Looking to explore Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast? Bliss out with seaside pleasures on the best beaches in Sarasota County. Known for its crystal-clear calm waters, powdery white sand, and amazing sea life, Sarasota is one of Florida’s most exciting seaside destinations.
Located on Sarasota Bay, the charming city of Sarasota invites travelers to kayak in the mangroves, comb beautiful beaches for prehistoric shark teeth, and soak up the sun on the Gulf of Mexico. Sarasota County is home to some of the finest beaches in the United States.
In 2020, Siesta Key was named the #1 beach in the continental U.S. Around Sarasota, you’ll also enjoy hidden gems like Manasota Key and Lido Key. This Southwest Florida beach vacation offers something for every type of beachgoer.
Ready to plan the perfect beach vacation in Sarasota, Florida? Find your paradise on one of these favorite Sarasota beaches.
Top-rated Sarasota beaches
Located in the southernmost part of Sarasota County, Turtle Beach is a popular destination for travelers. Perched on Siesta Key, it’s known for its powdery white sands and thinner tourist crowds than Siesta Beach.
Turtle Beach snagged its name from the many sea turtles that nest and lay their eggs here. From May 1 to October 31, you’re likely to see baby turtles embarking on their first journey from the sand to the crystal-clear waters.
With plenty of family-friendly amenities, it’s also a great beach to bring the kids to. There’s a walking path, volleyball nets, and kayaking and fishing opportunities. After a long day at the beach, you can enjoy a nice family meal in the picnic areas or food and drinks in one of the two restaurants nearby.
If you have a weekend or a few nights, Turtle Beach is one of the few Florida beaches offering camping, with plenty of tent sites available. Going to sleep to the sound of waves lapping the shore is an absolute dream!
Be aware: There are no lifeguards on duty at Turtle Beach. If you’re not confident in your swimming abilities, you may want to look to other Sarasota beaches like Siesta Beach.
Siesta Key Beach
Rated USA’s #1 beach in 2020, Siesta Key Beach is one of the must-see Sarasota attractions. Whether you’re a local Floridian or traveling from the west coast, you’re in for a fun day of sun and sand at the beautiful beaches of Siesta Key.
With its easy beach access, Siesta Key Beach is a favorite. Simply find a parking spot and hit the shores to enjoy one of the best beaches on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Siesta Key has a stunning sugar-white shoreline characterized by its quartz sand. The water is so clear and turquoise that you won’t believe your eyes.
Siesta Beach is the perfect choice for everyone—whether you want to relax on a lounger with a book, take a stroll on the boardwalk, go sunbathing, or grab a paddleboard and head out on the water. Make sure to reserve one of the picnic tables if you want somewhere to relax beside the sand beach. People start arriving early in the day and stay far after the sun has gone down for night parties and other special events.
Siesta Key is within walking distance of Siesta Key Village. You could spend multiple days in the small town and still always find something cool to explore. The seaside village offers a ton of cafes and shops for you to escape the high Florida sun. If you’re seeking a seaside adventure, it’s one of the best areas to stay in Sarasota for travelers.
Love Florida beaches untouched by society that go with the ebbs and flows of nature? Make your way to Caspersen Beach. With its nature trails, a coastline full of mangroves, and saltwater marshes, it’s one of Sarasota’s must-see attractions.
Caspersen Beach calls nature lovers with its amazing shelling discoveries. It’s the perfect place to gather prehistoric fossilized teeth. You’re bound to find more than just an adventurous day here.
To keep the sandy beach untouched and preserve its natural beauty, there are plenty of walkover bridges. You’ll also spot dune restorations that help keep the pristine shoreline intact.
Caspersen Beach is also a must-stop if you love birding and wildlife. Be sure to pack a pair of binoculars along with all your beach gear.
Looking for a beach day you don’t need to prepare for? Look no further than Lido Key. This island in the north of Sarasota County features a long stretch of superb sand over three beaches: North Lido Beach, Lido Key Beach, and South Lido Beach. No matter which Lido Key beach you chose, you can rent your chairs, umbrellas, and even enjoy refreshments at the concessions.
Lido Key is home to some of the most popular Sarasota beaches thanks to its crystal-clear calm waters and opportunities for water sports like surfing, jet skiing, and parasailing. It’s also family-friendly, with lifeguards on duty.
Stroll along Lido Key’s handicap-friendly pier or grab a picnic table in South Lido Park to enjoy some shade. Lido Key Beach will have you covered for the whole day and inspire you to return again and again.
Looking for a mix of adventure and relaxation? Carve out time for Venice Beach. With its easy beach access and beach wheelchairs, crowds flock here to enjoy the blue waters. Venice Beach is also a popular spot to see bottlenose dolphins without the crowds of Siesta Beach.
Don’t forget to grab a basket to collect your prehistoric fossilized shark teeth. You can easily get lost in the sands of Venice Beach searching for these gems.
RELATED: Most Beautiful Beaches in Venice, FL
If you’re feeling adventurous on your Venice sightseeing adventure, grab your snorkel and swim out to the reef, located about a quarter of a mile offshore. On a snorkeling trip around reef, you’ll discover even more shark teeth along with stunning marine life.
With twelve miles of laid-back beach, Longboat Key is the perfect place for a relaxed Sunday with nothing to do but bask in the sounds of nature. The island is famed for its beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico and plenty of opportunities to snorkel or parasail.
Longboat Key has minimal access to the public, creating a very quiet and exclusive vibe. If you want even more seclusion, jump on a boat and head over to Beer Can Island. The small sand bar is a popular place to grab a picnic. You can also walk to this hidden coastal gem.
After dinner, Longboat Key Beach is one of the most popular spots to watch the sun go down around Sarasota. Bike over to the soft sand, grab a blanket, and enjoy watching the sky turn from blue to a beautiful mix of purple and pink. You do not want to miss this sundowners’ paradise!
The oldest public beach in Sarasota, Nokomis Beach is a fantastic destination for surfers and fishermen. Located off Casey Key Road on Casey Key, Nokomis Beach surrounds you with families enjoying sunny days on the water. With beach wheelchairs and amenities like restrooms and a boat launch, it’s both an accessible and family-friendly beach.
Many visitors spend their days searching for shells and shark teeth in the coral reefs or launching their boats along the easy-access boat ramp. The park also has volleyball nets and a playground if you and your crew are up for some beachside activities.
One of the special things at Nokomis Beach is its Drum Circle. The event takes place on the beach as the sun goes down on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Grab a spot on the sand to see Casey Key locals come together to dance, play maracas, and join in with the beat of the drums. When planning your day, try to time your visit with the celebration. You won’t find anything like it on other beaches around Sarasota!
Looking for a dream destination that still feels like a hidden gem? Look no further than Crescent Beach. Located on Siesta Key, the beach offers a more relaxed feel than other Florida beaches. You’ll be able to wake up, enjoy your coffee, and head to the beach with your picnic basket on your bike leisurely. No rush.
Crescent Beach is one of the most popular beaches around Sarasota for swimming. The sand breaks create pools of shallow water where you can float away the day.
A huge perk of Crescent Beach is the showers available near the parking lot. It makes for an easy transition for your family to go straight from the beach to dinner at one of the island’s top restaurants.
Located off Gulf Drive on Anna Maria Island, west of Bradenton, Coquina Beach is a lively beach on the southern end of Bradenton Beach. The seven-mile-long beach comprises three Florida beaches and a small town. Coquina Beach offers soft sands and clear, calm waters perfect for swimming or throwing a frisbee around.
Sand dunes create a barrier between the beach and the town while blocking the wind. You can find beach access by climbing the dunes. There’s also a wide opening to the shores near the parking lot.
On its long stretch of sand, you’ll have plenty of room to spread out and enjoy your own space. If the water isn’t cooling you down enough, you can catch some shade under the Australian pine trees.
RELATED: What to Do on Anna Maria Island
Many families come to Coquina Beach for the whole day and enjoy friendly games and a picnic. There are on-duty lifeguards at Coquina, allowing parents to know their kids are safe as they drift into the deeper waters.
Located at Venice Beach, Brohard Beach is famed for its blue waters and sand that’s darker than most top-rated Sarasota beaches.
Brohard Beach is also one of the only Florida beaches that allow your four-legged friends. Bring along your pups to also enjoy the waves of the ocean at Brohard Paw Park. You and your furry companion can run, fetch, and play all day with new furry friends.
If laying on the beach isn’t your thing, head over to Brohard Park on the south end of the beach to the Venice Fishing Pier. This famous 700-foot pier offers anglers free admission and does not require a fishing license.
Manasota Key is home to four beaches. The most well-known is Manasota Beach. This lazy little beach feels like a secret tropical island. With its pure white sand and calm turquoise waters, you’ll struggle to leave this slice of heaven.
As of right now, Manasota Beach is still hidden from most visitors, making it an uncrowded oasis with plenty to do. You can spend your day swimming, snorkeling, biking, and even enjoying a fresh picnic with a slightly quieter ambiance.
The main stretch of sand in the city of Holmes Beach, Manatee Beach sits in the middle part of Anna Maria Island. Visiting this pristine beach, you’ll be met by crystal-clear waters and powdery sand. It’s an absolute gem for you and your family. The water at Manatee Beach is calm, making it easy to get a paddleboard rental and head out on your own.
As the name implies, there’s a chance to see manatees enjoying the warm water near the shore. If you’re having trouble seeing them on your own, join a tour and go kayaking through the mangroves. The manatees often like to play within the banks.
Don’t miss the must-see sunsets on Anna Maria Island’s stunning beaches. There are plenty of popular restaurants right on the sand where you can enjoy your favorite cocktail while watching the sky get painted with different shades of orange.
Blind Pass Beach
Want to add some incredible seashells to your growing collection? Beeline for Blind Pass Beach. With its crystalline waters, Blind Pass Beach is the perfect shelling beach. Even locals frequent its stretches of sand for new discoveries.
Blind Pass Beach is off the beaten path within Manasota Key. It’s the perfect place for an early morning or a sunset-watching experience. With its soft sand and warm water, it’s also a great location for swimming.
Stump Pass Beach State Park
Located on the southwestern edge of Charlotte County near Englewood, Stump Pass Beach State Park is one of the Sarasota area’s most interesting seaside gems. The popular Florida state park occupies the southern end of Manasota Key, draping eastward onto two small islands, Whidden Key and Peterson Key.
Stump Pass Beach State Park is famed for swimming and shelling opportunities, set along its mile-long secluded beach. Dig into the sand to root for shark’s teeth, conches, and other varieties of seashells.
If you’d rather set your sights on outdoor adventure, you’re in luck here, too. The 245-acre state park features a quiet nature trail, passing through a variety of district habitats. As you wander through the park, keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife like West Indian manatees, snowy egrets, and gopher tortoises.