A Sunday In Siesta Key 5

Explore the sugary white sand and funky vibe of Siesta Key

I love the freedom of exploring a new destination with no agenda. Spontaneous wandering… Island time. Day trips provide the opportunity to travel and discover someplace new, without a big commitment of money or time. Siesta Key Florida is just the place for a Sunday day trip. Siesta Key, a barrier island 8 miles long, is located off the west coast of Florida.  It is accessible by one of two bridges, connecting it to the mainland of Sarasota. The island has four main areas, Siesta Beach, Crescent Beach, Turtle Beach, and Siesta Key Village. After crossing the bridge to the island, the sugar white sand of Siesta Beach welcomes me.  Despite a chance of rain, the beach is packed with families schlepping chairs and coolers.  An action packed volleyball game with girls in tiny bikinis and muscular guys in trendy board shorts provides entertainment.  Daring kite boarders take advantage of the windy day to enjoy their sport.

After a stroll on the sugary white sand beach, I head north to Siesta Key Village.   The Village is a funky shopping district with brightly colored and eclectic boutiques, galleries, souvenir shops and restaurants.  If you enjoy coastal inspired art and home decor, the shops in the Village are a great place to find unique and affordable treasures. The Gallery on Siesta Key, owned by Martha Smith, showcases local artists. From the Tube Dude out front, to the unique wine racks and painted gourds, the gallery radiates a playful vibe.

The Siesta Sea Shanty, a beachy, open-air shop, offers all things coastal.   From sunglasses, jewelry, and home decor with a nautical theme, there is something for everyone with a love of the sea.

Intrigued by the smooth sounds of steel drums and festive atmosphere of The Hub Baja Grill, I decide it is time for lunch.

Located on the main strip of the Village, the Hub is a perfect place to relax and people watch.   I choose to sample the local favorite, Baja Fish Tacos, which are grilled long fin tilapia topped with a mix of cilantro cucumber lime citrus slaw, stuffed in two flour tortillas and served with rice and refried beans.

The tacos are delicious but a little “hot” for my sensitive taste buds. Luckily the conversation is lively and the margaritas are cold.

Across the street from the Hub is the Siesta Key Bead Shack, a rare and unique find.

The boutique carries a large collection of handcrafted jewelry as well as a diverse selection of beads from around the world.  The store is stocked with gemstones, glass, wood and bone beads.  It also sells sterling silver, pewter, Bali and Thai silver and copper pendants.  The boutique carries tools and stringing materials for making your own jewelry.  The staff is available to assist customers with their creations.

Robin Hood Rentals provides segways, bikes, paddleboards, jet skis, kayaks and scooters.   They even deliver to the water or your hotel. I recommend renting a kayak if your schedule allows. Exploring the island by water is an unforgettable experience. Kayak rentals are $45/day for a single and $55/day for a double.

At the southern end of Siesta Key is Turtle Beach. This beach is known for its shelling and coarser sand than the other beaches on Siesta Key. It is also quieter and less crowded.

The sea turtle nesting season runs from May through October on the Gulf Coast. Sea turtles are protected by both the Federal Endangered Species Act and The Florida Marine Protection Act.  It is against the law to disturb these protected animals.  The sand dunes surrounding Turtle Beach provide an ideal nesting area for the turtles.

I end my day with a bowl of clam chowder and iced tea at the Turtle Beach Pub. The Pub is a casual indoor/outdoor family friendly restaurant. It is the kind of place that you can relax after a hot day in the sun. A little “sand between the toes” kind of place.

You’ll find it at the Turtle Beach Marina, directly across the street from the beach. It was recommended by a local who raved about their seafood and cold beer. As I sit on the patio with a view of the marina, I reflect on my Sunday in Siesta Key.  A perfect day of wandering, interesting people, local art and delicious clam chowder… a Sunday in Paradise!