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The Top 10 Beaches

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Brohard Beach Paw Park and Venice Fishing Pier

Sarasota County’s Only Public Beach Where Dogs are Allowed

Brohard Beach amenities include doggie fountains, dog showers, boardwalk to the beach, separate fenced areas for small and large dogs, leash posts, waste disposal bags and trash cans, covered picnic tables, benches, and restrooms, make this the perfect spot to take your furry family member. Venice’s Brohard Beach also includes a wetland area ideal for fishing and bird watching. Florida Sunshine Survival Tips.

Visitors agree that Paw Park is the best dog-friendly park in the state of Florida. It’s a fantastic place for dogs to play off-leash in a controlled environment under the supervision of their owners.

Please note that service dogs are allowed at all Sarasota County parks and beaches.

Just north, the Venice Fishing Pier extends 700 feet and offers a spectacular spot for viewing sunsets as well as great fishing. No fee or license required to fish from The Pier. Bait shop. Parking and restrooms are available.

Caspersen Beach

Caspersen Beach stretches over 1½ miles and you can actually reach Manasota Key four miles away if you keep walking south. You’ll see shore birds, a great selection of sea shells, and if you’re really lucky you may spot the nests of sea turtles.

Search for Fossilized Sharks Teeth on Caspersen Beach!

Prehistoric sharks’ teeth of all types and sizes can often be found washed up on beaches in Venice, Florida. Fossilized shark teeth are distinctly triangular with one long point and two shorter points at the thicker base. Caspersen and Venice Beach located Venice, Florida, is known as the “Shark Tooth Capital of the World.” Head to the beach with a plastic sand sieve and a little patience, and you’re most likely to be rewarded with a prehistoric shark’s tooth of your own—now that’s a souvenir!

Caspersen Beach Amenities

Caspersen Beach features a boardwalk, ample free parking, restrooms, outdoor showers, a canoe/kayak launch, paved and unpaved trails, and an ADA children’s playground. Parents should note there are no lifeguards on duty at this Sarasota County beach.

Coquina Beach

Coquina Beach is the longest stretch of beach on the southern end of Anna Maria Island on the Gulf of Mexico. Coquina is a fantastic spot to spend the day with family and friends with it’s relaxing atmosphere, calm waters and plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the day. The flat beach is lined with sand dunes where waving grasses and sea oats add to the natural beauty of the beach. This area is a favored spot for sea turtles to come ashore and lay their eggs. The white sand beach is ideal for sunbathing, safe swimming, or playing Frisbee. You may be lucky enough to find a sand dollar or pretty shells washed up along the shoreline. Keep your eyes open, and you may even see leaping dolphins coasting along just offshore in the Gulf.

Coquina Beach Offers Soft White Sand and Often Very Clear Water

Amenities include plentiful free parking, picnic tables, grills, restrooms, showers as well as a playground for the kids. The beach is lined with a paved walking/bike path, and there are several volleyball courts. Lifeguards are on duty at Coquina Beach, making it a safe place to swim, snorkel and discover seashells and sand dollars. The Park’s southernmost end borders New Pass Inlet which runs from the Gulf of Mexico into the Intracoastal Waterway and is a great spot to shore fish. If you get too hot, cool off under the shady Australian Pine Trees.

A boat launch is located just across the street from Coquina Beach on the Intracoastal Waterway side.

Footpaths and boardwalks lead off from the ramp around the mangrove-lined lagoons. It makes a pleasant walk beneath shady pine trees along Florida’s natural coastline, and it’s ideal for a spot of fishing or bird watching.

Coquina Beach is accessible from Bradenton via Cortez Road or Manatee Avenue, or from Longboat Key via Gulf of Mexico Drive.

Lido Beach

Family-Friendly White Sand Beach

One of the reasons why Sarasota is such a popular resort destination is that just half a mile from the upscale shopping center of St. Armands Circle is beautiful Lido Beach. Located on Lido Key, this popular beach is very relaxing and relatively uncrowded compared to the better-known beaches on nearby Siesta Key. The white sands and gently turning waves on this Sarasota beach make it very popular for families. It also features more than one mile of beachfront extending through North Lido which makes this beach a great place for a beach stroll.

Lido Beach is easy to reach from Ben Franklin Drive, with beach access and entrances at several points. A paved walkway leads from the parking lot to the beach, which was once the site of the historic Lido Casino from 1940 to 1969. You can read about this famous Art Deco structure on the historical marker.

Lido Beach Community Swimming Pool

The heated Lido Beach Pool is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. weather permitting. The pool is closed Monday, Christmas Day, and New Years Day. The pool includes a 25-meter lap pool with five lanes for lap swimming. Food, drink, alcoholic beverages, and pets are not allowed within the fenced pool area. There is a small admission fee of $4 for adults and $2 for children and seniors, but it is well worth paying to enjoy this excellent amenity, especially if you have kids. Three month seasonal and annual passes are also available. Call 941.329.6181 for additional information.

Parking, Beach Chair and Umbrella Rentals

The beach has parking for 400 cars along with restrooms and outdoor showers at most beach access points. There is a shady cabana, children’s playground, and a handicap-accessible observation deck overlooking the beach which is patrolled by lifeguards.

There’s no need to haul heavy equipment to Lido Beach as there are concessions offering umbrellas, beach chairs, and other beach equipment rentals. If you have forgotten sunscreen or other incidentals, the gift shop will have everything you need.

Beach wheelchairs are available at no cost year-round for transport from parking areas to the shore at the following beaches: Lido Beach, Manasota Beach, Nokomis Beach, Siesta Beach and Venice Beach. Check with the lifeguards; except for Siesta Beach, where they can be signed-out at the concession area.

Lido Beach Concession Stand

When it comes to food (and children work up quite an appetite on the beach), the Seabreeze Café has plenty of reasonably priced refreshments. As well as the usual burgers, hot dogs, and fries the menu includes more unusual items such as fish tacos with guacamole and tangy pico de gallo. Everything is cooked to order, and they serve chilled water, soda, beer, and wine too. Best of all you can call in your order (941-388-0400) right from your beach chair!

Lido Beach is located one-half mile southwest of St. Armands Circle on Ben Franklin Drive in Sarasota, Florida.

Longboat Key Beaches

Longboat Key’s access to its beaches is limited, but your reward is 10 miles of uninterrupted, uncrowded beach with wonderful Gulf of Mexico water and white sand. There is limited parking at beach access points located at various points along Gulf of Mexico Drive—watch for the blue signs. Most of Longboat Key, Florida beaches do NOT offer amenities such as restrooms (a few have portable toilets) or concessions, but they are rarely crowded. Please note: dogs are not allowed on Longboat Key beaches. Sarasota County allows dogs on Brohard Beach in Venice.

Access Longboat Key’s Beaches from Gulf of Mexico Drive

  • *Parking is not paved or striped; parking numbers are approximate.
  • 2825 Gulf of Mexico Drive, offers 40* parking spaces at Town Hall (501 Bay Isles Rd.).
  • 3175 Gulf of Mexico Drive, offers 19* parking spaces.
  • 3455 Gulf of Mexico Drive, offers 20* parking spaces.
  • 3495 Gulf of Mexico Drive with Sarasota Bay access across the street. Offers handicap accessible parking with additional parking across the street on Longview Street. Approximately 30* parking spaces.
  • 4001 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Bayfront Park parking spaces vary based on occupancy of the facility.
  • 4711 Gulf of Mexico Drive, offers handicap accessible parking that varies with occupancy of the facility.
  • 4795 Gulf of Mexico Drive, offers handicap accessible parking. Approximately 30* parking spaces.
  • 6399 Gulfside Road, 50* parking spaces available at General Harris Street.
  • 100 Broadway Street, 31* handicap accessible parking.
  • Whitney Beach Access located on the north end of Longboat Key- 100 N. Shore Rd. Limited parking available (30* spaces). From Broadway St. go north on Firehouse Rd. to dead end at N. Shore Rd. and take a left to the beach access and parking.

Nokomis Beach

Nokomis Beach Offers Some of the Best Surfing on Florida’s Gulf Coast!
Nokomis Beach is Sarasota Counties oldest public beach and is well-liked by families and fishing enthusiasts. Though not as prevalent as on Caspersen Beach, there are shark’s teeth that can be found washed up on this Casey Key, Florida beach.

Nokomis Beach Drum Circle

The local drum circle gathers informally near the lifeguard tower on Nokomis Beach each Wednesday and Saturday evening. Folks begin to arrive around 6 p.m. though the time varies throughout the year based on sunset. The Nokomis Beach Drum Circle is a very family-friendly event that lasts around an hour or so. Spectators play maracas or dance and sway to the hypnotic rhythm of the drummers.

Nokomis Beach Amenities

Lifeguards are on duty year-round, free parking, picnic tables, and restrooms are available for visitors. Nokomis Beach has a bait shop near North Jetty Park. A boat launch is also available. Food and drinks are available at Shark Tooth Beach Concessions (directly on the beach at 208 S. Casey Key Road). The concession stand is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Menu items include smoked brisket sandwich, pulled pork tacos, Dippin’ Dots ice cream, National Deli hot dogs, burgers, french fries, and hummus. Cold beer, wine, sangria, wine margaritas, bottled water, organic juice boxes, coconut water, and bottled water also available. Beach toys, sunscreen, rafts, kits, bubbles, and other items available for purchase.

Beach wheelchairs are available at no cost year-round for transport from parking areas to the shore at the following beaches: Lido Beach, Manasota Beach, Nokomis Beach, Siesta

Beach and Venice Beach. Check with the lifeguards; except for Siesta Beach, where they can be signed-out at the concession area.
The Nokomis Beach Plaza, built in the 1950’s, has recently been restored.

Sarasota County’s Nokomis Beach is located just west of the Albee Road Bridge on the southern tip of Casey Key, Florida, just south of Sarasota and north of Venice.

Siesta Beach

Siesta Beach is favorite among visitors and residents alike. It’s 99 percent pure quartz sand—perhaps the finest and whitest you’ll ever see earned Siesta Key’s, Siesta Beach a No. 1 rating on Dr. Beach’s annual list of America’s Best Beaches. Folks travel from across the globe (or across town) just to set up a chair, or spread a towel on the powder-sugar soft sand and peer out into the crystal blue Gulf of Mexico waters. Wildlife sightings include dolphins, manatees, egrets, pelicans, seagulls, and other coastal birds are quite common.

Siesta Beach Concessions and Amenities

Siesta Beach amenities include restrooms, lifeguards on duty year-round, concessions selling a variety of refreshments and snacks, beach chair and umbrella rentals, a children’s playground, lighted tennis courts, outdoor showers, BBQ grills, and covered picnic areas.

Easy handicap accessibility for pedestrians and users of wheelchairs, strollers, and beach carts via the 450-foot Mobi-Mat pathway, which extends across the sand from the concession pavilion towards the Gulf of Mexico. Handicap wheelchairs and floating handicap wheelchairs are also available; they can be signed-out at the concession area at the Pavillion.

Volleyball, Drum Circle, Sand Castles, and Fireworks

Besides sunbathing and swimming, Sarasota’s Siesta Beach is a great place to fly a kite or play beach volleyball. You can even take in one of the beach volleyball tournaments that are hosted throughout the year.

Sunday evenings year ’round folks gather near the Siesta Beach Pavilion just before sunset for the weekly Siesta Key Drum Circle.

The Siesta Key 4th of July fireworks are launched here over the Gulf water providing a spectacular backdrop.

The Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival takes place in the Fall each year. There is also an amateur sand castle contest the second weekend in May.

Award-Winning Siesta Beach

This Siesta Key public beach has garnered a number of accolades including a No.1 ranking one on Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman’s (AKA “Dr. Beach”) 2011 annual list of America’s Best Beaches. AARP rates Siesta Beach as the No. 1 Beach – Best Beaches in the World 2015. USA Today Readers Choice Top Beaches in Florida. TripAdvisor No.1 Travelers’ Choice™ Top 25 Beaches – United States. Ranked No. 6 on National Geographic’s Top 10 U.S. Family Beaches list.

Although there is a large free parking area with 850 parking spaces, it fills up quickly during peak season so plan to arrive early in the day. Several access points are found north of the public lot along Beach Road but parking is very limited. Beach wheelchairs are available at no cost year-round for transport from parking areas to the shore, they can be signed-out at the concession area.

Those wanting an escape from the midday sunshine can take a short walk from the north end of Siesta Beach to Siesta Key Village. There are dozens of shops, cafés and restaurants where you will find everything you need for a pleasant lunch, ice cream sundae or a fine meal in the open air.

South Lido Park Beach

What could be better than sandy coastline and crystal clear water in a park setting? Located at the southwestern tip of Lido Key in Sarasota, Florida the 100-acre South Lido Park (A.K.A Ted Sperling Park) is surrounded by water; the Gulf of Mexico, Big Pass, Sarasota Bay, and Bushy Bayou. It is a favorite with families, boaters, kayakers, personal watercraft enthusiasts, and avid fishermen.

South Lido Park Beach Amenities

South Lido Park Beach’s amenities include shaded picnic areas, barbecue grills, children’s playground, volleyball, a canoe trail, nature trails, an observation tower and decks, restrooms, and free parking. Swimmers should beware of strong currents especially on the northwest side of “Big Pass,” the waterway channel that is between north Siesta Key and South Lido Key leading out to the Gulf of Mexico! There are marked NO SWIMMING buoys.

Sarasota, Florida’s South Lido Beach Park is located off Ben Franklin Drive at the southern tip of Lido Key.

Turtle Beach

Located at the southernmost end of Siesta Key is Turtle Beach, which is much less crowded than Crescent Beach and Siesta Beach and features some of the tallest dunes in the area. Kayakers will enjoy exploring the nearby lagoon and natural wetlands. Turtle Beach has a boat launch area and fishing is permitted in the adjacent Blind Pass Lagoon.

Newly improved facilities include pedestrian walkways, children’s playground, pavilion, handicap-access, boardwalk, enhanced restrooms and plentiful free parking, boat ramp, kayak launch, picnic shelters, horseshoe courts, volleyball (not on the beach), and a popular campground. NO lifeguards on duty.

Although there is not a concession stand, there are two restaurants directly across from the entrance to Turtle Beach; the Turtle Beach Grill offers both indoor and outdoor dining and has a large outdoor chickee hut, waterfront dining is available at Turtle’s Restaurant on Little Sarasota Bay.

Sarasota, Florida’s Turtle Beach is located at the Southern end of Siesta Key on Midnight Pass Road.

Venice Municipal Beach

Venice Beach is a favorite beach spot for locals as well as divers who come for its coral reef which is located a quarter-mile off shore. Like many of the Venice area beaches, you have a good chance of finding shark’s teeth washed up on the sand and seeing dolphins play just beyond the swim area.

Venice Beach Amenities

The beach features a boardwalk, concessions, picnic area, restrooms, sand volleyball courts, outdoor showers, and free parking. Lifeguards are on duty daily year-round.

Beach wheelchairs are available at no cost year-round for transport from parking areas to the shore at the following beaches: Lido Beach, Manasota Beach, Nokomis Beach, Siesta Beach and Venice Beach. Check with the lifeguards; except for Siesta Beach, where they can be signed-out at the concession area.

Venice Beach is located at 101 The Esplanade N., in Venice, Florida off West Venice Avenue.

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