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 finally 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. Fortunately, Siesta Key offers two distinctively different beach environments, and one of them will likely appeal to you.
On the northern end of Siesta Key you’ll find Crescent Beach and Siesta Key Public Beach. This is where you’ll find the 99%+ white quartz sand that is commonly associated with Siesta Key. I think you should visit the northern beaches at least once during a Siesta Key vacation, but be forewarned, by noon the roads and the beaches get crowded and seashells are as scarce as parking places.
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 at least 500 feet from the Gulf (more commonly 1,000 feet or so), and in some cases condos that are advertised as beachfront or beach-view may not meet your expectations.
We are located at the quiet 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 see far more birds on the beach than tourists.
At the southern end of Siesta Key you’ll find Turtle Beach. The sand at Turtle Beach is similar to the very fine sand that you commonly see along the Florida Gulf Coast, and it is by far the best beach for shelling and fishing.
While the width of the beach in front of our condo can vary with changing tides and currents, the Gulf of Mexico is typically about 150 feet from our lanai and master bedroom window. On the other side of our condo, the Bay inlet is only about 100′ from our east balcony and guest bedroom window. We are by far the closest condo the the Gulf of Mexico on Siesta Key and the only condo I know of on the entire Gulf coast that provides unobstructed direct views of the Gulf and Bay.
We absolutely love being that close to the Gulf. 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 our oceanfront Master Suite. On the north end of the island the condos are way too far back from the water to hear the waves and very few offer oceanfront Master Suites.
From our condo you can walk to the north about 1.5 miles before you come to the famed Point of Rocks. 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 condo 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 beachfront.
If you continue to the south, the next house you see is owned by the famous author, Stephen King. While I don’t know if it’s true or not, south of that you’ll pass houses that are purportedly owned by Michael Jordon and Oprah.
During my morning walks its often just me, the fresh seashells that washed up during the night and the waves gently lapping on the soft sand. Always a few steps ahead is the constant scurry of shore-birds running back and forth with the waves while out in the Gulf, seagulls, pelicans and ospreys dive for their breakfast. The dolphins usually come out a little later in the day, but always keep your eyes pealed for manatees that tend to swim by very close to shore.
If you are carrying a fishing pole, which I often do, a Blue Herring will likely become your new best friend in hopes you might share your catch. The one you see in the picture to the left 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 or so south of our condo you’ll often find fossilized shark teeth in the many piles of seashells that you will see along the beaches on the southern end of Siesta Key. I picked up the two you see in the picture at the lright one morning just south of Stephen King’s 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 Siesta Key, but I know exactly where to send you to find a handful, and it’s not the beach listed in all the tourist brochures.
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.
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