique souvenirs, and this beach is also fitted out with some great amenities like a boardwalk, concessions, and a picnic area. Outdoor showers can also be found here, along with restrooms, and lifeguards are always on duty to keep everyone safe.
- Turtle Beach
As the name suggests, Turtle Beach is a very popular spot with sea turtles. Many of them can be seen nesting on the shore, making for a truly incredible site, and it's not uncommon to see dolphins in this area too. This Sarasota beach is situated on the southern part of Siesta Key and features a lot of useful amenities like a playing area for the kids, picnic areas, boat ramps, a boardwalk, and restrooms.
There are a couple of great restaurants right nearby too, as well as the very popular Turtle Beach Campground for visitors who want to spend the night on Siesta Key. Kayaking is quite popular at this location, and Turtle Beach is actually one of the least-visited beaches in Sarasota, so it's a good pick for people who want to avoid the crowds.
- Caspersen Beach
This beach is located near the Venice part of town and offers direct access to another of Sarasota's top beaches: Venice Beach. Therefore, Caspersen Beach is one of the top spots to visit in Sarasota. It stretches out for over a mile and is a lovely spot to do some shelling, with a lot of pretty shells washing up on the shore.
You'll also have a great chance of spotting many species of seabirds at this Sarasota beach, as well as the possibility of spying some sea turtles too. As with Venice Beach, you can find shark teeth on Caspersen Beach, but not quite as frequently. This Sarasota beach is equipped with a lot of useful services like a playground, a boardwalk, restrooms, showers, and a kayak launch site.
- Longboat Key
If you're looking for one of the purest, cleanest, most untouched stretches of beaches in all of Florida, Longboat Key is the place to visit. This is the northernmost key in Sarasota and offers a huge stretch of warm, sandy coastline, with a little over ten miles of beach in total. Several parking spots can be found along Longboat Key, but visitors shouldn't expect the same sort of amenities they'd find back in the city itself.
One or two public toilets can be found here and there, but this particular Sarasota beach has been left largely untouched, resulting in a calm, peaceful ambience and relatively small crowds. As with many Florida beaches, lots of wildlife can be spotted here including dolphins and turtles.
- Lido Beach
Situated over on Lido Key, Lido Beach is one of Sarasota's prettiest and most popular beaches. Unlike some of the other Sarasota beaches on our list, this one can get crowded sometimes, but there's plenty of space for every guest, so you never get the feeling that it's too busy. The white sands here are simply stunning and the water itself always seems to be warm, calm, and welcoming.
This beach offers easy access and a lot of great amenities like chair and umbrella rentals, concession stands, a nearby restaurant, and more. There's also a community swimming pool at Lido Beach which is open for most of the year. It costs a few dollars to gain access to the pool, but if you're interested in taking a swim and relaxing with family or friends, it's a great spot to do so.