Siesta Key is a barrier island by Sarasota, FL, which is located at about the midpoint between Tampa, FL and Ft. Myers, FL. You can see the location on Google Maps by clicking here. Please note the satellite view of our beach that is shown by Google is outdated. Our beach was “re-nourished” in the Spring of 2016 and is now about 125 feet wide. The pictures on our Gallery Page show the beach as it looks today.
While most of our guests fly into Tampa, FL or Ft. Myers, FL, there are six airports you can consider. The one you select depends mostly on where you are coming from and your vacation itinerary. Since there is seldom a charge in Florida for returning a rental car to a location that is different from where you pick it up, you may also evaluate flying into one airport, and flying out of a different airport.
The typical drive time from the Tampa International (airport code TPA) and Fort Myers International (airport code RSW) is about one hour and fifteen minutes. The drive time from Tampa is more traffic dependent and the route is more complex than driving from Ft. Myers. It is also easier / more convenient to refuel your rental car when returning it to Ft. Myers. Please note that Ft Myers airport is also referred to as Southwest Florida International Airport.
Allegiant Airlines has expanded its nonstop service to St. Pete / Clearwater International Airport (airport code PIE). Allegiant currently offers free checked and carry-on baggage for U.S. Veterans and their families. That policy is subject to change, but if it applies to you, it’s worth asking. The typical drive time from St. Pete / Clearwater is about ten minutes less than the drive time from Tampa, but is also traffic dependent.
It typically takes about an hour longer to drive from Orlando International Airport (airport code MCO) than it does from Tampa or Ft. Myers. However, since it is served by non-stop flights from many locations, it is usually the best airport for guests coming from outside the U.S. (guests coming from large Canadian cities can usually find non-stops to Tampa and / or Ft. Myers) as well as for guests coming from western U.S. states.
The typical drive from the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (airport code SRQ) is approximately 30 minutes. SRQ is served by American, Air Canada, JetBlue, Delta, United and WestJet. Non-stop service to SRQ varies with the season.
The typical drive from Punta Gorda Airport (airport code PGD) is about 45 minutes. It is served by Allegiant and Frontier. Allegiant currently offers free checked and carry-on baggage for U.S. Veterans and their families. That policy is subject to change, but if it applies to you, it’s worth asking.
Renting a Car in Florida
Rental car prices can vary more than you might expect from airport to airport. Due to this, I think it’s a good idea to compare rental car prices before deciding what airport you will use. We’ve also seen situations where it was more economical to pick up a car at one airport (like Ft Myers) and return it to a different airport (like Tampa).
When we travel we typically use Enterprise Car Rental because it does not charge for an extra driver if the driver is a spouse. Discount rental car companies usually charge for any extra driver. It is a good practice to carefully inspect your rental vehicle and document any damages with the rental company and with photographs before driving it off the lot.
Getting Around Siesta Key & Sarasota
Due largely to the fact most of our guests fly into Tampa or Ft. Myers, which are both a little more than an hour’s drive from the condo, we think it’s best to rent a car for your stay. Not only will two airport shuttles cost nearly as much (possibly more) than a car rental, there are a vast number of restaurants and day trips that are easier and less costly to enjoy if you have the freedom of a rental car.
However, even if you have a rental car, that doesn’t mean it will always be the best choice – particularly if you plan to have a few drinks while you are out or don’t want to deal with the parking hassles that are common in Siesta Key Village.
Municipal Bus System SCAT: The city of Sarasota has a fairly robust public bus system that serves Turtle Beach (the public beach immediately to the north of our condo).
Breeze Trolley (Free): In 2017 SCAT introduced the Siesta Key Breeze Trolley that serves the entire length of Siesta Key. I’ve also seen it in Gulf Gate, but at the time of this publication I did not see that schedule covered in the map. The Breeze Trolley service is totally free, and you can find route and times of service at the following link. This is a good way to get to the northern beaches, Siesta Key Village and various restaurants along the way.
On Demand Free Ride Services:
There are several free ride services serving Siesta Key. These services operate on a tips only basis (please be generous with your driver). The two I see most often are Johnny’s and Siesta Key Free Ride (aka Jerry’s). You can either wave to a free ride driver that has room for you / your group, or call ahead of time to order a ride.
Johnny’s Free Ride Service: 941-928-9200
Siesta Key (Jerry’s) Free Ride Service: 941-952-8294
Vacation Planning Guide and Personalized Support
We provide all of our guests with a comprehensive Siesta Key Vacation Guide. We are also happy to provide personalized planning support.
Our Guide Includes the Following Information:
- What’s next – Reservation confirmation, payment schedule & your rental agreement
- Trip Cancellation / Travel Insurance information
- Things to consider bringing with you
- Driving directions to condo
- Getting around Siesta Key and Sarasota
- Quick supply stop – Coffee for your first morning
- Shopping for groceries and adult beverages
- Upon arrival – Checking in, getting keys from lock-box, parking and condo location
- Any problems – Numbers to call 24/7
- Condo operations – WiFi, TVs, etc.
- Restaurants, meat and fish markets – Includes address, phone number, web addresses and commentary about our favorite dishes at approximately 30 great restaurants
- Things to do – Includes information about shopping, golf, tennis, fishing, where to rent boats, kayaks, etc., as well as many things you can do for free. Also covers numerous activities for families with kids
Please feel welcome to email or call us with any questions