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Fun things to do in Siesta Key, Florida – America’s number one beach! Bask in the sun by the Gulf of Mexico on this award-winning quartz sand beach and socialize at the lively Siesta Key Village.
Siesta Key is a barrier island located southwest of the Sunshine State in Sarasota County. The closest airport is Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, and it takes around 30 minutes to drive to the island from the airport.
Our guide to Siesta Key attractions includes the best beaches, food, drink, entertainment, and day trips worth making.
This is one of our favorite Florida beach towns, and you’ll soon see why!
Fun Things to Do at Siesta Key, FL
To help you get your bearings, we will start in the south of the island so you can build your itinerary.
In the comments below, tell us if we miss any of your favorite Siesta Key activities.
Hop Aboard the Free Siesta Key Trolley
Similar to Anna Maria Island, there is a free hop-on, hop-off bus called the Siesta Key Breeze Trolley, which visitors use to get around the Key.
The route starts/ends at Siesta Key Village and travels down to the south of the island, ideal for those who want to avoid trying to find parking!
Siesta Key has beach access dotted around the island, so you can hop off the trolley and walk down to the ocean.
Chill at Turtle Beach For Fewer Crowds
Turtle Beach (8918 Midnight Pass Rd) is the perfect name for this sandy stretch in Siesta Key because this is where sea turtles are known to nest.
A little quieter than Siesta Beach, visitors choose this one for the huge parking lot, showers, picnic tables, boat ramp, canoe launch, and kids’ play park.
It was worth nothing that the restrooms are not by the showers, so don’t leave going too late!
The sand at Turtle Beach is a little rougher compared to Siesta Beach, but it has decent shell-picking opportunities.
Consider Turtles Cafe or Ophelia’s on the Bay for food options close by.
Do a Fun Kayak Tour
Explore the mangroves of Jim Neville Marine Preserve by kayak or paddleboard, a fun thing to do for everyone in the family.
The tour includes a kayak or paddleboard, paddle, life jacket, and dry bag.
Crescent Beach For Morning Walks
Crescent Beach is another Gulf beach option for those seeking sun with fewer people around them. However, it does become busier during high season and holidays.
Another creatively named attraction, Crescent Beach, is shaped as a, you guessed it… crescent!
Since there are limited public amenities, some visitors opt for a morning stroll on the beach while picking up shells along the way.
South Village For Staples
While most people spend time at Siesta Key Village, South Village (Stickney Point Road and Midnight Pass Road) also offers grocery stores, post offices, shopping, and beach equipment rentals.
Safe Habor Marina
Siesta Key isn’t just about the Gulf; it is also home to Safe Harbor Marina (1265 Old Stickney Point Rd), where you can book several boat tours.
Fresh Catch at Starfish Grill
There’s no shortage of places to eat seafood in Siesta Key, but at Spearfish Grill (1265 Old Stickney Point Rd), it is presented in a fun way.
The menu includes sushi, tacos, stone crab, and daily specials.
The restaurant has a massive patio for outside dining, as well as tables indoors.
Spend the Day at Popular Siesta Beach
Siesta Beach is an award-winning beach loved by Sarasota locals and Florida visitors.
Beach-goers appreciate that the beach offers free parking as well as top facilities.
Close to the parking lot are clean restrooms and showers for public use.
The beach area has picnic tables under shade, ideal for families looking to eat lunch away from the midday sun.
A shop on-site sells beach gear in case visitors forget anything, and a cafe for meals and treats.
Siesta Beach is special because it is made from 99% pure quartz sand, a unique sand material!
There is a wheel-friendly path to the beach that is great for wheelchair users and pushchairs.
While most locals take their own beach gear to Siesta Key, you can hire sun beds and umbrellas.
There are lifeguards on duty for user safety, and the local sheriff team paroles the beach by Segway.
This is honestly one of the nicest beaches we’ve visited, making it one of the top things to do on Siesta Key.
A Stroll Along The Beach
If you turn to your right as you enter Siesta Beach and walk for 30 minutes along the compact sand, you’ll come to marker number seven, which leads to Siesta Key Village.
Walking along the beach, you’ll see birds kamikaze into the sea as they hunt for lunch.
It’s not uncommon for locals to stand knee-deep in the water, trying to fish at the waves.
You won’t see built-up entertainment along the beach as there is no boardwalk, which you may be accustomed to at the likes of Daytona Beach on the East Coast of Florida.
The quietness of Siesta Beach is one of its many appeals!
Siesta Key Village For Entertainment
Siesta Key Village is where the energy levels hike up a notch!
Here, you can shop, dine, and drink from morning until the wee hours – it is one of the best things to do in Siesta Key at night.
The strip has businesses on either side of Ocean Boulevard; keep reading to learn more.
If you plan to dine out, it is recommended to make dinner reservations, especially if you are visiting during the high season and over the holidays.
This is where you can hop on and off the free trolley, too.
Coffee to Kick Start the Day
Get your caffeine fix at Mojo Risin’ Coffee Co (5251 Ocean Blvd), a dog-friendly cafe in Siesta Village.
You can dine indoors or in the garden, take out, or pick up a bag of ground coffee to make at home.
The menu also features smoothies and boozy coffee cocktails!
Daiquiri Den Cocktails
If you ask Florida locals ‘what to do in Siesta Key,’ many will say to take advantage of a drink at the Daiquiri Den; well, that’s what our Everglades airboat tour guide told us anyway!
The chilled cocktails are swished up in tiny washing machine drums and come in multiple flavors.
This airy Siesta Key bar has open front seating, live music, and hosts special events such as Halloween fancy dress, turkey trot, and Christmas.
Swallow fresh oysters while listening to live music at Siesta Key Oyster Bar (5238 Ocean Blvd).
If you’re on a budget, go along for oyster happy hour from 3pm – 6pm!
Stock Up on Sandals
Add to your seasonal shoe collection from the Sandal Factory’s stock (5232 Ocean Blvd).
This store has shelves packed with different styles of sandals for guys and girls as well as other summer accessories such as hats and drinks coolers.
Gorge on Gelato
Did you even go on a Florida beach vacation if you didn’t try every type of flavor of ice cream?
Olaf’s Siesta Village (5208 Ocean Blvd) has over 50 kinds, so you’ll need to book a rental for the whole summer!
As well as cones, you can get cups, sundaes, and even fudge.
This store is open until late and has benches on its patio, making it one of the best things to do in Siesta Key for families in the evening since it doesn’t involve alcohol!
Breakfast at The Village Cafe
Start the day with the most important meal, breakfast or brunch, depending on when you rise from your sea air-fueled slumber!
This unassuming cafe (5133 Ocean Blvd) has friendly staff, hearty breakfast plates, and big jugs of coffee.
Take Your Dog to Boyd Park
While dogs are not permitted on Siesta Key beaches, they are welcome at Boyd Park ( 4300 Midnight Pass Rd) in the north of the island.
Dogs must be kept on leashes while walking.
Hide Away at a Private Beach
For guaranteed fewer crowds, rent a room at Sunset Beach.
This 3-bed beachfront rental is designed over two stories; every room has views of the Gulf.
All you need to do is wander down the front garden to get to the ocean, and once you’ve had enough sand, you can retire to the front porch to watch the sunset. Bliss.
Things to Do Near Siesta Key
If you’re looking for things to do within 2 hours of Siesta Key, consider the neighboring city of Sarasota and the larger island to the north, Anna Maria Island.
Day Trip to Sarasota
While Siesta Key is definitely a vacation town, you can also take a day trip to Sarasota.
It takes around 15 minutes to drive to Sarasota from the Key.
Sarasota is where you’ll find a huge kissing statue, theaters to see shows, and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.
A day trip to Sarasota is one of the recommended things to do in Siesta Key on a rainy day since there are more indoor options.
Anna Maria Island For Sunsets, Water Sports, and More Beaches
Anna Maria Island (AMI) is a lively barrier island north of Siesta Key.
It is split into three cities – Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach, and the City of Anna Maria Island.
AMI offers a handful of beaches, some with amenities like Cortez Beach in the south and others with fewer crowds but no restrooms, like Bean Point Beach in the north.
Visitors enjoy the entertainment around the Historic Bridge Street and Pier area in Bradenton Beach, as well as the fishing opportunities.
It takes around an hour to drive from Siesta Key to AMI, and one route includes a drive through Longboat Key.
Find out more in our guide to Anna Maria Island.
How to Get to Siesta Key in Florida
Now that you’ve decided that a Siesta Key vacation is the right choice, you’ll need to know how to get there.
Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport is the closest airport, 10 miles from the Key, and it takes around 30 minutes to drive.
Depending on where you choose to stay, two bridges connect Siesta Key with the mainland – Siesta Key North Bridge and Stickney Point Bascule Bridge in the south.
Can you visit Siesta Key without a car?
Sure, you can use a tax service from the airport and the free trolley that runs from Siesta Key Village to the south to get about; just make sure your accommodation is located within this boundary.
Note: Since the Gulf of Mexico suffers from the issue of Red Tide, which can cause respiratory illness and eye irritation, it is always best to check the Florida forecast on the NCCOS website.