Blowing the cover on Siesta Key’s jeweled beach


Commentary by Zach Dunkin


With its sugary, white quartz sand and stunning sunsets, it’s no wonder the “Gulf Coast’s best-kept secret” is no longer hush-hush. Just ask a number the increasing visitors who make an annual return trek to Siesta Key, a gorgeous barrier island located just off the coast of Sarasota.

Unlike beaches made up mostly of pulverized coral, SK’s two beaches—Siesta Beach and Crescent Beach—have sand that is 99 percent quartz. It is so reflective that it always feels cool underfoot, even on the hottest of days.According to the Travel Channel and “Dr. Beach,” who annually lists Siesta Beach in the America’s Top 10 and sometimes No. 1, these beaches are considered among the most beautiful in the world.

While condo renters have their own “private” beach areas, a wide public beach is also available.

The shallow water depth in the near-shore area together with year-round lifeguard protection, make this one of the safest beaches in the country and great for children. The beach is relatively “family-safe” with no open bars set up along the water.

The sunsets aren’t rated, but it’s a nightly tradition after all day on the beach for folks to gather on the beach with their drinks and lawn chairs to watch the sun dip into gulf. Then, they’re off to dinner.

Nightlife for adults includes open-air, resort-type bars and restaurants in the “village.” Favorites include the Siesta Key Oyster Bar (affectionately called SKOB) and the Daiquiri Deck (enough said). Although the food is affordable and average, the kids will love the menu and the outdoor seating on picnic tables at the Old Salty Dog.

For better dining, try the Lobster Pot or Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar. And save room for ice cream and fudge at Big Olaf’s, where the lines can run a block long.

For breakfast, you can’t miss with Another Broken Egg, a one-time favorite hangout of ESPN’s zany sportscaster Dick Vitale.