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Beaches - Public

Some areas are internationally recognized for their skyscrapers, bridges and architecture. Others are recognized for their art, music and contributions to science. With us, it’s mainly one thing — world-class waterfront!

For visitors and residents alike, it’s our beaches that make spending time here something truly special. Our Parks and Recreation Department continues to do a wondrous job in the maintenance, preservation and protection of our treasured waterfront areas. Those accomplishments alone would be enough for a medal, but add the watchful eye of their lifeguards — keenly focused on those of us enjoying the sun and fun, and the whole department is elevated to the status of local hero.

There’s no fishing allowed off the public beaches and no barbecuing allowed on the beach. Don’t worry though, many public beaches have grilling and picnicking facilities.

If you are planning a weekend jaunt on any of our public beaches, get there early, the earlier the better. Holidays are the busiest. The picnic tables during peak holidays are taken by 6 a.m., parking lots are completely filled by 10 a.m. and season (February — April) is always busy; the rest of the year you should find plenty of space.

Bring along sunscreen and a hat or an umbrella, so when you’ve had too much sun you can get out of the rays but still enjoy your day at the beach. You’ll find concession stands that sell food and rent umbrellas and chairs listed further on in this chapter.

Our beaches are family-oriented. If you are playing ball, respect the people around you. The same is true for radios: The lifeguards will not allow them to disturb others. If a lifeguard blows a whistle, be sure to glance in his or her direction — they may be blowing it at you.

Most beaches have restricted swimming areas. Only swimmers, no boats. If you plan to come to the beach by boat, be sure to land or anchor outside of the designated “swimming only” areas.

There’s plenty to be thankful for besides the emerald waters and snow white
Sand — you’ll often find public lavatories, outside showers, concession stands and, of course, REAL lifeguards at our beaches. (It’s important to note that even though you can probably buy one in souvenir shops, a “lifeguard” tee shirt with a big red cross on it won’t make you a hero at the beach no matter how much it cost you. Stick with Mickey or Snooty, okay?)

Dune Restoration Program
It is important to understand that there is a natural balance to the ongoing cycle of dunes, beaches, and the “littoral drift,” which is the movement of sand along the coast by currents. Even if man were not present, they would all still move, changing their appearance in response to the forces of nature. However, this balance can be upset when structures are built too close to the water, excessive foot or vehicle traffic occurs, and when abnormal tides or waves are caused by storms.

Beaches and dune systems are able to absorb enormous amounts of storm energy and thus play a major role in protecting our barrier islands, which, in turn, protect the mainland of Sarasota and Manatee counties. Dunes are often taken for granted but are very important to this process. They act as dikes to prevent high tides from flooding inland areas and also provide a reserve supply of sand that can be released naturally to replenish an active beach area at times of severe erosion. These systems are our best and most natural defense against the powerful actions of waves, winds and tides. The goal is to enhance this natural occurrence through the establishment, protection and nourishment of dunes, enabling them to provide their fullest benefits.

Photography hint: Place the subject (the sun or the person you are shooting) in either of the lower or upper corners of your viewfinder. This will give you a more interesting shot, instead of the same-ol’ centered photo. A polarizing filter will help to eliminate glare and heighten colors.

Check It Out!

Beach Access #1 - Shell Road
Siesta Drive, west to Higel, west on Shell Road
Siesta Key FL 34242
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/beachsiesta.asp

All locations have beach access, a parking area and swimming unless noted.
All locations have NO Lifeguards on duty.
No Swimming 


Beach Access #10 - Calle del Invierno
Beach Road, north of Siesta Beach
Siesta Key FL 34242
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/beachsiesta.asp

All locations have beach access, a parking area and swimming unless noted.
All locations have NO Lifeguards on duty. 


Beach Access #12 - Stickney Point
South on Midnight Pass Road, west on Stickney Point Road
Siesta Key FL 34242
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/beachsiesta.asp

All locations have beach access, a parking area and swimming unless noted.
All locations have NO Lifeguards on duty. 


Beach Access #13 - Point O' Rocks
Midnight Pass Road, south of Stickney Point Road, west on Point of Rocks Road
Siesta Key FL 34242
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/beachsiesta.asp

All locations have beach access, a parking area and swimming unless noted.
All locations have NO Lifeguards on duty. 


Beach Access #2 - Avenida Messina
Ocean Boulevard, west on Avenida Messina
Siesta Key FL 34242
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/beachsiesta.asp

All locations have beach access, a parking area and swimming unless noted.
All locations have NO Lifeguards on duty. 
No Swimming


Beach Access #5 - Ocean Boulevard
Ocean Boulevard and Beach Road Intersection
Siesta Key FL 34242
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/beachsiesta.asp

All locations have beach access, a parking area and swimming unless noted.
All locations have NO Lifeguards on duty.


Beach Access #7 - Calle de la Siesta
Beach Road and Calle de la Siesta
Siesta Key FL 34242
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/beachsiesta.asp

All locations have beach access, a parking area and swimming unless noted.
All locations have NO Lifeguards on duty.


Beach Access #8 - Plaza de las Palmas 1
Off of Beach Road, north of Siesta Beach
Siesta Key FL 34242
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/beachsiesta.asp

All locations have beach access, a parking area and swimming unless noted.
All locations have NO Lifeguards on duty.


Beach Access #9 - Plaza de las Palmas 2
Off of Beach Road, north of Siesta Beach
Siesta Key FL 34242
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/beachsiesta.asp

All locations have beach access, a parking area and swimming unless noted.
All locations have NO Lifeguards on duty. 


Caspersen Beach
4100 Harbor Drive
Venice FL 34285
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/CaspersenBeach.asp

Developed sandy beach on south side between Venice Municipal Airport and the Intracoastal Waterway and Gulf of Mexico, connected to Brohard Park Beach; southern two-thirds of beach is primitive. One of the great shelling beaches in the area. 177 acres of land including 9,150 linear feet of gulf beach frontage. Parking, restrooms, picnic tables, nature trail, dune walkovers, handicap facilities. No lifeguards. 


Lido Beach
400 Ben Franklin Drive
Lido Key FL 34236
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/LidoBeach.asp

15 acres of land including 3,100 feet of developed sandy beach on the Gulf of Mexico, located two and a half blocks southwest of Harding Circle, left on Benjamin Franklin Dr. Offers 400 parking spaces, restrooms, showers, lifeguard station, concession stand, meeting room, observation deck, public transportation drop off/pick up.


Longboat Key Beach

Located along Gulf of Mexico Dr., this primitive sandy beach stretches over five miles from the county line south to the New Pass Bridge. However, access is limited to Bay Isles Rd., Neptune Ave. and Buttonwood Dr., where parking is likewise very limited.  


Manasota Beach
8570 Manasota Key Road
Manasota Key FL 34223
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/ManasotaBeach.asp

One-quarter mile of developed sandy beach located on Manasota Key at west end of Manasota Bridge. Parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, boat ramp, small and large shelters (for reservations call 474-3065), lifeguard station all year, handicap facilities.


Nokomis Beach
100 Casey Key Road
Casey Key FL 34275
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/NokomisBeach.asp

Two-tenths of a mile long, 1,700 linear feet of developed sandy beach on the Gulf of Mexico and 3,200 linear feet of intracoastal waterway frontage located one mile west of Tamiami Trl. on State Road 789 at the intersection of Casey Key Rd. Family oriented beach popular for fishing and picnics. Parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, lifeguard station all year, boating facilities, handicap facilities. 


North Jetty Park
1000 Casey Key Road
Casey Key FL 34275
Phone: 941-486-2311
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/NorthJettyPark.asp

Two-tenths of a mile of developed sandy beaches on the Gulf of Mexico and Venice Inlet, located at south end of Casey Key. One of the most exciting surfing beaches on the west coast of Florida. Dude! Great fishing too. Lots of boats. Parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, lifeguard station all year, shelters (for rental information call 486-2311), concession stand, bait shop, group and handicap facilities.


North Lido Beach
400 Ben Franklin Drive
Lido Key FL 34236
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/NorthLidoBeach.asp

77 acres of land including 3,000 feet of primitive sandy beach located on the north end of Lido Key on the west side of West Way Dr., a quarter-mile west of John Ringling Blvd. Another access is on Emerson Dr. No lifeguards — swift currents — be careful. Very limited parking; public transportation drop off/pick up. Just as a point of interest, nude sunbathing was allowed here until 1986.


Palmer Point Beach
South end Siesta Key and the north end of Casey Key
FL
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/PalmerPointBeach.asp

Primitive sandy beach begins at the southern tip of Siesta Key and continues to the north end of Casey Key. Seclusion at its finest — no lifeguards, no facilities. You’re on your own, playing on 24 acres, including 2,400 linear feet of Gulf beach frontage.


Siesta Beach
948 Beach Road
Siesta Key FL 34242
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/SiestaBeach.asp

Widest, most popular beach in Sarasota County. About a half mile of developed, unique sandy beach located along the south side of Beach Rd., west of the Midnight Pass Road intersection on the Gulf of Mexico. One of the most beautiful beaches found anywhere, officially rated as “The Whitest, Finest Sand in the World.” Shallow water depth in the near-shore area, together with year-round lifeguard protection makes this one of the safest beaches in the county.
Plenty of parking with 800 spaces available—available if you get there early, that is. Restrooms, showers, picnicking, lifeguard stations, group size and small size shelters (for reservations call 346-3207), tennis courts, ball field, volleyball courts, concession stand, group facilities, handicap facilities, 20-station fitness trail, playground equipment and public transportation drop off/pick up.

The perfect beach? It just doesn’t get much better than this. The grains of sand on Siesta Beach are so fine, the beach itself is like powder.
The Upside — You’ll have “happy feet”—your toes will love trotting on this beach.
The Downside — The sand is so fine it gets into everything. Leave your valuable watches and electronics at home.
The Funnyside — Since the sand on Siesta Beach is actually 99 percent quartz, you may run into the occasional “new age hippie” who thinks the whole beach is one big cosmic tuning fork. Although not as ubiquitous as they were in the early 80s, they are easy enough to spot. You’ll see them dancing in the sun, like Aztec lunatics — harmless, even when provoked.

But never mind all of that: Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Tom Cruise and Hulk Hogan have reportedly walked on Siesta Beach. You should too.
 


South Lido Park
2201 Ben Franklin Drive
Sarasota FL 34236
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/SouthLidoBeach.asp

A 100-acre park interacts with four significant bodies of water: The Gulf of Mexico, Big Pass, Sarasota Bay and Brushy Bayou. This park presents a unique opportunity to visitors to enjoy natural outdoor resources of Sarasota. The southern beach portion of the park offers expansive views of the emerging skyline of downtown Sarasota and the Gulf of Mexico. Parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, grills, playground equipment, volleyball court, fitness trail, handicap facilities. Lifeguard station open weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.


Turtle Beach
8862 Midnight Pass Rd
Sarasota FL 34242
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Parks/Turtle_Beach.asp

Quarter-mile of developed sandy beach on the Gulf of Mexico located at the south end of Siesta Key, two and a half miles south of Stickney Point Road on Midnight Pass Road. Very popular for family outings and gatherings; its picnic shelters are used extensively for this purpose. For reservations, call 346-3207.
Parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, horseshoe courts, volleyball court, playground equipment and dune walkovers. No lifeguards. Boating facilities, group facilities, handicap facilities, public transportation drop off/pick up.


Venice Beach
101 The Esplanade
Venice Florida
Phone: 941-861-5000
http://www.scgov.net/ParksandRecreation/Beaches/VeniceBeach.asp

875 feet of developed sandy beach, located one mile west of U.S. 41 on Venice Avenue West at the Gulf of Mexico. Wonderful spot to find prehistoric shark teeth and other fossilized material. If you are looking for live “Jaws,” there is a coral reef about a quarter-mile offshore. Parking, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, volleyball courts, lifeguard station all year, group facilities, handicap facilities, public transportation drop off/pick up.


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