We have traveled the world for over 40-years in search of the perfect beach. This included trips to some of the most amazing beaches in the world like the once hidden beach on the tiny island of Ko Phi Phi Lee before it was flooded with tourists after being declared the perfect beach in the movie “The Beach.”
Through the years our definition of perfect changed until we arrived at the conclusion there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all perfect beach. What we determined is selecting a beach that meets our unique expectations for a given vacation is what’s most important. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision for the vacation you are planning.
Siesta Key offers two distinctively different beach environments, and one of them will likely appeal to you. We are located at the southern end of Siesta Key where crowds are sparse, seashells are abundant and the traffic moves smoothly on a tree-lined street that has generous bicycle lanes on both sides. The pace here is laid back, and on any given day you’ll likely see more birds on the beach than tourists.
On the northern end of Siesta Key you’ll find Crescent Beach. This is the 99%+ white quartz sand beach that is commonly associated with Siesta Key. I think you should visit Crescent Beach at least once during a Siesta Key vacation, but be forewarned, the roads and beach get crowded shortly after noon.
If you want to be in the middle of the action, and you don’t mind the congestion, Crescent Beach is where you want to stay. However, when you shop for a condo there you need to be aware that even the real beachfront units are usually more than 1,000 feet from the Gulf, and in some cases condos that are advertised as beachfront or beach-view may not meet your expectations.
At the quite southern end of Siesta Key you’ll find Turtle Beach. The sand at Turtle Beach is similar to what you commonly see along the Florida Gulf Coast, and is loaded with seashells.
While the width of the beach in front of our condo can vary with changing tides and currents, the water’s edge is typically about 200’ from our lanai. We absolutely love being that close to the water. On a windy day we enjoy watching the kite surfers from our lanai, and at night we are lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves passing through the 4′ x 6′ sliding window in the Master Suite that directly overlooks The Gulf.
There are a few low-rise condos to our north that are set back 500 or so feet from The Gulf, but the majority of the 1.5 mile stretch of beach that extends north from our condo to the famed Point of Rocks is lined by private residences that sit vacant most of the year. There is no beach at Point of Rocks, but on a calm day the area is good for snorkeling.
To the south of us the beach extends further than your legs will probably take you (about 13-miles). If you walk to the south from our place you’ll pass by one small condo and about a half a dozen private residences. Following that you’ll find a mile or so of totally undeveloped property where there is a pretty good chance you will be able to count everyone you see on one hand.
If you continue to the south, the next house you see is owned by the famous author, Steven King. South of that you’ll pass houses that are purportedly owned by Michael Jordon and Oprah – while I have no idea if that is true or not, the houses you are walking past are priced at $5 million and up, and none of them a better of a view of the beach and Gulf than you do from our lanai.
During my morning walks its often just me, the waves gently lapping on the soft sand, some fresh seashells. Always a few steps ahead is the constant scurry of shore-birds running back and forth with the waves while seagulls and pelicans dive for fish in the Gulf. During an early morning walk you will occasionally see an osprey pluck a fish from the Gulf that swam a little too close to the surface.
If you are carrying a fishing pole, which I often do, a Blue Herring that is hoping you will share your catch will likely become your new best friend. The one you see in the picture to the right followed me for over a mile one morning, and was happy to pose when I got my camera out to take his picture.
Starting about a mile and a half or so south of our condo you’ll begin to find fossilized shark teeth in the many piles of seashells that you will find along the beaches on the southern end of Siesta Key. I picked up the two you see in the picture at the left one morning just south of Steven Kings house.
The lower tooth is from a juvenile Megalodon shark, which is very unusual to find along the beach, and is likely over 10 million years old. Fossilized shark teeth are fairly rare on Turtle Beach, but I know exactly where to send you to find a handful.
I’ve got to admit, I lost track of time that morning, and after walking nearly ten miles in the sand, my legs felt nearly as old as the shark teeth I found along the way. But tired as I was, I wore an ear to ear smile the rest of the day; at least for me, there’s no better psychiatrist than a long walk on the beach accompanied by the persistent sound of the waves.
The moral to the story: While there is no such thing as “the” perfect beach, there is a perfect beach for you. It may be different from what we like, but that’s the great thing about beaches – there are plenty of choices, and while none are universally perfect, they all beat the heck out of shoveling snow.